This Friday’s Friend is Angela Cerrito, who combines homemaking and mothering with working as a children’s physical therapist and writing. She lives in Europe and does and is much more than that.
On her blog, her profile has a description -
“My youngest said she could describe me in three words:
I first met Angela when we were both in an on-line critique group for writers of Children’s magazine articles.
Please tell us the status of the story you were creating then?
I’m not sure any of the articles I worked on with that group made it to publication. I just sent one off to the Highlights Contest this month and I’m working on developing another story into a picture book. I’ve had articles about children’s books and book fairs published in Stars and Stripes and contributed to e-zines for adults and kids. I think my article Creating a Perfect Bibliography first published by kid mag writers and now hosted by Fiona Bayrock gets a lot of hits.
Saturday, November 14, 2009 Angela announced in her blog, the news of her book contract with Holiday House for THE END OF THE LINE. She shares how she told the news in layers of loving waves out from herself. She posted a link about touching circumstances with her father-in-law the same day as the book contract. Then she goes on to add links to other newly published writers to share the news of all of them. This reflects one of the things I like most about Angela, her oneness with all.
Please tell us about your soon to be published book.
THE END OF THE LINE is about a boy who is convinced his life is over. He is sent to Great Oaks, a school for troubled youth that is run like a prison. To get home he must follow the rules, face the past, and tell the truth. Otherwise, Great Oaks School will really be the end of the line.
And your poetry prize(s).
I’ve had poetry accepted by greeting card companies and a poem published in Once Upon a Time magazine. I’ve written a few songs for my daughter’s band but they haven’t written music for them yet. I recently entered a poetry contest on Donna Earnhardt’s blog and it was selected runner up.
What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?
Initially, I want to be true to my story, the characters. But when all of the revising and editing is done, I hope my writing connects with readers in a way that makes them want to share the story. Years ago I wrote a dark fairy tale and during editing I read the book onto a tape and used this to correct the manuscript. My youngest daughter began listening to the tapes repeatedly and then telling her friends at school the story during consecutive recesses (she recalled the novel from memory and translated it from English to German as she told them.) The fact that her friends wanted to hear the story day after day was such a compliment. Several boys and girls came to our house and wanted to see the movie. A few of them said, “the way Samantha told the story I could see it happening.” I was so surprised, I couldn’t speak (and that’s saying something!) It still makes me so happy to think about it. So, that is my wish for all of my stories –that they will find readers who connect with the story in a way that they want to share it with their friends.
What other writing projects are you working on?
I’m working on a YA novel, a middle grade novel about a boy who isn’t really as different as the world thinks he is, and two non-fiction picture books. Most of my writing time is spent working on revisions for THE END OF THE LINE. I hope to start a new website in the spring.
Besides writing what are some other things you enjoy?
I love music. This month I began learning to play the cajon drum, it is really easy to learn and a lot of fun to play. I’ve also started climbing the rock wall and bouldering at the fitness center near my home. Best of all is spending time with my family. We play cards and board games a lot, take walks with our dog Max (our cat Nero follows along on walks) and spend time outside even in the cold and snowy weather we have right now. We’re busy with work, school and other activities during the week (and the TV is off) so Friday nights are our movie nights. In addition to Max and Nero, we also share our home with an African Grey Parrot named Buddy.
What would you say is your greatest life lesson?
This is very difficult question. I think I’ve been learning life’s lessons since I was a very young child (some of them the hard way) and I’m still learning. Some of the most important lessons, my mother told me (again and again and again) when I was young, but I had to grow up to learn them for myself: pick your friends carefully, listen to your conscious, if it seems too good to be true it probably is, love isn’t two people giving 50 / 50 it’s two people each giving 100% and so on. A conversation that I replay often is one I had at the temple of heaven in Beijing with a genetic engineer from California who was standing next to me. Two or three tour groups came and went and we stayed, studied the temple and talked about the meaning of life. He grew up poor a few streets away from the Forbidden City where we stood and then went on to California and into the field of genetics. He and I came some conclusions about the meaning of life that day that still resonate with me today. I lived in China for a year; the day I left, a dear friend gave me a small cloth bag that she made for me. It was mismatched and oddly colored and I adored it so much I wanted to cry. She then paid me a wonderful compliment. She said she admired how I take great joy in small things. I think that is a lesson I try to live by every day.
Anything you want to add?
Yes! I can’t finish this interview without saying how amazing and wonderful the kidlit community is. I’ve learned so much from meeting other writers. Verla Kay’s message board is like an education in writing for children and Cynthia Leitich Smith’s blog Cynsations is even more comprehensive than an encyclopedia of the children’s literature world. And most of all, SCBWI. I’m so lucky to be part of SCBWI. I am the assistant international Regional Advisor and one of the organizers of SCBWI Bologna in conjunction with the Bologna Book Fair. SCBWI Bologna has a special place in my heart because it was my first conference, the first time an editor gave me advice about my work, and the start of my participation in. SCBWI
Thank you Angela, for sharing your full life with us. I’m looking forward to reading your book in Spring 2011.
All photos are courtesy of Angela Cerrito. Stay well and happy writing.