My Author Friend: Nancy Tupper Ling
Updated: Oct 20, 2021
I am so excited to begin my blog, MEET MY AUTHOR FRIENDS.
First up is Nancy Tupper Ling. Nancy has written a wonderful book For Every Little Thing, that is beautifully illustrated by Helen Cann.
Read through my interview with Nancy:
How many years have you been in publishing?
My very first published poem came out in 1999. My first picture book in 2009, and now For Every Little Thing is my tenth book in 2021. I guess that means a LONG time.
Tell me how many years you have been working on this book before you got a contract on it for publication.
June Cotner and I began to put the proposal together back in 2014. The original title for our anthology was “Counting Blessing,” based on a poem by contributor, Barbara Younger.
Knowing the theme was about gratitude, I was inspired to write a poem called “For Every Little Thing.” Eventually, this became the title poem. In March of 2018, we signed with Eerdmans and they hired the fabulous illustrator, Helen Cann to bring our poems to life.
FOR EVERY LITTLE THING
For morning song and gentle brook,
a faithful friend, a favorite book,
for robin’s eggs and swinging trees,
the daffodils and dancing bees—
For lady bugs and butterflies,
bluebirds, breezes, cloud-filled skies,
for kitten’s mew and horse’s bray
the golden sun that ends my day,
I thank my God for scales and wings,
for each and every little thing.
Nancy Tupper Ling
Is this your first publication? Could you tell us about your other publications?
This is actually my tenth book. I’ve written poetry books, anthologies for both adults and children, and picture books. Some of my other titles are Double Happiness (Chronicle Books), The Story I’ll Tell (Lee & Low), and Family Celebrations: Poems, Toasts, and Traditions for Every Occasion (Andrews McMeel).
Do you write full-time? If no, what do you do besides write?
I’m a librarian by trade, so for the past ten years I’ve worked as a part-time outreach librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library (Norwood, MA). I also did all the PTA mother stuff, ran 4 book groups, and took up knitting again. Just this year, I left my library job “to write full-time.” Ha! That lasted one month. I needed more structure to my day, so now I work at a local children’s bookstore, Blue Bunny Books and Toys (Dedham, MA), owned by New York Times best-selling author-illustrator, Peter H. Reynolds. I LOVE it!
Do you write in the morning, evening, or late at night? Do you have any music or background sounds to keep you focused on writing?
When our girls were little, I would put them to bed by 7 or 8 o’clock. Once all of the dishes were cleaned up, laundry folded, the last call for a glass of water assuaged, the writing would begin. I’d write until midnight or 1 am. These were the “Golden Hours of Ling Writing.” For better or worse, now that our daughters are in college, I’m still writing late into the night. No music to guide me, just the sound of nature and our parakeet around me. Somehow it works, tho.
To date, what would you say is the biggest moment of your career?
While you might think it would be some big award or a starred review, it was actually a quiet day selling books at my alma mater’s Homecoming Weekend. Two sisters found my booth. One of the young girls had Down syndrome, similar to the main character in my first book, My Sister, Alicia May. They were so ecstatic and surprised to find me at this event. They were chatting non-stop and they proceeded to tell me that a few years ago they had performed my story as a play where they won a prize for their performance. Then, right in front of me, they began to perform my words, my story, for me to see. Nothing gets better than that!
Tell me more about your book and share about your illustrator.
For Every Little Thing is really about finding joy in ordinary moments—marking the small wonders in everyday life. The subtitle says a lot about the books as well, “Poems and Prayers to Celebrate the Day.” Of course, the poems came to life in the capable hands of our illustrator, Helen Cann. She worked throughout the pandemic on these gorgeous pieces and, as she said: “I was grateful for such a large project that not only kept me employed when so many others were losing their jobs, but it kept my brain occupied at a time of great stress.” To read more about her experience, see her own blog:
What is next for you as an author? Any news you can share about an upcoming project?
Oh yes! I’m excited to share that June Cotner and I had another children’s anthology accepted. This one is entitled Bless the Earth: A Children’s Book of Prayers and Poems for Honoring the Earth and will be published by Keren Baltzer at Convergent/Penguin. This book will convey a spiritual perspective of caring for and appreciating the world, and will be the perfect way to acquaint children with the idea of respecting and being kind to our home, our planet Earth.
If you could tell an aspiring author one thing, what would that be?
Try not to limit yourself to one genre. I know a lot of times authors recommend honing your writing, and perfecting it. This is true, but it’s also been helpful to write and submit different genres. One of my poems, White Birch, won the Writer’s Digest Grand Prize. In turn, that allowed me to present some of my picture book manuscripts to various editors and agents in New York City. In other words, crossing genres and having a variety of work ready at your fingertips to submit and present seems like a win-win.
For more information about Nancy, please be sure to connect or check out the following:
Social media info/website
Now that you have met my first author friend, it is time for a GIVEAWAY! Yes, comment below to enter in a chance to win Nancy’s beautiful book, For Every Little Thing. Please enter before October 31, 2021, for a chance to win!
Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@SherryR17552573), Facebook (Sjrobertscreative), or Instagram (Sjrobertscreative) for more “My Author Friends” interviews.
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