The Eyes Have It: The Secrets of Eyes and Seeing
Up Your Nose: The Secrets of Schnozes and Snouts
Pump It Up: The Secrets of the Heart and Blood
Now Hear This: The Secrets of Ears and Hearing
Originally, I had no intention of creating such a large series. I just wanted to write a single book.
It all started when I read an article in Natural History magazine in 2004. It was about all the amazing ways animals use spit—to build homes, to attract mates, to heal wounds. I was fascinated and knew kids would be too.
So I did a ton of research, wrote some sample spreads in a fun, irreverent voice and sent them to a few publishers. Over the next few months, the rejections piled up.
“Great idea, but not right for us.”
“There are too many gross books on the market.”
“The information is too educational.”
“Is spit really interesting enough to support a whole book?”
I couldn’t argue with most of these comments, after all every editor is entitled to his or her opinion. But I could address the last comment. All I had to do was write the whole book.
So that’s what I did. But the editor still had her concerns. Drat!
So I put the manuscript, It’s Spit-Acular: The Secrets of Saliva, on the back burner.
But a funny thing happened. I had mentioned my book idea to a lot of people—adults and kids. And they kept asking about it. They also kept sharing whatever gross, goofy, weird, or wacky body facts they came across.
I wrote all these facts down in a notebook. I didn’t know why I was doing it, but I kept on writing them down.
Then one day I realized I could probably write a series of books. Maybe even one for each body system. I sat down to make a list, and I ended up with twelve solid titles.
Hmmm. Could I sell a whole series?
While I was pondering that idea, I received some great news. Before I tell you what is was, you need a little background.
When I said I put It’s Spit-Acular on the backburner, what I meant was that I stopped submitting it. But I didn’t just stuff it in a drawer and forget about it. No way. I entered it in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Nonfiction Research Grant contest.
And guess what? I won.
That gave me the courage to start sending out the series proposal. And not long after that, I received an offer from Benchmark Books/Marshall Cavendish. Hooray!
I used the SCBWI grant money to subscribe to a medical research database at a nearby teaching hospital. The articles from that database formed the foundation of my research, but some of the most gross and goofy facts and ideas in the books came from my notebooks.