Macaroni Kid's Interview with Elizabeth Lorayne

Meet Piratess Tilly at the Custom House Museum Family Fun Days

By Emily Cowan, Editor/Publisher
Apr 11, 2017

April's Family Fun Days sail into the Custom House Maritime Museum next week, along with a special appearance by Piratess Tilly, the heroine of two critically acclaimed books by local author and Newburyport mom Elizabeth Lorayne. We caught up with Elizabeth to find out more about the book series and its focus on a smart, strong female character who loves science and exploration.

Newburyport Macaroni Kid: Many children's-book authors are inspired to write because they perceive a gap in representation for a certain kind of kid. Did you feel that there was something missing from bookshelves?

Elizabeth Lorayne: When I first felt inspired to create the character of Piratess Tilly, I had observed a huge gap on the bookshelves. I saw far too few picture books with strong, intelligent, compassionate, relatable (to me), adventuresome heroines, let alone ones interested in science and history. And I therefore wanted more for my own daughter and for myself – I even wanted to see someone who represented pieces of myself as a child because I imagined I wasn't the only one who was was curious about nature. Or who cared about saving the animals and the planet. Or who was a leader. Or who loved being outside – on the water sailing. 

Continue reading the full interview here!

Kirkus Reviews: Piratess Tilly Easter Island

An eye-pleasing picture book that offers a winning mix of adventure, science, and poetry, with a strong heroine who invites readers to view the world as a place of natural wonder. --Kirkus Reviews

Wow! The first industry review is in for the upcoming sequel, The Adventures of Piratess Tilly Easter Island (February 2017, White Wave Press). I am incredibly grateful that the reviewer at Kirkus Reviews both recognized and appreciated the story development and the educational additions (glossary and short bios on Tilly's historical heroes). Onward we go!

KIRKUS REVIEW

In this second installment of an ecologically based adventure series for children, a young naturalist and ship’s captain sails to a remote island and discovers a threat to the local wildlife.

Piratess Tilly—the refreshingly bold, smart heroine introduced in Lorayne’s debut picture book (The Adventures of Piratess Tilly, 2016), illustrated by Watson—takes to the sea again on her research ship, the Foster. She’s accompanied by her friend Yuki (a rescued koala bear) and the seven orphan boys who make up her diverse crew. Their destination: Easter Island. Unfolding in graceful haiku, the tale follows passionate naturalist Tilly (“An explorer’s dress / Patch pockets for her notebooks / Trade tools in her bag”) as she studies the mysterious Moai statues and scuba dives to observe marine life native to the area, sketching and cataloging what she sees. The trip takes an unexpected turn when the crew encounters pirates raiding the nests of sooty terns in an egg-smuggling venture, and the group launches a successful rescue effort, led by parasailing Tilly and Yuki. (In the first Tilly adventure, a trip to the Galapagos Islands became a mission to save baby giant tortoises from the clutches of another band of pirates.) Lorayne’s poetic text is fully integrated into Watson’s lovely watercolor images, executed with an eye for captivating detail. The tale delivers enough escapades and suspense to satisfy a young audience, but the author also includes ample learning opportunities to encourage children to seek out the story’s substantial real-life underpinnings. These include examples of sailors’ knots, a glossary of words and terms—endemic, expeditions, trade winds, thermals, etc.—and various fish species skillfully rendered by Watson. In addition, the volume features short biographies of Tilly’s 19th- and 20th-century inspirations, Charles Darwin (“Darwin on her shelves / Evokes her scholarly dreams / Coral reefs and fish”) and anthropologist Katherine Routledge, written by science historian Michael Barton and archaeologist Jo Anne Van Tilburg.

An eye-pleasing picture book that offers a winning mix of adventure, science, and poetry, with a strong heroine who invites readers to view the world as a place of natural wonder.

Piratess Tilly Easter Island Trailer!

I am very proud and excited to share the book trailer for the upcoming sequel, The Adventures of Piratess Tilly Easter Island, read by the author Elizabeth Lorayne! Enjoy! https://youtu.be/4XUb-a0AV-8

Event: 11/5 at Strawbery Banke Museum

strawbery_banke_event.jpg My colleague Maria Kamoulakou of Sky Cloud City and  I am looking forward to meeting families and other local authors at the 2nd annual Children's Author Festival at the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH on Saturday 11/5 from 11am-3pm. I hope to see you there!

Sharing Roots and Meeting Karen Watson

It is a powerful and meaningful moment to share aspects of your childhood experience with your own 4 year old daughter and husband. We recently traveled to Seattle, WA, journeyed up north to the San Juan Islands and further still to Victoria, B.C. I hadn't spent any decent amount of time in those areas in over 10 years, long before the birth of Piratess Tilly.

It was both exciting and overwhelming to witness and explore hand-in-hand with my daughter the very same docks, shorelines and boats that I had as a child. It quickly became clear how deeply rooted those formative experiences are in my psyche -- there is no doubt that Piratess Tilly was inspired by my own childhood adventures!

To top off this meaningful trip, I finally got to meet Karen Watson, the extremely talented artist behind the watercolors to Piratess Tilly. It was like meeting an old friend! We both laughed at how incredible it is that we've created two picture books without ever meeting in person or even talking on the phone -- it has been all done through email! I cannot help but feel that it is particularly special and synchronistic that we are both from the Pacific Northwest. There is no doubt, in my mind, that this has greatly influenced our bond and our work together on the Piratess Tilly series.

I feel very fortunate to have shared all of this (plus so much more in Seattle itself!) with my family and to have finally met Karen Watson -- what a remarkable summer this has been!

 

 

 

Newburyport Maritime Days Recap!

Somehow between the end of the school year and the beginning of summer, the last few weeks have flown by! I am most excited to finally share the wonderful reception The Adventures of Piratess Tilly had at the Newburyport Maritime Days event over Memorial Day weekend.

I first want to say 'wow!' The entire week that the 16th Century Spanish tall ship, El Galeón was here in Newburyport was not just exciting for our city, but it ended up being an incredibly magical experience for me. Through the Custom House Maritime Museum, I had the opportunity to meet with the captain of the ship - the only female captain of a tall ship in the world! I presented Captain Rosario Fernandez Rodriguez with a copy of The Adventures of Piratess Tilly and from that moment, time melted away as we spoke for over two hours. I've written an article about this interview and you can read about it here.

With that experience of meeting Captain Rosario Fernandez Rodriguez coupled with the backdrop of a tall ship in our port, I went into the 3-day event beaming - and I couldn't be more thrilled with how it unfolded! Although the weather was rather finicky, one day being 90 degrees and the next being cold and windy, the overall reception was incredible.

People whole-heartedly loved the entire concept of Piratess Tilly - the haiku, the art, the girl-empowerment, the conservationism. They loved the dolls and the blank greeting cards - all of the add-ons I've created.  And lastly, but in no small way, they seemed to love meeting me - the author and publisher. I always offered to sign the book and the look of excitement the children got was not just meaningful - it was magical.

I started prepping for this 3 day event a few weeks before. As it was my first outdoor event, I was starting from scratch. I bought an E-Z UP Envoy Instant Shelter Canopy and it truly was easy to set-up. I scouted Marshalls for baskets to hold the books and plushies, picture frames for prices, industry reviews and awards, and a tray to hold the blank greeting cards I ordered from Moo that featured Karen Watson's artwork from the book.

The second line of business was all of the signage and extra add-ons. I used one of the images from the book to create a tapestry through Society6. The tapestry made a perfect, eye-catching table cloth!

 

maritime days prep 3 blog 

I designed a  2.5'x4' banner through VistaPrint and kept my fingers crossed I'd be able to easily hang it up. ;)  I then employed Kendra Shedenhelm to create a coloring poster with her doll and tool illustrations, with the idea that kids would stop and color it on their way to the ship. Inspired by the poster design, I created coloring postcards to hand out to kids who stopped by my table. Although the coloring poster didn't work out, the postcards did! One side featured either Piratess Tilly or Yuki, while the other was a collage of her tools. I ran out of the 100 postcards by the middle of day 2 so started to pass out Piratess Tilly and Yuki stickers instead.

maritime days prep 1 blog

Just a few days before the event, I felt inspired to create a small, double-sided card to enclose with each purchase. One side featured the Australian Koala Foundation, of which a portion of sales go towards, and the other had a condensed definition of a "Piratess." These I printed myself on my laser printer and cut by hand.

maritime days prep 2 blog.jpg

I also had information displayed about the other artists and crafters who have helped to create the Piratess Tilly and Yuki plushies and the custom-made Piratess Tilly rag doll by Phoebe&Egg. A special thank you to Gretchen Joy for her work as local seamstress and a big thank you to Kendra Shedenhelm who worked with me for a year to design the plushies!

Thank you to everyone who came out and stopped by the Piratess Tilly tent! It won't be our last event, that is for sure. So please, stay tuned!

maritime days thank you

 

 

Newburyport Maritime Days

Come join Elizabeth Lorayne this Memorial Day weekend in Newburyport, MA at her booth exhibiting The Adventures of Piratess Tilly books, handmade plushies & peg dolls and more! White Wave Press is one of 50 local artisans and vendors featured in The Newburyport Collection on the Custom House Waterfront Lawn in downtown Newburyport. This portion of the festival is open Saturday through Monday 9am to 5pm. It is a part of the week long Newburyport Maritime Days, a celebration of visiting Spanish Tall Ship, El Galeón! For more information on all of the awesome events and for tickets to take a tour of the 17th century replica Tall Ship, El Galeón please visit here. I hope to see you this weekend!

Piratess Tilly and Newburyport Maritime Days

2016 Eric Hoffer First Horizon Award Finalist!

First-Horizon-Finalist-Seal Wow! I am thrilled and honored to announce that The Adventures of Piratess Tilly is a Finalist for the 2016 Eric Hoffer First Horizon Award, which celebrates best first books! "Each year, the Eric Hoffer Award presents the First Horizon Award for superior work by debut authors (i.e the first published book of any type by the author). This is an additional distinction beneath the Eric Hoffer Award umbrella."

How incredibly exciting! Onward and upward!

Softcover now available!

Softcover Piratess Tilly Give-away What wonderful timing to share both the latest Amazon Review and the news that a softcover version of The Adventures of Piratess Tilly is now available directly from Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

Review on Amazon:

We LOVE this book! My five year old daughter loves it just as much as my eight year old son. First, I look to read stories with my children that have a strong female lead character. This is an empowering, uplifting and "feel good" story for both girls and boys. Written in Haiku, Tilly and her crew go on exciting adventures together. The watercolor illustrations are beautiful. I can't wait to read further adventures of Tilly and her crew.

Happy Monday!

Finalist for the INDIEFAB Book of the Year!

I am so honored and proud to announce that The Adventures of Piratess Tilly is a Finalist for the 2015 Foreword Reviews' INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards (category: children's picture books)! This is absolutely wonderful recognition! Winners will be announced at the American Library Association Annual Conference in June. I am posting Foreword Reviews' press release below. Thank you to everyone for their support. Onward and upward!

Foreword Reviews Announces Finalists for 2015 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards

Traverse City, MI, March 7, 2016—Foreword Reviews, a media company devoted to reviewing books from small, independent publishers and university presses, is pleased to announce the finalists for its 18th annual INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards.

Visit the Foreword Reviews website for a full list of the finalists, searchable by genre.

Each year, Foreword Reviews shines a light on a select group of indie publishers, university presses, and self-published authors whose work stands out from the crowd. In the next three months, a panel of more than 130 volunteer librarians and booksellers will determine the winners in 66 categories based on their experience with readers and patrons.

“The 2015 INDIEFAB finalist selection process is as inspiring as it is rigorous,” said Victoria Sutherland, publisher of Foreword Reviews. “The strength of this list of finalists is further proof that small, independent publishers are taking their rightful place as the new driving force of the entire publishing industry.”

Foreword Reviews will celebrate the winners during a program at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida in June. We will also name the Editor’s Choice Prize 2015 for Fiction, Nonfiction and Foreword Reviews’ 2015 INDIEFAB Publisher of the Year Award during the presentation.


About Foreword: Foreword Magazine, Inc is a media company featuring a Folio:-award-winning quarterly print magazine, Foreword Reviews, and a website devoted to independently published books. In the magazine, they feature reviews of the best 170 new titles from independent publishers, university presses, and noteworthy self-published authors. Their website features daily updates: reviews along with in-depth coverage and analysis of independent publishing from a team of more than 100 reviewers, journalists, and bloggers. The print magazine is available at most Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million newsstands or by subscription. You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. They are headquartered in Traverse City, Michigan, USA.

https://indiefab.forewordreviews.com/finalists/2015/press-release/

Independent Publishers of New England Interview

Honored to share Elizabeth Lorayne's interview with the Independent Publishers of New England! You can also read it here!
It is our pleasure to highlight IPNE member and children's author Elizabeth Lorayne for this edition of Learn from Your Peers. Elizabeth will be at the Boston Book Festival on Saturday, October 24th for an IPNE author signing event.

When did you know you were a writer? I think my personal acknowledgment that I am a writer came from realizing that I tend to communicate better through writing and that my desire to then share those thoughts, stories, characters, and visuals was truly a part of who I am. I have been writing since childhood, often stories inspired by dreams. As I got older, I took to journaling and writing poetry as ways to express myself. My writing abilities became more refined through numerous writing courses in high school and college and just simply with practice. Writing haiku, as how I’ve written the book, came from a need to get back to being creative. At the time I started writing haiku, my daughter was six months old and we were deep in an all-consuming house restoration. There was no real access, time or energy for my usual art — collage and printmaking. I had started a blog and through the Wordpress community I was reconnected with haiku. I researched the traditional forms of haiku, how they are usually about nature and have a surprise twist or ending. From there, I let myself play and experiment.

What does your writing process look like? That really depends on what kind of writing I’m working on, but in general my process includes quieting my mind and not overthinking — just writing. For the haiku in The Adventures of Piratess Tilly, I have found that for the more educational pieces, simple information or visual references are more than enough for me to create the haiku. As for the pieces I’ve created on my own, I simply interweave bits of my own childhood and younger self into the overall story. One of the reasons I feel the haiku works so well for a children’s picture book is because it can be descriptive and yet open ended. It gives the reader and audience a great deal of room for their own imagination even alongside the beautiful artwork. It gives the reader their own sense of involvement and I love that!

Tell us about your book, The Adventures of Piratess Tilly. The Adventures of Piratess Tilly follows a young adventurous and compassionate girl, Tilly, on her sailing quest to document the flora and fauna of the Galapagos Islands. Her crew consists of seven orphaned boys from around the world and her best friend Yuki, a koala she rescued in Australia. As budding naturalists they spend their time on the ship reading Charles Darwin, sketching, painting, and documenting their nature finds. Once they arrive, they see the beautiful landscape and spot several animals. They even come upon pirates! And those pirates just happen to be smuggling baby Giant Tortoises. So of course Piratess Tilly, Yuki, and the brothers create a plan to rescue them and return them to their family! The story was greatly inspired by my upbringing: bike riding, boating, and exploring the shorelines of the Pacific Northwest, as well as from studying primatology, and anthropology as a young adult. And once I had a daughter, I realized how much I wanted to create and share a strong, independent, curious, intelligent, and compassionate female lead. I wanted my daughter to grow up reading about a young female captain, who was intelligent and perfectly capable of adventure and leadership. And this is certainly not the last story with Piratess Tilly! I have finished writing the second book and have begun the illustration process with Karen Watson. We have all set sail for Easter Island! So please stay tuned!

Why did you choose to self-publish? I primarily chose to self-publish because I wanted full control over the book. I wanted to find the illustrator myself and work with her closely. I also wanted to build my own publishing company in hopes expanding one day to include publishing other girl-empowering works by women. I suppose I’ve always been someone who never fit the mold and I knew that what I had created was out of the norm, and therefore to me, that much more worthy of publishing it myself.

What roadblocks or obstacles did you face? I think the actual book production was the biggest obstacle. I wanted to print in the U.S.A, but the costs were prohibitive for what I wanted with my book: hardcover with dust-jacket, offset printing, 32 pages, 8 1/2” by 11 size, and a smaller run.

How do you balance being a mom with writing and promoting a book? Honestly, I’m not really sure. I somehow get a lot accomplished in several two minute increments throughout the day! My daughter is now just over three years old so she is attending a morning program, which allows me the focused time I need for promotion, research, writing blog posts, or creating the graphics for postcards and social media posts. I’ve found though, that if I’m in haiku writing mode, I tend to be very distracted for those few days; however meals always need to be made and everyday life still goes by regardless. I allow for those everyday routines to give my mind time to mull over ideas. It all seems to work out in the end and everyone gets what they need!

Other than IPNE, what are some other valuable resources for children's authors and publishers? I became a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators right away when I felt my story was ready and that I was serious about publication. They are a fabulous organization and I highly recommend joining. They have bicoastal and regional conferences as well as meet-ups and online forums. It was through them that I found the illustrator, Karen Watson! I also suggest taking a class on writing for children. It isn’t as easy as people tend to first believe. Having an understanding of those guidelines is definitely helpful. I had taken a course in college on writing for young adults. Although that isn’t the same as picture book writing, it still helped me.

How did you choose the illustrations for your book? How did you structure your working relationship with the illustrator? Working with Karen Watson was absolutely wonderful! I gave her written descriptions of how I wanted each page. She not only executed my ideas perfectly, she also added so much fine detail and on a particular page I was stuck on, she came up with a wonderful setting. As I had never done this before, Karen guided me through her own process. I loved getting an email with several pages worth of initial sketches, then line drawings, and finally the finished painted pages. Her work is both meticulous and whimsical, which is perfect for Piratess Tilly, who is studious and fun-loving!

What advice do you have for other indie publishers? How can we find your book? Don’t give up! If you believe in your book and what you’ve created gives you a sense of pride, then do whatever you can to get it into the hands of readers and supporters. Also, be creative with marketing, think outside of the box. For instance, I donated a few books to the Galapagos Conservancy, where the proceeds will go to benefitting their many programs. Not only does that tie into the book, it supports something important and there is no saying what that relationship will become. Also take chances! No matter how nervous I was, I sent The Adventures of Piratess Tilly for a Kirkus Review and was overwhelmingly relieved they understood and appreciated the book! Because of that I felt confident to send the book to Publishers Weekly and got another good review. I believed in the book and the overall product of what was created! Go for it! You can find The Adventures of Piratess Tilly on the book’s website: http://piratesstilly.com and on Amazon. Feel free to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or the blog for more updates on local stores and more sites.

October Book Reading & Signing Events!

Announcing 2 events this upcoming week! The first is a book reading and signing by Elizabeth Lorayne at Jabberwocky Bookshop in Newburyport, MA. It is part of a fundraiser for the Newburyport Montessori School's Parent Association! The event and reading of The Adventures of Piratess Tilly begins at 4pm. There will be a second children's book author, AJ Smith reading his book Even Monsters at 7pm! Piratess Tilly Jabberwocky book reading 10-22-15The second event is Saturday, October 24th at the Boston Book Festival. Elizabeth will be signing and selling books from 10:45 to 11:30 at the Independent Publishers of New England table on Boylston Street side in Copley Square! Please come support Piratess Tilly and all of the awesome authors at the event! And stay tuned for pictures and posts following the two events! Thank you!

Piratess Tilly Boston Book Festival

We won a Moonbeam Children's Book Award!

Moonbeam Sociam Media We are incredibly honored and thrilled to announce that The Adventures of Piratess Tilly has won its first children’s book award!! We were 1 of 5 to win a very special award, the Moonbeam Spirit Award for Exploration, a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. See the full list of winners here!

This Moonbeam Spirit Award is “for dedication to children’s books and literacy and for inspired writing, illustrating and publishing. This year we chose books in five different areas. All recipients will receive gold medals.” The other 4 categories for this Spirit Award are: Creativity, Compassion, Imagination and Preservation.

A little bit about Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, which is in its 9th year:

“Creating books that inspire our children to read, to learn, and to dream is an extremely important task, and these awards were conceived to reward those efforts. Each year's entries are judged by expert panels of youth educators, librarians, booksellers, and book reviewers of all ages. Award recipients receive gold, silver and bronze medals and stickers depicting a mother and child reading and silhouetted by a full moon.”

More info to follow once the press release is up!!

Piratess Tilly in . . . Easter Island!

I am beyond thrilled to announce that Karen Watson and I are moving forward with the next book in The Adventure of Piratess Tilly series! She and her crew are headed to Easter Island! Here is the very first watercolor illustration!  

Piratess Tilly Easter Island Promo

From the Crow's Nest: Reviews by Children

Introducing a new series, From the Crow's Nest, featuring children's reviews of The Adventures of Piratess Tilly! Below is the first review by a 6 and half year old boy named Finny! Please feel free to download the review question ideas below and email Elizabeth Lorayne your child's answers at whitewavepressbooks@gmail.com. You can also find these on the activities page! Thank you! Enjoy!

Downloadable review question ideas:

Piratess Tilly Children's Book Review Questions

8/10/15 Publishers Weekly Review!

Our review from Publishers Weekly is in! Another nod to Charles Darwin and praise for our courageous, eco-conscious heorine, Piratess Tilly.

Tilly—tough, daring, and scientifically minded—is a capable heroine with an enviable life at sea. -Publishers Weekly

 

Publishers Weekly Review as seen on 8/10/15:

"Lorayne crafts an environmentally focused adventure told through haikus and punctuated by moments of excitement. Piratess Tilly, a brunette girl in patchwork jeans, travels on the research vessel Foster with a crew of young sailors from around the globe and her fedora-wearing koala, Yuki. Watson depicts Tilly and Yuki’s time aboard the ship in gentle watercolors with light fantasy elements. Tilly and Yuki read Charles Darwin and Beatrix Potter in their cozy cabin, a smiling crescent moon shining through the window, and collect nature specimens to study and sketch: “Many days passing/ Best used for examining/ What would Darwin think?” The plot turns from wildlife examination to conservation when Tilly and the crew discover that nefarious pirates are smuggling baby giant tortoises from the Galápagos Islands. In a perilous—albeit brief—mission, Tilly and her crewmates rescue the tortoises and release them into the sea. While the sequence of haikus can make for a slightly herky-jerky narrative, Tilly—tough, daring, and scientifically minded—is a capable heroine with an enviable life at sea. Ages 4–8. (BookLife) "

View the review here!

Thank you again for all of the support!

~ E.L.

BOOK REVIEW: The Adventures of Piratess Tilly

A special 'Thank you' to Michael Barton for this lovely book review! I am thrilled he and I are in touch after Piratess Tilly's adventure with the National Center for Science Education!

New Art Show Poster!

I absolutely love Karen Watson's new art show poster! I know I'll be printing one out and framing it. I am so excited for her solo art show featuring the original artwork from The Adventures of Piratess Tilly and other work inspired by classic tales! Stay tuned for photos from the actual show opening on July 26th. And please check out her recently updated website! DrawnToStory_Poster_Sml

Kirkus Reviews Magazine, 7/1/15

I am incredibly honored that Kirkus Reviews chose their review of The Adventures of Piratess Tilly to be published as one of the 35 indie reviews in their bimonthly trade magazine. On top of this tremendous recognition, they quoted part of the actual review at the top of the page! I am sharing select images below (the cover and the two pages the review appears on).

 

Thanks!

~Elizabeth Lorayne

An Interview with Author Elizabeth Lorayne!

A special thank you to the Greater Newburyport Mothers and Familes Club for the lovely interview (and for granting me permission to share it with all of you!) as their 'Member Spotlight' in the current newsletter! A highlight from the interview:

I hope that children feel inspired to be their own captain ~ to explore, question, study, observe, give back and be a part of their community. I hope that seeing a girl be the leader of her crew, her ship and her rescue missions not only empowers young girls, but influences young boys too.

*** As I'm sure the interview was too long, it seems a paragraph was cut. I'm posting it below. It's in regards to the question about advice for others who are interested in writing. ***

"For others interested in writing or specifically writing for children, I would suggest taking a writing class. Writing for children is actually not as easy as some people tend to think and there are helpful guidelines to know ahead of time. I would also suggest joining the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. They're a fantastic organization with forums and regional conferences as well as meet-ups and workshops. "

I hope you enjoy the interview! 

Piratess Tilly Elizabeth Lorayne Mothers Club Interview