Book Review and Author Interview: Aneta Cruz

I’m super excited to share with you today’s STEAM inspired picture book. A story about a young girl’s dream to be an astronaut.

Title: ASTRONAUT TRAINING

Genre: STEAM Picture Book

Ages: 3-7

Author: Aneta Cruz

Illustrator: Olivia Aserr

Publisher: Boyds Mill Press

Synopsis:


Astrid is training to go to space! But as she builds her shuttle, cooks astronaut food, and practices floating in zero gravity, Dad tells Astrid that the ship’s construction is too dangerous, she’s too little to cook alone, and she’s not allowed to flood the bathroom. That night, when Astrid dreams she’s an astronaut, the challenges she encounters are overwhelming. Astrid realizes she isn’t as ready as she thought. Back on Earth, Astrid turns to her loving and supportive Dad, who helps Astrid continue her astronaut training.

Now, let’s meet the author behind this out of this world STEAM story!

Aneta Cruz

Welcome Aneta! I’m super excited to have you on the blog!

I know a lot of children would love to be astronauts just like Astrid. What was your inspiration behind ASTRONAUT TRAINING?


Being an astronaut was my childhood dream as well and I see a lot of my young self in Astrid. My most treasured memories are those of staying up way past bedtime and reading by my moonlit window because there was always one more chapter, one more book I had to finish. I am forever grateful to the Cosmos for giving me its light and to books for enlightening me.

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Did you publish this agented or unagented? What was that process like?

This book was published without an agent. I participated in Twitter’s #DVPit where I pitched Astrid’s story as “Goldilocks (in space) x Where the Wild Things Are.” Jes Negron, who was then the acquiring editor at Boyds Mills & Kane liked the pitch and requested to see the MS after I queried her. With her guidance, I revised the MS a couple of times, and she made an offer. Jes literally opened the publishing doors for me. I appreciate all her thoughtful suggestions and the love and support she has given to Astrid and her story.

Those are great comps and Jes sounds amazing to work with.

What is something you would like your readers to take away from this story?

I hope this book will show children that in order to make their dreams come true, they have to put in the effort, follow through, and ask for help if something doesn’t go right. 

I hope that parents take away the message that our children are going to thrive when we give them support, guidance, and love no matter how big or small their dream is.

And, finally, I hope that both children and parents will see that the key to it all is patience.

The illustrations in your book are amazing! Did you get to work directly with illustrator Olivia Aserr? If so, what was it like?

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No description available.

I did not, unfortunately, get to work with Olivia directly. However, my publisher included me in the process, for which I’m thankful. They asked for my vision as far as scenes and characters go, sent over the very first character sketches (amazing), followed by the cover illustration (OMG!), then the first pages, and kept me up to date with the progress of the book. Although I never got to talk to Olivia, it feels like we were on the same brain wavelength. Or she snuck into my mind while I was asleep, scooped up the characters, and brought them out into the world. Her illustrations are exactly like I had envisioned. When I first saw the cover of ASTRONAUT TRAINING, the saying, Never judge a book by its cover, popped into my head, and I was like, “Scratch that. Please judge my book by its cover. It’s absolutely gorgeous!”

I would agree! It’s truly an eye-catcher.

I guess I’d say, be like Astrid. Follow your dream, don’t be afraid to make a mess out of your MS–it can always be cleaned up, but also don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are so many wonderful authors and writing communities either on Twitter or Facebook that offer everything from writing advice to manuscript swaps. Join in and be part of the kidlit world. Communicate, collaborate, connect. Polish that MS and hit send. Most importantly–don’t count your rejections. All you need is that one YES. (Patience!)

Fabulous advice.

What is coming up next for you?

I am back on the Submission Train, so more books, I hope. I am now an agented author, and have multiple MSs, from PBs to dark fairytales and adult romcoms, of which several are out on submission. Thus, most of my day is spent by either crossing my fingers or obsessively checking my email. Sometimes I manage to write a line or a chapter. After that, I grab a spoon and dig into my jar of Nutella. 

If any readers want to learn more about you or follow you on social media, where can they find you?

Readers can find me on:

Twitter: @AnetaCruz

Instagram: @aneta.cruz

Good luck to you. I can’t wait to see more amazing work with your name on it!

Thank you for writing and sharing your story with us. Also, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions!

It was my pleasure, Katie. I wish all your readers only the best and hope that they will never give up on their dreams.

As an added bonus, Aneta is kindly offering a non-rhyming fiction picture book critique to one lucky reader of this post! All you have to do is share this post on Twitter or comment on this post, and follow my blog to enter. The contest ends on Friday, April 9th at 7 pm CST.

You can purchase ASTRONAUT TRAINING here.

Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!

8 thoughts on “Book Review and Author Interview: Aneta Cruz

  1. What an imaginative, yet realistic story. I have a 5-year-old great niece who says she wants to be an astronaut. So this is a perfect selection for her. I never tire of reading author’s roads to publication, so thank you for sharing your journey! The illustrations are stunning! Hope you sell a lot of books!

    Liked by 1 person

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