Today it is my pleasure to feature children’s book author TERESA ROBESON with her debut picture book QUEEN OF PHYSICS about an unknown physicist who helped unlock the secrets of the atom. Here’s Teresa to tell you how it came about.
Thank you so much for inviting me to talk about my debut book, Darlene!
I think it’s pretty common knowledge that though I don’t have an advance degree in physics, it’s my passion-hobby. It started with astrophysics, but I’m now just as intrigued with quantum and particle physics.
I can’t remember where I first heard of or read about Wu Chien Shiung, the Chinese American physicist who is the subject of my biography, but I was immediately taken by her since she was of the same cultural heritage and had the same love of physics.
So I researched her a bit more and drafted a picture book manuscript. After honing it for a while, I submitted it to a few places but got no bites. Then I did something one should never do: whine on social media about it. LOL! Someone I met in the 12×12 Picture Book Challenge saw my tweet (I was kind of mortified since I always thought nobody read my tweet back then) and offered to critique it. She then confessed that she is training to be a literary agent and wanted to take me on as her first client.
Sadly, she was never able to sell the story and quit the agenting business after only a year.
A year and a half rolled by and I was rather depressed that my story had gone nowhere. But then Jane Yolen (!!!) picked my story to as the nonfiction winner in the We Need Diverse Books mentorship program. Jane is a masterful teacher who guides with deep knowledge but lets you make your own choices. I attended the NESCBWI conference in the spring of 2017 so I could meet her in person.
Through the conference, I submitted the mentored version of that story to a number of editors. Christina Pulles, who was then with Sterling, expressed an interest in my manuscript. With that interest, I approached a number of agents and ended up signing with Natascha Morris of Bookends Literary.
And, finally, about two years after Christina expressed her interest, my book will be born!
Things I want the world to know about Wu Chien Shiung:
1) Despite facing racism and sexism, Wu persevered.
2) Wu always gave every task she undertook all her attention and effort.
3) In her later career, Wu used her knowledge of nuclear physics to work on treatment for sickle cell disease.
Teresa Robeson draws upon her Chinese heritage, Canadian-American sensibilities, as well as her background in science and love of nature when she writes. She has been published in children and adult magazines. QUEEN OF PHYSICS, a picture book biography, is her debut. Teresa’s hobbies include making art, making soap, knitting, baking, helping out around the homestead, and wowing the chickens with her bilingualism (they are not impressed).
Teresa is offering to give away one of her lovely Women in STEM TOTE BAGS to a randomly chosen person who leaves a comment on this post. The winner can choose either the white handled or blue handled bag. The winner will be announced in a future post on this blog. Good luck!