Have you ever dreamed of writing a book with a friend or an author you admire? How do you make it work? What are the most important elements of the relationship? Today we peek inside a successful collaborative writing partnership of acclaimed authors E.E. Charlton-Trujillo and Pat Zietlow Miller. We'll take you through their extraordinary partnership, from their initial meeting, to their joint ventures, including the Lupe Lopez series and A Girl Can Build Anything books.
Pat and E.E. share their experience of collaboration, revealing how they work with an illustrator and how they resolve disagreements. They also discuss the importance of understanding storytelling structure and finding the perfect rhythm in language. So, be it getting the first sentence right or finding the perfect ending, our guests cover it all.
Beyond the mechanics, we also discuss the themes of resilience and diversity, how these themes find their way into their stories and the impact they have on young readers.
We close with a discussion about the importance of authentic representation in children's books. It's not just about telling a story, but about telling a story that everyone can see themselves in.
Pat Zietlow Miller
In addition to being the coauthor of the Lupe Lopez series, Pat is the author of the New York Times best-selling Be Kind, and My Brother the Duck, among many other books for young readers. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
Mentioned in the pod: Pat's list of 'practically perfect in every way' picture books. Find Pat on social:
E is a literary activist, filmmaker and coauthor of Lupe Lopez series as well as the author of the award-winning young-adult novel Fat Angie and its two sequels. They live in Texas.
Mentioned in the pod: E's list of recommended picture books. Find E on Social:
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Have you ever dreamed of writing a book with a friend or an author you admire? How do you make it work? What are the most important elements of the relationship? Today, we peek inside a successful collaborative writing partnership for answers to those and many other questions. So stay right where you are, hi, friends. Today we are thrilled to welcome authors EE Charlton Trujillo and Pat Zietlow Miller to the podcast. Ee is a filmmaker and co-author of the Lupe Lopez series, as well as the author of the award-winning young adult novel Fat Angie and its two sequels. They live in Texas and Pat, in addition to being the co-author of the Lupe Lopez series, is the author of the New York Times bestselling Be Kind and my Brother the Duck, among many other books for young readers, and she lives in Madison, wisconsin. Welcome to you both. We have been very excited to talk to you because our listeners have lots of questions about author collaboration, so we are super excited to get into some of that today.Lisa Schmid:
So welcome to the show. You guys. One of the things that I have like a little bit of a connection to both of you Pat, you know I'm a super freak fan of wherever you go Absolutely adore that picture book. It's my favorite of all time. I can't think about it with starting to tear up about the end. It's the perfect picture book and what drew me in was Eliza's gorgeous illustrations. And then I read the story and it's just the most beautiful story, and so thank you for writing that, because I just adore that picture book.Pat Zietlow Miller:
Oh, thank you so much. I wrote it thinking of my oldest daughter when she was about to like move out of the house and I wanted to give her in terms of advice when she was like stepping out into early adulthood.Lisa Schmid:
Well, and I love the fact that wherever they go, they can come back home. Yes, she was going to cry.Beth McMullen:
Lisa's going to cry. Lisa cries at least once in episodes. Don't be alarmed, it's totally okay and normal Okay.Lisa Schmid:
so we have to move away from that because I will get totally mushy. So we all got to meet at the nerd camp SoCal and that was so much fun meeting you and I will never forget sitting in. We were in the break room for lunch and I was telling the goat story.e.E. Charlton-Trujillo:
Yes, I love the goat story and you just kept looking at me because I kept pursuing it Like no, you must write the goat story.Lisa Schmid:
The goat story has made it in my new story that I'm writing, and it's so funny because every time I sit down to write, I've got you in my ear, you've got to write the story and it just it cracks me up. So yeah, they're my characters right now on a goat farm and he'll be, he'll be dealing with the goat situation. I'm going to recreate that scene just for you. So thank you.e.E. Charlton-Trujillo:
I am so excited. I can't wait to hold it in my hands and go. I knew it, this was meant to be. Kids will love this.Beth McMullen:
It's so funny it's. Every time I hear it it cracks me up. Yeah, I remember the thing I remember about nerd camp. Socal was the big. It happened in the high school. I forget what it's called, but it's where they filmed Buffy the Vampire Slayer, yeah, and somebody had brought these huge cardboard cutouts of all the characters so we could just kind of carry them around and pose with them. And I remember thinking to myself this is my job. This is pretty cool that I get to do this particular stuff with all these really fun people and I have a cardboard cut out of Buffy to hang out with.e.E. Charlton-Trujillo:
Great, and not only that. Do you remember that? I think the front of the school is where they filmed 90210's like opening sequence? So we had Dylan McKay because he had just passed, I think and different characters as well. It was like Buffy meets 90210. I'm like, is that the pitch for your next work?Beth McMullen:
It should be. That would be serious gold right there. Right, those two are very popular, but that was so much fun. I hope they're able to resurrect it at some point in the future. It would be fun to go back and do that again. So we are excited to have you here to ask you some very important questions, and we're going to jump into those. And the first one is how did this partnership come together with you two and if you can tell us a little bit about the books that you've worked on collaboratively?Pat Zietlow Miller:
Why don't you want to start by telling them how we met?e.E. Charlton-Trujillo:
Well, in 2013, I was traveling around when Fed Angie Hidges released and working with a lot of young people across the country and making a film as I did it, and I reached out to Pat or I think a fellow author reached out and said hey, he's traveling around making a documentary about youth on the fringe and how would you like to be in this film. And Sophie Squash had just come out and I was passing through Wisconsin and I got to meet Pat there and her amazing cat, Vince, who was a wonderful cat, who's no longer with us, but what a sweetheart. And Pat just sat down with all of the wisdom and sort of authority that she would come into, obviously, as she would write all of these other books since, right and just immediately, I felt like I knew her right from the start and I was like I have to know this person, who is this amazing person? And so from there on out and over time, we had become friends and we ended up being in the same agency.Pat Zietlow Miller:
So E had written a lot of young adult the Fat Angie series and middle grade and they had an idea for a picture book based on something that happened to them in real life when they were starting kindergarten and they sent it to me and I'm like, well, yeah, this could totally be a picture book. And then they suggested that we work on it together and my initial reaction was not to, because I had great faith that they could do it themselves. But then the more we talked, the more I started seeing that this could be something cool to do. So we worked together on the first Lupe book and then that became the second book, also in the Lupe Lopez world, and then we also wrote A Girl Can Build Anything. That came out earlier this year in April. So it just kind of like started from an idea E had and then grew.e.E. Charlton-Trujillo:
Yeah, and when we're talking with young people together, sometimes I'll joke around about saying, well, I wrote this draft and then I asked Pat to join me. What did she say? And the kid said yes, and I'm like no. She said no and I'm like you know, because I would always say she's a solo act, she doesn't want to be in the band. The truth of the matter was I hadn't written a picture book and Pat, at this point, had been pretty prolific and had already been. I believe you were already a New York Times bestseller at that point. I think yeah, and so I mean, when we talk about partying with people, you want to make sure that the other person can carry their part of the deal, and so I know that I was very determined to learn and study and to really feel like I had a good grasp of the form. And you know Pat, being who she is, she comes in and with her whirlwind of you can only have this many words, though, you know, because as a novelist y'all can appreciate we like to have extra words. You know I don't have to say enough about praising Pat for what she brings to every story and definitely to that process of writing the first loopy and the second one A girl can build anything. And then we have two more picture books in contract together and of course our own other individual projects.Pat Zietlow Miller:
Yeah, and I think what really made the whole thing work was that, you know, we both had a lot of respect for the other person. As a writer, I mean, I had read E's books and just the way that they use language is amazing, and so you know, putting that together was a fun thing to do.Beth McMullen:
I find it super interesting because you also had an illustrator, so there was a third individual involved in this process. But when it came to the really sort of creative nuts and bolts because you were writing words together how did you get to a point where that was productive, where you weren't stepping on each other's toes, where you had kind of that rhythm that ended up with the book being where you wanted it to be? I think it's just, it's super interesting because writing we think of writing as such an individual thing that you're alone and you're in your space and you're just doing it and then maybe you show it to somebody else. How did you guys work out that very sort of creative word-to-word type of deal?Pat Zietlow Miller:
Well, I think every author duo does it differently. There's a couple other people who have written picture books together jointly, like Liz Gertin Scanlon and Audrey Vernick have paired on some beautiful ones. Katherine Healing and Deborah Humbruck have paired on some, and so I think everybody's process is probably a little different. I'll describe ours and then E can jump in. I mean, usually one of us takes the lead, like we talked first about the idea and do we both think the idea sounds workable and are we both excited about it, and then one of us will take a lead on drafting the first round of it, send it to the other. The other person will go in and start adding and moving and shifting, and then we just send it back and forth until we get it to a point where we feel we're both excited about it. And obviously when you do that, there are times that I take something out and he puts it back in, and then I take it out and then they put it back in. So there's some give and take on the whole thing. But then we get to a point where we're both like, yeah, this looks pretty good.Beth McMullen:
Can I just ask one really quick follow up to that? So you were saying that you put something in and you take it out and you go. Did you have to talk about upfront how you were going to deal with that sort of line level, almost criticism of each other? That's not the right word. But there's another word, so that nobody comes away feeling hurt. Does that make sense?Pat Zietlow Miller:
I don't remember that we ever officially talked about it. I think it was toward the pursuit of a greater goal. I suddenly felt like they were a terrible person. It was just. It took a while to get on the same page because, like before, I've said this previously when you write solo, you win every argument you have with yourself because it's just you. Now you've got somebody else and you've got to compromise.Lisa Schmid:
Did you when you were in the writing process, when you were assuming you had maybe like a Google Docs?Pat Zietlow Miller:
We. It was a Word document that we sent back and forth. We couldn't Google Docs, but we just sent a Word document as an attachment.Lisa Schmid:
Oh, okay, cause that's. I was just wondering if you ever had a platform where you were like, maybe, editing and writing at the same time while you were talking to each other, or so this was literally just back and forth.e.E. Charlton-Trujillo:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, I'm more comfortable not using the Google Docs, so I definitely can't ding pad on that one. It's because I don't like that. It just disappears. I like to have drafts so that I can save. So this is, like you know, 11, 21, 2023 B or C. If I want to go back and look and see if I miss something, is this something I'm used to doing, and Pat was gracious enough to allow us to go back and forth through Word and you know. But I would say that you know, my stereotype of collaboration prior to this was like a 1980s film where two men sit in a room and their deaths face each other. Right, and they have each one of them has a typewriter, because no one uses that anymore right, and they start typing and then they pass things back and forth, right, that was the stereotype I had for collaboration, and in film it's different. But in this case I didn't really know how that process was going to work, and I think you know Pat's absolutely right. Like with the first book, there was, like this, one quintessential moment when we were at a writer's retreat and I was like, but no, you're not listening to me, this is what I'm trying to say and she's like I am listening to you, this is what I'm trying to say, and in the end it was about taking a breath, as Pat would write in one of her picture books, and just kind of breathing through it and saying, ok, wait a minute, we both want to write the best story for young readers. Period, end of story, that's stuff. And so I think at the end of the day, with each book, it's remembering that that we're not here to cash in our ego. We're here to be in service of our reader and give them a story they can delight in not just one time but many times, right?Lisa Schmid:
So when you did this writer's retreat, was it like a big writer's retreat or is it just something the two of you just went and did together?e.E. Charlton-Trujillo:
It was yeah, no, this was part of our agency. We were at a retreat for our agency. So the Aaron Murphy Literary Agency had a retreat, Pat, which one was? Do you know where we were? Maybe somewhere in Wisconsin or Seattle.Pat Zietlow Miller:
I thought we were in Vermont.e.E. Charlton-Trujillo:
Maybe we were in Vermont. We were somewhere, we were somewhere, you were someplace cool. Yeah, we were somewhere cool. We were somewhere cool, for sure, we were somewhere very, very cool. That's what it was. But it was right at the beginning and then before Loopy had sold. But then once we it was literally just a moment and we were also rooming together with another person from our agency at the time it was really. It was just really exciting to explore that form with Pat Anyone who's taken Pat's workshops knows the kind of teacher she is and in working with, talking about writing, and to have my first picture book as a collaboration with someone like Pat really reminded me how much I love story and how much I liked exploring story in this way right, and what it can be, you know and so. But definitely there was that one moment, but once we got past that I think for the most part in fact, can correct me I think we were pretty good and the second Loopy we were really smooth sailing, I think.Pat Zietlow Miller:
Yeah, and then I can build anything. I think there was one line we had some discussions about.e.E. Charlton-Trujillo:
Yeah, there was one line. It was definitely. It was like Pat's, like, but I want this is the word that needs to be heard I'm like, but I don't. And then, but it was like she put it in, I'd put it out like what she just said. You know, we take it in, take it out, take it out, but in the end, again, it's about we would read it. Sometimes we get on FaceTime and read it out loud to each other. You know we were very commonly on FaceTime reading the book, listening to the book, how Pat and I both jumped in. We both agreed. The musicality of language is really important to us and sometimes we miss it, but on average you're really striving for that sound. You know Picture books are read out loud.Lisa Schmid:
So E what did you do to prepare to write a picture book with Pat? Because when you're taking on the challenge of co-authoring with someone like Pat, that might feel like a big ask.e.E. Charlton-Trujillo:
Yeah, it's a big ask and it can be daunting, but go ahead, Pat, jump in.Pat Zietlow Miller:
No, I was just going to say I mean like, yeah, he was working with me, but he also has like an ALA Stonewall Award and you know. So I had a little bit of like I'm working with E, but it was a different format for E.Lisa Schmid:
That's what I mean.Pat Zietlow Miller:
Different format. Absolutely true.e.E. Charlton-Trujillo:
Yeah, you know I come from a background originally in poetry and playwriting, so you know more compression and dialogue focused right. So two different things. And then in the film. So it wasn't the understanding of compression was not foreign to me, but understanding the structure and how structure can work in different forms of storytelling. For picture books, that was something, and I didn't read picture books as a child, so I didn't have that. So I told Pat, when I was on the bridge of convincing her to join the band and not to be a subtle act, I said name 20 picture books that you say I have to read, that I must read, just to begin with. Just give me the first 20. And she gave me 20. And I have ADHD and sometimes I have a thousand ideas a day and I think Pat maybe had thought we'll see. But I was committed and I went out. I was in Chico, california, at the time. I went and I went to the local library. What I couldn't get, you know I had to. You know I bought. I found whatever. And I got all those 20 books and brought them all home and I didn't just read them once or twice or three times, I would have gone 10 or more times through those books. You know you read the first one for pleasure and then you start breaking it down by structure, the way you're learning anything else you're looking at the mechanism of how story is told in different ways, in musicality and in the plot, you know, and the simplicity of not having, you know, subplots right. You're telling. You know it's a very different way of the storytelling In the end. You know that's how I prepared because I wanted it was important to me to come to the table and of course I was intimidated, you know, to the new form. But you know, you know, looking back now, all these years, since it's like now, I feel a confidence that I could be, I could teach a workshop. I couldn't teach it the way Pat does, because she does it her way right, but I feel confident that can step in the room now and have those conversations. But in the beginning it was really deciding I'm going to do this because I want to write the best story for my young reader.Pat Zietlow Miller:
Reading picture books it's kind of like building muscle memory, like when you take a free throw, your body after a while just knows what to do, and if you read a ton of picture books, your brain does the same thing. You know how they sound, you know how they're structured, you know how the beats fall, and then when you're trying to do it, it's much easier. So, yeah, I always recommend I mean, read, sit down, do hundreds of them, but we have to do a shout out. So do you remember? E the one, the first picture book I suggested that you read, of course, zombie, zombie Love, zombie Love by Kelly DeCue and Scott Campbell, and that's one of my all time favorite picture books and I was like that was like the first one on my list. I'm like you have to read that one.e.E. Charlton-Trujillo:
So you know, and I'm like I'm not sure for structure, she's like you must read this for structure and it's hilarious and you can come. It's a good read for young people, but it's also a good read for the adults who have been read it to young people and you can come back to it again and again and again and it works.Beth McMullen:
Pat, do you have that list available anywhere? Because I know that now that we've said Pat recommends these 20 books, we're going to get a thousand questions. Do you do that in your? Do you recommend that list in your reading set or your writing seminars?Pat Zietlow Miller:
On my website I have a section called Things I Love, and if you click on that section, there's a list of books way more than 20, but picture books that I say are, like Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way. And so go to my website, go to Things I Love, look at the picture book list. It's more than 20, but there are the picture books that I want to hug.Beth McMullen:
And I also too. I have to say I'm going to put all of that in the podcast notes so people can just, when they're done listening, go right there, because I know I want to know what they are and I just know everybody out there is going to want to know what they are too. That's amazing. I love that. I love the fact that you both are saying we say all the time on this show that if you're going to write, you have to read, and you have to read deeply, deeply, deeply in the genre that you want to write in so that you can learn the lessons, because there are lessons. We know that picture books follow a certain structure and you can't really go outside of that structure. So I love having that message reinforced. It's so important, and Lisa says this all the time. She's like a pro at taking a book and going through and annotating it and writing things in and dissecting it. It's such a great way to learn.Pat Zietlow Miller:
I would actually take picture books when I was starting out that I owned. That's important too. They have to be your picture books and I would actually count the words on each page and write it in the corner. How many words, where was the pagination, what was the breakdown? And then you can go through, because picture books have a lot of repeating elements and you can underline Well, they use this phrase here, and then there's a variation of it here and there it is at the end. I didn't do that with every book I owned, but I still have some on my shelf that I had marked up that way, because it really helped me see how they all pulled together.Lisa Schmid:
I have so many middle grade books that I've gone through and highlighted and made notes and this and that, and I was going through to donate some the other day and I had to make sure they weren't ones that I had highlighted, because I really do like take those books and mark them up and write notes and I'm so sad so many of them are all marked up. But that's how I learned how to write. I was already a huge middle grade fan, but going through and studying other people's work is the best way to learn.Pat Zietlow Miller:
So and I'm curious, and we've already kind of touched on this a little bit but E, you're known for your work in young adult literature, obviously, and other things, and Pat for your picture books. And how does this combined experience like work together for you guys?Pat Zietlow Miller:
Okay, well, I just think it comes down to the fact that we both love language, we both love story and we both have a really deep commitment to writing and putting something cool out. And so you know all of E's background and all of my background, I think, just you know came together and worked really well.e.E. Charlton-Trujillo:
I think also, the other thing is is writing? We really we like to write the cool thing, we like to write stories that inspire ideas. But the other piece of that was is that, you know, pat definitely brings, you know, that musicality of language and structure, like she really gets it. And what I often bring is what about this, what about this, what about this? You know, because that's the part of my brain that is seeing sort of like see everything very cinematically because of my film background, and so then I see images and I remember early on talking to Pat and she said well, I don't always see images when I'm writing and I'm just writing the story and for me I'm seeing it, and so of course, that's the hope that you know, the illustrator will bring something in the realm of what you know, but that's really not in my power. But is I really do see it as though it's a movie in my mind, just a very, very short mini film, and but I think we each bring a different, what do you say, pat? Like a different strength to the process. We both have different strengths that we bring to the process and we have shared, like shared strengths, and some of them there is a difference between you know how we approach and what we celebrate, and I mean art inspires art. Right, so I may write novels, pat may write picture books, but that doesn't mean Pat doesn't look at photos on Instagram or YouTube videos. We gather information or go to a museum. We gather information and I think each of us bring something from our shared experiences like that.Beth McMullen:
It sounds like you both. You balance each other really well, Pat. You have this skill set. You have this skill set. When you put them together, it just elevates the whole thing. So I think that it's. It's an important thing for people to note.Pat Zietlow Miller:
How do you both approach addressing important themes such as resilience and diversity in your picture books for young readers, so your message gets across in a way that can be digested by these young readers, Okay, so I spend a lot of time like remembering myself as a kid, and I was a kid who was probably a bit on the sensitive side and I remember having lots of big emotions that I felt and maybe didn't know is know how to address or handle. And now that I'm, you know, an adult, I realized that you know, adults and kids have a lot of the same emotions, but hopefully, as an adult, you're able to process them and handle them a little better and also you have an awareness that other people feel that way. The kids often lack. They think maybe it's just them, and so I'm always trying to think okay, so what's the emotion that's in this book? That's universal, that anybody, no matter what their age, is going to go. Oh yeah, I felt that way. And then how can I incorporate it, explain it, address it in a way that's true to the story, that doesn't sound pre-cheap, but it's going to help that kid reader go? Oh, not only have I felt that way, but it doesn't have to be a bad thing, because look, there's Lupe Lopez or there's the kids in the build girl can build anything book, and they had this happen to them and this is what they did, you know, and then there's always, hopefully, a little bit of hope at the end of the story or a little bit of the kid having agency. So like they know that, like there's a path forward.e.E. Charlton-Trujillo:
I think for me I would say everything Pat just said, but what I would also say is, when you're talking about resiliency and diversity, pat and I have written in blogs and different things about how we came from very different backgrounds. You know her growing up in Wisconsin, me growing up in South Texas, and books were very available to Pat. She was able to read quite a bit. I was in a book desert. It was the complete opposite. And the books that I did have access to were largely white books, white centered, and so there was no representation for being Mexican, american or for being, you know, like in Mubilope, as wanting to be a rock star. When I was a kid I wanted to be a rock star, but I didn't see, you know, latina female rock stars presented in picture books or in middle grade or YA. So the absence of that will felt like. Well, is that not realistic? Now, granted, I'm not a rock star but the dream was there by the traditional and by the traditional, by the traditional. And so I think that you know having this opportunity, you know, with our youngest readers, right, because when you ask most people what was your favorite book as a kid, and so often they'll name a picture book or something a really young reader book and, I think, create characters that are authentic in their representation. And in doing that, that for me is exciting. Is it like creating Lube Lopez? She's an extension of me as a child, but she's her own self. She's very confident and very forward. But she's also a young woman who is very certain of what her dream is. And why must we dismiss that dream? That she wants to be a musician and that, yes, she has to learn to to juggle the rules of school meets, you know the rules of, you know, you know community and so on, and still be who she is. But I think it's really easy to dismiss a young woman, specifically a young Latina woman too, and say, well, she's cute or sassy, as opposed to she's confident, she's, she knows who she is and she wants to beat on everything with her pencils. She needs to, like, figure that all out. And so I think it was really exciting to work with Pat because Pat got that with every single picture book we've done. What's been such an honor for me is to collaborate with someone who gets that. She doesn't shut that down, she welcomes it, she grows with it. And so when we write books like Lube and then the sequel that just released the summer and a girl can build anything that came out in August you know it was like we were. We were on the same page. We wanted to create authentic, strong young women, that not just for young women to read, but for young men to read and embrace and go, wow, a girl can do that, what? And say, yes, you know. And some boys will say, well, a boy can too. And I'm like you're right, a boy can build anything and a boy can build a better world where a girl can too. And so that's really important to me that we celebrate our young women and our young men and give them that moment so that maybe someday, like this young girl that Pat and I have showed the video of in San Antonio, texas, who got to go to school and people said, oh, she was dressing up for a costume, I said no, she was getting to dress for the person she wants to be, and she dressed up as Lupi Lopez and it like got me in my heart so deep I sent a pad immediately and her mom had sent it to us. And she's carrying the book and she's got the hair and she's got her own glasses and she is dancing and jumping because she's not celebrating you know, costuming. She's celebrating that this is an extension of her and that's and we've seen young men have that experience. Obviously, they don't want to be loopy, but they want to be a version of what a rock star is and that, you know, we always say the thing about. There are many ways to shine right. There are many ways to be a rock star, whether you're in the front or, you know, in the back, and so I think what I can say confidently in working with Pat on every one of these books is Pat operates being authentic on the page, and for me to have that in collaboration is such a beautiful journey as an artist.Pat Zietlow Miller:
And I want to add one thing to what you said, which was lovely. When we were doing the very first loopy book, you know the school is set in South Texas and it's mentioned specifically in the story and it's based on experiences he had growing up in South Texas and we wanted to make sure we got the population of the school rates. So we did Googling and you can find out anything if you Google hard enough and well enough. And we found out the breakdown of kids in that part of Texas. You know, at a public school you know X percent are Hispanic, x percent are African American, x percent are Asian or native or white, and we wanted to make sure that all the background characters reflected that percentage. Because you know a lot of people that write picture books are my age and you know maybe the group on a place where their school was, like, predominantly white, like the school I went to, you know. But that's not the world that's out there now and I've gone on book tours and I've been in schools and it looks very different than school that I grew up in. And so you know, I think that picture book should reflect toward the kids in a school. Reading this book can they see themselves in it and to have the data to back that up and then make sure that the characters in the book looked that way. I mean credit to Josephita, who is the illustrator, you know. We just wanted to make sure that we were showing an accurate representation of the reality of that school.e.E. Charlton-Trujillo:
And to piggyback off of that, the school is named Hector P Garcia Elementary and there's a few libraries and elementary sphere, but few people know him, except people in our community, meaning the community I grew up in, which was predominantly Mexican, american or Chicano, and they know what he represents to our people, what Dr Hector represents, and so that was, even though we mentioned it in the book. Often people say is that a real person? Who is that? And that sends people to go search and learn more about him historically, even though the book doesn't focus on him. And so, and the other piece I wanna add, and piggybacking, as I said, was that when Pat mentions the background characters is we were launching at we were having a book event at Book People in Austin, texas, and a fellow author was bringing her daughter because she loved the Loupi Lopez book. But the thing is it was interesting because the character she identified with wasn't Loupi, it was one of the background characters who was African American.Pat Zietlow Miller:
It doesn't even have a name in the story, but yeah.e.E. Charlton-Trujillo:
Doesn't have a name, doesn't have any character plot. She said look, mom, that's me, I'm in a book. I'm paraphrasing but I think it's pretty close. So when her daughter, when they arrived, I felt so bad. They had been trying to get there. They drove 40 minutes and it was like all this traffic and they come in right at the end. But I had brought a pair of sunglasses and some swag for this specific child because it meant so much to her that she was in that book. So when people say it doesn't matter what we see on the page, that character has no dialogue and no name, but that face registered with that young woman, it matters. It matters just as much, as you know, as what we wrote in the text to what Joe chose to put on the page.Pat Zietlow Miller:
And then, as long as we're telling stories, there's a school in medicine where I live that I've friends with the librarian. I've spoken at the school. She read the first Lupe Lopez book to her class and a little girl who in her estimation was nothing like Lupe not the same race, very timid, very shy, you know not, you know an out there personality she was fascinated by Lupe and she kept coming in the day after day and saying are we gonna read more rockstar stories with Lupe? Cause, even though that wasn't her, she could identify with that girl and she could maybe see what she wanted to be, you know, and so I just love how you know you can. It's that universal emotion in a picture book that you can connect with, even if your background in life isn't like that character. There's that commonality that draws you in, and so that's why writing picture books is like the coolest thing you could possibly do.Lisa Schmid:
You said you had a couple more books coming that are in the works. Have they been announced?e.E. Charlton-Trujillo:
No, it's a standalone. And then there's a, there's the Lupe. We'll have a third Lupe and there's a stand out?Pat Zietlow Miller:
That's yet to be determined. We're still kicking that one around.Beth McMullen:
We will be keeping an eye on all of those so that we can make sure that our listeners are aware when those come out. This was so insightful. I think being able to to peek into how the two of you produced these books together is so meaningful, and we're just so happy that you could be here, and I apologize for the technological disaster that was unfolding that hopefully our listeners will be saying at this point what we didn't notice anything. Wow, that must have been edited really well, but anyway, I apologize. It's on me and my unstable internet. This wraps up our time with you. Thank you again. We are so grateful for you being here and sharing your wisdom. So thank you, thank you, thank you for spending your time. Thank you so much.e.E. Charlton-Trujillo:
Thank you so much. You'll have a good one.Beth McMullen:
And listeners. Remember you can find out more about E and Pat's books in our podcast notes, and I'll put links to all their socials there too, so you can easily get in touch. And, as always, thank you for tuning in. Please visit our Writers with Wrinkles link tree or the podcast notes and find out how to support the show by subscribing, following and recommending. And we will see you again next week, november 6th, for the new Top 5 Deep Dive episode. We love these episodes, so please be sure to join us for that and until then, happy reading, writing and listening.