Authors and EFMs Katie Mastin and Julianne Price recently published The Adventurer’s Club, a book specifically geared toward “chronic movers” like families in the Foreign Service community. As mothers of small children, they found that the existing literature about moving lacked a focus on the exciting parts of moving and with their new book they wanted to give parents positive language to talk about moving.
AAFSW Content Manager Sarah Morrow discussed some of the behind-the-scenes details about the book with Katie, below.
When did you decide to write a book yourselves? Have either of you done anything like this before?
Julianne and I spent a solid handful of hours sitting together at our kids’ school playground talking about moving and the challenges associated with it. (As one does when one is juggling a new school, lost UAB shipments, and the labyrinth that is DC housing.) I had been working as a freelance writer for a bit, and Julianne told me about this fantastic idea she had for a children’s book. Neither of us had ever dabbled in the realm of picture books, but it seemed like there was a need, and we decided to give it a go!
What was your collaboration process like?
Extremely pleasant. Julianne has an impressive knowledge of the best restaurants in DC, and we managed to “work over appetizers” a number of times! Julianne had a ton of great ideas and I was able to come up with a bit of language to express them on paper.
Did your own children drive the book in a different direction, or did you not share it until it was complete?
We got feedback from them now and again, but it wasn’t until we had pictures from the extremely talented Marie Wiscombe that it really came alive.
Speaking of your illustrator, how did you find Marie?
Tales from a Lonely Planet was generous enough to place an advertisement for us on their website, and Marie contacted us along with a number of other illustrators. Her gorgeous, bright work stood out at once. She has such a gift and creative vision. Julianne and I gave her our words, and she came up with beautiful creation after beautiful creation.
What was the most unexpected part of the writing/publishing process?
The waiting. Even after we had the book looking the way we wanted it, we had to submit it to literary agents, publishers, and organizations who might be interested in publishing it. There was a lot of go, go, go…. and wait.
Where are you planning on going from here with The Adventurers Club?
Sequels, of course! We’ve brainstormed a holiday tradition book, as well as tour guides for kids. The sibling duo and their adventurous turtle will definitely be making another appearance or two!
Looking at the inspiration behind your book, what have been some of the best parts of the FS lifestyle with kids? Some of the biggest challenges?
The sense of shared adventure, most definitely. Each new place we live is brand new for all of us, and the act of getting to discover a new city/country/culture together is very positive. The challenge, of course, is the occasional day where you’re not quite in the mood for an adventure. You just want to get a #$!@^& carton of milk and a bag of pasta. Sometimes when you’re abroad, adventure finds you whether you’re ready or not.
And, finally, what is one piece of advice you have for frequent traveling families with kids?
Give yourself the space to breath. Adventure can’t happen when you feel like you’re drowning in a sea of change and details. Moving can be tough on everyone, and sometimes we feel like we need to hit the ground with a smile plastered into place. Be gentle with yourself and your family, but do your best to remember that even the most mundane details of a move can be an adventure. Cultivate an attitude of grateful curiosity and adventure will find you.