Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Author Interview - Marcia Berneger - author of Buster, The Little Garbage Truck

My friend, Marcia Berneger has a picture book being released today! Don't you just love the cover.  Buster is such a cute garbage truck!

I'm almost as proud as she is. I was one of her critique partners and I was there when Buster was 'being born.' 
It is available at most on-line retailers: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target, even Walmart.

How did Buster come to be?
It took me a few days to write Buster, and over a year to “perfect” it. I have both an online critique group and a face-to-face one and they both saw Buster many times, helping me get to that “ready” stage. I needed to get to the point where, when I read it, nothing zinged out at me as “hmm, that could be worded better.” I also read Buster to several kindergarten and first grade classes, watching their reactions as they listened.

How do you come up with ideas to write about? 

Many of my ideas are loosely based around student and/or experiences I’ve had throughout my teaching career. Buster is a great example of that. I was tutoring a young boy who was terrified to go into first grade. He happened to be extremely bright, so I was trying to boost his confidence. He also happened to be obsessed with garbage trucks. I couldn’t find a book about a child-garbage truck, so I wrote the story for him.

Tell us about your desk or workspace.

I often hand-write my stories into one of my many journals (many times I’ll get an idea at a writing conference or class—so I’ll start the story right there on note paper), then transfer it onto my computer. Sometimes I do type one directly—if I’m at home when inspiration hits. My edits are almost always done on the computer. I have a small desk crammed with everything I need.

How long did it take to get an agent/editor? Can you tell us about the process of finding and signing with an agent? 

My agent story is a bit unique. I’d attended that big LA SCBWI conference one summer and saw an agency I thought would be a good fit for my work. I’d just started on Buster, so I wasn’t near ready to submit. By the time I was, a year later, I’d lost my notes and couldn’t remember which agent I’d seen. I remembered the agency, though, and took a guess. I referenced the conference in my subject line. Well, the agent loved Buster, but did ask why I’d put that conference in there—since she hadn’t attended it! (Oops!)

Do you have a current WIP or next project you’re working on? 

I have many works in progress from picture books to young chapter books, and even a middle-grade novel. But I’m actively working on a second Buster book, Buster and the Bullies. I really like this one. It’s been getting very positive reviews from the students I’ve read it to—and isn’t that what this is all about?

Favorite quote – favorite children’s books –
When I was little, I loved The Pokey Little Puppy. But my favorite book is The Abandoned, by Paul Galico. It’s about a boy who becomes a cat, and has to learn how to “be a cat.” My favorite quote comes from that book. When the boy complains to his very patient teacher (another cat), she tells him: “Can’t catches no mice!” That became my watchword for anything that seemed too hard to do. Even now!

What words of wisdom or advice do you have for “writers under construction?”

READ!! (I know, everyone says that.) But read in your genre, and read specifically for craft (how the writer achieved what s/he was going for). Go to an SCBWI meeting (they’re all over—great organization for support and guidance). Find a critique group and see what others have to say about your work, then choose only what you want to use. Stay true to yourself and listen to your heart first. It’s YOUR story!
And don’t be afraid to submit!!
Like Buster says: Be brave! HONK your horn!

Where can readers find out more about you?

Twitter: @MarciaBerneger
Amazon Author Page:

I hope you enjoyed this interview with Marcia. 
I know you will enjoy her book. 
And, like Marcia says, read and don't be afraid to submit!



  1. Marcia, congrats on your book release Buster! Its such a wonderful feeling to have our work out there. Thanks, Janet, for posting!

    1. hi Jennifer, thanks for coming over and commenting about our friends book release.

  2. Marcia, congrats on your book release Buster! Its such a wonderful feeling to have our work out there. Thanks, Janet, for posting!

  3. I think many children, especially boys, will love Buster! Thanks for the good advice--"Can't catches no mice." True.Thank you, Marcia & Janet!

    1. Hi Jane. I think it is great advice, too.

  4. Congratulations, Marcia! This is a great story, and kids are going to love it!

    1. Hi Jennifer. I think kids will love it, too.

  5. Congratulations. My grandson was crazy for garbage trucks when he was little. I thought he was the only one!

    1. Hi Rosi. I bet a lot of little kids like garbage trucks.

  6. I loved learning about Marcia and her book. The cover is adorable and will certainly appeal to kids and parents. :) I know a lot of little boys that love trucks, so Buster the Little Garbage Truck is sure to be a hit!

    Glad Marcia found the right agent- even if it wasn't the one she was originally thinking of querying. :)

    Wishing her the best of luck!

    1. Thanks for your nice comment, Jess.


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