Published in nine languages, children’s book author and writing teacher Darcy Pattison has been published with Harcourt, Philomel/Penguin, Harpercollins, Arbordale, and Mims House. In 2008, she founded Mims House to publish a workbook for her Novel Revision Class. In 2013, she went full time writing and publishing children’s books, how-to-write books, and some teacher resource books. We caught up with her to find out what a day in her life is like.
What time do you usually wake up?
I’m usually up by 5:15 a.m. so I can exercise an hour and still get to the office by 8 am. That’s easier in the summer months, when the days are long and I wake when it’s light. Winters are much harder!
Where did you spend your day? Do you have to travel?
Mims House is located in the Mims House. It’s a 3-story Victorian house that’s been restored and converted to offices. Like other houses in the Historic District of Little Rock, our house is named after the family who lived here in 1890, the Mims family. It’s about a ten-minute drive from home.
What’s the first thing you do when you start work?
Check emails and daily sales figures.
Who do you see at work? Who do you deal with daily?
Mims House occupies the top floor of our building. My husband’s business takes up the bottom two floors. It’s nice that we can lunch together and touch base throughout the day. As part of my job, though, I’m emailing people from around the world about illustrations, rights deals, distribution possibilities and other business concerns. It’s truly an international focus.
Over the years, our family has hosted six international students from Estonia, Poland, France, Venezuela, Finland and Mongolia. After they returned home, we’ve traveled to visit many of them, and saw their countries, not as tourists, but as guests of natives of that country. That experience with internationals has made me comfortable doing business with people from other countries and cultures. Our illustrators come from Poland, Brazil, Columbia, Great Britain, and Argentina. We look for excellence and find it in many places.
What makes you procrastinate the most?
When I’m unplanned, I get nothing done. I like to have a daily to-do list, and I methodically work through it and cross off tasks when they’re done.
What is the best part of your day?
The best part of any day is the surprises that come up. It may be fan mail, amazing illustrations that exceed my hopes, a new business contact, or the surprise twist in the novel I’m writing. I love when the day delivers something that evokes awe and wonder. And in the publishing business, it’s happened with regularity.
What do you hope to accomplish in the day?
Progress. Whatever task is before me, I expect to make progress and to move the project further toward its goal. That might be pushing to improve a book’s sales, to finish a book design, to write a blog post, or to prepare a contract for an illustrator. I want the day’s work to move the business a step farther along its path.
How was the weather today?
Because I have an international focus, my smart phone is set up to monitor weather in many places. My daughter lives in Denver, Colorado, where they had a massive hail storm yesterday (fist-sized hailstones), and her house was damaged heavily. My son in Texas, however, had mild weather of 70F (21C). Here, it was a warm day of 80F (26C). In Krakow, Poland where our former student lives, it was a sunny, spring day of 46F (8C). And in Goroka, Papua New Guinea, where another daughter lives, today will be a rainy, with a high of 75F (24C).
With an international focus, how do you communicate with business partners.
While email is the most common method of communicating, I’ve also done phone calls or video chats (Skype or Facetime) with people. As an author, I’ve done Skype school visits with a school in Belarus and other international locations. Of course, time zone differences are an issue, but usually we can work out something for a phone call or video chat if needed.
Any surprises today?
Not yet. But I’m expecting something. Maybe you’ll be my next surprise!
Have a look at Mims House on IPR here.