November 2013

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CONNECT IN HER SHOES CHILDREN'S BOOK AUTHOR—FINALLY! PAT ZIETLOW MILLER REFUSED TO LET HER PUBLISHING DREAMS GET…SQUASHED. BY LAURA GALLAGHER IT TOOK A WHILE, but the tale of Bernice be her last. And the long, labyrinthine journey Zietlow Miller took to share the saga of a girl and her favorite butternut is nothing short of a testament to the power of perseverance. Zietlow Miller, who lives in Fitchburg and works as a corporate publications manager at American Family Insurance, has wanted to write picture books since she was in college. But she didn't take thing) until years later. However, when she did, she did. "When I wasn't at work or asleep, I wrote," she says. "In a year I had several stories, including one inspired by my daughter, who befriended a squash when she was 3 or 4." Since she didn't have an agent, her submissions ended up in publishing house "slush piles," where unsolicited manuscripts might get reviewed by an intern, at some point, maybe. She got silence, and rejections. Lots of rejections—126 to be depressingly exact. "I used a spreadsheet to keep track of what I sent, where, and the response. I tried not to look at it a lot," she says. Continued on p. 18. 16 BRAVA MAGAZINE | NOVEMBER 2013 PHOTOGRAPHED BY SHANNA WOLF the squash and the girl who loved her can now be told. "Sophie's Squash" is Pat Zietlow Mill-

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