What inspired you to write this story?
LK: I’m a Baby Boomer now, the stories my grandmother read to me as a young child still make me smile so many years later. There was one particular one that caught my eye and became the inspiration for my current children’s picture book series. It was Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Children are the real victims of this covid-19 pandemic. I wanted to create a series of books for both our children and the adults that would read them to their little ones. A time to escape the crazy world for just a little while.
Tell us about your journey to publishing it.
LK: Previously I had written a memoir, I Know My Way Memoir, and knew that writing a picture book for children would be a different ball game altogether. You are limited to a thousand precious words that tell the story. It must engage the parent who holds the purse strings. Simultaneously, the colorful full-page illustrations make the child laugh or, in some cases, worry about the character.
A search online for just the right teacher to help with this project led me to an award-winning picture book author Eevi Jones and her wonderful step-by-step course. She taught me to think outside the box and as a result here is what I did to set my books apart from others…
The books are interactive. At the bottom of several pages would be a question posed to the parent and child to think about before turning the page. Considering the growing population of Hispanic people here in the US, I created two different versions of each book. One in English and a special edition English/Spanish.
There is a special invitation included as part of the front and back matter inviting parents to request coloring pages of all the illustrations. There is also a contest running for parents to think about a storyline and if chosen their child’s name would be baby bear’s new friend.
A companion coloring book with all the text from the original book is available and is purchased separately. It appears that I did something right because I’m now a best-selling children’s book author!
How have you been reaching readers during the pandemic?
LK: This was quite difficult for me as I am definitely not a social media maven as many of my younger counterpart authors probably are just that. There are a few young parents in my circle of influence and I turned to them to share my books and let me know just what they think about them. The general reaction from them was, when is the next book getting published?
How have you managed to write and stay creative during quarantine?
LK: Working at home was a decision I made many years ago as an accountant, then a copywriter and now as a book author. It does take discipline to get projects done and not become distracted by the television, radio and also the many texts dinging from my cell phone. Writing comes easy for me and I have a plan of attack for my book development. It goes something like this…
I hit the keyboard and just let what has been stirring in my brain spill out as fast as my fingers can type. Then it’s on to another project until I return next morning and one of two things happens… I say, “What in the world was I thinking about when I wrote this dribble?” or “How cool, this really sounds good!” Then the same process continues until the book is finished. I pass the baton over to my husband who is a certified copy editor and he takes care of what I hate most, the editing process.
So pandemic or not, we have a business together and it reminds me of when I was growing up and our family was in business together.
Who are some writers and artists in the children’s book world that you admire?
LK: It took quite a search to find just the right illustrator for my picture books. A challenge was given to the applicants. The winner of my project was Garry Vaux, a cartoonist from England.
Next, I again turn to my young friends and asked them to recommend some authors whose books both entertained them and ones that taught their children little life’s lessons. Here we go.
Karma Wilson: She uses bears and a cow to deliver her stories. Her gentle tales, often paired with Jane Chapman’s lovely illustrations, are well-paced and timeless.
Kevin Henkes: A master at tackling common children’s worries and challenges told through relatable, delightful stories. His books feature animal characters with big personalities and universal tiny-human issues.
There are just so many more authors that have really good stories for our little ones.