I don't think I can name one particular person who inspired me to become a writer. I am soft-spoken in general, but apparently my inner voice is quite boisterous. It has to come out and speak its mind, so it does in my writing.
DO YOU HAVE ANY QUIRKY OR FUN WRITING HABITS?
I keep a raggedy spiral notebook where I jot down the ideas that come to me unexpectedly. It is a complete mess of scribbles, notes, drawings, many of which are not related and with no page numbers. It's like prehistoric cloud storage for my thoughts. When they piece together in my head, I reference the notebook to use the ideas I've been saving.
HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD-WINNING BOOK?
One day I was getting my son, Lucca, out of the bath when he randomly asked me what would happen if you hugged a porcupine. I laughed and then said, I guess it would hurt." We both laughed for a minute and then thought for a while on other animals you probably shouldn't hug. We talked about rhinos and bees and scorpions. At first, this was the idea for a story, Five Animals You Don't Want to Hug. After a while, I thought about how sometimes people don't want to be hugged either and how we feel when we're unhuggable. That's where the boy in the story came in. His name was Matthias at first, but eventually he became Oliver. So, really, this story is all the fault of my curious, very huggable son!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD-WINNING BOOK AND WHY?
"It was hard work saying no to hugs." I feel this line is truly profound. Rejection can be hard to take but it is even harder to feel down. Pushing those who love you away is just as difficult as being pushed away, it is painful. However, with patience and understanding we can get through those tough times. Love cures all.
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD-WINNING BOOK?
That during our most unhuggable or difficult moments, there are people who love us enough to endure them. Cherish those people.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST TIP FOR ASPIRING AUTHORS?
Edit, edit, edit! Make sure you have not only edited a draft before submission, but that you have edited enough to make it the best story it can be. This will greatly increase your chances at publishing and success.
CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
Get out there in person and meet your readers! The best way to sell is to put a face to the name and tell the story behind the story. If you can't meet them in person, do interviews through Skype or the radio or any means necessary, but reaching out to readers is key.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
I would say getting 3 books published is a great accomplishment, however, that is outshined by the more recent awards I've received: Children's Literary Classics Award 2018 for historical fiction in middle grade books for Kindertransport-a child's journey and now the Enchanted Page Book Award in 2019 for The Unhuggables!
WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ASPIRATIONS?
I would like to write full-time eventually. As a single parent being able to cut ties with a regular paycheck is intimidating. Making my living through my craft would be a dream.
WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?
Kindertransport-a child's journey
(middle grade chapter book)
Just before the outbreak of World War II, the Nazis pushed Jewish families to do something they never imagined they would. They sent their children away on a train to faraway places to live with strangers so that they would be safe until the danger passed. As she gets onboard the Kindertransport, a train to hope, ten-year-old Helen will never be the same.
Rey Antonio and Rey Feo
(bilingual picture book)
Turning seven years old will give Rey something he's been waiting for all his life, to attend Fiesta in San Antonio like his big brother. When he gets there, he finds colorful food, music, and fun, until Antonio names himself King Antonio, the leader of the river parade, and calls his little brother, Rey Feo, or the ugly King of Fiesta. Their rivalry can only be squelched by the royal wave of Miss Antonio as she floats down the river. Which brother will be King Antonio, royal leader of the city? The story is written in both English and in Spanish.
4RV Publishing Catalog
LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org