Q: First tell us something about yourself.
I am a life-long visual artist who uses art making as a form of therapy and communication. In addition to illustrating many children’s books, I run my own design firm that I (kind of) fell into when I lived in Philadelphia for a decade. I now live in Ecuador with my husband and daughter and have an ever-growing adult fantasy and children’s book library.
Q: How and when did your journey start as a writer?
I have illustrated many children’s books but decided to write my own once I moved abroad. With “Courage Takes Practice” I wanted to write a story based on the artistic exploitation I experienced as a child in the hopes that other kids would read the book and recognize it as a form of bullying. Once I had my daughter, the plot of my first book changed to incorporate her as the main character instead of myself. Now I can’t stop writing. I want to write my daughter into as many children’s books as I can.
Q: When did you write your first story? Is it published or not?
I started writing my first book “Courage Takes Practice” in 2017 but re-wrote and re-wrote it for about 5 years until the illustrations were finished and I self-published it in May of 2023. I chose to self-publish because the story was way too long (100 pages) for a traditional children’s book. I didn’t want to cut it since it was a story about my own experiences. The next book I write I will pursue the traditional route.
Q: Tell us something more about your books?
All the children’s books I am writing are falling under the theme ‘Courage Takes Practice” – the title of my first book. It takes courage to do and learn everything in life so I felt like that theme could be overarching and applicable to any child who read them. The 2nd book in the series will be a tough one – it will be about how the main character was a twin but the twin passed away in utero. There are multiple more stories being written as we speak, such as one where Olivia escapes into her own fantasy land with creatures she makes up and one where Olivia learns all about her family’s traditions and is encouraged to evolve them. The illustrations and the way I tend to illustrate is using colors very specifically. “Courage Takes Practice” doubles as a study in color theory (assigning emotions to certain colors) and I plan to continue that way of illustrating throughout the Courage Takes Practice series.
Q: How did these stories and characters come to your mind?
I lived these stories so I just had to pull from my memories and then have a professional editor try and make sense of all the pieces that fit together in my head. Motherhood and trying to raise my daughter very differently from how I was raised is really inspiring me to put words and thoughts to paper. It is my hope that other parents can relate to both the struggles and joy of parenting at this very point in history. I also always have characters in my head, whether they are based on real people or fantastical creatures, there is always some living being in my imagination that can only come to life with pencil and paint.
Q: Do you want to leave any message for your readers?
I want my readers to know that making art is a very real form of therapy and that any child with artistic talents can STAY an artist. There is such a palpable need for creative empaths in the world and it’s up to us as parents to encourage any form of art our children show an interest in, or else they’ll need to heal in adulthood from all the things they never got to express.