To close out this crazy and unprecedented year, I wanted to take some time to highlight my fellow kidlit creators who are working their tails off to birth their beautiful book babies into the world. These interviews will cast a light on the wonderful work of these pre-published authors and author-illustrators who are destined to be stars!
Meet Rising Star
Welcome, Kim! I'm thrilled to host you on the Rising Stars in KidLit Series. You are unique in the sense that you technically aren't pre-published, as you have your Freddy the Fly series out with Boys Town Press, but you are working diligently to find an agent who can help you get your remaining kidlit stories traditionally published. I can't wait to hear more about this journey and your projects!
AD: Let’s start with a speed round…
Okay, now down to the serious stuff….
AD: Please dish us the dirt on who you are and your journey into the fabulous world of children’s books.
KD: I wrote my first book in the first grade. It was a mystery based on a lollipop wrapper but I didn’t start writing again until I was in college. My notebooks are full of class notes and half written stories. So, I’ve always loved reading and writing and did it for fun but never really thought about writing seriously until I was in graduate school. I needed a book on a certain topic for a group of students I was working with and couldn’t find one. So, I sat down and wrote it. That’s how my educational series Freddie the Fly was born. From there, I just kept writing and have been working to break into the traditional market since then.
AD: Oh my goodness! How fun is that! A lollipop wrapper! I think you need to revisit that one. :) I also love how you saw a gap in the educational market and went ahead and filled it by writing the story yourself. How creative and proactive! Your students are lucky to have you!
AD: Did you always know you wanted to be an author? Have you explored other paths or had/have other jobs?
KD: No, I didn’t ever think of being a writer. While I loved doing it, it was always something just for me. It wasn’t until I got older that I became brave enough to think about sharing my stories. I have wanted to be and have held many different jobs though; everything from HR to Sports Marketing.
AD: What topics or themes do you tend to focus on in your writing? Favorite genres you like to write in?
KD: I love humor. Most of my stories tend to include this element in some way. I feel like kids have so many worries and serious things in their lives that they need some moments when it’s just pure fun.
AD: Totally! Laughter and fun are so important and books can be a great source for that.
AD: Breaking into the publishing industry is not easy! What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced thus far? What have you done to persevere?
KD: It's definitely not for the faint of heart. I would say holding an agent's attention is the hardest part. You can have one story that piques their interest but if you don’t have others, it will be a pass. My writing group is one of my best supports for persevering. We all lift each other up. Plus, when a new idea strikes, and the excitement fills you, the rejections just seem to disappear as you write. Ice cream is always helpful, too.
AD: Right on to the support of critique groups...and ice cream :)
AD: In a similar vein, what do you feel are your strengths as an author? What makes your writing unique to you?
KD: Everyone has different experiences, which makes them and their stories unique. One of the things specific to me is that I write about topics and styles that can sometimes be considered more boy centric. I love to show that you can be a sport-loving girl who also loves sparkles and princesses.
AD: What inspires your work?
KD: Everything. I know that’s cliché but most of my ideas come from the people and things that are happening around me. A student might say or do something and a story idea pops in my head. Or I might be riding somewhere and see a scene that’s so beautiful I feel like I have to write about it.
AD: Tell us about your creative process and what you do to keep ideas flowing or what you do when feeling stuck?
KD: I’ve been more stuck lately then usual with everything that is happening right now. My process is pretty simple though. Typically, ideas just form from things around me, and I either sit down and get right to work or I add it to my idea file-which is really just a note on my phone that I go back to and check from time to time. This can be helpful when I’m stuck because when I read the phrase or mini pitch, it lights a spark in me. However, if I’m really stuck, I go for a walk or do some kind of physical activity to clear my head. The best thing to do is to stop trying to think and let it come to you.
AD: Yes, I think a lot of times we can overthink our process or feel guilty when ideas aren't flowing, but if we stop and allow ourselves space to clear our minds, the ideas come more naturally. Walks in nature always help me, too.
AD: What sorts of things have been most integral in your growth as an author?
KD: Writing and writing a lot is helpful. Making sure you have a great critique group is also important. Sometimes you get stuck in your head and the more eyes you can have on your story, the better. They always find some new way to make it better or show you how others will view your story. Taking classes and attending classes is also helpful. Writing is a craft that has to be honed so you can never stop learning.
AD: Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
KD: You can find out more about me and my books at socationbooks.com or following me on
Twitter: @kimdbooks or Instagram: @thespeechvine.
Kim, thank you so much for sharing a bit about yourself and contributing to the Rising Stars in Kidlit series! We can’t wait to read your stories and see your work in the hands of young readers! Best of luck as you continue your journey! Feel free to drop a comment below to support Kim and her work. Stay tuned for next week where we get to meet another Rising Star in Kidlit, and be sure to subscribe so you don't miss out and follow along on Twitter at #RisingStarsinKidlit.
If you are interested in being featured in the Rising Stars in KidLit series, please complete the following Getting to Know You form to be considered. Thank you!
Who Am I?
Amanda Davis is a teacher, artist, writer, and innovator who uses her words and pictures to light up the world with kindness. Amanda is the author of the award-winning picture book, 30,000 Stitches: The Inspiring Story of the National 9/11 Flag, Moonlight Memories (summer, 2023) and a yet to be announced forthcoming title. She also has poetry and illustrations featured in The Writers’ Loft Anthology: Friends & Anemones: Ocean Poems for Children. Amanda has over ten years of experience as a classroom teacher and was selected as Massachusetts Secondary Art Educator of the Year. When she’s not busy creating, you can find her sipping tea, petting dogs, and exploring the natural wonders of The Bay State with her family and her rescue pup, Cora. You can learn more about Amanda at www.amandadavisart.com and on Twitter @amandadavisart and Instagram @amandadavis_art.