#RisingStarsinKidLit Spotlight Series: Federico Erebia

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Rising Stars in KidLit began as a way to highlight my fellow kidlit creators who are working their tails off to birth their beautiful book babies into the world.  These interviews cast a light on the wonderful work of pre-published or pre-agented authors and author-illustrators who are destined to be stars! Today we’re hosting a special Spotlight series with author, Federico Erebia, so we can learn all about his path to publication! Federico has also offered to giveaway advanced reader copies of his debut novel, Pedro & Daniel, illustrated by Julie Kwon, to THREE lucky winners! Make sure to read all the way to the end of the interview for details on how to enter the giveaway. Thanks, Federico!

​Meet Rising Star
Author Federico Erebia!

Federico Erebia

Photo Credit © Joel Benjamin

 
Federico Erebia is a retired physician, woodworker, author, and illustrator. Pedro & Daniel (Levine Querido, 2023) is his debut novel. He serves on the SCBWI Impact & Legacy Fund Steering Committee, and is a member of several writing groups. He enjoys the intersections of his neurodivergent, gay, and Latino identities. He lives in Massachusetts with his husband and their furry bubbies.

Welcome, Federico and congrats on your upcoming debut novel, PEDRO & DANIEL! I’m thrilled to have you here to celebrate and chat about your publication journey! Thank you so much, for your generous giveaway, too! Make sure to enter for your chance to win advanced reader copies of PEDRO & DANIEL! Details on how to enter at the bottom of the interview.
PEDRO & DANIEL cover

Federico’s debut novel, PEDRO & DANIEL, illustrated by Julie Kwon, releases with Levine Querido on June 6th!

 

AD: Let’s start with a speed round…

  • Top three favorite children’s book authors? The Hobbit, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Julián is a Mermaid.
  • Coffee, tea (or neither)? Coffee, but most of my life it was OJ.
  •  Where is your safe place? Our bed, before lights out, when I’m most creative, while my husband reads, our dogs sleep between us, and I know that they are all safe, healthy, and nearby.
  • Dogs, cats, (or neither)? Dogs, although I’ve had, and love, cats.
  • Early bird or night owl? Night owl.
  • Three words to describe what it takes to make it in the kidlit world…imagination, persistence, revisions.

AD: Okay, now down to the serious stuff. Please dish us the dirt on who you are and your journey into the fabulous world of children’s books. Did you always know you wanted to be an author? Have you explored other paths or had/have other jobs?

FE: Thanks for having me! I retired from my primary care/HIV/AIDS practice in 2013. About thirty years ago, I started my creative phase: primarily woodworking, furniture design, and photography which became my full-time jobs when I left medicine. When the pandemic hit in 2020, I transitioned to writing and illustrating. I self-published the Pepito The Squirrel books. Then I realized that I knew nothing about the publishing industry. So in January 2021, I joined SCBWI, 12×12 Picture Book Challenge, created a Twitter account, and dove in. It’s been a whirlwind adventure! My debut novel, Pedro & Daniel (Levine Querido) comes out on June 6.

AD: Wow! That’s quite the timeline. It sounds like your road to publication happened rather quickly. Is that the case?

FE: Yes! That is a very quick timeline. It was serendipity that put me and my editor on a mutually auspicious collision course, weeks after I wrote a picture book manuscript: I don’t have an agent. That manuscript has expanded into the first chapter of a full-length novel. Pedro & Daniel was thirty years in the making, but I started writing it two years ago. It’s a fictional account of my relationship with my brother, Daniel. It spans 24 years, and explores many societal themes. I’m very proud of the finished book.

Art from Federico's debut novel, PEDRO & DANIEL

Art from Federico’s debut novel, PEDRO & DANIEL, illustrated by Julie Kwon. Art © Julie Kwon

 

AD: What topics or themes do you tend to focus on in your writing? Favorite genres you like to write in or techniques?

FE: There are two things that guide me: representation matters, and write what you know. Therefore, I tend to include the intersectionalities of my LGBTQIA, neurodivergent, and Latino experiences in my writing. I have written picture book manuscripts, essays, and a young adult novel. I’m writing a graphic novel, a short story for an anthology [fingers crossed], and an adult fiction novel. I guess I don’t have a favorite book genre or book length at this point.

AD: I love how versatile you are and not afraid to try new  genres. Tackling a new genre isn’t easy and neither is breaking into the publishing industry! What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced thus far? What have you done to persevere?

FE: My biggest challenge has been with marketing myself as an author. I have experience with marketing myself as a woodworker and artist.  I learned a lot from self-publishing, and I’ve been studyin
g how others launch their books. I was selected to be in the Poets & Writers publicity incubator, and I’m in two debut groups. So, I’ve learned a lot. I plan to share what I’ve picked up about marketing & publicity in blogs, webinars, and conferences.
 
 
AD: Yes! Marketing can be so difficult. It sounds like you have the support of several kidlit groups, which is super helpful. I’ll definitely be checking out your marketing and publicity info once avilable. I’m always improving in that realm! Speaking of improving, as creators (and humans), we tend to focus on the flaws of our creations or areas for improvement. This helps us grow and develop, but we need not forget the many things we are doing well.  With this in mind, what has been your biggest accomplishment or something you are most proud of thus far on your journey?
 
FE: I am most proud of how I structured and formatted Pedro & Daniel: I use first and third person narration, with several points of view; the writing includes prose, lyrical text, and various forms of poetry; there are four main story arcs. It’s unlike any other book I’ve read, and folks seem to love it.
Art from Federico's debut novel, PEDRO & DANIEL, illustrated by Julie Kwon. Art © Julie Kwon

Art from Federico’s debut novel, PEDRO & DANIEL, illustrated by Julie Kwon. Art © Julie Kwon

AD: In a similar vein, what do you feel are your strengths as an author? What makes your writing unique to you?

FE: I don’t [necessarily] do it on purpose, but I break all the rules of writing. It’s simply the way I write. I also think it’s silly to put rules on a creative process. Very little remains constant. Everything evolves. Think about how language and art have changed since humankind came into existence. I write what I need to write . . . what I want to read.

AD: What inspirational words! What else inspires your work?

FE: I’ve always had an active imagination, and a drive to create. Most of it stays in my head [my neurodivergence at work], until I take the time to create, in whatever medium is needed.

AD: Tell us about your creative process and what you do to keep ideas flowing or what you do when feeling stuck?

FE: I always have multiple stories, illustrations, and projects going at the same time, usually on different computers and/or programs. I’ve got a wonderful workshop where I can create while other ideas percolate. It’s hard to describe how my mind is constantly ruminating multiple thoughts and projects at the same time.

Art from Federico's debut novel, PEDRO & DANIEL, illustrated by Julie Kwon. Art © Julie Kwon

Art from Federico’s debut novel, PEDRO & DANIEL, illustrated by Julie Kwon. Art © Julie Kwon

 

AD: What sorts of things have been most integral in your growth as an author?

FE: Critique partners are the most important tool authors and illustrators have for honing their work. They represent our ultimate clients: readers [or an agent or editor]. I’ve had some wonderful CPs.

AD: Yes!! CP’s are the best! What advice do you have for fellow kidlit creatives?

FE: Find your writing community; have honest, but kind critique partners; make time to create; avoid regrets.

AD: Honesty and kindness–love that! Where can readers find out more about you and your work? 

FE: Thanks so much for having me!
Pedro & Daniel Pre-order and other details at https://FJEbooks.com
I am mostly on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FedericoErebia

 
 
Art from Federico’s debut novel, PEDRO & DANIEL, illustrated by Julie Kwon. Art © Julie Kwon
 
Federico, thank you so much for joining us for this special Spotlight feature on Rising Stars in KidLit! Congrats again on PEDRO & DANIEL which is now available for preorder! Feel free to drop a comment below to support Federico and his work. Be sure to subscribe to the Rising Stars series so you don’t miss out on the next Rising Stars in Kidlit feature and follow along on Twitter at #RisingStarsinKidlit!

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WIN AN ADVANCED READER COPY OF PEDRO & DANIEL!

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MORE ABOUT THE BOOK…
Pedro and Daniel are Mexican American brothers growing up in 1970s Ohio. Their mother resents that Pedro is a spitting image of their darker-skinned father; that Daniel likes dolls; that neither boy plays sports. Both are gay and neurodivergent. They are alike, but they are dissimilar in their struggles, their dreams, their approach to life. 

Pedro & Daniel is a deeply personal novel that spans from the boy’s childhood until they are young men. Together, they find joy and laughter as they endure abuses, coming out, first loves, first jobs, and the AIDS pandemic, in a coming-of-age story unlike any other.

 TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:

✅ Follow Federico & Amanda on Twitter
✅ Retweet this post on Twitter w/a link to the blog feature
✅ Tag 3 friends in the comments on Twitter 

THREE random winners will be selected to receive a signed copy of PEDRO & DANIEL! The deadline for this contest is Friday, May 26th at 9AM EST. The winners will be announced shortly after on Twitter. If you’d like to order your own copy of the book, check out the link below.

CLICK HERE TO PREORDER PEDRO & DANIEL

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