Ohhh livin’ on a prayer!
Ha, I hear that song EVERY time I hear the word “Halfway.”
We are currently halfway through the submission week for Fall Writing Frenzy , and WOW WOW WOW you all have been blowing our minds with your amazing pieces!
Since we have been getting to know you better through your fantastic writing, we wanted to allow you to get to know us better in this Fall-themed interview with both of us, Kaitlyn Sanchez and Lydia Lukidis.
Please continue to have fun interacting with each other, supporting the prize donors, and sharing the contest info. The more the merrier! We can’t wait to read all your pieces!
Also, if you have any questions, feel free to check out the new FAQs page.
Now then, we’re off we to see the wizards, wonderful wizards of…
The Fall Writing Frenzy 😉
What do you love most about fall?
Lydia: Fall is actually my favorite season; I get mesmerized by the beauty of the leaves as they change color. And I absolutely adore everything about Halloween! I love dressing up, so it’s a no brainer. This year, my daughter and I will be disguised as Cleopatra (as per her instructions).
Kaitlyn: Ha, that’s great, Lydia. I can’t wait to see pictures! For me, my favorite thing is that my hubby and I got married in Fall. It’s actually his favorite time of year, Spring is mine. But Fall has always been a close second to Spring for me, mainly because I love a change, especially one that’s not too cold 😆
What are you most grateful for?
Kaitlyn: My amazing family. I’m so lucky to have the most thoughtful, supportive parents ever. My dad would wake up at 5 am on Saturdays to take me to soccer tournaments, my mom was the one who encouraged me to start writing, and I still get “You got this!” texts from them all the time. Just got one the other day and when I texted back how grateful I was for their motivation, they replied, “You have it, always.” Aren’t they a dream!? Even more, my husband has never stopped believing in me, even when I lose faith in my writing abilities. And my daughter, well, she lights up my world—I maaaay have made up a song for her with that line as inspiration.
Lydia: Like Kaitlyn, I’m most grateful for my wonderful family. It may be small, but it’s tight. My parents taught me the meaning of unconditional love and support, and they always have my back, no matter what. I’m also incredibly grateful for my daughter, she’s the light of my life and keeps me grounded every day.
How did this Fall themed contest come about?
Kaitlyn: I had fun writing a quick rhyme inspired by a photo SCBWI British Isles posted on Twitter. When I did so, it reminded me of the previous contest I hosted with Ciara O’Neal. I just had fun being inspired by a photo and thought, “I bet others would too!” So, I sent some messages to some writer friends to see if they would donate prizes and—wow—did they ever! I absolutely love the enthusiasm and generosity of the kidlit writing community.
Lydia: When Kaitlyn told me about her new contest, I knew I wanted to get involved. I deeply appreciate the kidlit community because it’s incredibly generous and authentic, and I wanted to give back in any way I can.
What’s your favorite Fall treat?
Lydia: Definitely squash soup. Over the years, I have perfected my recipe and I always look forward to making it. It’s healthy, hearty, and perfect to keep you warm as the nights get frostier. I also have a fond memory of the candied apples I sometimes received on Halloween when I was younger. I still have that sweet tooth!
Kaitlyn: That sounds delicious, Lydia. I will definitely need you to send me some! For me, it’s candy corn! Colorful sugar triangles? Sign me up! Or should I say, “Trick or treat”?
To use the word “fall” in a different context, what do you do when you “fall” as a writer?
Lydia: The writer’s journey is full of ebbs and flows. We get inundated with rejections and the publishing industry is so slow that we may often feel like losing faith. We’ve all been there! When I “fall” as a writer, the first thing that helps me through it is a grounded perspective. I have to continually remind myself that this pitfall is part of the journey. Through the years, I learned not to take it personally, though some rejections sting more (like the one I got the other day from my dream agent.) In those moments, I usually respond by eating copious amounts of chocolate but then getting right back up.
Kaitlyn: Oh, Lydia, you’re so right, I think we can ALL relate to that. I’ve had many different kinds of “falls” as a writer. I almost gave up writing a few times. Besides my family and critique partners giving me pep talks, the other things that picked me back up were contests. Maybe that’s why I’m so keen to host them. Susanna Hill, Vivian Kirkfield, Tara Luebbe, PBParty, and PBPitch‘s contests all gave me the push I needed at the time. The fact that my talent was recognized as an honorable mention or finalist reminded me that I could be successful. I really hope this contest leads some of you to keep going as these competitions did for me.
And one last question, what’s the latest book you “fell” in love with?
Kaitlyn: OoooOoO that’s a great question, I love so many books, I wish I could name them all. For adult me, the latest book I fell in love with is The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron, and it was all because I adored how Thérèse Plummer narrated the Scott Westerfeld books I love. She was such a great reader that I wanted to hear more, so I looked up other books she read. Interestingly, I didn’t fall for The Forgetting immediately. I gave it my 40 minute commute and wasn’t very impressed, I almost picked a new book for they way home, but when I got back in the car for my drive home, I realized that even though it was a bit slower than my usual pace, I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters, the community, and what would happen in the book.
As for picture books, the latest I’ve fallen in love with are Moldilocks and the Three Scares by the amazing Lynne Marie and My Shape is Sam by my wonderful critique partner, Amanda Jackson. Moldilocks and Sam were both instant favorites in our house. I believe they both will win heaps of awards because the stories are beautiful and each word is powerful and they’re fun while subtly teaching powerful lessons.
Lydia: We also love Moldilocks and the Three Scares at our home! And I’m not going to lie, I’m completely obsessed with books. I buy way too many and my bookshelves are getting over-crowded. Now that my daughter is an independent reader, I’ve gone off the deep end. These days, I tend to read what she’s reading. She came home one day, her face bright with excitement, and asked for the book Sisters. Since then, I devoured (and loved) each graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier.
I’ve also been getting into nonfiction, and some of my favorite authors are Melissa Stewart, Laura Purdie Salas and Jess Keating. Most of their books serve as mentor texts for me.
We hope you had fun getting to know us, and please support Lydia, and all the other prize donors, by checking out their books, buying them, reviewing them, sharing about them. I’m not quiiiite there yet, but I will be in 2020, so please follow me on Social Media, so you can be the first to know when my first book launches!
Thank you all so much for making this competition wonderful. Keep it up!
Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez