Thank you for asking me to participate!
How did you find your way to becoming a kidlit author and what do you love about it?
My path to writing kidlit began during a time of extreme change in my life. I had just moved across the country to California with my husband and children. After many joyous years of teaching early childhood, I decided to take a step back from the classroom to help my daughters acclimate to their new home. But while they were at school, I was left wondering, “What about me? What do I do now?” That’s when I decided to fulfill a goal that had always been on my bucket list—writing a novel.
Since I was young, writing has always been a powerful creative outlet and means for processing the highs and lows of life. So it wasn’t a surprise that I was turning to it again when I was feeling lost. I knew right away that whatever I ended up writing would be for kids. Both as a teacher and a mother, I have learned way more from children than I’ve taught. Their journeys, coupled with my own childhood experiences, were begging to make their way onto the page.
Nicely put! Do tell about the project of the heart that you queried to agents, the one that snagged Kelly Dyksterhouse's heart?
Happy to share! It's a middle-grade fantasy inspired by my experience growing up as a second-generation Egyptian-American and by the Arabic folktales I heard as a child. Fantasy and adventure stories have always been my favorites as a reader. Bring on all the important themes, but entertain me first. While my novel explores issues, i.e., identity, family, and home, my main focus has always been to write a fun story filled with twists and turns.
I can't wait to read it! What made you decide to sign with Kelly?
I recently signed with Kelly, so the reasons I chose her are fresh in my mind. First and foremost, I was blown away by Kelly’s understanding of what I set out to do with my novel. It’s like she was in my head. Her attention to detail also impressed me. There were elements in the story I labored over to get just right that she astutely picked up on. She also cares greatly about getting meaningful books in the hands of children. As a teacher and parent, this was very important to me.
Thanks for sharing! Do let us know when your book is acquired!
Will do, and thanks again for interviewing me on your blog.