Have we got a sweet treat for you! Our latest kidlit interview is with prolific author Lydia Lukidis. Lydia has over 40 books and eBooks published, as well as a dozen educational books. Read the story behind Lydia’s newest book out July 1st from Blue Whale Press, NO BEARS ALLOWED, as well as what advice she has for aspiring kidlit authors and what’s up next in her writing career.
Question: What are you most excited about NO BEARS ALLOWED being published right now?
Lydia: I’m beyond excited for NO BEARS ALLOWED (published by Blue Whale Press) because it’s the first book that features my own story with characters I created. Many of my books are published but they were all molded to fit the publisher’s specifications. For example, my first 2 picture books featured characters already created by the publisher, and my last 3 STEM books published by Kane Publishing were centered on topics chosen by their editors. I have a special love for every book I’ve written, but it’s also a treat when your own ideas come alive on the pages.
Q: What’s been most challenging to you with publishing NO BEARS ALLOWED?
Lydia: The world of traditional publishing is not easy or simple. It’s a highly competitive market, and publishers are extremely selective about what books they choose. There are so many talented authors out there, but only so many slots available. As a result, the industry can be slow and challenging. For me, one of the hardest elements is learning how to shrug off the piling rejection letters and not take it personally. Another challenge is developing patience to deal with the long wait times (i.e., The publisher wants your book- yay! But wait- it will only be published in 2021.)
Q: How did you come to write this story?
Lydia: I initially got the idea for NO BEARS ALLOWED in 2015. From the very start, this book was character driven. It featured Rabbit, who is governed by fear, and Bear who may look threatening yet is filled with a playful innocence. I put the concept aside for a year, and then wrote my first draft in 2016. It took many drafts and edits to get to the final text, but the struggle was worthwhile.
Q: What’s the one thing you hope a reader would take away from reading NO BEARS ALLOWED?
Lydia: There are a few takeaways that I hope readers will assimilate. First off, NO BEARS ALLOWED is very much about confronting your fears and taking a leap of faith. We all have fears, but they can hold us back if we’re not careful, and life will pass us by. It’s important to be conscious of them and actively face them. The other takeaway is about not judging others and making assumptions about them. Rabbit makes plenty of assumptions about Bear, but ultimately learns he was wrong. I wanted these two concept to crystallize in the hearts of young readers, but not in a didactic way. Instead, they’re woven into a fun narrative.
Q: What have been some of your most unexpected sources of inspiration?
Lydia: I’m never at a loss for inspiration! A photo, a word, a memory, the snow outside, everything can literally spark my inspiration. What others may see as mundane, like a car tire, can seem magical to me at the right moment. I suppose I never lost my deep sense of creativity that I had when I was young! The world is an endless source of wonder.
Q: For kidlit writers just getting started, what is the single best piece of advice you could offer them?
Lydia: You need to place your focus on your dream, and figure out tangible ways you can get there. All writers deal with rejection, long wait times and extreme frustration, but you can’t focus on that, or let it govern you. You have to roll with the punches, so to speak. And resist the urge to compare yourself to others, because that can lead to negative thinking. Respect the journey you are on, as well as the journey of others. You will get there on your own time. In the meantime: READ, WRITE and RESEARCH every day!
Q: What’s one thing you wish you knew earlier in your writing career that you know now?
Lydia: Looking back, I really should have started with some kidlit writing classes, some workshops, or at least read a book about writing for children. Instead, I just jumped into it, and made a thousand mistakes in the process. I wrote my first picture book, chapter book and middle grade novels that way, and all three were overflowing with rookie mistakes. But that was part of my journey!
Q: Do you have any rejection stories you’d like to share?
Lydia: The first book I ever got published was rejected 32 times. There were points where I wanted to give up, and being published seemed like a distant dream. But I kept going and persevered.
Today, I keep every single rejection letter. I keep them in a folder to motivate me. I’ve learned to let the rejections slide off me like water. Some of them still sting, of course, and that’s okay. It’s about learning how to bounce back.
Q: What’s up for you next in your writing career?
Lydia: I’m currently working on a middle grade novel based on Greek mythology which I’m excited about! It’s been over 2 years in the making, but I finally see the end in sight. I also have several others WIPs that include a few picture books and nonfiction projects. I’ve been drawn to the world of nonfiction as of late, must be all that science I studied when I was younger!
Q: What’s your favorite thing about being an author?
Lydia: I write because I feel compelled to write. I also love to share and connect with others. And the most rewarding feeling is when I see children reading my books, and enjoying them. There’s no better gratification than that. My heart just bursts with joy!
Lydia Lukidis is a children’s author with a multi-disciplinary background that spans the fields of literature, science and theater. So far, she has over 40 books and eBooks published, as well as a dozen educational books. Her latest STEM books include The Broken Bees’ Nest and The Space Rock Mystery.
Lydia is also passionate about spreading the love of literacy. She regularly gives writing workshops in elementary schools across Quebec through the Culture in the Schools Program. Her aim is to help children cultivate their imagination, sharpen their writing skills and develop self-confidence.
For more information on the author, please visit www.lydialukidis.com
To follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LydiaLukidis
For more information on the publisher, please visit www.bluewhalepress.com
Please click here to purchase a pre-sale copy of NO BEARS ALLOWED: