Christine Sromek Laforet has a new chapter book that just debuted from Clear Fork Publishing, with illustrations by Lisa Rush. I'm happy to feature my Spork Sister on the blog today and I look forward to reading more books in the Being Bree Series:
INSPIRATION -- Discuss what inspires your ideas and stories, and share the process about your latest projects.
My story ideas tend to come from my children, and the Being Bree Series actually originated from my youngest child’s Guidance homework. For her assignment, we needed to discuss positive ways to relieve anxiety, and she shared the Calming Down Steps (www.secondstep.org) being taught at school. With all of the stress kids face today, the idea of teaching kids how to manage their emotions seemed very beneficial. As a former teacher, I always liked choosing class stories pertaining to the curriculum, so as a writer, I decided to create an emotional character who modeled calm down techniques in everyday situations.
CREATIVITY -- How do you showcase your creative side through writing/illustrating and other pursuits?
When I was a teacher, I used my creativity to make learning fun — special centers, group activities, projects. I even wrote new lyrics to familiar songs which incorporated the skills being taught. Now, I showcase my creative side by writing children’s books. I tap into my creative energy when the house is quiet or when I’m doing housework, driving kids around, or walking the dogs. I’ve even been caught talking to myself when trying to overcome writer’s block.
CONNECTION -- How do you connect to your young readers through your writing/illustrating, and how do you stay connected to the KidLit community?
I connect with the KidLit community by following blogs, participating in local critique groups, and through SCBWI. With the recent release of Bree and the Nametag Worries, I’m just starting to connect with young readers and would like to share two recent experiences.
The first was at my book signing where I spoke with a fourth grader who said she never met a “real” author before. She was a bit shy, but we talked about books and writing. I also wrote something special for her on a bookmark I autographed. Her face literally beamed. I’ll never know if our conversation will inspire her to become an author one day, but in those few minutes, we connected.
The second experience happened just last week. A parent told me about her daughter’s first day of school. They were waiting at the bus stop, and the bus was 20 minutes late. The young girl told her mom, “I’m just like Bree. I’m worried.” Together they talked about her feelings and the situation, and even took some belly breaths. I can’t even express how touched I was after hearing how this reader connected with my character. My story made a difference, and I hope other kids can relate to my writing as well.
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Thanks, Chris! Really looking forward to more adventures in this series!
Chris received her M.A.Ed. from Baldwin-Wallace University and taught in the Cleveland area before raising a family. She is represented by Essie White at Storm Literary Agency and is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. In her spare time, she enjoys being involved in various critique groups. Chris resides in Northeast Ohio with her husband, three children, and two crazy dogs.
CONNECT WITH CHRISTINE: