I haven't met Sarah in person yet, but I have enjoyed getting to know her as we are both working with Clear Fork Publishing, and assisting with Mira Reisberg's Children's Book Academy Illustration class. Here are her thoughts about Stories . . . Creativity . . . and Connection.
Melissa, thank you so much for interviewing me for your blog! It’s so inspiring to connect with writers like you and discover all the different paths and experiences on this kidlit journey.
STORIES – Discuss what inspires your ideas and stories, and share the process about your latest projects.
I’ve always had an active imagination, and the ideas from my stories usually come from the animal characters that just pop into my head. Little Bat started off as a little owl I drew during a winter vacation in Big Bear over six years ago! And now he has his own little personality and that red, plaid hat of his that everyone seems to love. I never really know when the inspiration will strike, but I like to call out to it by getting out of my little routine bubble, whether it’s taking my dog Peanut to a new park or checking out a new coffee shop. Vacations are the best for recharging the creative spirit, no matter how close or far away you go. Being around new and different people and places definitely helps sparks ideas I never would’ve come across if I just stuck to all my familiar places. Right now, I’m illustrating the first picture book I’ve ever written and am really excited about it, but find it really challenging to fit in all the illustrating I need to do along with my full-time job and keeping up with life. But I find my mind stays better focused and refreshed if I go for an early jog and spend the mornings at a coffee shop or the local library, then squeeze in some drawing time in the evenings and on the weekends (sometimes even on the train ride to work). It’s all about creating the right environment to get the ideas flowing, no matter how much time you actually have for it.
CREATIVITY -- How do you showcase your creative side through writing/illustrating and other pursuits?
It’s been a few years since I’ve worked on my own artwork as much as I have this year. I’ve always loved painting, and would participate in art shows with friends, or donate pieces to one of my favorite art shops to benefit the local animal shelter. I even worked on crochet ornaments and crafted milk bottles to sell at a holiday art fair. I love artistic expression and connecting with others, and have dabbled in so many different forms of art. I will never get enough. But with this new opportunity, I’m especially excited to combine two of my new loves- writing and drawing characters to bring my stories to life. I can’t wait to share WAKE UP, LITTLE BAT! with all the kids out there!
CONNECTION -- How do you connect to your young readers through your writing/illustrating, and how do you stay connected to the KidLit community?
The KidLit community is relatively new to me, but I’ve always loved reading. In the past, I volunteered regularly for a local organization called Reading to Kids in Los Angeles, and really enjoyed reading to the elementary school kids and having fun with the craft time. Now that I’m working on my own stories for kids, I’m trying to get back into volunteering again. I’m also an active SCBWI member, and had the most amazing experience at my first national conference in L.A. last summer. The conference talks and connecting with other writers was inspiring enough to fill my creative cup for the rest of the year! Lastly, I can’t say enough good things about the courses at the Children’s Book Academy. I never would’ve discovered my love for children’s book writing and connected with my wonderful publisher, Callie Metler-Smith at Clear Fork Publishing, without Mira Reisberg’s amazing courses and guidance. I’m learning so much every day and am excited to soak it all up!
Thank you so much for having me, Melissa! It’s such a pleasure to connect with you.
* * *
Thank you, Sarah, for sharing your thoughts about stories, creativity, and connection!
* * *
Sarah Momo Romero is a Japanese Peruvian American artist, a graphic designer by day and children's book author and illustrator by night. She’s loved drawing and painting ever since she was a little girl and now crafts stories of adventure and wondrous creatures. Sarah is an active SCBWI member who draws inspiration from her life in sunny Los Angeles with her husband/creative partner, and dog/infamous escape artist, Peanut. Her first picture book, WAKE UP, LITTLE BAT! comes out May 2018.
CONNECT WITH SARAH:
Twitter and Instagram: @sarahmomoromero