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Blog: This Writing Life

Stories...Creativity...Connection

  • Writer's pictureMelissa Stoller

3 Question Interview - LAURA BOWER


I am so happy to feature my dear friend and critique partner, Laura Bower, on the blog today. Laura has two fantastic picture books releasing this year - THE IMPOSTER, and EMILY SNOOK, THE WORLD'S SMALLEST COOK (Gnome Road Publishing). Both are filled with lovable characters, sweet moments, and lots of humor. Read on for Laura's inspiration (stuffed animals and cooking included!), and her thoughts about stories, creativity, and connection. Welcome, Laura!





1) STORIES – Discuss the inspiration for your ideas and stories, and share the process about your latest projects.


Thanks so much Melissa for inviting me to be part of your blog!

 

The kid lit world is so exciting — there are endless ideas! I love reading the new book deals. I get inspired by the fresh spins writers have on classic themes (i.e., friendship/love, loss, family dynamics, etc.) My family is a constant source of inspiration. My debut picture book, The Imposter (Gnome Road Publishing), illustrated by Kerisa Greene, is based on the fierce love my kids have had for their loveys over the years and my second book, Emily Snook, the World’s Smallest Cook (Gnome Road Publishing) illustrated by Rekha Salin, comes out in September 2024 and was inspired by my childhood. My mom is an avid cook/baker and was always whipping up amazing meals/treats. We got to be her sous-chefs/BITs (bakers-in-training) over the years, and, in turn, I have enjoyed cooking/baking with my own three kids.

 

I teach at a pre-school and my students are also a source of inspiration. They are constantly giving me new ideas based on funny things they say or things that they are particularly interested in at the moment (a unicorn dinosaur mash up may be in my future ;-).

 

The process for The Imposter surprised me as I wrote the first draft very quickly. All three of my kids were very attached to their loveys (two of them still are!) and were absolutely devastated whenever one would get lost. I realized that these were not just stuffed animals, but full-fledged family members. *One of my children once ranked the things they loved the most in the world and their lovey took the #1 spot (beating out Mom and Dad). ;-) There were many late night lovey searches at our house because bedtime could simply NOT happen without their loveys. Since this “fun” scenario was not just happening in my house, but in many other houses, I knew people would be able to relate and there was definitely a story there! While The Imposter went through a lot of revision, the overall core/heart of the story remained the same! The imposters in my house were all kicked to the curb at first, but my kids eventually learned to open their hearts and make room for them too — just like Olive does in The Imposter




 

Emily Snook, the World’s Smallest Cook, went through a different process as it is a rhyming picture book. I took classes, studied rhyme (incuding reading hundreds of rhyming picture books) and read it out loud more times than I could count to make sure the meter/rhythm of the story was working. I also had Emily professionally edited as I wanted to make sure not only was the rhyme working, but the story was working as well.





 

I am so thankful for Sandra Sutter at Gnome Road Publishing for believing in The Imposter and Emily Snook, the World’s Smallest Cook. I was also lucky to be matched up with Kerisa and Rekha, who brought the stories to life, with adorable characters, strategic color choices, and humor and heart woven through each page.

 

2)    CREATIVITY -- How do you showcase your creative side through writing/illustrating and other pursuits?

 

I have always loved writing (and have stacks and stacks of diaries/journals to prove it). Piecing together words is so much fun. The concept of starting with one phrase, or sentence or part of an idea and then building and shaping it until it becomes a full blown story has been a challenging, yet wonderful creative pursuit.

 

I love to write in rhyme and it is so satisfying when you have that “eureka!” moment and come up with the perfect word to complete the rhyme or make the meter work. I have been rhyming since I was little but I think my love for it solidified during a college poetry class I took. I learned the art of being vulnerable and began to understand the mechanics and necessary components for creating successful rhymes.

 

In terms of other creative pursuits, I enjoy crafting with pretty patterned paper. I have always been interested in fashion and design. I thought about making clothes for a bit, but my sewing skills are not up to par! I grew up playing the piano and although I don’t find a lot of time to play now, I like to sneak in a song or two. I have tried my hand at songwriting — I wrote a song for a local band and also wrote a theme song for my kids’ elementary school. If only I could sing… ;-) And I love to bake with my three kids, especially around the holidays. They each pick a special Christmas cookie they want to make each year and we spend some one-on-one time making them!

 

 

3)    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 amazing. It sounds a little cliche but it really does feel like a family. I have encountered so many supportive, loving people who only want to see you succeed and put in the time, energy and attention to help you achieve your goals. I am a member of SCBWI and 12x12 and have benefitted so much from both organizations over the years. I am constantly learning something new from each blog post, class, webinar, conference, etc. It has filled me up to be surrounded by so many creative people in the kid lit world.

 

I am part of an awesome 2024 debut group @pb_soar and excellent critique groups that challenge and help give me the push I need to make my stories better/more marketable (I am so lucky to have you as one of my critique partners Melissa!)

 

The best part of my writing journey so far has been connecting directly with the kids. I had a blast at my launch event for The Imposter at my local library. I have had bookstore and other library events and will be doing some book fairs in the Fall, where I will be able to promote both books. I have loved the school visits I have done so far. It is so much fun to talk with the students, hear their perspective, and watch them connect with the story! Hearing 3 and 4 year olds say the word Imposter and hearing the names of their loveys has been a highlight too! How cute is the name Rigatoni?! :-)






LAURA'S BIO:


Laura Bower lives in Westchester, NY with her husband and three kids. Her debut picture book, THE IMPOSTER, launched on March 5th, 2024 and her second book, EMILY SNOOK, THE WORLD’S SMALLEST COOK, comes out in September 2024. When not reading or writing, Laura loves traveling to new places, live theatre/comedy shows, game nights with friends and family and walking her dog Clover. Learn more about her at www.laurabowerauthor.com.



CONNECT WITH LAURA:


 

 

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