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Blog: This Writing Life

Stories...Creativity...Connection

3 Question Interview - LYDIA LUKIDIS

I am delighted to feature Lydia Lukidis on my blog today. Lydia's new picture book, DEEP, DEEP DOWN: THE SECRET UNDERWATER POETRY OF THE MARIANA TRENCH (illustrated by Juan Calle, Capstone Editions), is absolutely stunning. Lydia offers great advice for finding ideas and deciding which ones to pursue, and shares about stories . . . creativity . . . and connection. Welcome, Lydia!


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


I keep a document filled with “ideas.” I literally find everything fascinating, so there’s never a lack of ideas. The same goes for fiction. But you need to ask yourself these questions: Does the idea stand out? Does it have what it takes to form a narrative? Can an engaging hook be developed?



credit: Capstone Editions





And then there are moments where I feel very strongly about a certain topic. My stubborn mind says, I’m going to write about this topic, no matter what! That’s the case with DEEP, DEEP DOWN. I knew I wanted to write about the Mariana Trench. I actually knew very little about it at first and was driven by curiosity, and felt children would be equally curious about the deepest spot on our planet.



credit: Capstone Editions



I fell into the rabbit hole of research. But it wasn’t until I interviewed Dr. Gerringer and 5 other experts that the true narrative began to take form. I could not have written this book (well) without these experts, the topic is too mysterious. These experts devote their lives to the trench and hadal zones, and were a wealth of knowledge. I confess getting all the facts right was exhausting, but after 55 rewrites, I got there!



credit: Capstone Editions



Here is a summary of my book:


Deep, deep down, at the very bottom of the ocean, lies a secret world. Through lyrical narration, this spare-text STEM picture book takes readers on a journey to a place very few humans have ever been--the Mariana Trench. The imagined voyage debunks scary myths about this mysterious place with surprising and beautiful truths about life at Earth's deepest point. DEEP, DEEP, DOWN: The Secret Underwater Poetry of the Mariana Trench shows a vibrant world far below, and teaches readers how interconnected our lives are to every place on the planet.



credit: Capstone Editions




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


My creativity is one of my driving forces. If I weren’t an author, I would have been an art director or a designer of some kind. For me, writing is highly creative. Even though I’m not illustrating the photos, getting the words just right is an art.


I learned something about myself during the creation of DEEP, DEEP DOWN; that I can fuse my love of poetry with my love of science. After watching hours of trench footage, I felt the trench itself was a poem and to truly do it justice, the text would have to reflect the beautiful poetry and underwater ballet I witnessed. Writing poetry is art, and writing this book was so much FUN. To be honest, it’s not always the case with me. Sometimes, writing torments me, and finding the right words is almost painful. I try not to judge the experience, just get through it! This was the first manuscript where I didn’t feel tormented, although it required years of work.



CONNECTION -- How do you connect to your young readers through your writing/illustrating, and how do you stay connected to the KidLit community?


As a kidlit writer, it’s essential to connect with children. You need to spend time with them, understand how they think and what they’re drawn to, and what makes them tick. That’s why I love giving writing workshops in elementary schools. I have the privilege of not only nurturing their love for literacy, but also, interacting with children. I get endlessly inspired simply by listening to them. They’re hilarious!


I also think it’s important to connect with the kidlit community. I have since learned that this community is extremely supportive and generous, it’s actually quite incredible. If you have questions, people are always willing to steer you in the right direction and share their knowledge. In a sense, we are all on the same path, dealing with the same adversity. Every writer has moments of frustration during the writing process and having support is fantastic. I’m involved in many groups that explore kidlit and the publishing industry in general, and I also follow many blogs and read articles to stay informed. Being a member of SCBWI and CANSCAIP have also been extremely helpful.


In addition, I LOVE supporting other kidlit writers. I write the Blissfully Bookish Blog (https://lydialukidis.wordpress.com/). I see how much they hustle and I know the struggles of this industry all too well. If I can shine a small spotlight on their labors of love, I’m happy.



BIO:






Lydia Lukidis is the author of 50+ trade and educational books for children. Her titles include DANCING THROUGH SPACE: Dr. Mae Jemison Soars to New Heights (Albert Whitman, 2024), DEEP, DEEP, DOWN: The Secret Underwater Poetry of the Mariana Trench (Capstone, 2023), THE BROKEN BEES’ NEST (Kane Press, 2019) which was nominated for a Cybils Award, and NO BEARS ALLOWED (Clear Fork Media, 2019). A science enthusiast from a young age, she now incorporates her studies in science and her everlasting curiosity into her books.


Lydia is an active member of SCBWI, CANSCAIP, 12 x 12, and The Authors Guild. She's very involved in the kidlit community and also volunteers as a judge on Rate your Story. Another passion of hers is fostering love for children’s literacy through the writing workshops she regularly offers in elementary schools. Lydia is represented by literary agent Miranda Paul from the Erin Murphy Literary Agency.


CONNECT WITH LYDIA:


Website & order links: http://www.lydialukidis.com/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/LydiaLukidis

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LydiaLukidis

Blog: https://lydialukidis.wordpress.com/

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3fATvqtKDk





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