Look out for Lydia Lukidis - she has two picture books releasing this spring! I loved learning about her inspiration for both, and about the research and revisions behind these stories.
STORIES – Discuss the inspiration for your ideas and stories, and share the process about your latest projects.
THE BROKEN BEES’ NEST (Kane Press, April 2019)
For this book, I was invited by the Kane Press editors to write a story that fits into their Makers Make it Work series. Since I love writing anything STEM related, and I actually studied science once upon a time, I jumped at the opportunity. The concept of beekeeping was floating around in my mind and I kept coming back to it.
I knew nothing about beekeeping but that’s one of the wonderful things about these kinds of books: you always learn something new. Luckily, I love to do research and I also corresponded with a bee expert from The Ontario Beekeepers' Association. The narrative came along naturally once I figured out what facts needed to be present in the book. Writing creative nonfiction is always such a treat!
NO BEARS ALLOWED (Blue Whale Press, June 2019)
Believe it or not, the concept of this book actually started with an inside joke (that barely makes sense!). I just knew I had to write a book entitled No Bears Allowed. I started to flesh out Bear’s character, and I immediately felt that although he may look menacing, he’s actually quite innocent and comical. I started toying with the idea of an unlikely friendship developing between Bear and another animal. That’s when Rabbit’s character began to materialize. I thought it would be humorous for Rabbit to be afraid of everything including his own shadow, but then he learns to trust by the end of the story.
I wrote this back in 2016 while vacationing in Hawaii. My daughter was a toddler at the time and every time I put her down for her afternoon nap, I sat at the computer and typed away. I developed the characters and plot, and got a first draft down. For whatever reason, writing this book wasn’t a smooth, easy process. Although I was happy with the main ideas, I reworked the text dozens of times and then it went through endless rounds of revision with my critique groups. When I finally felt the text was in a good place, years later, I was thrilled that Blue Whale Press saw its magic!
CREATIVITY -- How do you showcase your creative side through writing/illustrating and other pursuits?
I’m an extremely creative person. When I was trying to find my path growing up, I intuitively knew in my heart that I had to CREATE in order to be happy. I experimented with various mediums, and it was the act of creating that fueled me. After working as a puppeteer for a few years, I realized that I loved working with children. So writing for children quickly became my passion. I love how open they are, and how far their imaginations can extend.
But the business of writing is not always creative, between administrative duties and research. So I find other ways to express and sustain my creativity, through interior design, collage and other types of crafting.
CONNECTION -- How do you connect to your young readers through your writing/illustrating, and how do you stay connected to the KidLit community?
I believe connecting to your readers is critical. You really need to spend time with children, see 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 aged 5-12. 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 Facebook and LinkedIn 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.
Lydia Lukidis is a children’s author with over 40 books and eBooks published, along with numerous short stories, poems and plays. She writes fiction and nonfiction for ages 3-12, and also composes educational texts. Her background is multi-disciplinary and spans the fields of literature, science, and theater. Lydia is also passionate about spreading the love of literacy and has been giving writing workshops in elementary schools across Quebec since 1999.
CONNECT WITH LYDIA: