Wow, it's been a whirlwind of a Spring! And what a great few months for writing inspiration! After I completed The Children's Book Academy picture book writing class, I dove right in and applied for their Andrea Pinkney Scholarship for the Middle Grade Mastery class. This scholarship aimed to give opportunities for diverse authors to get their stories out there, and guess what? I won a half-scholarship to the Middle Grade writing class!! Woooo! What a great start to a writing class that would change my writing journey. I went through 4 weeks of learning how to write intriguing characters and a story that would grab the reader from the first page. It's been an incredible journey learning from Dr. Mira Reisberg and Hillary Homzie, published middle grade author of several books including The Queen of Likes.
April was the month for amazing book events and author signings. I stumbled upon Jon Klassen's author appearance at my local gift shop in Atwater Village. It was such a wonder to watch him read to a group of rambunctious toddlers and give a little illustration demo. He even graciously signed my favorite picture book of his, and gave me advice to publishing picture books.
I finally attended the Los Angeles Times Festival of books, where I was enthralled by the Middle Grade book talk featuring authors Danielle Davis, Steven B. Frank, Erin Estrada Kelly, and A.S. King. What an incredible panel of inspiring authors! I bought three of the middle grade novels, collected more author autographs, and snuck in a few insider questions when meeting the authors.
And to round out my collection of author autographs for the season, I stopped by Leanna Lin's Wonderlands' author event with Genevieve Santos!! What a sweet and down to earth soul. I talked illustration and writing with her, got a fun sketch and author signature in her newly published chapter book and bought a wonderful, custom drawing of my husband and I for our upcoming Paper wedding anniversary!
Whew! I've really hit the ground running with this writing thing, and I can't wait to see what wonderful, and inspiring experiences summer will bring!
I knew 2017 would be THE year for creativity. To be honest, there hasn't been a year where there hasn't been creativity or some kind of art in my life. Whether I'm sketching my thoughts on a random piece of paper, sharing some late-night doodles on Instagram, or participating in the local art show, there's is no way I could go a whole year without creating something. But this would be THE year for it- I could feel it, and I just had to jump at looking for a way to make this something happen.
I had a children's story jumbling around in my head for more time that I'd like to admit, but never got it past several preliminary sketches. But late last year, I decided 2017 would be the year that I would make my character come to life. I really wanted to dive in and write the story out well, so after a long and windy journey down the rabbit hole of the internet, I found the Children's Book Academy online. (www.childrensbookacademy.com) There were so many courses offered, and the instructor and creator, Dr. Mira Reisberg, was not only the most qualified and knowledgeable person to take my first leap into children's book writing (she's had many years of experience in children's literature and worked in pretty much all aspects of the field possible), but her photo also made her seem like a very warm, and likable person. I decided to take a chance and sign up for The Craft and Business of Writing Children's Picture Books, which started in a few short weeks!
I could not be happier with my decision. It was a six week class, which flew by so fast, and I missed being a part of it as soon as it was over. There was so much material to learn about the children's literature world and how to write picture books, it really was the best way to really dive in to what I wanted to achieve. Mira Reisberg was so kind and generous with her time, and really cared about her students and what we were learning in her class. She, along with Kelly Delaney (an editor at Random House), and Bryan Patrick Avery (who was also a magician on the side!), really made the class enjoyable and engaging. One of the best things I've taken away from this class is the online community of children's book authors and illustrators who also took the course, and the wonderful connections I've made (including a book pen pal in San Francisco who I've continued to share book ideas with!) . In addition, the big bonus of the course is the Golden Ticket- an opportunity to submit directly to an agent or editor at a publishing house, and bypass the slush pile. So exciting!!
I'm so thrilled to say that this class has sparked my passion towards writing for children. There's not a day that goes by without a new idea swirling around for a possible picture book or character illustration. I have learned so much in the short six weeks, and cannot wait to continue to learn more about the kidlit world and work towards getting my stories published. This class has not only been a great educational resource, but also a very inspiring beginning for my passion of writing and illustrating for children.
I may look Japanese, but I've got deep cultural roots in Peru. This summer, my husband (then fiancé) and I traveled to Peru, for him to meet my family, explore the wonders of Cusco and Macchu Picchu, eat delicious food and experience life in a place so different from our own, yet so close to home.
Art was all around us (the foods we ate, the amazing structures in nature, paintings, murals, ceramics), and for me, there is never a vacation away from art. I sketched here and there, was in awe of all the beauty of the natural surroundings of Cusco and was drawn to the colorful photography at the Peruvian art museum, MATE. Even my cousin is an artist in his own right. He's a musician and plays a Peruvian percussion instrument called the Cajon. He gave me a mini cajon to decorate and it became a part of his artist collection of Cajonearte.
Here you'll find...
a little about me, thoughts on my writing journey, hopefully a spark of inspiration. Enjoy!