Author Interview: Laurisa White Reyes

Today I am happy to introduce author Laurisa White Reyes. Her new book is The Kids’ Guide to Writing Fiction and sounds great — and I got a chance to review her book, which you can read here.
P10 (2)Tell us about your book(s). Is there one in particular you are promoting right now? What is it about?
The Kids’ Guide to Writing Fiction had its start when I taught creative writing to middle grade and high school students. I wasn’t thrilled with the writing books available for kids at the time, so I created my own curriculum. Fast forward a decade. I’ve written and published several novels for young readers, including Spark Award winner The Storytellers. As an author, I’ve the opportunity to visit over 60 schools and speak with hundreds of students about writing and creativity. I decided that I wanted to reach out to young writers everywhere, and The Kids’ Guide to Writing Fiction was the result.
Geared toward kids aged 10 – 17, the book is not just for those who already love writing, but it is also designed to spark an interest in reading and writing in kids whose academic strengths and talents lie elsewhere. By introducing the six fundamental building blocks of storytelling in a fun and easy-to-“get” manner, kids discover the storyteller that lies within each of us. Their confidence and enthusiasm grow as they see the inner-workings of their very own stories grow.

What genre(s) do you write in? Who is your audience?
I write in a variety of genres, actually, because I’m always experimenting. My first two middle grade novels, The Rock of Ivanore and The Last Enchanter, are high fantasy adventures about a young enchanter’s apprentice trying to gain control of his magic. The Storytellers (also middle grade) has elements of fantasy, too, but a different sort of fantasy. Set in both the 1990s and the 1950s, it weaves together the stories of two girls and their fathers by using a touch of magic. My young adult novel, Contact, a thriller with elements of science fiction, is about a teen girl who can upload other people’s psyches with a single touch. I also write non-fiction.
Front CoverHow do you come up with the ideas for your writing?
After a dozen years as a journalist, I knew deep down what I really wanted was to write was fiction. The idea for my first novel, The Rock of Ivanore, came in the form of bedtime stories for my son, who was eight years old at the time. Now he’s nineteen, but all of my books have been inspired by my children. I have five of them, so I have endless ideas for future stories.

What would you like readers to take away from your book?

My hope with The Kids’ Guide to Writing Fiction is that young people will discover how fun storytelling can be, and that whether or not they are passionate about writing, anyone can tell a good story if they know how.
Do you have any advice for someone starting out as a writer?
Many budding young writers have asked me for advice over the years, and I always encourage them to keep an idea journal. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It might just be a spiral bound notebook or even a pad of paper. But when you’re just starting out, it’s a great idea to write something every day.
Spark Award CoverAre you self published, traditionally published, or a hybrid? Why?
My first three novels are traditionally published, and I love both of my publishers. But The Storytellers is self-published. A few years ago I started a publishing business called Skyrocket Press to help connect authors to professional editors and designers. After several successful releases, I decided to produce a book of my own. The Storytellers, I’m happy to say, won the 2015 Spark Award for best non-traditionally published children’s book, an honor bestowed annually by the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).
What challenges have you faced in your writing and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge, besides writing the first draft of any story, is finding a publisher. The process can be daunting and time consuming with no guarantee of success. That is why I decided to self-publish my most recent titles. But self-publishing does not mean turning out a poor quality product. I spent a lot of time (and money) working with a qualified team of artists, editors, and designers to do it right.
What new projects are you working on or are excited about right now?
I am currently working on The Seer of the Guilde, the third book in my middle grade fantasy series. I’m hoping it will be available by the end of the year. Next spring at the latest.
Thanks so much for being here today, Laurisa. I can hardly wait to read The Kids’ Guide to Writing Fiction.
Connect with Laurisa White Reyes:
Laurisa White Reyes’ books:
The Rock of Ivanore  http://amzn.to/1TL6U8Z
The Last Enchanter  http://amzn.to/1Z1sCWv
The Storytellers  http://amzn.to/1qKHKvN
The Crystal Keeper  http://amzn.to/25iPepf
Teaching Kids to Write Well: Six Secrets Every Grown-up Should Know  http://amzn.to/1TL6D63
The Kids’ Guide to Writing Fiction  http://amzn.to/1U8YZhE

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