Author Spotlight: Lori Orlinsky
May 14, 2021
We are pleased to feature author Lori Orlinsky and her most recent
picture book BALLOONS FOR TIGER illustrated by Vanessa Alexandre (Mascot Books, May 2021). Enter to win a copy below!
Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for children.
I am a Chicago-based Marketing Director and writer, and most of my ideas come from real-life experiences. In fact, when my daughter Hayley was three, she was teased because she was the shortest kid in her class. Unable to find books that made her feel better about her height, I wrote “Being Small (Isn’t So Bad After All)” and that’s how my writing journey began. I now write rhyming, lesson-based picture books.
Congrats on your newest picture book, Balloons for Tiger! Tell us about it and what inspired you.
Thank you! The inspiration for Balloons for Tiger came after my family lost our 18-year-old cat, Tiger. We did a balloon release for her, and I found my kids asking me where the balloons went before they reached Tiger. I thought that explaining the beautiful journey that the balloons took on the way to the rainbow bridge was an imaginative and positive way to talk about the loss of a pet.
Balloons for Tiger is a good “starter book” about loss. At the end of this book, there is an educator guide written by a teacher and discussion question prompts for parents, developed by a licensed social worker. My hope is that Balloons for Tiger serves as a tool for helping kids cope with the loss of a pet, or any other loved one. Because my family adopted Tiger from The Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago, a portion of proceeds from the book will be donated there.
Was your road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?
The longest part of this book was starting the manuscript. Two years after we lost our cat, the topic was still very real and raw to me. Every time I put pen to paper, I had a hard time writing such a personal story. When I was finally in the right mindset, the story took me only a few hours to complete. However, the book was supposed to be released in 2020. Due to the pandemic, the printing delays pushed me behind several months.
What are some of your favorite classic picture books? Recent ones?
I love a good Dr. Seuss Book. I remember my Dad reading the classics – One Fish, Two Fish and The Cat in the Hat – to me on a nightly basis. What’s funny is that I remember him skipping pages because those books were a mouthful and he was eager to get me to bed. Thirty plus years later, I read my kids the same books and also find myself trying to skip pages, but they always catch me! My daughters, ages 8 and 5, are big fans of When the Crayons Quit. They also like the interactive books, like Press Here.
What projects are you working on now?
I’m working on two projects simultaneously. One is a Chicago-based adventure book and the other is bringing to life a story I told my younger daughter, Ellie, over the years. I am also the co-owner of Foreword Publicity, the only publicity firm built by authors, for authors. I run the business with my dear friend and fellow award-winning author Alysson Bourque, creator of The Alycat Series. We are fortunate enough to have grown very quickly, representing more than 100 authors and publishers in just about every genre. I truly love helping authors bring their books to the forefront of consumers’ minds. This side hustle-turned full-time gig allows me to combine my passions for marketing (I was previously a Marketing Director), storytelling and books.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
It sounds cliché, but just keep writing until all your ideas are out on paper. I am a perfectionist, so it is hard for me to write a manuscript without going back and fixing every little word. But I noticed that making those edits stops my train of thought. So, I would suggest writing the story as you envision it in your head, and then making edits.
What is one thing most people don't know about you?
I am a HUGE fan of the show “Friends.” I’ve seen every episode at least 50 times. My favorite character is Ross. Fun fact: I met him in Chicago and made sure to tell him that we are related, since my maiden name is Geller. My top Ross moment is when he sat naked with Ugly Naked Guy so he could get his apartment (a basket of mini muffins, anyone)?
Where can people find you online?
Award-winning children’s book author, Lori Orlinsky, is a freelance writer and marketing director who lives in Chicago. Lori is the mother of two little ladies who are small but mighty. At 5"1, she wishes her children’s picture book Being Small (Isn’t So Bad After All), was around when she was growing up. She is also the author of The Tooth Fairy's Tummy Ache and Balloons for Tiger.
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