Author Spotlight: Lori Alexander
Nov. 14, 2014
KidLit411 is proud to present the very talented LORI ALEXANDER in the Author Spotlight this week. Lori's new book, BACKHOE JOE came out in September. Be sure to enter the rafflecopter below to win a signed copy of her new book, BACKHOE JOE!
Tell us about your background and how you came to write for children.
I’m originally from San Diego and have a Master’s degree in Organization Psychology. Years ago, writing included corporate training materials, employee handbooks, disciplinary letters, and all sorts of policies and procedures. Dry stuff (except those disciplinary letters…sometimes those were juicy!). After kids, I fell in love with picture books. It was wonderful becoming a stay-at-home mom, but I missed getting feedback on my work (occasionally, my husband would compliment my laundry folding skills, but it wasn’t quite the same). So rejection letters, and eventually a PB contact, filled that work void. Writing for children is the best job I’ve ever had.
|© Craig Cameron|
What projects are you working on now?
Currently, my agent is submitting a new picture book manuscript called FINJA. It’s about a pet store fish, Fin, who craves adventure. His tank mates tell him to swim in slow circles and blow bubbles, like a normal fish, but Fin wants to kick in fast circles and blow darts, like a ninja. One day, when he’s trying out a tricky new move, he flings himself out of his aquarium and onto the floor. His big adventure is saving himself! I’ve been revising it off and on for some time now, and I see new ninja books coming out every month. I may have missed the ninja bus on this one. We’ll see how it goes!
I’m also working to develop my school visit programs so I can share BACKHOE JOE and the picture book creation process with local elementary schools.
When is your next project due out?
BACKHOE JOE sold to HarperCollins in a two-book deal, so if this one does well, I have high hopes for a second JOE book. I have a draft ready with some fun new bits, building on the twist ending from the first book.
What is your typical process for writing?
I like absolute quiet, which can be hard to come by with two kids. But what really gets me excited about starting a new project is a strong concept. I completely agree with picture book author and PiBoIdMo champion, Tara Lazar, when she says that a picture book needs more than great writing. It needs a unique and marketable concept that kids will love.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Persistence pays. I’m a big fan of the sentiment that published authors are not necessarily the best writers, but they’re the ones who didn’t give up.
Where can people find you on the internet?
Facebook: Lori Veraldi-Alexander
What is one thing people don't know about you?
I’m afraid of the garbage disposal. A Lego’s been rattling around down there for weeks but I refuse to stick my hand in that slimy, black hole!
LORI ALEXANDER writes for young children and their exhausted parents. Her debut picture book, BACKHOE JOE, rolled out in 2014 from Harper Children’s, with a sequel to follow. Lori resides in Tucson, Arizona, with her scientist husband and two book-loving kids. She runs when it’s cool (rarely) and swims when it’s hot (often). She grew up in San Diego, where she earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in psychology from UCSD and SDSU, respectively. Lori is a member of SCBWI and can be found on Twitter @LoriJAlexander or at www.lorialexanderbooks.com
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Congrats on the new book, Lori -looking forward to reading it!ReplyDelete
Thanks so much, Mike!Delete
One of our sons was fixated on backhoes when he was little. We have a whole series of VHS tapes (that dates him!) put out by JCB on their construction equipment. Backhoe Joe sounds like a winner!ReplyDelete
My son was the same way--only on DVD! :) Thanks for the kind words about Backhoe Joe!Delete
Hi Lori! *waving* two-book deal, wow! I love your sentiment of published writers never giving up. That's what I try to hold on to. It's too bad your book didn't get discovered earlier, because my son would've loved it!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Romelle! I try to keep up that "never-quit" spirit, although it can be tough some days. I hope your PB writing is going well :)Delete
Just the book my boys would adore. I agree with writing for children being the best job there is! I never get compliments on my laundry folding skills, sigh. But perhaps I should just stop stuffing laundry in cupboards randomly :-) I hope Finja gets picked up soon!ReplyDelete
Ha! Thanks for the kind words, Yvonne. Good luck on your writing!Delete
It is so nice to learn of another author who needs "absolute quiet" to write -- how else can we hear the stories in our heads?ReplyDelete
My husband listens to his iPod at work, but that's so distracting to me. Good luck finding some quiet time of your own! :)Delete
Great interview, Lori & Elaine. Love the idea of FINJA and congratulations on your PB and here's to a great many more.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Sylvia! I would love to have some good FINJA news soon. That second PB contract is a toughie!Delete
Congrats, Lori on your book!ReplyDelete
Thanks Lori and congratulations! I love the encouragement to be persistent.ReplyDelete
Thanks for reading, LJ and Mary!Delete
Backhoe Joe has an adorable concept, Lori, and I am looking forward to reading it. FINJA sounds fun and I hope it sells! I admire that your hubby compliments your laundry folding skills. :) Thanks for interviewing Lori, Elaine!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Carrie! I just subscribed to your blog. It's awesome!Delete
Can't wait to read Backhoe Joe but really like your Finja idea too. Hope it works out for you.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much, Angela!Delete
Love Backhoe Joe and would be thrilled to have an extra copy to give away as a holiday gift. Every little boy needs this book!ReplyDelete
Yay, Corey! I'm pulling for you :)ReplyDelete