Author Spotlight: Laura Roettiger

Sept. 20, 2019

Today we are excited to feature debut author Laura Roettiger and her picture book, ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON, illustrated by Ariel Boroff (Eifrig Publishing 2019) in the author spotlight.

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Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for children.

Thank you for featuring me on KidLit411! I always wanted to be a writer but life got in the way. After college, I was a banker, worked in religious education, raised three children, and finally went back to school to become a teacher and reading specialist. When I was teaching, I wrote with and for my students but never with the intention of publishing any of it. Three years ago, I left the classroom to focus on writing. The first draft of ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON was written in August of 2016. 

Congrats on your picture book, ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON. Tell us about it and what inspired you.

Thank you! I had always lived in or near the city of Chicago. When I moved to the mountains west of Boulder, Colorado, I was amazed by the bright light of the full moon streaming in my windows. I had never lived somewhere without light pollution. That’s Aliana’s inspiration in the book to experiment with light and reflection leading her to create a surprise for her brother at the end of the book. I was also inspired in different ways by my daughters and some of my students at Carlos Fuentes Charter School. 

Was your road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?

It felt long, but I know publishing is an exercise in patience, so in hindsight, I realize it. Eifrig Publishing is a small house, so the timetable is different. The wait was primarily related to the illustrations. 

During that time, there was also considerable revision happening to the text thanks to an editor, some wonderful critique partners, and a writing conference where my mentor, Emma Walton Hamilton, and our small group taught me how to use feedback to pull apart a story and stitch it back together. 

What other projects are you working on? 

I have several other picture book manuscripts that are being queried or readied to query. ALIANA was published without an agent, so now my focus other than writing and revising is finding an agent who loves my stories as much as I do. I have one story that was inspired by my Goldendoodle, Charlie that is in its third story arc. I have a few that are similar to ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON, in that they are fiction with strong STEAM components and back matter.

What are the one or two best things you did for your career? 

Joining SCBWI and Julie Hedlund’s 12x12 challenge are the two things I recommend to anyone who wants to write picture books. 

What is one thing most people don't know about you?

This feels like a trick question. People are often surprised to find out I haven’t seen movies or TV shows that are major cultural references. I don’t watch much TV but most people know my two can’t-miss shows are Jeopardy and Late Night with Stephen Colbert.

Where can people find you online?

I’m @ljrwritenow on Twitter and on Instagram
My website and blog can be found at:
On Facebook, my author page is

Laura Roettiger is the author of Aliana Reaches for the Moon, a picture book that draws inspiration from the moon and the curiosity of children. She has enjoyed working with children ever since she was no longer considered a child herself. She was a reading specialist and elementary teacher in Chicago, IL before moving to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado where she worked in Environmental Education, as a mentor for literacy at a STEM school, and a tutor for an adult education program. Her superpower is encouraging curiosity in children and letting them know she believes in them. She has three children of her own whose curiosity and creativity led them into STEM related professions.

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  1. Excited to read this book with my little one!!

  2. Can't wait to read this book. I love all things space.

  3. I LOVE stem books and it seems like moon themes keep appearing in my books. Really want to read this!

  4. Congrats, Laura. Combining fiction and STEM is always fascinating. Love the background story for this book!

  5. I hope this book is doing well! Fingers crossed for finding that agent. It's only a matter of time, right? Cheers!


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