Author Spotlight: Katrina Moore
December 5, 2019
Today we are pleased to feature author KATRINA MOORE and her debut picture book, ONE HUG illustrated by Julia Woolf (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books Dec. 10, 2019).
Enter to win a copy below!
Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for children.
I’m a mother of two young children and a teacher to twenty-two second graders. So luckily, I am always surrounded by picture books! But even before I was a mom, and before I started teaching, I’ve always loved picture books. I’ve also always been a writer. Since my elementary years, I’ve kept a journal to hold my most treasured poems, sketches, and stories in. Though, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I got serious about sharing my writing with anyone besides myself. I realized I wanted to connect with children through writing stories for them, about them.
And now, my mission as an author is to create books that all children will hug for ages—books that are culturally inclusive, providing a mirror and a window. But also, ones that are child-centered—playful, nurturing of curiosities, fun, and full of joy—just as childhood should be.
Congrats on your newest picture book, ONE HUG, illustrated by Julia Woolf. Tell us about it and what inspired you.
When I set out to write ONE HUG, I wanted to celebrate how powerful and transformative one connection could be—how one hug connects us uniquely, yet universally.
At its heart—it’s about one hug connecting us in ways that sometimes words cannot.
Like the overwhelming joy that one feels when reunited with their far-away family after a long separation. Or that comforting hug from a sibling that soothes us more than a thousand “it’s okays” ever could.
I also wrote this book to give a voice and stage to the little Chinese-American girl in me who never saw herself accurately represented in the media. Growing up, none of the characters I knew were Chinese. Not on TV. Not in books. The few stories featuring Asian-American characters were issue-driven books surrounding race and identity. I never felt like being Chinese-American was my singular identity, but the media made it seem so.
This book shows a more accurate version of myself and others. Like the characters in ONE HUG, my cultural identity influences my life, but it’s not my whole story.
Upon first read, this book is a fun, rhythmic, easy read-aloud that’s perfect for bedtime—celebrating summer nights, simple pleasures, and the people we love. And yet, when we dig deeper, asking, “Who are these characters? What are they doing? Why are they celebrating?” children, as astute as they are, will notice a cross-cultural family dinner, an immigrant family reunion, and three generations of a family.
Was your road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?
My road to publication was relatively short, but definitely winding and full of ups and downs! I attended my first writing conference in 2015. Four years later, my debut picture book is publishing. In that way, it feels like no time at all has passed. But, as anyone who’s ever waited for anything knows, it also feels like a lifetime ago that I began this writing journey.
In a nutshell, I’ve had three different literary agents, and an almost “yes” for multiple stories. It’s a road that’s been paved with perseverance, persistence, and positive thinking.
I shared more about my writing journey on my featured author blog post for the 12x12 Picture Book Challenge.
What projects are you working on now?
My next picture book, GRANDPA GRUMPS, publishes April 2020 from Little Bee Books. So I’m preparing for the launch of that book, too! Also, I’ve just turned in revisions for my next book under contract, though it hasn’t been announced yet. I’m about to get started on the next book in that series. And I’m working on a middle-grade novel, as well. There are also various picture book projects and a board book series that are waiting to be sent into the world, or are on their way to becoming books! Stay tuned :-)
What were the one or two best things you did for your career? Is this advice you'd give to other aspiring authors?
One of the best things an author can do is to find a good literary agent. Not only does this open so many doors, provide you with a champion for your career, and an advocate who’s an industry expert, but it allows the author to focus on the creative side of creating. That said, it’s important to find an agent that you truly trust and that is a good professional fit for you and your work.
I wrote more about this on my blog for writers, Landing the Right Literary Agent and the Journey to Get There.
Additionally, both trusting and believing in myself has been instrumental in the decisions I’ve made that have led me to where I am today. Always, always, trust yourself.
What is one thing most people don't know about you?
I was an art history and psychology double major. Before deciding to become a teacher, I almost became an art curator.
Where can people find you online?
My Website: https://www.katrinamoorebooks.com/
My Blog for Writers: https://www.katrinamoorebooks.com/blog-for-writers
Katrina Moore writes and teaches in New Jersey. Her mission is to create books that children will hug for ages. Her debut picture book, ONE HUG, is forthcoming from Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins Dec. 10, 2019. Her second picture book, GRANDPA GRUMPS, will publish April 7, 2020 from Little Bee Books. More to-be-announced books are on the way! When she is not teaching elementary kids or writing, she is cooking without a recipe, painting outside the lines, or snuggling up with her puppies, one husband, two kids, and of course, many cozy books. Connect with her on twitter @kmoorebooks or at www.katrinamoorebooks.com.
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