Author Spotlight: Alli Brydon
Nov. 4, 2022
We are excited to feature author Alli Brydon and her picture book, BRIGHT WINTER NIGHT, illustrated by Ashley Lindsay (Amazon Publishing), out on Dec. 1! Enter to win a copy!
Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for children.
Well, I’ve been a writer since the 7th grade when I took my first creative writing class and then joined my school’s literary magazine! I kept writing all throughout high school and college, and then earned an MFA in poetry at Sarah Lawrence College. After that, I started working in children’s books as an editor, which I’ve been doing now for more than 15 years. So, it felt like a natural progression to start writing for children too. When I started my freelance editorial business in 2017, I began taking writing commissions from editors at Scholastic, Disney, and National Geographic Kids, and it kinda snowballed from there!
Congrats on your forthcoming picture book, Bright Winter Night! Tell us about the story and what inspired you.
Thank you! I’m really excited about this picture book because it’s about something I hold very dear: friendships. But the book is also about working together towards a common goal and the magic of nature.
Bright Winter Night is a story, told in rhyming verse, about a group of woodland creatures who come together, despite their differences, to build a sleigh using items found in their natural habitat. They’re doing this because they know, on this midwinter night, that something special is happening. So, once they’ve worked together to build the sleigh, all the animals hop on to race out of the forest and into a clearing so they can catch a glimpse of the northern lights!
The inspiration for this story came from me desperately wanting to see the northern lights, one of nature’s most astounding wonders. It’s still on my bucket list, and my family is currently trying to plan a trip to see them this winter to celebrate the publication of Bright Winter Night.
Was your initial road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?
Oh gosh! I guess it’s been long and winding, although sometimes it also feels short and sweet. I think that’s because during all those years working as an children’s book editor, I didn’t aspire to be an author too. I really enjoyed nurturing authors and illustrators on their path to publishing their own books. But I suppose underneath the surface of all that, I was watching and learning how to become an author myself. And, on the other hand, I have deep and extensive knowledge of the industry, marketplace, and the process of publishing a book. So, when I tried my hand at writing and publishing my own children’s books, it felt like something I’d already done hundreds of times.
What projects are you working on now?
Oooh, I never know what I can actually talk about! Well, next year will see the publication of two of my nonfiction books: one for preschoolers, Little Kids First Nature Guide: Explore the Beach (NatGeoKids), and one for middle graders called The Great, Big Me Experiment Dot/Macmillan). Then, let’s just say I’ve just sent two massive pitches to my agent, one for a middle grade nonfiction book and one for a fiction chapter book. I’m hoping they’ll go out on submission pretty soon, so please keep your fingers crossed for me!
What advice would you give to aspiring picture book authors?
The only things I can say are:
Know your genre and your audience.
Respect your audience.
If you’re lucky and sell a picture book to an editor, be prepared and excited to collaborate.
What is one thing most people don't know about you?
Ever since moving to England in 2018, I got really into Premier League football (soccer) and ardently support Liverpool FC. Go reds!
Where can people find you online?
On Instagram @allibrydon, Twitter @allibrydon, and my website www.allibrydoncreative.com
Also, I have some exciting news! Bright Winter Night is part of the Amazon First Reads program, which means the book is available throughout the month of November for a special discounted price...even before it is officially published! Click here to enjoy the offer.
Author Alli Brydon is inspired by natural wonders and what they can teach us, and she strives to bring that magic to the books she writes for children. Recent picture books include LOBSTAH GAHDEN, illustrated by EG Keller, and LOVE AROUND THE WORLD, illustrated by Wazza Pink. She also writes nonfiction about creatures, from insects to lemurs to humans. Alli is a children’s book editor, as well as author, and lives in England with her family. Learn more at www.allibrydoncreative.com.
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