Today I am delighted to be hosting children’s author Lydia Lukidis as we celebrate the release of her darling new picture book NO BEARS ALLOWED illustrated by Tara J. Hannon and published by Blue Whale Press. Congratulations, Lydia! Now, without further fuss, here are FIVE FUN FACTS about the books from the author herself. Take it away, Lydia!
Five Fun Facts about NO BEARS ALLOWED
By Lydia Lukidis
FACT #1: This book took….years to become a reality.
This is likely no surprise for all the authors out there! We all know the industry, and even the writing process, can operate at a snail’s pace. Let’s break it down:
The concept of the book first came to me in 2015.
But I had to flesh out my ideas for another year before I even attempted to write the story.
In 2016, I felt ready and wrote the first draft.
I continued to workshop and edit drafts for another year.
Then I got some critiques from my critique partners, and I was back to the drawing table.
In 2017, the ms was out with (then) first agent. Things didn’t work out.
Then my second agent looked at it, but passed because she deemed it “too quiet.”
So, I decided to be brave and submit it to publishers myself.
In 2018, Blue Whale Press acquired it!
The take-away: always believe in yourself even when others don’t.
FACT #2: I confess: Rabbit and I are similar!
I deeply empathize with Rabbit. He’s afraid, he’s anxious, and worries about pretty much everything. But I find these qualities to be endearing because we all have our weaknesses. What I love about Rabbit is that he learns to face his fears and develops a new point of view.
I do admit: Rabbit and I may have a few things in common. I do tend to over-worry and over-think, and I’ve been held back by fear at certain moments in my life. Through the years, I have learned to be bold, and really challenge myself.
I don’t like heights! Hey, let’s go ziplining!
I’m afraid of the ocean! Let’s go paddle boarding!
And so on.
There’s nothing like facing your fears head on and pushing through your limits; it will change the very fabric of your soul.
FACT #3: A picture book is more than just words.
Sure, the story and characters are important. But they’re brought to life by the illustrator. I was fortunate to work with the talented illustrator Tara J. Hannon and she brought the book to the next level. Tara did beautiful illustrations and exceeded my expectations. But she did more than that. The editor (Alayne Christian) and I were careful to give her artistic space, and let her create. She came up with her own ideas that complimented the book quite nicely. But most importantly, she helped me re-assess who Rabbit was. I had initially seen him as an older creature, with spectacles. She helped me create a version of Rabbit more accessible to kids. A hilarious, younger version emerged, holding his binoculars tightly. I could not be more grateful.
FACT #4: This is the first fiction book I’ve published in a while.
These days, I’ve been very drawn to nonfiction. My last 3 picture books were all STEM books published by Kane Press (A REAL LIVE PET!, THE SPACE ROCK MYSTERY, THE BROKEN BEES’ NEST). Years ago, I studied science and it’s been fun to incorporate all that knowledge into my books for children. But it’s also nice to get back into the world of fiction and make-believe. NO BEARS ALLOWED helped me re-connect to that magic. This journey reminds me that I still love fiction, and will be forever writing it!
FACT #5: The world would be a brighter place if we listened to Rabbit and Bear!
Rabbit goes through a transformative process on his journey and learns some life changing lessons. He finally understands that he should not pre-judge anyone and make rash assumptions. He has a certain concept of bears, and then finds out how wrong his assumption is. The other takeaway is that we all have more in common than we think. Imagine how different the world would be if we all adopted this perspective! Friendship is magical. And you never know where it will pop up. Lastly, I love how Rabbit faces his fears head on, despite his trepidation. That’s great advice for us all.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lydia Lukidis is a children’s author with a multi-disciplinary background that spans the fields of literature, science and theater. So far, she has over 40 books and eBooks published, as well as a dozen educational books. Her latest STEM books include The Broken Bees’ Nest and The Space Rock Mystery.
Lydia is also passionate about spreading the love of literacy. She regularly gives writing workshops in elementary schools across Quebec through the Culture in the Schools Program. Her aim is to help children cultivate their imagination, sharpen their writing skills and develop self-confidence.
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