Kaitlyn knew she wanted to be a writer since she was a little girl, but she started her writing career when her super cute daughter Kiara turned one.
Kiara and Mom, two big inspirations.
I have my daughter and two amazing women to thank for leading me down this wonderful path of writing children’s books.
It all started with my mom. One day, she was listening to me sing a funny song I made up for my daughter, and she said: “You should write children’s books.” Not long after, my friend, Sarah, who was in the honors college with me back at Fresno State, asked friends on Facebook to give her feedback on her children’s story idea. The mixture of all three things—my mom’s encouragement, my friend’s inspiration, wanting great math picture books for my daughter—is what got me going.
Kaitlyn is a children’s book writer who recently signed with literary agent Rebecca Angus of Golden Wheat Literary. She has a book contract in the works and an amazing agent. She’s also a Math teacher.
Her biggest mistakes 😬
I made the same mistakes many new writers do. I wrote before researching the industry. I think many of us have written our whole lives so we think we can just do it—no training, no help—and that’s a major no-no for most people. I love the quote at the beginning of Ann Whitford Paul’s Writing Picture Books –
Also, I wrote in rhyme before I knew that rhyme needs rhythm, who knew?! LOL. (*Whispers* the people who did their research first, they knew…😂)
How does she handle rejections?
Some rejections are really hard, and others are no big deal. Sometimes, a rejection makes me feel so bad that I stop writing, and other times I just slough it off and work on my WIP. But every time what keeps me going is support.
My critique partners always know just what to say to make me feel better. And reading their work always renews my drive! This community truly is amazing.
And of course, when it’s really bad, I have my family.
I will never forget how one rejection left me depressed (not clinically depressed because it didn’t last two weeks—thank goodness—but I felt a horrible despondecy, I felt dejected to my core, and I lacked motivation in the worst way.) My hubby knew how to help: he ordered pizza, we got some beer, and watched a movie as a family, all on the bed.
A good support system means everything in this business, and I’m incredibly lucky to have that.
Kaitlyn Solves the Mystery: What the Heck is Voice? 🤔😮🤩
I always had a hard time understanding what “voice” meant exactly. I mean I KNEW that different things I read had distinct voices, but as a writer, I wasn’t sure EXACTLY what it meant until I read this post: http://bookendsliterary.com/2019/01/10/defining-voice/ and I was like “Ohhh…that makes sense!”
What is Kaitlyn’s voice?
I’m actually not sure I could have answered this question about my voice before yesterday. One of my fantastic author-illustrator CPs, June Steube, commented on a new story of mine. She said, “I noticed your unique voice really coming through in your stories – you have this boundless enthusiasm and it is there in everything you write.” So, I’m going to say: enthusiastic! LOL. 😀
How Did She Get Her Fantastic Agent
When she got the news with hubby and Kiara. Happy Moments!!!😍😁💃👍
This was so exciting! There was a ton of serendipity in a short period of time.
After I received an offer of publication, I sent out emails to agents requesting their representation. I hadn’t queried Rebecca Angus before because she was closed to queries. Now she was open! And my story was even better with the help of Diana Murray’s feedback after Tara Luebbe’s Writing with the Stars Contest.
Then, while researching Rebecca, I noticed her first client listed on Publishers Marketplace was none other than one of my new critique partners, Annemarie Riley Guertin! I asked Annemarie if I could say in my query that we were CPs and she said yes.😁
Rebecca responded to my email the next day asking to see the story with the offer and the one I referenced in my bio. Three days later, Rebecca sent an email asking if I could chat the next week.
I was floored when the call started with Rebecca gushing about my math story! It’s not the one with the publication offer; it’s the one I had been working on since I started writing professionally. The one that I think can really make a difference for children, being a fun math story on a topic that is often overlooked. The more we talked, the more I loved her style, I’m pretty sure I said, “You’re a dream” many many times in the conversation.
I’m so lucky to have found someone that believes in me and totally goes with my style!
How Does Kaitlyn Balance Job, Writing, and Family?!?!🤹♀️🏃♀️👩🏫
I wish I could say I have always balanced them, but I’m afraid not. At one point, my husband had to sit me down for a talk about ignoring him and our daughter when I was home because I was working on writing and critiquing. If you think your writing is taking precedence over your family, and you just haven’t figured out how to balance it, you will, once you acknowledge (or your mate makes you acknowledge in my case lol) that it is something that needs to be addressed. If you’re not sure, just ask, I’m sure your partner will be more than happy to share. 😉
Her superpower 🧜♀️🧚♂️🧝♀️🧚♀️
FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS
Superpower? Ha, I’m not sure I have one of those, but if I had to pick my most intense quality, I’d say my focus. I have this crazy ability to block out everything else and focus on what’s at hand. The rest of the world falls away. If anyone tries to talk to me during that time, I often jump from being startled because I forgot they were there.
Once we have my first book contract all settled, Rebecca will be sending my math story out to publishers; I really hope they like it! (As her CP I read it, so I know publishers will love it! )
Some of Kaitlyn’s favorites blogs/sites.
Three sites: If I have to pick just three (and in no particular order)
- Kidlit411 (and their Facebook swap page) http://www.kidlit411.com/2014/01/kidlit411-for-writers.html?m=1
- Scbwi boards, specifically for rhyme:
Rene Latulipe’s video is the best!
3. Harold Underdown’s site http://www.underdown.org/
- Debbie Ridpath Ohi http://inkygirl.com/inkygirl-main/2015/11/4/free-picture-book-thumbnail-templates-for-writers-and-illust.html
- Tara Lazar https://taralazar.com/
- Susanna Hill https://susannahill.com/for-writers/
Kaitlyn is also my CP and I love having her provide great feedback for my stories, especially making sure they’re logical (she’s a math teacher after all). She’s also very sweet: 🍮🍬🍨🍧
Thanks for having me and for asking such fun and thoughtful questions for my first ever blog interview!