PictureBookBuzz: Tell us about yourself.
Laura: I am the mother of three grown children and a new Goldendoodle puppy named Charlie. My work with children spans my entire adult life and a wide variety of roles including being a commissioner of AYSO youth soccer, the director of religious education at a UU congregation, a classroom teacher and reading specialist, and of course, as a mom.
As a child, I loved reading and one of my favorite family memories was sharing the details from the read aloud at school with my family every night at dinner.
I always wanted to be a writer and when my mom died I found a box of letters I had written to her that she saved because she believed I would become a famous writer one day.
PictureBookBuzz: What inspired your book, ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON?
Laura: I moved to the mountains of Colorado in 2016 and was amazed by the brightness of the full moon shining in my windows unadulterated by the light pollution of the city. I combined that observation with a charming character based on many wonderful students from Chicago and my own daughters. The name Aliana is an homage to two first graders who will always have a place in my heart. Their names are Valentina and Ariana and I combined their names to create Aliana.
PictureBookBuzz: What other books have you written?
Laura: My publisher, Penny Eifrig, was interested in the idea of Aliana being a series. I have written two more science themed books featuring Aliana and her family. Additionally, I am a member of the 12x12 picture book group so I have several books that are polished, in revision, and a few very rough drafts.
PictureBookBuzz: What do you think readers will find most appealing about your book?
Laura: I think the book will be enjoyed by both children and adults for its humor and heart. Aliana spends time exploring nature with her brother Gustavo and teaching him to observe nature and science. Her creativity is often messy, but her parents are patient and celebrate her curiosity. The illustrations are inviting and really add to the text. I think children will be drawn in by the colorful artwork and the science-based learning.
PictureBookBuzz: Was there one moment in the revision process that changed your manuscript?
Laura: I love this question! The value of critique partners and conferences cannot be overstated. I attended the Southampton Writers Conference in July 2017 and workshopped this book after it had already been revised several times. The insight I received from workshop leader, Emma Walton Hamilton and the other group members led to a huge revision. I said it felt like performing surgery on my firstborn but I am happy to say the result is so much better. I had been tied to some of my original ideas and was trying to weave three ideas that didn’t work together into one story. I am not only grateful for how this experience helped ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON, but also for how it helped me understand the revision process.
PictureBookBuzz: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Laura: My website is LauraRoettigerBooks.com which includes my blog containing photography and poetry.
@ljrwritenow on Twitter
Laura Roettiger on Facebook
We are a group of picture book authors and illustrators whose first picture books will be released in 2019. Read about our roads to publication here.