Via Kathy Temean’s Writing and Illustrating blog, https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2023/01/12/book-giveaway-when-you-open-a-book-by-caroline-derlatka/, I was the lucky winner of the lovely book displayed below.
When You Open a Book, written by Caroline Derlatka and illustrated by Sara Ugolotti, is filled with beautiful images of familiar childhood fantasies and some imaginative and enchanting new ones. Its prose is engaging and works seamlessly with each illustration and page turn to a satisfying ending.
This picture book is one that parents and children will enjoy and want to read again and again. Bushel & Peck Books, a children’s publishing house with a special mission, published it. Through their Book-for-Book Promise, they donate one book to kids in need for every book they sell. You can even nominate a school or organization to receive free books. Check out their site at https://bushelandpeckbooks.com/; the following is a link to their school/organization nomination form https://bushelandpeckbooks.com/pages/nominate-a-school-or-organization.
After receiving When You Open a Book, I contacted Caroline about doing a blog post and author interview, and she kindly agreed.
A lover of all things fairytale, Caroline Derlatka has always believed in magic. She grew up creating fantastical worlds in her head – places filled with unicorns that would give her rides over ribbon rainbows, giant hares that would lead her through cotton candy clouds, and mermaids that would swim with her into the deep. She is a constant dreamer with a million ideas and about eight hundred big plans.
After living in Los Angeles for twenty years, she now splits her time with her husband, son, and 2 cats between the shores of Flathead Lake, Montana, and the green hills of Nashville, Tennessee.
To find out more about her and her other projects, which all benefit various charities, visit her online at carolinederlatka.com. You can also find Caroline on Instagram @amusedcaroline.
Caroline, when did you start writing, and what drew you to write?
I started writing when I was about 8. I was fascinated with fairytales. My dad was sick when I was younger so I was in and out of hospitals a lot and became a very anxious child. I quickly learned to escape my worries through the fantasy worlds I created in my head. Soon after I began writing stories in notebooks. It would be 30 years later before I showed a story to anyone.
Just as I turned 40, Covid hit, and I realized I should just send one of my completed projects to a few publishers. The manuscript I settled on was ‘When You Open A Book’ because it is an ode to the magical places you can go when reading a book. It felt like the obvious choice to start with that one. My publisher, Bushel and Peck, liked the project and the charity I wanted it to benefit (The White Feather Foundation), so they gave me a book deal.
For readers who might want to find out more, the mission of The White Feather Foundation is to raise funds for indigenous, humanitarian, environmental, and clean water projects. Click on this link to find out more about it https://whitefeatherfoundation.com/.
Do you have a special writing space?
My favorite place to write is in my bed with a cup of coffee.
What was the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Write every day. It just gets you into a habit and prevents you from procrastinating!
Do you have a writing routine? If you do, please describe it.
I am constantly jotting down notes on my phone throughout the day as ideas hit me. There really is inspiration everywhere. That being said, I try to set a time every day to write in some way.
What suggestions do you have for writers looking to publish picture books?
Don’t give up. Keeping sending your work out until you find an agent or publisher that you / your work connects with. After that, it will get a bit easier.
Caroline, I noticed on your website that you are involved with a number of charitable projects. Would you share with us a bit about each of them?
I am currently working on an in-school reading program for kids that will be throughout the country. I created the program for kids to light the fire for reading, but to also help raise funds for one of the largest literacy organizations in the country.
I also created a line of handmade-in-Peru dolls called PocoKins (pocokins.com) that help benefit my dear friend’s In a Perfect World charity https://iapw.org/. IAPW helps create the next generation of leaders through its programs which build schools across the globe, and bring clean water and food to communities that need it. The founder, Manuela Testolini Jordan, is doing amazing things in the world for kids, and I wanted to contribute in some little way. The doll line recently got endorsed by UCLA’s Director of Child Psychiatry for having great social-emotional benefits for kids.
These are a few of the available dolls-
I also have an organic cookie line currently in shelf-life testing. I’m hoping it can help feed hungry children.
You’re incredibly involved, Caroline. Do you have any writing projects going on at the moment?
My next picture book is in the works. I also have 4 completed projects that I have yet to send in, and about 3 or 4 that I am writing now. I like to jump between different books when I write. My goal is to have a different charity associated with each one.
Thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to share with us about your debut picture book journey, your writing process, and your other creative and charitable endeavors, Caroline. Best of luck with all of them!