Please welcome Lauri Fortino to the spotlight.
1- I LOVE Finley's bunny slippers. Do you have a pair of bunny slippers? Can you tell us more about how Finley got those?
In my unpublished picture book story Finley’s Fabulous Friendship, Finley is a frog with a rather large wardrobe and a wacky fashion sense. One of his favorite things to wear is his bunny slippers, which he wears with everything. My own slippers are quite boring compared to Finley’s. As a side note, Finley is the mascot of my blog Frog on a Blog.
2- Java is a fantastic name for a dog! How did he get the name? Do you have a pic to share with our puppy loving fans?
My husband Chris and I made a list of possible dog names before getting a dog. Since Chris is a huge coffee fan, we ended up narrowing the list down to either Java or Latte. After we adopted our little guy, Java was the name that just seemed to fit best. If left completely up to me, his name probably would have been Sniffles or Snickerdoodle, or maybe Happy like the dog in my children’s picture book The Peddler’s Bed. Here’s a picture:
3- It's almost your book-iversary. Congratulations. Can you hint about any progress on the next book?
I have several picture book manuscripts completed and many more in progress, but nothing yet under contract. I’m also working on a children’s chapter book. My goal this year is to find a literary agent to represent my work.
4- Are diverse friendships explored, mentioned, or encouraged in your book?
In The Peddler’s Bed, a friendship is formed between two characters of differing socioeconomic status, a well-dressed peddler and a penniless little old man. It is the peddler who is moved by the kindness and generosity shown him by the little old man, despite the old man’s humble circumstances.
5- Do you have a favorite Japanese anime?
My absolute favorite Japanese anime is Naruto, which is based on Masashi Kishimoto’s manga of the same name. I’ve been watching it for years. It’s the only television show I must watch each week. I can’t miss an episode!
6- What most motivates you to buy a new book?
Since I write picture books, they’re primarily what I read. I have quite a few in my personal collection. I buy new books written by author friends and authors that I follow. But what motivates me the most to buy is if I fall in love with a book. If I pick up a picture book from the library and just absolutely adore the story and the art, I’m likely to buy the book.
7- I see you took part in the #atozchallenge April A to Z blogging challenge 2015. Did you enjoy it, did you make new blogger friends, and will you take part again?
Yes, the A to Z blogging challenge was tons of fun! I discovered some interesting new blogs and gained a few new followers for mine. It was definitely a challenge to post everyday for an entire month, the longest stretch of time I’ve ever blogged. I hope to participate again in 2017.
8- What was the deciding factor in using an independent picture book publisher?
Since I don’t have an agent, and independent publishers are more likely to be open to unsolicited submissions, submitting to independent publishers is the best option for me. Ripple Grove Press was listed in the CBI newsletter in 2013 as a new publisher looking for submissions. I hadn’t submitted my work to a publisher in quite some time, so I decided to take a chance. I checked their website first to get an idea of what they might be looking for, and then decided to go ahead and submit.
9- How did artist Bong Redila get involved with your book project?
Bong was chosen by Ripple Grove Press to illustrate The Peddler’s Bed. Prior to contracting with Bong, Rob Broder, the President and Founder of RGP, and I discussed illustration style. Then Rob saw Bong’s work online, got in touch with him, and they met to discuss the project. Bong’s art enhances the story perfectly.
10- Pledging to donate one copy to a school or public library or to another organization that works to put books into the hands of children for every 100 sold is quite admirable. How did you come up with the idea?
I believe literacy is the jump-off point to success in all aspects of life. I thought donating copies of my book The Peddler’s Bed to these organizations would be a great way to help kids. I’m a big supporter of libraries and literacy organizations. Plus I want to share my book with as many children as possible.
11- Is the Syracuse Rescue Mission aware of the donated royalties?
I contacted the Rescue Mission and told them about my plan to donate a percentage of the royalties I earn on sales of The Peddler’s Bed. I’ve already sent one check and hope to send another soon. Even before I was published, I knew I wanted to contribute to a worthy cause. After The Peddler’s Bed was published, I did some research to find an organization in my community that I thought might be a good fit. The Syracuse Rescue Mission was an obvious choice.
12- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?
Excerpt from The Peddler’s Bed:
The peddler stopped his cart and climbed down from his seat.
"It's a fine day," he said.
"Truly," answered the little man, "and that's a fine bed you have there in your cart."
Lauri Fortino is the author of The Peddler’s Bed, a children’s picture book illustrated by Bong Redila and published by Ripple Grove Press. Besides writing picture books, Lauri works as a library assistant in her local public library. She has a degree in Library and Information Services. She is a strong supporter of library and literacy initiatives. She features a weekly Picture Books At The Library listing on her blog, Frog On A Blog, which also offers book reviews, author/illustrator interviews, and teacher’s resources. She enjoys spending time with her husband Chris and their dog Java at their home in Syracuse, NY.
Frog on a Blog: https://frogonablog.net/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Lauri-Fortino/e/B00U7P518E