Today’s guest is the amazing Vivian Kirkfield. I am lucky enough to count on her when I need writing advice, a critique, and someone to share the ups and downs of our lives. I’m pretty sure she would agree our friendship means a lot. Over the past few years, we discovered how much our lives paralleled each other and the overlaps make it easy to feel like I’ve known her forever. Her recent book FROM HERE TO THERE, was recently published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and PIPPA’S PASSOVER PLATE, was released in paperback in time for Passover next month. She’s also the host of #50PreciousWords which is an inspiring writing contest with incredible prizes coming in March. Details below.
Vivian is generously offering a 30-minute Zoom chat – it can be with a writer about a WIP or the path to publication. Or with a teacher and their class. Or with a parent and their children. Comment on the blogpost to enter the giveaway. Please share on your social media to help spread the word.
What were you like at the age of your target audience?
I have several target audiences…the target audience for Pippa’s Passover Plate and for Four Otters Toboggan is probably 4-6 years-old. But the target audience for my nonfiction picture book biographies is probably 7-11 or 12 years-old.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by the lives of ordinary people who accomplished extraordinary things. I’m inspired by people who keep doing what needs to be done even when they don’t get recognized for it. I’m inspired by kindness and compassion. I’m inspired by people who help others, even when no one knows they were the ones who helped. And most of my stories, even stories like Pippa’s Passover Plate, are all about those things that inspire me.
What’s something you hope your readers take away from your books?
For Pippa’s Passover Plate, I hope readers will walk away filled with joy – proud of Pippa that she faced her fears and her natural enemies – and with the realization that friends can look different and still be our friends – and that when we all work together, we can accomplish our goals.
I’d love to share this amazing anecdote: When Pippa’s Passover Plate first launched in Feb 2019, a parent wrote to me. She said her two sons loved the story so much, she and her husband had to read it over and over and over. Isn’t that exactly what we hope and pray for when we write our books? In fact, her sons loved it so much, she translated it into French so that she could read it to them in French also!
I was so excited to read that! And now that the paperback edition of Pippa’s Passover Plate has just launched, I am going to send her one of the paperback copies with a couple of bookmarks for her sons.
What can we look forward to next?
What’s next? I’m not sure I have enough room on the page. 😊
I do have another nonfiction picture book biography that will launch in Spring 2023 from Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills & Kane: PEDAL, BALANCE, STEER: Annie Londonderry, First Woman to Bike Around the World.
I also have two R&Rs with that same editor – all I need is the time to work on them. And my agent just sent out a different picture book biography about a Spanish-American sculptor. She paired it up with art from one of her illustrator clients who lives in Spain. I’ve seen his storyboard thumbnails and they are exquisite! So, fingers crossed for that.
I also submitted a different picture book biography – about three inventors and a President – to the SCBWI Winter Conference Manuscript Gallery – we’ll see if any editor finds it worthy of her attention.
And of course, on March 2-7 – #50PreciousWords International Writing Contest is happening on my blog. There are FORTY amazing prizes – opportunities to get your manuscript in front of editors and agents who are closed to submission – critiques with published authors – seats in picture book writing classes – and lots more. The guidelines are the same as previous years – a story for children ages 12 and under – 50 words or less – post in the comment section of the contest-specific blog post between March 2 and March 7. Last year we had 392 entries and although I am thrilled to see the contest grow, my judges and I have decided to limit entries to one per writer for this year. So please, sharpen your pencils! I can’t wait to read your precious words. 😊
Thank you so much, Laura, for having me on your blog! You are a joy to have as a friend – it was such a pleasure to spend time with you in Denver in 2019…here’s to a healthier world and the chance to get together again.
To connect with Vivian and learn more about her books: