Tara Lazar: Mother, Author, & Blogger Extraordinaire

 

 

Back in 2009, Tara Lazar posted a review of Otto Grows Down on her blog, Writing for Children While Raising Them. Her review was so beautifully written and so enthusiastic that I immediately got in touch with her and we’ve been friends ever since. We critiqued each other’s manuscripts, commiserated with each other’s personal and professional struggles, and shared news and publishing industry gossip.

At the time, Tara had yet to have a story accepted for publication. Now, I’m thrilled to report, she has three! The Monstore will be published next June by Aladdin/Simon & Schuster. They will also publish I Thought This Was A Bear Book in 2014, and that year will also see the publication of Little Red Gliding Hood by Random House.

I admire how Tara has accomplished all this while raising two young daughters as well as writing and managing one of the premiere kidlit blogs on the Internet. She is my hero!

So check out Tara’s blog. This week she features an interview with me and is also giving away a copy of Crashing Eden. I can’t wait to see Tara’s books in print!

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My Son; My Muse

As a baby, my son was high maintenance. I stayed home with Ollie for the first couple of years and he always demanded my full attention.

At the time of his birth, I was preparing to record a CD of my own piano compositions. Ollie, however, had other plans for me. My job was to entertain him, and he made it clear that this did not include playing piano. The only time available to practice was during his naps, but I didn’t want to wake him.

So I canceled the hours I’d booked at the recording studio and shifted from playing music to writing fiction. Since it was a quiet activity, I could write during my son’s naps and in the evenings after he went to bed.

I wrote a comic mystery novel, titled Soup to Nuts, which I never managed to publish. But my writing continued to improve.

By the time Ollie was five, I’d read him hundreds of picture books. I didn’t care for most of them, and decided I could do better. So I began writing for children, and in 2009 my debut picture book—Otto Grows Down—was published by Sterling.

As Ollie aged, I started writing for older kids. He had an incredible imagination and became something of a writing partner. He supplied me with ideas and gave me invaluable feedback on my stories. He was even a good editor.

When Ollie was eleven, I began working on a young adult novel. Being precocious, he was already reading some YA novels himself. Ollie helped me construct the plot, develop characters, and refine the manuscript. The result, Crashing Eden, has been released by Solstice Publishing. I dedicated the book to Ollie. In truth, his name should accompany mine on the cover.

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