Sunday, January 26, 2014

Interview with Educator and Author Alicia Lloyd



Alicia Lloyd is a senior at West Chester University of Pennsylvania and is working towards her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Grades Preparation (PK-4) and Special Education. She has a strong passion for working with children and loves to write! Alicia lives in Oxford, Pennsylvania surrounded by her wonderful friends and family. 


Alicia Lloyd’s monster picture book, When the Monsters are Quiet is a 1st grade reading level children's book that helps to teach phonemic awareness and reading comprehension strategies.  


What are some of the things that have influenced/inspired your writing?
I am not sure if anything recently influenced my writing. Sometimes, I would struggle with writing papers for school and would hate doing it. I learned to write with emotion- write something that people relate too. And I always save the best ideas for last. My dad always told me, “Write the ending that is going to make people think or leave a message…make it POP!” I always try to have a “popping end,” also known as a powerful ending.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? If yes, how did you ‘cure’ it?
When you write so much at one period of time, you come to a complete block. It gets frustrating sometimes. It is so much easier to sometimes walk away, take a breather, and return later. I find myself taking these steps frequently with the second book I started. If I try to force writing- I will never get the amazing, accomplished, feeling I get after writing something powerful.  


Tell us about your writing space.
I don’t have a writing space. I need my own place first, but I can’t wait to decorate it and make it comfy!


What happens before sitting down to write? (Explain your creative process.)
I get comfy, figure out where I want to sit, and wait for ideas or inspirtaiton. Sadly, some of my best papers were written only a few hours before they were due….crazy, I know!


Is there anything you'd go back and do differently now that you have been published, in regards to your writing career? 
Nothing at all! Thankfully, I’ve had an amazing experience.


Please describe to us your relationship between you and your editor. What makes an author/editor relationship a success?
Lisa Umina is a phenomenal publisher. Lisa Umina is the CEO of Halo Publishing. Since I am 22 years old, I don’t know anyone who has ever published a book before. Lisa was extremely helpful. She knew I was nervous and she made me feel comfortable asking questions to seek how the process works. The process was easier than I originally imagined and I got to be 100% involved with my book. She told me, “I am in the passenger seat and you are the driver,” this made me feel comfortable with what I was about to get into. I thought this process would be stressful and out of my reach but Lisa proved me wrong. She is awesome to work with!


What advice would you give to a new writer?
My best tip is- Please, just do it! Being a new author, I have had the best opportunity to talk to new people. I have heard so many times how people want to get their unsaid words on paper but doubt themselves. I always encourage them just to write something. “No one wants to hear about my problems and that’s the only thing I would write about,” they say. What is ironic though is that people do want to hear about problems, because a lot of people are going through the same things you are or already accomplished. You can always change perspectives. Write your experiences through a character. Writing is a beautiful freedom. It is what is on the inside and no one can tell you that you are wrong.


Tell us briefly about your recently published book and what you feel is the most important topic/sub-message you share.
This book is a friendly way for children to ease their bedtime fears. All children at one point in their lives hear unfamiliar and scary noises while trying to drift off into sleep. As soon as they get scared, they start thinking of all these scary things that can happen. The main message is just to remember that noises can just be familiar noises, like in this case, your mom going to bed. Being afraid of monsters is common however, I am hoping my book sends the message to never be afraid of them.


Use this space to tell us more about your book’s characters. Anything you want your readers to know.
The main character in my book represents my little brother, Zach. I remember him being afraid of monsters here and there, always in his space pajamas and big blue eyes! I like knowing that the adorable little boy in my story represents my brother, leaves a personal touch on my book. 


Can you share the importance of reading with your child and how you added a guide at the back of the book to help parents and educators to do just that.
Reading is a tool that you can practice over and over again and it is only going to benefit you more and more. There is no age that is appropriate to start reading to your child. You can start to read to your child from day one. It still helps them develop and grow each time they hear new vocabulary and fluency. When the Monsters are Quiet is a children’s book that is typically a first to second grade reading level; however, it comes equipped with early reading strategies and comprehension questions, in the back of the book, so parents can start working with their children at home, regardless of age. Three and four year olds are not usually proficient readers yet, but it is amazing to watch a child skim through a book and tell their own story based on pictures. I felt like reading comprehension is an important skill that I wanted to tie in with my book so children can start to learn how to retain important details of the story line. Asking your children questions before, during, and after reading is a great way to start the habit to see how they are comprehending information. Phonemic awareness is another great tool as well. This helps with enunciation. Phonemic awareness is a broad term for many things, however rhyming is usually one of the first steps to reading. I specifically pulled out words that are used in my story so children can start to notice the resemblance of rhyming. Word families are a way to boost confidence! If your child can spell the word can, they also can spell ban, fan, man, pan, tan, and ran. Start with these strategies at home with your young ones, so they can be and feel like star readers in first grade!

  


You can find out more about Alicia Lloyd, her book and World of Ink Author/Book Tour at http://tinyurl.com/mxhj8vj

Follow Alicia Lloyd on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/whenthemonstersarequiet

1 comment:

Bruce Luck said...

I love her editor. Alicia drives and Lisa Umina is in the passenger seat.