Welcome to my book blog, Blissfully Bookish. For this Q & A, please welcome an awesome author-illustrator who will no doubt create amazing work- Kim-Hoa. Oh, and did I mention this is a Fall Writing Frenzy competition success story?! Plus, Kim-Hoa is the kindest person, AND she’s my agency sister at EMLA! For more information on the competition that Kaitlyn Sanchez, literary agent at Context Literary Agency, and I co-host, click HERE. And if you participated in the competition yourself, feel free to comment below and share with us.
Kim-Hoa, can you please share your journey during the Fall Writing Frenzy competition that lead to a published book?
I joined the kidlit community during Fall of 2020. I often saw writing competitions, but I felt shy to participate. After seeing writing samples from friends who competed, I was inspired to try. Scrolling through the photos posted on the competition page, I found one that clicked with me – The Moon Festival. I am thankful to my critique partners who helped me with revisions and encouragement.
I was so shocked when I saw the list of winners. I was even more surprised to find out that Erin Siu selected me. I sent her my dummy and we had an online meeting. I was busy taking notes, trying to remember everything, when Erin said that she would love to work with me even though I wasn’t agented yet. I was so happy and will always be grateful for Erin for believing in my story.
I am thankful for Fall Writing Frenzy because it gave me the opportunity to meet Erin and get a book deal. Around the same time, I also received a heart from Miranda Paul of EMLA during PBPitch hosted by Debra Shumaker and PJ McIlvaine. I am lucky to have Miranda as my agent and Erin as my first editor. Things just fell into place at the right time for me during that autumn season. So, thank you, Lydia and Kaitlyn for everything!
How long have you been participating in kidlit competitions?
2021’s Fall Writing Frenzy was my first kidlit competition. I haven’t participated in any since. I get too nervous. Hopefully, I can be inspired to try again. Good luck, writing friends! Take advantage of all competitions out there. Those critique prizes are so helpful.
Where did you derive inspiration for A GIFT FOR NAI NAI?
The story is inspired by my grandma whom I am grateful to have been able to crochet hats for. I do not see picture books involving crochet, so this also inspired me to write one.
What is the book about?
A GIFT FOR NAI NAI celebrates the special bond between Lyn Lyn and her grandma. Lyn Lyn is determined to crochet her first hat—a special gift for a friend’s birthday—and frequently calls upon her Nai Nai for help while making it.
What would you say to other authors struggling in the querying trenches?
Querying was the most difficult part of the journey for me. It is important to have great critique partners who understand you and your vision. It is okay if you don’t agree with the notes they give you. Those ideas might generate other stories for you later on. Take advantage of all the writing competitions or the critique giveaways out there. You can win prizes that will help open doors for you. Keep writing the stories of your heart. Connect with those on Twitter who have similar interests as you. Support others and help uplift each other. Your comment or like may mean so much to someone. And when you feel down, those special people will help encourage you back. I hope your book dream comes true.
Just for fun, if you had to pick an animal, which one would you be?
I would be a panda because it is my favorite animal. I wouldn’t mind being able to eat all day and sleep too haha…
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