Tanya Lloyd Kyi
i. I work as a: children’s writer
ii. I do this creative work because:
I am constantly, insatiably curious, and writing for kids and teens gives me the opportunity to dive into new topics and ideas every few months. I also believe that children deserve to learn — to learn everything! — in the most interesting ways possible. Discovering new areas of science in a non-fiction book or bonding with a character in a novel should be a joy, not a homework task.
iii. Personal qualities that help me in my work are:
An inability to work with other people and a stubborn refusal to quit. Those aren’t really great qualities for other professions, are they? Fortunately for me, they’re just fine for the writing life.
iv. The greatest challenges around doing this work are:
The huge issues facing our next generation. Even in elementary school, kids are aware of things like climate change, surveillance and privacy, child poverty, and the refugee crisis. To address these issues in truthful but still hopeful ways is a constant balancing act.
v. Creative childhood hobbies:
I was the girl who walked to school while reading, because I couldn’t stand to put my book down.
vi. Other creators who inspire you:
Helaine Becker is one of my favourite children’s authors. She’s funny, engaging, and feisty all at the same time.
vii. Training that has helped me succeed in this career:
I have a writing and English degree from UVic. I also worked at a publishing house for four years after university, which gave me a good insider’s introduction to the industry. Mostly, though, training as a writer involves trying, failing, and trying again. I have a wonderful writer’s group — my fellow members make the try/fail process a little easier.
viii. A common trap that can hurt people in this career:
I think there’s an assumption that talented people succeed as writers, and the lucky ones succeed overnight. In reality, the most persistent writers succeed, and even the ones who appear to have found overnight success have usually spent years honing their craft.
ix. Some proud career moments:
Here’s the secret benefit of writing for children: every once in a while, you get to speak to crowds of cheering kids, and you feel like a rock star. Granted, you go home and do the dishes afterwards. But those short moments of rock-star-ish-ness are pretty awesome.
x. If you want to work in my field, I suggest that you:
Join or form a writer’s group, in real life or on-line. Take classes in children’s writing. Volunteer for or join organizations of children’s writers such as CANSCAIP, SCBWI, and CWILL BC. Most importantly, spend hours reading books in your genre and writing your own.
xi. A professional goal I have for the future:
As a writer, it’s easy to focus on the next goal. First you want to be published. Then you want to be published by a larger publishing house. Then you want to win awards, go on tour, or get yourself invited to New York. I’m trying to focus instead on enjoying the process of creating each book. Though I wouldn’t say no to New York…
xii. If you want to see my work, go to:
Header: Laura Clugston