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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Valerie Bolling

author Valerie Bolling and her book Ride, Roll, Run

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? Writing is important for the world because we all need to tell our stories so that children have a multitude of diverse literature – on a variety of topics and about people from all cultures –to read. Children need to feel at home in a book, and that means seeing themselves and knowing they matter. Children also need to understand and appreciate those who are different from themselves. Writing is a way for all of us to self-reflect, make sense of our world, and share our thoughts and experiences with others.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? I think the best remedy for writer’s block is to be open to ideas at all times. When something occurs to me, I write it down. I have two writing folders –- one contains completed drafts and all of their revisions; the other is filled with ideas for stories and starts to stories or very rough drafts of stories. If I’m looking for a story idea, I consult those files. The best way to cure writer’s block, however, is to write (even when you think you don’t know what to write – words will eventually come) … and read. The more you do both of those, the more ideas will enter your mind. Also, interact with people and enjoy life – you’ll gain ideas in conversations and while engaging in activities.

What is your favorite time to write? Any time is a good time for me to write. Whenever I have the inspiration and/or time, I write. I reserve blocks of time on the weekend, and I can even write in the car during long trips while my husband is driving.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? If you are passionate about writing, keep doing it. You shouldn’t write just to get published. You should write because it feeds your soul, as it does mine.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? The fact that we’re now doing things virtually opens up numerous possibilities for writers, which is exciting. Authors can travel around the country, the world, and connect with readers who they previously wouldn’t have. My debut, LET’S DANCE!, was released in March 2020, so the events I did were virtual. People attended from all over, including Canada, Scotland, India, and the Bahamas! In addition to connecting with readers, I’ve met so many writers, virtually. The writing community on Twitter and in private Facebook groups is amazing! I’ve learned so much from others and been able to share my experiences and tips, too. I also teach picture book writing classes, virtually, and have had students from across the U.S. and even one from Guyana. If anything positive came out of the pandemic, it’s that we can connect virtually. While it’s wonderful to attend conferences and events in person, it’s great to have the virtual option for those who are unable to travel or prefer not to do so.

Valerie Bolling’s Ride, Roll, Run: Let’s Have Some Fun, illustrated by Sabrena Khadija, is out now with ‎ Abrams Appleseed.