Q & A: Interview with Author, Lydia Lukidis

Check out our recent conversation with successful children's author, Lydia Lukidis. In addition to writing wonderful short stories and reader's theater scripts for Super Teacher Worksheets, Lydia has had more than twenty eBooks published, and she is eagerly awaiting the release of her second book in print. In this interview, Lydia talks about her travels to China for the World Puppetry Festival, what kinds of stories children enjoy reading, and the advice she would give to youngsters who don't like to read. 

At an early age you began writing poetry and other creative writing pieces. What were your favorite topics to write about? How has that changed since you've become a published author for children?

When I was very young, I wrote poems and stories one after the other. I still have boxes of notebooks filled with my writing! At the time, I mostly wrote about my feelings and experiences. It was very personal, almost journal-like. I still write about life events and feelings, but I'm now able to see outside myself and into the perspective of the characters I create. Of course, some of my personal experiences still find their way in!

Where do you get your inspiration for your children's stories? How do you come up with memorable characters and appealing storylines?

I have a 40-page document filled with ideas! There's never a shortage in my brain. Some come out of thin air while others are inspired by things that happened to me. The trick is making these characters and stories come alive. I should mention that another great source of inspiration is reading great children's literature.

You have written several delightful reader's theater scripts for Super Teacher Worksheets. How is writing drama scripts for young audiences different from writing other kinds of children's literature?

It's different because drama scripts are usually read aloud or acted out, so the structure and wording changes. They are designed to help children read, speak, and listen. You can't put too much backstory or exposition in a drama script. It relies heavily on dialogue and action to move the story along.

What kinds of stories do children enjoy reading, from your experience?

Children seem to love adventure, things that make them laugh, and topics they can relate to. It needs to be engaging, otherwise the book gets puts down after a few pages.

How do you keep your creative juices flowing so that your storytelling method doesn't become stale or trite?

It's critical for me to constantly sharpen my writing skills. I attend many writing classes and workshops to help with this. I'm also part of a critique group and I get valuable feedback from my peers. You can't take anything personally and you need to keep writing and re-writing until it gets better! It's a lifelong pursuit.

Your creative pursuits have taken you to many far away places. Describe one of the most memorable experiences you've had abroad, and how that experience has shaped your worldview.

One of the most memorable experiences was traveling to China for the World Puppetry Festival in 2012. What an adventure! The children didn't speak English at all, and yet they were able to follow my play since it was so visual. It made me realize that all children, no matter where they come from, are essentially the same. They want to laugh and be entertained!

Lydia at the World Puppetry Festival, China 2012

What hobbies and interests do you have? Do these interests have an impact on your writing?

It's funny because my hobbies have a way of becoming my career! Reading and writing take the cake. I also watch a lot of children's television and movies with my daughter, and this generates more inspiration.

If you had the opportunity to meet any children's author, past or present, who would it be?

I think Judy Blume is one of the greatest writers of this generation. I would love to meet her and pick her brain on her artistic process. I would probably ask her many questions about her character Fudge, who just happens to be the most hilarious kid ever. That is a sign of a great author: when they can create characters who feel real.

Describe your favorite writing environment. (A coffee shop? Your kitchen table?)

I end up writing at home a lot, but then I go stir crazy! So I go to coffee shops twice a week and also malls in the winter. I've noticed that writing in public is different, and somehow inspires me more.

If you could share any piece of advice or encouragement with a child who either doesn't like to read or struggles with reading, as well as his or her parents, what would you say?

Reading opens up worlds of imagination and wonder. Learning how to read can take some time. But once you get there, there are so many amazing books out there on every topic. We have to abolish the notion that reading is "boring." On the contrary, it's a way to go on wild adventures without ever having to leave your seat!

We are so grateful to have talented authors like Lydia to write creative pieces for Super Teacher Worksheets! You can check out some of Lydia's pieces by following the links below! Please leave your feedback in the comments section below.

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