Spotlight On: Author Lydia Lukidis

Black Rabbit Bolt Books

Welcome to Black Rabbit Books' Author Spotlight! This month, we're sharing an interview with Lydia Lukidis. Lydia is the author of three titles from the new Bolt series Birds of Prey and two from our Spooky Spots series. We've loved working with her and are excited for you to learn more about Lydia in this interview.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself!
A: My first love has always been writing! I began writing poetry at age 6, short stories by age 8, and my first novel by age 12. Although, I also gravitated towards science and studied that as well. Cut to today, I'm a professional writer and I often choose STEM related topics. Throughout the years, I learned that no knowledge is ever lost. I keep following my passions and often incorporate them into my writing.

Q: What's been your favorite part about working with Black Rabbit Books?
A: I remember my first contract with Black Rabbit Books because I was so excited! I love writing nonfiction simply because I'm both curious and mesmerized by the world we live in. I've been lucky that my Black Rabbit Books editors offered me wonderful topics. My favorites were the haunted hotels and haunted mansions series. I went very deep into the research. I found it utterly fascinating but I confess I also got a little spooked out. I remember one alleged case where a cabbage with a butcher knife stuck inside started with flying and chasing guests in the house!

Q: What does your writing process look like?
A: I can sum up my writing process in one word: messy. There's always at least one moment when I feel overwhelmed by the topic, not knowing how to structure the information or which direction to go in. For me, it takes time. When I have deadline, I devote time every day to the project and move it forward in some way. As the weeks go by, the structure clarifies itself and I finally feel like there's order within the initial chaos. If you keep researching, reading, and writing, everything will eventually fall into place.

Q: Do you have any advice for kids who say they don't like to read?
A: I often give writing workshops in schools teaching children from kindergarten to the sixth grade. I usually encounter at least one student in each workshop who goes out of their way to tell me they don't like to read or aren't good at writing. I've noticed that when children feel forced to do something, they may not always want to do it. So instead of telling them how much fun reading can be, I try to show it. I continue giving my workshop, which is usually very animated because I'm passionate about books and reading. I encourage discussions and I call on students to offer their perspective. I also bring my favorite books and talk about them, then I circle back to the reluctant readers. I ask them what excites them in life and then offer suggestions for books that may be up their alley. I manage to inspire some of those students, which is the best feeling in the world. I often find it's a matter of confidence; they want to read, but feel they're not "good" at it. This is why HI-LO books are so important; they offer concepts older students will be interested in but at a lower comprehension level. Once students begin to develop their confidence, some reluctant readers turn into big readers.

Q: What inspires you to write books for kids?
A: I love kids! And I also loved being a kid. And to top if off, I have a daughter, so it's been fun to see life through her eyes. I find kids hilarious and very creative. Their sense of imagination is expansive. It's particularly fun to write for younger children because you can really play with pushing the boundaries. But I also love writing for older children where I can touch on deeper concepts. In many ways, my mind thinks like a kid, which makes writing for them second nature to me.

Q: What was your favorite book to read as a child?
A: I was a voracious reader when I was young and I had many favorites. They include anything by Roald Dahl, Judy Blume, and Beverly Cleary. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. Fudge is one of the funniest characters I've ever encountered and Judy has a way to making her characters and dialogue authentic. I saw her speak once at a writing conference, she's a master!

Q: When you're not writing, what are your favorite things to do?
A: When I'm not writing, I love spending time with my daughter! She's the light of my life. I also love reading, of course. But I have a lot of creativity within me, so I also gravitate towards activities like crafting and baking because they're so much fun. Plus, I love to travel.

Q: What would you have been if not an author?
A: I wanted to do so many things when I was younger. If I hadn't become an author, I may have been an art director of some kind. I'm always looking for ways to let my creativity sing.

Q: Why does reading excite you?
A: As a writer, reading becomes part of your job. You need to read the classics, but also, more contemporary books. You need to understand the market. Luckily, I love reading! I can say this honestly; sometimes when I'm stuck with my stories or feel unmotivated, reading revitalizes me and reignites me with inspiration. And let me tell you, while I like many books, once in a while, I find a book I LOVE. These are game changers. I re-read them often and they somehow change me as a person. One example is The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin. It's amazing!! I truly believe reading opens your heart and the horizons of your mind.

Q: What are the biggest challenges about a career in writing children's books?
A: While I love my job, the constant rejection is a struggle. You need tough skin to survive in this business and try not to take things personally. The level of competition is fierce and the constant rejection can play with your confidence. It's important to do check ins with yourself, know your worth, and accept the nature of the publishing business. If you work hard and consistently, you'll eventually get published.

Lydia Lukidis is the author of 50+ trade and educational books for children, as well as 31 e-Books. Her titles include DEEP, DEEP, DOWN: The Secret Underwater Poetry of the Mariana Trench (Capstone, 2023) and THE BROKEN BEES' NEST (Kane Press, 2019) which was nominated for a Cybils Award. A science enthusiast from a young age, she now incorporates her studies in science and her everlasting curiosity into her books.

Lydia is an active member of SCBWI, CANSCAIP, 12 x 12, and The Authors Guild. She's very involved in the kidlit community and also volunteers as a judge on Rate your Story. Another passion of hers is fostering love for children's literacy through the writing workshops she regularly offers in elementary schools. Lydia is represented by literary agent Miranda Paul from the Erin Murphy Literary Agency.