The following are the words of Larissa Juliano, author of Gracie Lou. Larissa is an elementary and library teacher in upstate New York. Besides teaching, her passion in life is writing books in hopes of inspiring children to use their imagination, especially through literature. She currently has two more books in production with her trusted Archway team. You can follow Larissa on Twitter @larissasjuliano. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.
My Writing Inspiration
“I like you the way you are…but you’ll be more comfortable with your shoulder strap fastened.”
~Corduroy by Don Freeman
Every time I read this story, it brings tears to my eyes. Sweet, innocent Corduroy so desperately looking for a button, but really desiring friendship and a place to call home. Isn’t that what we are all seeking in life? Don Freeman captures the innocence of a teddy bear symbolizing a universal desire in life to feel accepted and safe.
Time and time again, I read stories and converse with my students about the author’s message…what are they trying to share between the lines? Friendship? Acceptance? Tolerance? Bravery? Overcoming Obstacles? All of the above? Think of the famous “Pigeon” books by Mo Willems… Ultimately, Pigeon is searching for empathy and someone to comfort him and listen to his needs.
This is the essence of what I try to thread into my stories, in between the lines. All the elements that make a story – a story, but infused together in a way that ultimately gives children a voice on how to make the world a better, kinder place. Through Archway Publishing, I was given this opportunity. After half a dozen notebooks filled with ideas, brainstorming sessions with my family, countless emails to agents and publishers – this deep desire and longing to put my words into print made me feel restless.
Taking the Next Step
After endless brainstorming, my notebooks were full, and I was beginning to feel jealous. Jealous that my words were not being shared when I felt so strongly that they would make my students smile. It seems selfish, but it was a clear indication to me that I was ready to take my notebooks to the next level. Thanks to an incredibly supportive husband, family and Archway Publishing team- my aspirations came true! It sounds cheesy, but there is such gratification in having your words put into print. There is such pride in seeing the shiny hardcover of your book, the spine imprinted with your name, ready for gentle fingers to turn the pages. A bedtime story on the laps of our parents never goes out of style. My Archway team understood my vision and made me realize that it was obtainable. Their support and reassurance created such a bond between us, for which I will forever be grateful.
Being a library and reading teacher gives me the wonderful privilege of sharing countless tales with hundreds of students every day. Teaching in a low-income, rural district has shown me that these very students are never given opportunities to travel outside their community. I write to inspire, connect, to tug at heartstrings, and to give children a voice. I write to satisfy my own wanderlust. My pencil is filled with endless stories, words, and destinations that transport children to wherever their imagination will let them go.
I like to sprinkle poignant quotes from literature in my work to inspirit a sense of connection between authors. Authors have such big hearts. We want…NEED… to connect with people. We need to feel like maybe the character we create on the page could be our reader; someone lonely, sad, different or stuck. We pray that our message will penetrate into their beautiful minds and let them know that it is all going to be okay. No matter what our circumstances, for a few short hours, stories can inspire us and show us that there are people out there who love us just they way we are.
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