I'm thrilled to welcome a LOVELY author to the blog today who co-writes gorgeous chapter books. We chat about their latest book and plans for the future!
Check it out...
Caroline Bliss Larsen edits BYU Independent Study courses by day and writes and edits novels by night. She earned a bachelor’s in English language from Brigham Young University. Her first foray into writing fiction was at age six, with a story about a goldfish named Goldeen (before Caroline had any concept of trademark or copyright). Years later, she is a coauthor in the Monster Diary/ST4 Mindfulness for Kids series. And she couldn’t be more thrilled—when she never outgrew her collection of chapter books and young adult novels, she knew she’d found both a passion and a career path.
Originally an East Coast girl, Caroline lives in Utah with her game-designer husband. To clear her head of words from time to time, she likes to Irish dance, play games, and snuggle her nieces, nephew, husband, and delightfully clingy cat, Cinder.
Title: Marvin’s Monster Diary 3: Trouble with Friends (But I Get By, Big Time), an ST4
Mindfulness Book for Kids
Authors: Dr. Raun Melmed and Caroline Bliss Larsen
Illustrator: Arief Kriembonga
Publication: April 14, 2020
Check out their other books here!
Marvin's Monster Diary 2: ADHD Emotion Explosion
Marvin's Monster Diary: ADHD Attacks!
Harriet's Monster Diary: Awfully Anxious
Timmy's Monster Diary: Screen Time Stress
Who are you and what do you write?
I'm Caroline Bliss Larsen (-line, like "sweet Caroline"). I'm a word nerd: author, editor, language enthusiast, book hoarder, and meme appreciator. I'm a day dreamer, night dreamer, slow eater, and tender-hearted lover of all things soft. (Sounds like a country song.) I'm casually curious about lots of subjects. I was raised on the East Coast of the United States and am now a transplant in the Rocky Mountains, USA. So I like greenery AND rocks/desert/mountains.
I cowrite (with Dr. Raun Melmed) illustrated chapter books for kids to help them deal with ADHD and associated issues using mindfulness, as part of the Monster Diary/ST4 Mindfulness Books for Kids series. I'm also interested in writing young adult and other middle grade fiction, as well as picture books. I've got a young adult natural-disaster novel in progress; a YA contemporary, YA fantasy, and picture book all in very early stages; and several other book ideas knocking around in my brain and in my phone's notepad. I'm also in the middle of reading maybe ten books. Perhaps researching and writing about ADHD is good for me...
Where and when and how did the writing life begin for you?
The first story I can remember writing was called Goldeen the Goldfish, written and illustrated at a plastic Fisher Price desk when I was six, back before I had any concept of copyright or trademark. It was about two goldfish friends who go shopping for party dresses. My fiction has gotten marginally better since.
How has the journey to this point been? Can you give us a basic rundown?
For me, getting a book published happened rather unexpectedly. I began seriously studying and pursuing the book publishing market when I was in college, where I studied editing, literature, and linguistics. I've worked as an editor in different fields, but my heart is always looking to books and fiction. My intention has always been to be an editor to support my author habit, so that's how I found myself freelance editing a book called Harriet's Monster Diary: Awfully Anxious, a chapter book about a monster girl with anxiety, for the publisher Familius. I worked with Dr. Raun Melmed and his coauthor at the time, and that was a great experience. A couple months later, Familius publisher Christopher Robbins reached out to me about coauthoring the next Monster Diary book with Raun, and I eagerly accepted! Raun and I have now coauthored Marvin's Monster Diary 2: ADHD Emotion Explosion and our latest release, Marvin's Monster Diary 3: Trouble with Friends. So there are currently five published books in the Monster Diary series, two of which I coauthored—and we're working on more to come! It's been a really fun, exhilarating, humbling experience writing and promoting these books, and Raun is a great publishing partner. He's creative and accomplished and kind, and our brainstorming sessions always produce great stuff.
What's been the hardest part of your writing/publishing experience so far? And the most enjoyable?
The hardest part for me has been the promotion. I consider myself a friendly introvert—so I love good conversation in small, informal groups, but tell me to present and be interesting on a stage, at a podium, in front of a camera, or for a recording, and I struggle. Not to mention that book marketing in general is a complex animal—ask any author. Thankfully, Raun and I have an absolutely amazing publicist, Kate Farrell, who runs this marathon along with us and does SO much behind the scenes to support us. I get tired just thinking about what her job must be like!
One of the most enjoyable and rewarding parts is seeing the illustrations for the first time, all laid out with our story. Our illustrator, Arief Kriembonga, visually brings the characters and situations to life in such cute and hilarious ways. I always find myself giggling excitedly when I read through the galley for the first time.
Would you go back and change anything?
I'm a terrible procrastinator. I'm trying to get better about that, but I'm sure I would have saved myself a lot of unnecessary stress if I weren't. So I'd be tempted to somehow convince past-me to get on top of things earlier. But then again, we've all seen time-travel movies and know how that always turns out...
Where would you like to be in 5 years time? And 10? Or, what are your plans for the future?
I would like to be editing more books, hopefully in a full-time capacity, and I'd love to have several more ST4 books and hopefully other books out too!
What's one piece of advice you'd give to new writers just starting out?
Do your homework, make friends with other writers and publishing people, be kind, and be humble enough to be wrong sometimes. And no matter what anyone else says, you don't have to write every day to be a "real" writer. Oops, accidentally gave five pieces of advice. :)
And most importantly...
Ketchup or Mayo? Both, mixed together—it's called fry sauce where I live in Utah, USA. :)
Night or Day? Hmm, I suppose daytime, though I love things about both!
Inside or Outside? I have to say outdoors, even though I spend more time indoors...
Dogs or Cats? Cats!
Twitter or Facebook? Depends on the day...
Ebook or Paperback? Paperback
Sun or Rain? Rain
Keyboard or Pencil & Notebook? Keyboard
Comedy or Drama? Comedy
Chips or Chocolate? Chocolate
Want to guest blog or be interviewed? Got a cover reveal or book coming out?
Get in touch today!