I'm delighted to welcome Robert Vescio to Books for Little Hands.
Robert Vescio likes to write picture books, chapter books and short stories for children. His goal as a children’s author is to inspire, encourage and challenge children to dream big. And remember to Believe in yourself!!
When did you first know that you wanted to be a children's author?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, even way back in high school.I received a number of Literacy Awards in English for story and poem writing and many of my works were published in the school’s yearbooks. I was also actively involved in the production of the school’s newspaper and school magazine. But since leaving high school, I never believed in myself enough to actually continue writing.
It wasn’t until I left fulltime work in 2007, to become a stay-at-home dad, that I began to take writing more seriously. I had a great excuse to spend hours in the children’s section of bookstores. The love of reading books made it all the more easier for me to delve into the world of picture book writing.
What was your process to publication like? Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
I started writing children’s stories about five years ago. I think I always knew that someday I would be writing my own books but I just didn’t know when.It took 2 and a half years to get my first picture book accepted by a traditional publisher. I’m living proof that the good old slush pile really does work. I often wondered if I would ever get published. It’s very competitive out there and you can wait a very long time before receiving a reply. So you need lots of patience and perseverance. If you stick it out, it will pay off. Just remember NEVER GIVE UP!
I remember that day when I received my first acceptance – my heart skipped a beat! It was a great feeling.
Writing picture books isn’t easy as it looks. You have to learn to tell a story with very few words in a short time frame. I write many drafts before I’m happy with how it finally reads and flows.
Tell us about your picture books.
I wrote my picture book No Matter Who We’re With (illustrated by Cheri Scholtenand published by IP Kidz) released March, 2013 following my separation in 2008. The book is a reassuring story about the lives of two children whose parents are separated. Even though the parents live apart, one thing is certain: they are always loved.
This story helps children come to terms with the separation of their parents, and shows the unconditional love and security children can feel with each parent, no matter where they live.
My other picture book Marlo Can Fly (illustrated by Sandra Temple and published by Wombat Books) will be released in June, 2013 and is an entertaining story about a magpie who doesn't conform to expectations. Marlo doesn't want to fly and would rather try different ways. However, Marlo proves that she can put aside her wishes when it’s important. A fun children’s book, featuring Australian animals, that encourages children to explore and find their place in
What inspires your writing?
My children, most definitely. A lot of my creative ideas come from observing them. All I have to do is to observe them and the ideas start rolling in. There is a lot of humour and I enjoy looking for stories from their every day experiences.
What's the best part about being an author?
Sharing my stories with children of all ages. I love to tell a good yarn. Writing for children is a genre that I really enjoy. I love children’s picture books and the way they express emotions and ideas in simple ways. And I love reading them to my children.
Do you visit schools and if so, what tips do you have to keeping kids engaged?
Yes, I enjoy visiting schools and sharing my stories with the students. There’s nothing more satisfying for an author, than seeing the smiles on children’s faces. It’s a great feeling knowing that I’m doing something wonderful for them. The students are curious and eager and ask great questions.
Also, I like to use props during my presentation, when possible. Props add an element of fun and enhance the atmosphere of the talk.
I have an early reader chapter book Hopscotch Showdown (published by Jelli-Beanz Publishing) due to be released in October, 2013. I’m really excited about this project. It’s been an eventful year and I hope the ride doesn’t stop here.