Christine Alemshah writes children’s picture books that champion innovation, music, and her bi-racial Filipino-American heritage. Her published works have appeared in Little Thoughts Press, Stories for Children, Meegenius!, and Knowonder. She is active within the kidlit writing community and maintains memberships with SCBWI, Storyteller Academy, Children’s Book Academy, Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 PB program, and two critique groups. When not writing, she enjoys singing karaoke with her husband and two daughters and escapist reading that transports her to vibrant worlds with emotionally resonant and diverse characters.
In the Media:
Question and Answer Time:
When did you decide you wanted to become a writer?
I’d like to say I always knew I wanted to be a writer, but that’s not entirely true. My first love was reading. I didn’t even know I could write my own books until the day my 4th grade teacher showed me how to write, illustrate, and bind my own picture book. My eyes grew large, and a dream was born. One day I would become a children’s book author! In 2010, I finally got serious about turning that dream into a reality. I joined SCBWI, attended classes and conferences, and had my first real story idea, ‘Iris the Colorful Spider’. Since then, I have been inspired to write many more stories for children. I look forward to sharing them with young readers.
Where do your ideas come from?
Anywhere and everywhere! Sometimes an idea will be sparked by children’s playings and sayings. Other times ideas come from dreams. Sometimes, they even come from memories from my own childhood, like eating mangoes and mochi bears in Hawaii. I try to keep a notepad … or napkin … or post-it (I love post-its!) handy to jot down ideas whenever they come.
What were your favorite books to read growing up?
I gobbled up classic picture books like Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, and Corduroy by Don Freeman, and poetry by Shel Silverstein. I loved the library and checked out every book I could from The Babysitter’s Club by Ann M. Martin to How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell, and The Anne of Green Gables and Avonlea Series by LM Montgomery.
What’s your favorite color?
Fuschia Pink … and I tend to wear it entirely too much.
What’s your favorite animal?
That is a hard one! I tend to love underdogs such as naked mole rats, the tiniest koi fish in a pond, and galapagos tortoises. I am also fond of English Bull Terriers.
I want to write a book too! How can I get it published?
That is great news! I can recommend 3 things that have helped me so far.
1) Education — Be willing to devote time and energy to learning more about the craft of writing especially in your chosen genre. What are the ins and outs of it? How do you craft it? Be willing to ask questions and be open to hearing the answers. SCBWI is a great place to start.
Finding a writer you particularly admire that offers writing courses is also especially inspiring. I’ve particularly enjoyed courses by Anastasia Suen and Maggie Stiefvater.
Another fun part of being a writer is the research (and by research, I mean reading books in the genre you hope to write in) — this will help fuel your writing prowess & feed your book-loving soul. Also, write, write, write — even if it’s just stream of consciousness journaling or creating a blog, or even playing with paragraphs in a note file. Trust me. These words count and will help you become a better writer overall.
2) Networking — Get to know other writers. Finding people who have the same goals you do is helpful and inspiring. The #kidlit community on Twitter is particularly supportive and a great place to start if you are new to using social media.
3) Perseverance — I have heard it said that the people who succeed in the writing world are those who stick around and never give up. There will be ups and downs, sometimes more downs than ups. But remember your dream and keep writing!
Want to know more? Check out my writing resources pages for more information.