Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m a newly published author but have been at the writing game for years. I began my professional writing career in 2006, when I started as an editor at SELF Magazine. Since then, I have contributed to national magazines and online publications including Cosmopolitan, Parents, Glamour, Bloomberg Business Week, ESPN.com, Marie Claire and more. I am also a senior writer and editor with Microsoft Philanthropies, sharing stories about how technology and digital skills empower people and communities. Finally, I write a family travel web site called To And Fro Fam, where I share kid-friendly destinations and family travel hacks.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Virtual Travel Activities for Kids was born out of my frustration from coronavirus-related stay-at-home orders. Typically, I travel a *lot*—both with my family and without them—so to say I struggled is an understatement. I resolved to figure out a way to continue traveling with my kids—in whatever way we safely could.
That’s how I came up with the idea of doing virtual travel as a family. The resources I found online didn’t offer enough creativity, flexibility or opportunities for child-led learning, so I began to craft my own. We had so much fun exploring different cultures and countries from home that I wanted to ensure other families could do so, too!
I also knew that my audience (time-strapped parents) were running out of ideas of things to do with their kids during a protracted quarantine. They were also struggling with the abrupt transition to distance learning or homeschooling. I knew Virtual Travel Activities for Kids could help them on both fronts.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
It’s probably not that unusual, but I *must* have a pot of black tea while I write. I drink tea all day long!
Also, I wrote Virtual Travel Activities for Kids in just 25 days. I woke up early every dang morning and wrote from 5-7am, before my kids got up.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I’m most influenced by magazine writing. I love the conversational tone, succinct advice and the laser focus on making the subject matter relevant to readers.
What are you working on now?
I’m finishing building an online course helping parents take fun family road trips.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I created an email group in gmail with about 70 people who have volunteered to champion my book. I emailed them leading up to the publication date of Virtual Travel Activities for Kids and afterward, sharing a reviewer’s PDF of the book and asking for reviews on Amazon. These champions have also shared my book on their social media channels, creating organic momentum to propel sales, excitement and awareness.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write first, then edit. Don’t start by editing what you wrote the previous day. It’s ok if you write crap—just keep writing.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Progress over perfection. -Marie Forleo
What are you reading now?
A lot! I’m re-reading the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini; So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo; Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo; Instant Credibility Online by John Weiler; and High Profit Secrets by Anita Plak Semprimoznik.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Words, words and more words! I’m continuing my freelance writing for Microsoft, Nike and other clients while building out my online course offerings through To And Fro Fam. I have a follow-up book in mind, too, but need a little breather after getting Virtual Travel Activities for Kids from page 1 of the first draft to live on Amazon in less than 3 months!
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O’Shea is a young reader’s novel set in Ireland. I’ve read it probably 20 times, and it’s like my comfort blanket: It always makes me feel better.
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer is a masterful example of how nonfiction can be just as suspenseful as fiction. It was one of the first books I read that helped me realize you can apply the techniques of fiction to nonfiction. Also, I imagine reading about Everest while on a desert island would be refreshing!
You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero would inspire me to not give up. With her encouraging words, I’d persevere and figure out a way to get off that island!