Alinka Rutkowska was born a writer but made a business woman. After several years of corporate life she finally got it that she needs to change everything and left for a solo trip around the world. That’s when she realized that her passion for travel and writing was too large to be kept at bay. Her first children’s book came to life after she met the love of her life on her trip and decided she wanted to be a mother. Maya & Filippo Make Friends in Auckland is a a labor of love for adventure, children and a positive outlook. Alinka is now a full time, five star Readers’ Favorite Children’s Book Author. She cruises around the world with her husband and daughter and creates unique adventures based on the ports she visits and the positive attitude she wants to convey.
What was your inspiration for Maya & Filippo Make Friends in Auckland?
My travels and my life philosophy. Auckland (the capital of New Zealand) will always be a special place for me. I took a cruise from Auckland to Sydney at the very beginning of my trip around the world in 2011. I was alone on the other side of the planet so I did a lot of observing and thinking. I noticed that the more positive I was, the better experiences I had. It turned out that I met my husband on that cruise! This philosophy is the basis of my book. While the two characters — Maya & Filippo — discover this law for themselves, they also see Auckland — all the most important sights!
What do you hope readers will get from your book?
I hope readers will get inspired and will start to question the status quo. I hope they will want to experiment and check how this law works for themselves. Have you noticed that when you complain you tend to attract other complainers? And when you’re cheerful and positive, usually other happy people join you. In other words,“birds of a feather flock together.” I also hope that children will discover little travelers in themselves, that they will want to go and explore different places, meet different people, experience different things.
Many writers experience a vague anxiety before they sit down to right. Can you relate to this?
Yes. A picture book is only about 1000 words and I write it in one go. That’s why I get a little nervous before I start. That first draft is what all future edits will be based on. Then the book undergoes professional copy-editing. Then the illustrator will create the pictures — based on my words! Then another one will color them. Then the graphic designer will put the book together. It can get quite overwhelming when I think about all the work that will be involved after I’m done with the first draft. That’s why I always find a calm moment and make sure that I’m centered and clear minded before I write.
Do you have a writing schedule? Are you disciplined?
Yes and yes. My writing schedule — whenever my daughter is asleep. That’s when I know that I can write. Being undisturbed is very important to me — for the flow of ideas. I always have the main concept of the book in mind before I start writing but some things just come out as I type. And I can’t do it if I need to tend to my daughter every five minutes! I am and always have been very disciplined. My dad always laughed at me when I was at school that I’m like a tank — when I get something in my head, I plan the execution and I go for it. Not long ago, I decided to write one blog post per day and I am very consistent about it. Discipline has always been one of the keys to my success.
How do you celebrate the completion of a book?
With a glass of bubbly, of course! I think it’s very important to celebrate your successes. For Maya & Filippo Make Friends in Auckland, we had a party for children and their parents. There were activities for the little ones, a book reading, sandwiches, cakes, cookies, music and a lot of fun! The best thing about it was that my illustrator organized everything and had me show up as a celebrity. He also got me a local interview for the occasion, which was great.
How do you define success?
This is a great question. Everybody has their own definition. We are the ones who determine how important different things are in our lives. For me success equals happiness. Yes, I would want my book to be a number one Amazon bestseller. And I hope that this will happen, but should I feel miserable until then? No. You can be as happy as you allow yourself to be. I don’t think there is any external measurement of success available. Just like happiness — it’s an internal thing. I feel very happy now but it took me a while to understand how to get here.
Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about your work?
I blog daily at www.mayafilippo.com for parents, travelers and authors. Parents can find posts about the philosophy that is present in the Maya & FilippoSeries (how to deal with negative people, how to let go, what friendship is about). Travelers can find some funny articles about my travels, including cruises. My article Ten Ways You’re Offending Italians Without Even Knowing has been very popular. Authors can find relevant information on crowdfunding (I crowdfunded this book series), blogging and book marketing.
Where is your book available?
Maya & Filippo Make Friends in Auckland is available on Amazon and in any major book store. I’m also very active in promoting this book to libraries, book stores and tourist centers in Auckland and I will soon be able to announce that you can get it there. There’s one more thing and this one is huge — it might still be confidential and I’m not sure if I can tell, but one of the big cruise lines will be carrying my titles in their on board boutiques. That’s a dream come true! (You know – for me :))