Alinka Rutkowska writes children’s picture books. I read her newest, award-winning book, Maya & Filippo Visit a Glacier. I am very intrigued with her work. I am always looking to meet new children’s authors. Alinka is very passionate about producing quality books.
Congratulations on the release of your newest book, Maya & Filippo Visit a Glacier. Thank you for doing this interview, and I am wishing you great success in your future endeavors.
What do you want to know? My favorite food is crab bisque followed by a Louisiana seafood pot. That’s a dish I recently discovered and it’s basically all kinds of food thrown in a pot and mixed together. Are you curious what type of stuff goes in the pot? It’s potatoes, Polish sausage, clams, mussels and crab. I love to have it with a glass of Nobilo wine and finish it all off with some nice Belgian dark chocolate.
It’s funny that I list this as my favorite dish, since a couple of years ago I couldn’t even look at seafood. But extensive travel around the world, living by the sea and on cruise ships helped me appreciate food coming from water and drink coming from grapes…
I’ve always loved chocolate – maybe because my parents let me have my first sweets at the age of seven!
You asked me to tell you about myself, but to truly know an author, you have to read her books. In fact, if you do read my books, you will find that in Maya & Filippo Visit a Glacier, the children have crab for lunch and chocolate appears pretty much constantly throughout my book series. Now you know why.
What inspired you to become a writer?
Have you ever seen one of those freaks who goes to the book store, picks up a book, opens it at a random page and smells it? That’s me. I’ve always revered the written word. I used to have a book of poems of my own creation when I was eight (I’m sure it’s pretty horrible.)
I was the founder of the school newspaper and I would write the articles, get my peers to write some more, take their hand-written posts and transfer them into my computer (that’s how I learnt to type really quickly). I’d then do the layout, printing, binding and distribution. Seeing my name on the front page of the paper gave me an incredible rush. And I still feel that each time a new book of mine is released.
Another thing is that my parents are both scientists and would publish academic papers and books since I remember. So I was raised with this awareness that writing and publishing is very achievable.
Finally the idea that when you publish something it will be available for people to read for all eternity (OK – as long as paper and reading devices exist) makes me go bananas!
How long did it take you to acquire the skills to become a writer?
I keep learning and I will never be done. While I enjoy seeing my books published, selling well and getting awards I keep improving both my writing skills and my marketing skills.
I invest a lot of my royalties in courses on how to get more and better books out there. It’s my passion.
How many books have you written?
I have 10 children’s books out and a couple of non-fiction titles but the children’s books are what I am most passionate about.
Not so long ago I just had an idea for this one picture book. Now I have a full blown business with mailing lists, newsletters, brochures, trade fair presence, multiple awards, brick-and-mortar store presence, online presence, a foreign rights agent and strong social media presence. It’s so exciting to see a dream become reality.
Some writers go on long walks; others keep a journal, write at a café, or listen to music. What do you do for inspiration and unleashing your creativity?
Two things: discipline and meditation.
Discipline. I blog daily and this keeps my mind looking for something fresh to write about every day. I find that these posts are the basis of the newsletters I send out both to my readers and fellow authors. They are also seeds for my upcoming books.
Meditation. Before I sit down to write anything meaningful, I center myself. I have a whole meditation routine (I go through it in detail in one of my non-fiction books). This really helps me keep focused on what’s important in life.
Right now I’m working on my glass of Nobilo… just kidding. I have a vision for a brand new children’s series and I already have a couple of drafts ready. I’m now taking yet another course on picture book writing and I’m finding a lot of inspiration here. I’m experimenting with completely new writing styles and it’s a lot of fun. I’m really excited about this series and when I feel excited about a new idea hatching, I feel alive.
What I love about this business is that you can dream up your perfect book, go through the process of writing it, rewriting it, getting it critiqued, edited, polished and finally you get that first dummy copy in your hands, you can open the book at a random page and smell it…
Then comes in the marketing and I’m constantly learning in this department as well (you have to because everything changes all the time!). I make my readers (not my books) the center of my attention and I’ve been having a lot of success with this approach
Where can readers find more information about you and your books?
Come over to my virtual home at www.alinkarutkowska.com and I’ll give you a free review copy of Maya & Filippo Visit a Glacier (you know – the one with the crab…) – this will be the start of two book lovers’ journey and I’m so excited to have you on it. And if you’re an author – I have something special for you as well! See you all at www.alinkarutkowska.com.[amazon asin=149756266X&template=iframe image]