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Meet Trailblazer Laura Bullock

Today we’d like to introduce you to Laura Bullock.

Laura, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Writing has always been a passion of mine since childhood. Throughout my elementary school years and college, I had notebooks that I would fill with poems, and stories dreaming one day of becoming a published author. I did not know I would be writing children’s picture books, but I am so glad I found my niche. I am an independent author and have had the great privilege to work with some fantastic women artists that have beautifully illustrated my books.

Years ago, there was a story on the news about a newly discovered purple frog in India that lives underground and only surfaces when it rains. The story fascinated me so much, that I immediately began to think about other animals and where they live and quickly wrote a rough draft.

Fast forward many years later and, Where Do You Live, Animal Friend? became a reality. It was important to me to write a book about real animals, and the real places they live. I believe that learning and imagination can go hand in hand. If you look closely, each book I write has hidden subtleties. I was very pleasantly surprised in 2016 when it won 1st place in Writer’s Digest e-Book, Children’s Picture Book Category.

In 2017, my second book, The Traveling Javelinas, was completed. It contains some very colorful maps, highlighting parts of Arizona, including Flagstaff, that I have not seen in any other picture books. This story is based on my own experience of seeing some javelinas heading up the highway right along the edge of the road!

Both of these books have been read around the world including the countries of Portugal, England, France, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Georgia, and the Philippines, just to name a few.

The notes I have received from children who enjoy my books I count as my greatest achievement. Knowing that children around the world are learning to read through my picture books, astounds and humbles me.

I am currently working on two other picture books that focus on helping others and kindness.

Has it been a smooth road?
Early on, I sent my manuscript everywhere and was very discouraged waiting for acceptance from small to big publishing houses. My confidence fell due to complete silence and not even getting rejection letters. It took many years to refocus and push myself to become an independent author.

The catalyst for me was seeing some children’s picture books in bookstores and noting that they did not have the message, higher vocabulary, and deeper learning that I knew was in my book.

As one of my favorite authors, Beverly Cleary, has said, “If you don’t see the book you want on the shelves, write it.” So, I did.

Support from my family and friends made all the difference. For young women just starting out, believing in yourself and being confident is key. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others who can advise, mentor and help you. The biggest obstacle to overcome is figuring out what you want to do and not letting anything stop you.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
As an author of Children’s Picture Books, my focus in each book is on the words I use and the message I want to convey.

I am mindful of the fact that this brief story must not only entertain, but educate in a simple and fun way.

Every book I write contains a message of some kind from learning new things, to the importance of family, to caring for others, to showing kindness and helping others. These are life lessons that are important to share with young readers.

Which women have inspired you in your life?
My first Inspirational woman was my Mother. She was always an avid reader and books were like gold in our home. She placed a chalkboard in the kitchen and when I did not know a word, she would teach me to write it on the chalkboard and what it meant. This was all before age 5. She continued to support my writing throughout the years, and before she passed away proofread my first draft of Where Do You Live, Animal Friend?

Mrs. Johnson in 2nd grade was where the spark to write my own stories began. She had the entire class write two stories and draw pictures and she typed up the words and we entered them in the local writing fair. Having my book selected to be read aloud at the fair was the beginning of my lifetime love of writing. I must thank all of my English Teachers from High School, and specifically Mrs. Kraker in my senior year. Her sharing of her travels to Ireland inspired me to explore not only Ireland but other parts of the world. My College Professors in all my English Literature courses encouraged and solidified my desire to keep writing beyond my college years.

Most recently, my dearest friend, Sandra Auberry has inspired me both personally and professionally. She has given me permission to share her story. Last July, I went to visit her in the hospital, when unexpectedly her son Ian was born too early as a micro preemie. It was uncertain if he would survive. Her perseverance (along with the support of her husband Jay, her faith in God, family, countless friends and doctors, and nurses and the entire NICU team) gave her the strength to face the challenge of waiting for her baby to be able to go home. She has reminded me what matters most and the preciousness of and the miracle of life. After 97 days in the NICU, Ian was able to go home. Rod and I were there this July to celebrate his 1st birthday and bask in his grumpiness, silliness and year of firsts at a grand celebration. As you will see in the picture below, the first book Sandra read to Ian when he left the NICU and arrived at home was The Traveling Javelinas. Sandra said how intently he was listening as she read to him. This moment Sandra shared reading to Ian is so special and it inspires me to continue my writing for children.

All of these women encouraged me, uplifted me, and challenged me to improve as I continued writing. I am blessed to have had so many strong women support my dream of becoming an author.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
(reading book to Ian): S. Auberry, (basket of books and stuffed animal): A. Anselm

Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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