Meet Children’s Author Karen Cioffi
Please join me in welcoming Karen Cioffi as she takes us for an awe inspiring glimpse into her writing life.
As with most writers, I starting writing from an early age. In grammar school it was short stories, then in high school and into my late twenties, poetry took over. Writing poetry for children came about in my early twenties, when my first daughter was born.
It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention. Well, I was the mother of a baby who didn’t like sleeping and it became necessary to invent or create something that would help lull her to sleep. Along with this, the ‘very little’ sleep experience prompted me to write. So, I wrote a poem, Day’s End Lullaby.
With the poem in mind, as I sang all the standard lullabies, while holding her in my arms and walking her up and down the hallway in the middle of the night, I found myself also humming a melody and then singing the poem to it. This lullaby became the one that I sang over, and over, and over.
That’s how Day’s End Lullaby came about. And, it became the family lullaby right on through to my grandchildren.
But, as far as writing, there was a long, long pause. As a mother and wife, my days seemed to blur into each other. Then, when my children were three and seven, I needed to go to work. I did housecleaning for a couple of years until both my children were in school the full day. Then, I got a full-charge bookkeeping position and went to college at night for accounting.
I eventually became an assistant controller for a manufacturing company, but had to give up accounting due to Multiple Sclerosis. This created the opportunity to write again, and when my first grandson was born, my younger daughter urged me to turn Day’s End Lullaby into a children’s bedtime picture book.
It took several months to get the book into shape, doing my own illustrations. But, being a newbie I didn’t really know what a polished book was. And, I didn’t realize that unless you’re a professional illustrator you should never, no never, do your own illustrations.
While I had some talent in drawing, my ‘people’ always lacked an ‘aliveness.’ But, again, I was too new to realize doing my own illustrations would be a disservice to the book.
After many, many months of submissions and rejections, I decided to go the self-publishing route. I carefully analyzed a few PODs and vanity presses and decided on BookSurge, which is now CreateSpace. And, in late summer or fall of 2008, Day’s End Lullaby was published.
From that point I was hooked again and started taking children’s writing instruction and joined the Children Writer’s Coaching Club, which morphed into the Working Writers Club to encompass a wider range of writing genres and freelance writing. In addition, I attended all the free and some paid online conferences and workshops on writing and writing for children. I also joined a critique group.
Since then, I’ve gone into ghostwriting, freelance writing, and marketing. I’m also an editor with 4RV Publishing and a Writing Children’ s Fiction instructor with the Long Story Short School of Writing.
Learning the ‘writing for children’ ropes, and continuing to do so, last year I hired an illustrator to create new interior illustrations and a cover illustration for Day’s End Lullaby. He did an excellent job and I’m thrilled to be touring it for the first time since the revisions.
Karen it was great getting to know you more! Thanks so much for being here on my blog today!
Please Follow Day 2 of Karen Cioffi’s Virtual Book Tour at: http://mayrassecretbookcase.com/