In the return of SBC’s Author Spotlight, we welcome debut children’s book author Vanessa Rodriguez, who shares what led her to writing a book and her journey as an author thus far. Get comfy and read her piece below!

My name is Vanessa Rodriguez and I’m the author of the up-and-coming children’s book A Key to Home: Unlatch the Adventure,  publishing on October 31, 2023. 

The journey I’ve been on has been filled with anxiety and excitement, but so worth it, and I’ve learned so much along the way. Ever since I learned how to write, I have dreamt of being an author. It took many years to get to this point, but I’m here, and writing about something near and dear to my heart, and for that, I’m very grateful.

At the start of this journey, I became motivated to finally fulfill my dream because of a friend of mine who stopped procrastinating and just did it. I decided to ask this friend about her process and she told me about her publisher, Priceless Publishing and suggested I set up a consultation. On her advice, first I thought of what I wanted to write about and then set up the consultation.

I learned a long time ago to write what you know, and something that I know because I experienced it is being a latch key kid myself. If you are unfamiliar with the term, a latchkey kid is a child who has a key to their home and stays at home without adult supervision for some part of the day, especially after school until a parent returns from work. Growing up in the 90’s/early 2000’s, my mother, who was a single mom, worked two jobs every day to afford the bills and taking care of two children. Unfortunately, her income still did not afford the services of a babysitter, so we ended up being home until she got back from work.

Accordingly, I decided to write a book about latch key kids, but what about them was the question. The next step I took was to find adults who were latch key kids when they were younger and interview them. In doing that I got a more rounded perspective view of other latch key kids, and certain negative emotions that appeared to be universal. It was those same emotions I felt myself, and although some people liked being home alone, most didn’t, and this inspired me greatly. As a result, I created a group of four latch key kids who are nine-year-olds. They face against different negative emotions within the four-book series, and in each book, a different negative emotion will be tackled. By writing this, I’m hoping that the latchkey kids nowadays will read my books and find solace in the solutions the children in my book find, or at least open their minds to finding their own ways to safely resolve their own negative emotions.

During this process, my friend who inspired me became my mentor; her name is Modinat Ogunnaike and she is the author of Magic Crown. She has helped me tremendously, when I was anxious for one thing or another, she calmed me down, any questions I had that I didn’t go to my publisher to ask, she answered. I bounced ideas off her and listened to her suggestions. Also, my publisher Dr. Sidjae owner of Priceless Publishing helped me take my manuscript and make it into the book that it is now. 

To my mother, without whom I would not have been able to make this happen: thank you! Your dedication as a mother truly knows no bounds. I also am so lucky to have such great support from my work moms, family, and friends.

So to recap,  the top six things I learned on my journey as an author were: 1.) to stop procrastinating; 2.) figure out what I’m going to write/write what I know; 3.) do my research; 4.) write my manuscript; 5.) find a publisher, finding someone I trust to talk about the book with/listening to the suggestions made by my publisher, though I didn’t go through with all of them, and 6.) feel blessed for all the love I receive from my family and friends.

I am looking forward to my next book. I hope you all will be too!

Stay tuned for the cover art. For more information, visit the official A Key to Home Instagram and Facebook pages.

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