Home > Writing and Poetry > Monday’s Interview With Lori Calabrese

Monday’s Interview With Lori Calabrese

Good morning, everyone. Today we have with us the award-winning writer, Lori Calabrese.


Claudsy: I’m so glad that you could join us, Lori. Your career, I know, is a busy one. I’d like to begin by asking you how long you’ve been in this game and why you started playing? What did you hope to achieve?

Lori: Thanks so much for having me, Claudsy! I definitely keep busy—there’s no mistaking that! But being a former TV producer, I guess I just have it instilled in me to go, go, go! I loved the intensity of live television, the deadlines and the adrenaline, so when I decided to be a stay-at-home mom, I needed something to keep me thinking.

I’ve read tons of stories to my two boys and was inspired to write my own. I’ve only been doing this for two years, but I’m addicted. I’ve honed my writing skills at The Institute of Children’s Literature and I’m a member of SCBWI.

When I started playing two years ago, my goal was (and still is) to write one of the best books a child can read. That’s why when I hear that a parent has enjoyed reading one of my stories with their children, I’m elated and it’s the best motivator for me to write more.

Claudsy: The announcement went out that your book won the DFP’s 2009 Best Children’s Book Award. How does it feel to have such an honor thrust upon you?

Lori: It was definitely an honor to hear that my book, “The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade,” won DFP’s 2009 Best Children’s Book Award. Especially since the honor also came along with a publishing contract!

 … I’ve quickly learned that this is a tough business to break into, and I’ve received my fair share of rejections (even on this manuscript!) just like everyone else. “The Bug” means a lot to me as it was the first idea that popped into my head, was reworked for over a year and is now being transformed into a children’s book. The whole ride has been exciting.

Claudsy: On top of that you’ve been chosen as an Examiner for National Children’s Books. How did that come about? And, for our readers, what exactly does an Examiner do?

Lori: Examiner.com is a pretty new venture that employs numerous writers on various topics—national and local. An Examiner writes articles on their topic and posts them online at the Examiner.com/ site.

I had been blogging about children’s books for two years and loved it, so I decided to apply to be an Examiner and was signed on. It’s awesome because it gives me another avenue to discuss children’s books, and share book reviews and the latest news in the world of children’s literature.

Claudsy: That’s got to eat into your private time. With your website and your various writer’s communities, you must juggle obligations very well in order to find the time to write. After all, you have dozens of stories out in magazines. How do you manage that?

Lori: I have absolutely no idea. What’s funny is that at the end of the day, I usually feel as though I didn’t accomplish what I wanted to—there are only so many hours in the day.

My husband will tell you I’m on the computer 12 hours a day. I don’t think it’s that much, but, somehow, it all comes together—usually through late nights when everyone’s sleeping.

Claudsy: How much of your writing inspiration comes from the everyday antics of real children, either your own or those of friends?

Lori: All of my writing inspiration comes from my two boys. In fact, the idea for “The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade” came to me when one of my sons had the flu. When everyone asked how he was doing, I would say, “He caught the bug.”

It made me stop and wonder why we say (that)… when we’re sick. Something clicked and “The Bug” was born.

Claudsy: If you started your career again, what would do differently, if anything and why?

Lori: You live and you learn and everything you do stems from experience. I don’t know what I would do differently. I always say after the fact that I wished I did this or didn’t do that, but the truth is everything I’ve done so far has gotten me to this point and I definitely look forward to the road ahead.

Claudsy: Once in a while I throw in an off-the-wall question. Here’s one for you. Which of our five senses do you think tells the reader the most in a story and which do you utilize more than any other?

Lori: Obviously, you need all five senses to make an exciting story. But I think I always tend to lean toward sight. Your words need to paint a descriptive scene, so the reader can visualize what’s happening.

Claudsy: Have you ever written and submitted a piece thinking it was just great, and then a few days later regretted having sent it? Why?

Lori: I think when I first started, I was like every other anxious writer who couldn’t wait to send out their work and probably submitted a story or two that wasn’t quite ready. Only months later, did I finally realize how much stronger the story could be with dozens of revisions.

Claudsy: What would be your most important piece of advice to a new writer coming onto the playing field of writing?

Lori: Learn as much as you can about the business before diving in. There’s a wealth of free information online and there are tons of books about the business of publishing and the craft of writing. Learn about the submissions process, study publishers’ websites, and read as many books as you can similar to the ones you hope to write. Visit the writers page on my website for a few of my favorite tips at: ( http://loricalabrese.com/writers/) and sign up for my free monthly newsletter that shares writing tips and useful links.

Claudsy: What have you got cooking now that you’d like us to drool over?

Lori: Unfortunately, I’m not that good in the kitchen and have been known to burn a thing or two, so I don’t know if you’d drool over it!

However, if we’re talking about writing, I have a middle-grade sports novel that covers some of the good and bad in team sports. That one was a lot of fun to write and I hope I’m able to share that with readers soon.

 Claudsy: Good one, Lori. I want to thank our wonderful guest for taking the time to be with us today. Lori has fielded some odd questions and come out on top. Good for her.

Lori: Thanks so much for having me! It’s been a blast.

Short Personal Biography:

Lori Calabrese is an award-winning children’s author. Her first picture book, The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade, was named Dragonfly Publishing Inc.’s 2009 Best Children’s Book. She writes full-time for various children’s magazines, is the National Children’s Books Examiner at http://www.examiner.com/x-7597-Childrens-Books-Examiner/, where she enjoys sharing her passion for children’s books at festivals, schools and events. Visit her website to learn more, www.loricalabrese.com/ for her blog about children’s books, writing, and the latest publishing news.

Look for some of Lori’s work in SFC (Jan 2010), Appleseeds Magazine (Oct. 2009, and Focus on the Family Clubhouse Jr. (Oct. 2009). Her latest is scheduled for Oct. 2010 in Appleseeds. She also has a picture book making the publishing rounds.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve learned more than anticipated and am thankful for the opportunity. Tomorrow will be my ubiquitous commentary on some aspect of this interview.

And then, on Wednesday, I have a new writer coming in who has experience of a different kind. Her name is Meena Muro and she just might teach us all a thing or two about perspective.

Until then, a bientot,


Categories: Writing and Poetry
  1. January 18, 2010 at 12:28 am

    Some good ideas and thoughts here. And I agree wholeheartedly about surrounding ourselves with likeminded people. It really helps me keep my goals up front and center. Great interview Clauds. K-

    • claudsy
      January 20, 2010 at 11:51 pm

      Thank you Kathie. Sometimes working in this lone profession works with us and sometimes we need someone else to show us how much potential we have in this world. I think we all need to know that.

  2. January 18, 2010 at 3:19 am

    I always enjoy author interviews and Lori Calabrese’s was no exception. Thanks!

    • claudsy
      January 20, 2010 at 11:50 pm

      Thank you so much, Maureen. Please stop by and comment whenever the muse strikes. I;m glad you enjoyed the blue plate special.

  3. January 18, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Thanks so much for having me, Claudsy! I had a blast doing this interview with you!

    All the best,

    • claudsy
      January 20, 2010 at 11:48 pm

      Lori, you were such a wonderful guest and a popular one. I hope to see your book sky-rocket come spring. Keep me updated, please.

  4. January 18, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Thanks for the great interview. It was fascinating hearing about Lori’s writing journey.

    • claudsy
      January 20, 2010 at 11:47 pm

      Come back and see our writers each week, Janet. It’s always good to have others of like minds follow along or just enjoy a snack here and there.

  5. January 18, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Great interview. I enjoy getting Lori’s daily updates via email. Thanks for sharing more about your journey on publication, Lori. E 🙂

    Elysabeth Eldering
    author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS), 50-state, mystery, trivia series
    STATE OF WILDERNESS, now available
    STATE OF QUARRIES, now available
    STATE OF RESERVATIONS, coming soon
    STATE OF ALTITUDE, coming soon
    STATE OF SUCCESSION, coming summer 2010

    • January 20, 2010 at 8:04 am

      Elysabeth, thanks for posting your book successes in your signature. I look forward to checking these out along with my children.


    • claudsy
      January 20, 2010 at 11:46 pm

      I’m glad that you enjoyed the offering so generously served up my Lori. Come back any tiime and sit a spell.

  6. January 18, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Thanks to both Janet and Elysabeth for their kind comments! Thanks for taking time out of your day to read my interview–your support means so much! 🙂


  7. January 20, 2010 at 8:03 am


    It is a pleasure to meet you. One learns something new everyday. Your enthusiasm for Children’s Writing shines through with every word your say. I will definitely check out “The Bug” with my children this weekend.

    Claudsy, good job again on a splendid interview. You continue to reveal the nuances of writing through the various interviews you are doing.


  8. January 21, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    WOW! great interview. Lori is such a cool and interesting person!

  9. February 19, 2010 at 8:48 am

    Hi Claudys and Lori:

    Fantastic interview! I’ve enjoyed watching Lori’s writing career explode over the last few years and continue to do so. You go girl! Continue with your momentum!

    Warm regards,

  1. January 18, 2010 at 9:27 am
  2. March 4, 2010 at 12:22 am

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