Welcome to the RPLA Showcase
Each year at the Royal Palm Literary Award Banquet, authors experience the joy of earning accolades for all the hard work that is often done in the privacy of the home with little to no recognition. Our goal is to showcase the best of the best at the 2015 Royal Palm Literary Awards and provide First Place winners with a well-deserved spotlight. Not only are we recognizing extraordinary talent, but we’re giving readers an opportunity to sample excerpts from the winning stories.
2015 Unpublished Children’s Picture Book
Put Away Your Phone by Tracy Bryan
Tracy Bryan won First Place in the Unpublished Children’s Picture Book category. In Put Away Your Phone, Emma is an eight-year-old girl who doesn’t understand why grown-ups are always looking into their phones or talking on them! Follow Emma as she counts cellphones all through the zoo.
Click the link to read a sample:
Q & A with Tracy Bryan
Q: Where do you get your story ideas?
A: About three years ago, my family moved to Central Florida. We live in a unique aviation community that has it’s own runway, taxiways and you can park your airplane in a hangar that sits right beside your home. It was pretty much at this time that I began my writing journey. At first I wrote simple stories for kids about flight and how aircraft works. I like to think that as my bookshelf grew with works that I had self-published, so did the depth of my writing. I began writing non-fiction Early Readers for kids and these books dealt with social and emotional issues that affect kids and their families. Eventually I evolved into writing fiction picture books and Put Away Your Phone! was my first. There isn’t a day that goes by where I’m stuck for ideas about what would make a great picture book. If only I had more time…
Q: Anything in particular about your award-winning RPLA entry that you’d like to share?
A: It’s published! The past year has been incredibly exciting to self-publish Put Away Your Phone! From manuscript, final editing and critiquing to seeking out an illustrator and collaborating with him, pre-marketing, up until the last stages of publishing it, the whole process has been a whirlwind! I have learned so much and have a few rookie scars, but I can’t wait to do it all over again with my next picture book!
Q: Who do you credit with inspiring your writing?
A: My family mostly. A lot of my first books were inspired by my kids. Currently, I write fiction picture books that have traditional illustrations and these are inspired by all the people in my life and the world around me that I notice. I love to tackle diverse and sensitive topics that most authors shy away from. I like to be the voice of kids. Kids that can’t or don’t know how to speak for themselves but feel the weight of the somewhat crazy world on their shoulders, and aren’t quite sure what to do about it. As a kind of messed up kid myself, I found solitude and guidance in my books. I hope to provide this for contemporary children so that they can have a friend in my book when they open it.
Q: Any tips for new writers?
A: I think the last thing that any writer needs is more advice on how to write. However, I do think that it’s valuable for every writer to have a mentor though and someone(s) to look up to and be inspired by. If I was this person for a new writer, I would simply say, “listen intently to the voices in your head and follow your heart. Your keyboard will do the rest!”