Today, author Kimberly A. Gordon Biddle joins us to answer “10 Questions” about her writing. Kimberly recently published her first picture book, LaDonna Plays Hoops. She’s a professor of Child Development at Sacramento State and has co-authored textbooks on that subject. Kimberly received Excellence in Education and Career Achievement awards from her alma maters: Stanford University and University of Redlands, respectively.
LC: Welcome, Kimberly. And congratulations on your recent publication, and on your career awards. I understand you just found out about the Career Achievement Award yesterday!
Please tell us, when and why did you decide to become a writer?
KB: I decided to become a writer when I was in Graduate School at Stanford University. I wanted to write with a mission in mind – to appreciate, celebrate, and respect our differences.
LC: What is your writing process: where do you write, how often do you write, are you a full-time or part-time writer, do you outline or do you plot as you go, etc.?
KB: I write mostly in an office in my house. I write every other day or so in long concentrated periods of time. I have a full-time job as a college professor at Sacramento State. Therefore, I am a part-time writer. I get an idea in mind. I plot as I go and then revise, revise, revise. I have a critique group and some more experienced friends that aid in the revising process with their suggestions.
LC: For your children’s stories, where do you find your inspiration? Do you draw from your own experiences?
KB: Yes, I draw from my own experiences. It can be my childhood or my son’s childhood. It can be my friends or my son’s friends. It could be a request from a friend or a walk in my neighborhood. All of the experiences are inspirational.
LC: Who is one of your favorite characters from your story(ies), one that you enjoyed creating and writing about, and why?
KB: I guess it is a tie. I like LaDonna’s mom in my second book, LaDonna’s Easter in Paris. (This book is in production and will be released in about a year.) I also like Sharlene in a book that is still in development.
LC: Do you incorporate (or inadvertently find) any of your own personality traits into your characters?
KB: My characters are usually a compilation of real people in my life. For instance, LaDonna is a combination of various friends and cousins from my childhood. The two characters who are most like me are my favorite characters. Sharlene is more like me in my childhood and LaDonna’s mom is like me as a mother.
LC: You’ve also written nonfiction books on the Early Childhood Development profession. Please tell us more about these books, how they came about, are they college textbooks, etc.
KB: I have been the lead author on two college text books, namely Early Childhood Education: Becoming a Professional (2013) and Careers in Child and Adolescent Development: A Student’s Guide to Working in the Field (2018). The first book on Early Childhood Education I was actually asked to write by a publisher through one of my friends at Sac State. The second book on Careers in Child and Adolescent Development was an original idea of mine.
LC: Did you read much as a child?
KB: I loved reading as a child and I still love reading. Reading was my way of experiencing the world when I was little, as we did not travel much. We mostly visited relatives and went to family reunions.
LC: How important do you think reading is for writers?
KB: Reading quality books improves the writing of writers. So, it is quite important to read.
LC: Who are some of your favorite authors and/or books? What draws you to them?
KB: For myself, I read a lot of picture books. I guess my favorite picture book author is Matt de la Pena. I also read some YA and I like Nikki Grimes and Jackie Woodson and Sharon Draper. I like Matt de la Pena because he writes prose stories in his picture books. For my son who is eleven, I like Kwame Alexander and Varian Johnson. For the most part, these are good clean books for middle grade.
LC: Anything new in the works?
KB: I have a contract for LaDonna’s Easter in Paris and it will be out next year (2020) in the Winter or Spring. I wrote this book to introduce LaDonna’s mother and more of LaDonna’s family life.
LC: Bonus question! Do you have anything you’d like to add?
KB: Thanks for choosing me for this interview. I really appreciate it. You have asked me questions that my readers sometime ask me. I also want your readers to know that I love reading engagements for children and that my website has educational materials for teachers.
LC: Thanks so much for joining us today, Kimberly. I enjoyed learning more about you. You have a lot to be proud of with both your writing and your teaching!
Kimberly A. Gordon Biddle is a lover of books. Her nose was always in a book, when she was younger. She still loves to read, when she gets the chance, and she also loves to write. She has co-authored a textbook on early childhood education that published in 2013 and one about child development careers that published in 2018. LADONNA PLAYS HOOPS is her first book of fiction. This picture book was born in the 1980’s and has grown and matured. Seeing the book come to life in 2017 is a realized dream for Kimberly. She is under contract for her second book LaDonna’s Easter in Paris that should release in 2020. For her day job, she is a professor of child development. Kimberly is also a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She is also a loving wife to her husband and a loving mother to her son. She currently lives in the Nor Cal area of California. She has a BA in Psychology and Music from the University of Redlands and a PhD in Child and Adolescent Development from Stanford University. In 2018 she won the Stanford Graduate School of Education Alumni Award for Excellence in Education and in February 2019 the University of Redlands awarded her the Alumni Career Achievement Award. Her website address is www.pinkpearlwriting.com . Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org . Educational materials for teachers can be found on her website. She loves reading to children in libraries, book stores, and at elementary schools.