Tela Kayne is the president and founder of The Virtue Agency and has spent the last fifteen years writing and developing digital content to maximize brand exposure and engagement for clients across the country. She has authored articles that appear on MarketWatch (WSJ), Yahoo! Finance, MNN.com, EWG.org, and HealthyChild.org. She is the author of a new children’s book series about mindfulness: LaLa’s World, where kids learn to be the change. When she’s not writing or promoting brands, she’s busy keeping up with her four daughters and traveling husband—mindfully, of course! Find her on her website (https://www.lalas.world), Twitter, or Facebook.
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR TELA KAYNE
LitPick got to interview author Tela Kayne, whose most recent picture book, LaLa and the Unfair Bear, is about overcoming envy through the power of gratitude. "The author inserts emotion into the story without it feeling tacked on," says our LitPick student reviewer.
Where do you get your best writing done? Do you work better, say, in nature or in organized areas? My favorite place to write is in the early mornings at my kitchen table or on the outdoor patio that overlooks our pool. I love the quiet of the morning before the rest of my world wakes up (I have four young daughters). I always have a cup of coffee nearby and enjoy listening to the birds as they greet the sun. Writing is somewhat of a meditative process for me, so a more natural setting is ideal to get centered and let the words flow.
Do you work better alone or when you can interact with others, like your writing friends? When actually writing, I work best alone. However, I love to brainstorm with a group and often bounce story ideas off of family and friends.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve created? How are you most like that character? Yes, I'm writing a novel and the character is Uriel. He's present, purposed, and wise—all character traits I hope to age into!
When you create stories, do you prefer paper or digital? Or a combination of both? I type faster than I write by hand, so I prefer to create the story digitally. However, I find holding the paper in my hands when I edit is easier and more satisfying than reading it on a screen.
What is most important to you? Writing or book promotion? Writing is most important to me personally as it's cathartic and therapeutic. However, book promotion is most important to the work itself.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I enjoy running, yoga, gardening, and being outside. Time with my family is my absolute favorite activity!
Do you have any upcoming book projects you’d like to share here? The next LaLa's World book is being laid out as we speak with a release by the end of the year. I'm also working on a historic fiction novel, which is years into the writing process. I'm about halfway there. It's been an intense undertaking. When I need a break, I turn to LaLa and always feel better!
SIX MINUTES WITH AUTHOR TELA KAYNE
Joining LitPick for an author interview today is Tela Kayne, author of children’s books about mindfulness. Our student reviewers have had great things to say about the series LaLa’s World. LaLa’s Angry Pizza and LaLa Feels Blah-La have both received LitPick’s Top Choice Book Review Award.
How did you get started writing? As the daughter of a librarian, books have always been a huge part of my life, and I've been writing stories since childhood. As a professional writer and content creator, I have been developing stories for brands for over 15 years and have written articles that appear on MarketWatch (WSJ), Yahoo! Finance, MNN.com, EWG.org, and HealthyChild.org. I’m only just now starting to share my own stories as a published author.
Who influenced you? I've had so many influences along the way. Storytellers like Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, C.S. Lewis, Mark Twain, Beverly Cleary, E.E. Cummings, Frank Herbert, Shakespeare, Aldous Huxley, J.R.R. Tolkien, Rumi, Anne Frank, Eckhart Tolle, and Harper Lee are just a few of the hundreds of authors who have inspired my love of words.
I have also had countless teachers and mentors along the way who have helped me to refine my craft. In addition, my family’s love of books and the endless support from my husband to pursue my dream of becoming a published author motivated me to finally pursue it!
Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting? One of my all-time favorites is Dune by Frank Herbert. As a genre, I think science fiction may be the most challenging to write, as it requires the most imagination. In terms of children’s books, I love the silliness that Dr. Seuss and Sandra Boynton bring to children’s lives.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author? Go for it, write daily and don’t give up!
Where is your favorite place to write? My favorite place to write is in the early mornings at my kitchen table or on the outdoor patio that overlooks our pool. I love the quiet of the morning before the rest of my world wakes up (I have four young daughters). I always have a cup of coffee nearby and enjoy listening to the birds as they greet the sun. Writing is somewhat of a meditative process for me, so a more natural setting is ideal to get centered and let the words flow.
What else would you like to tell us? The idea of the LaLa’s World children’s book series was born soon after the arrival of my second daughter. From birth, she had a hard time adjusting to her environment and could not self soothe. As she grew into a young girl, her frustration with lights that were too bright or food with funny textures grew into arguments with her sisters over things that simply could not be controlled. That, coupled with a spiritual journey of my own, made me realize that my daughter could benefit from understanding her power within…that while she couldn’t always control what happened to her, she could control how she responded to it. I plan to continue the LaLa’s World Series. There are two more in the works in addition to "LaLa Feels Blah-La" and "LaLa's Angry Pizza." I’m also writing a novel that is in an ambitious narrative and complex format. The sweet simplicity of LaLa's World is a much-needed break!
Tela, thanks for joining us for an author interview. We love that you wrote the LaLa’s World series to help your daughter understand her power within. We look forward to hearing more about your upcoming books.
“In this wonderful picture book, Tela Kayne imparts a key bit of knowledge that is essential for all of us.” —LitPick Student Book Reviewer