It’s time for another Author Spotlight, and I am so excited to be chatting with Liz Trudeau about her debut book today. Liz is a children’s book author based in San Francisco where she spends her days with her husband and two children. Today we are discussing her debut book, Brilliantly Dyslexic, a biography collection sharing the stories of over 20 individuals with dyslexia.
I am so excited to talk to you about your upcoming book, Brilliantly Dyslexic, but before we get into that, I was wondering if you might want to introduce yourself to our readers? Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am Liz Trudeau and I’m the creator of Brilliantly Dyslexic. As you mentioned, I live in San Francisco with my family. I’m not dyslexic myself but 50% of my household is – my husband and my daughter. I’ve been working on this book for about 2 years, along with my daughter, Quinn. She’s the creative director.
What exactly is Brilliantly Dyslexic? And, who is it for?
Brilliantly Dyslexic is a children’s book packed with over 20 stories about incredible dyslexics from engineers to entrepreneurs to artists. In this unique book, dyslexic children see glimmers of themselves reflected in each story – their dreams, worries, challenges, and talents. Classmates, parents, and teachers are empowered with a better understanding of dyslexia and an appreciation that everyone has different struggles and strengths. I feel quite strongly that this book is not just for dyslexic children. Dyslexia is incredibly common, and we need to normalize it. A children’s book of engaging stories is the perfect place to start.
What inspired you to write Brilliantly Dyslexic? What drew you to the dyslexic experience?
The book actually started as a way to help my daughter, Quinn. She is dyslexic, and was really struggling with seeing herself as measuring up. She was having a great deal of difficulty with reading and writing, and she would naturally draw comparisons to her classmates. She noticed that other children were doing things that she couldn’t, and it felt awful, even with very supportive teachers. I began sharing examples of individuals with dyslexia to build her confidence. When I couldn’t find a book, I started writing myself.
Well, it’s outstanding to have that kind of representation in a children’s book. I really don’t see dyslexia talked about often in children’s books so it’s really great for those kids to be able to see themselves in Brilliantly Dyslexic.
We’ve gotten such great feedback from parents, who are looking for this just like we were, but also from teachers. Because even if something doesn’t affect your child or somebody you know personally, it’s about a community and finding your place and understanding each other. Dyslexia affects about 20% of kids, so it’s fairly common. It’s the most common reason that children are receiving special education support. All kids need to know about it.
We’ve even had some of the test group parents who’ve been reading the stories from the beginning, who are parents of typical or non- dyslexic kids and their kids loved the stories because they felt like all kids struggle with something. And so, while the stories didn’t focus on their personal struggle, they could relate. We need stories about struggle that show that it’s overcome able. So while it’s about dyslexia, it’s not just about dyslexia.
What was the research process like for this book? Did you have to do a lot of research on every single subject?
It started as internet research, because the book started just as a binder of stories just for my daughter. I realized other people must need this when I shared it with some people and they said “Oh, my gosh, you have to turn this into a book!” And so that’s what we did.
The initial stories were based on what I could piece together with a lot of internet research. Because it’s not just; Who are they? What did they do? I really wanted to key into Who is this person? And what was their childhood like? How were they talking about their story? Some stories don’t even mention dyslexia, because I never found that person used the word. I felt really strongly about having a story that really felt true to the person it was about.
Those were the initial stories and once I decided I was really going to actually make it into a book, not just a binder, I completely rewrote the stories. I reached out to the people, and many agreed to interviews.
So then I have to ask, Who was your favorite subject to write about?
That’s really hard because I fell in love with every story while I was writing it. I don’t think I can choose a favorite. Each person’s story was quite unique, and, frankly, it was an incredible privilege to hear people’s stories.
You mentioned that you’re taking a non-traditional publishing route. So I was just kind of curious. What made you go that route? And how has that experience been for you?
For me the choice was really about; How do I want to spend my time? Where do I want to put my effort? And how much control do I want over the process? For me non-traditional publishing allows me to make this thing and get it out into the world as quickly as possible with the level of quality that I feel really committed to.
But the non- traditional route is a ton of work. I get up every day at just before five, and I work on the book from five to seven. Then I have my family life and my “real” job. It’s a ton of work: writing on the book, working on Kickstarter videos, working on building email lists, but it’s work that I’m excited about.
That actually leads brilliantly into my next question, which is how can we support Brilliantly Dyslexic and ensure that it is a successful launch?
Yes! Preorders are available now! Visit our site for the details. http://www.brilliantlydyslexic.com
Yes absolutely! I am so excited for Brilliantly Dyslexic, but I have to ask is this going to be a standalone title? Or do you see a series in your future?
That’s a great question. And there are lots more stories out there to tell. If people find it helpful, there certainly could be number two. I’ve also had quite a few people ask about other learning differences, so that’s a possibility in the future. We’ll see.
Thank you so much for chatting with me about Brilliantly Dyslexic today Liz! I’m going to preorder my copy right now!