Get to Know… Katherine Battersby!

My name is… Katherine Battersby. If you put my first and last name over the top of each other you’ll notice that four of the letters are exactly the same. Which can make signing books tricky as sometimes I forget which name I’m writing and end up signing ‘Kathersby’. It’s extremely embarrassing to misspell your own name.

I am a… mischief maker, a wanderer, a carefully planned adventurer, a lover of travel and tea and stories in all their forms. I am also an author and illustrator. I’ve always loved books and honestly I feel like the luckiest person in the world that I now get to make them for a living.

As a kid, I was… small. Yes, I was physically small, but I also felt small. I recall vividly what it was like to feel small in a big world. Writing and drawing has always been my way of trying to make sense of this. Even as an adult, I still feel small sometimes – all of my books explore this experience in some way or another. Cranky Chicken, for all her crankiness, ultimately feels a bit lost and alone. Luckily she has a cheerful worm to help balance things out (I would recommend everyone find a cheerful worm).

Writing is… joy. Not always — sometimes it’s just hard work. But it’s the joy that keeps me coming back. Creating something from nothing makes me feel a bit like a magician and when you get it just right it really is magic. Writing has always been my little sanctuary — a place to hide out when the world gets too much.

Drawing is… harder than writing. For me, anyway! As an illustrator I wear a lot of different hats. Some days I’m a costume designer, creating entire wardrobes for my characters to wear. Some days I’m a counsellor, figuring out what all my characters are feeling (and why). Some days I’m a set designer, creating furniture and rugs and living spaces. I even have to be an architect, designing homes and cities and entire worlds. I don’t always feel clever enough to do what I do, but I love to learn and this job is all about learning.

Reading is… escape. I love visiting other worlds and getting to experience lives and characters and events that I never could have otherwise. But when I say escape, I don’t mean an escape from the big things that happen in life. When I read I want to be moved. I want to be challenged. I tend to seek out books that ask something of me.

Books are… a mirror. Anyone can pick up the right book and feel seen and heard and understood. Or at least they should be able to. This is why it’s so important to have diverse books from diverse creators. Every child (and person) deserves the chance to see themselves in a book.

Did you know… that chickens are terrifying? It’s true. They have sharp beaks and beady little eyes and they’re unpredictable. I was chased by many chickens in my childhood. This is where the idea for Cranky Chicken came from. Although as I was making the book I realised I can relate to the cranky worldview more than I care to admit…

You can find me… anywhere there’s water. I grew up overlooking the ocean and have always been drawn to the sound of running water. I don’t live near the ocean anymore but I seek out the river everyday. If you can’t find me there, try here:





Get to Know… Sammie Vance!

My name is… Sammie Vance.

I am… 12 years old, the founder of Sammie’s Buddy Bench Project and a Kindness advocate. I am most known for my buddy bench project where I collect caps and have them recycled into buddy benches to help the environment and friendships! I have helped over 200 schools/groups all over the US get buddy benches. UPS and Walgreens have even helped me in the past. During the COVID pandemic I started Sammie Sending Smiles where I would sent an encouraging letter and a laminated to someone each day. I have sent over 500 smiles worldwide. Last October I started a podcast called Sammie Smiles! The goal: Interview inspiring people and leave my guests and listeners with a smile to start off their week!

What I am really excited about is getting my book published on August 24th! It is called Inspire the World: A Kid’s Journey to Making a Difference, published by Clear Fork Publishing.

I wrote the first draft of my book when I was 9 and through the past few years of finding an agent and publisher my book has, as you would say, grown up with me. What started as a picture book has turned into a fun book about my journey that walks kids through my story but also how they can make a difference too! I hope it will inspire many. There are real pictures and cartoon Sammie’s throughout the book. The illustrations are provided by Talitha Shipman! Fun Fact: Talitha is an award-winning illustrator that happens to live only five minutes from me. We have become good friends these past few years.

As a kid, I was… well, I am still a kid, but a few years ago I was very shy, but through my project I have learned how to talk to small and large crowds and in front of cameras and on the radio. I even started my own weekly podcast called Sammie Smiles! It took a lot of practice and bravery but knowing I have the power to inspire others makes it worth the effort.

Writing is… so much fun, because you can write how you feel and share it with others. You can also spread a/the message you want to spread. Being able to write my story and see it in book form is a really amazing feeling.

Reading is… like you are being transported to another world. Weather it is a fiction, or non-fiction book, it feels like you are a part of the story. If there is a book I really like you will probably find me quoting it during every day conversation.

Books are… a lot of fun to read because you can learn so much, whether it is fictional or not fiction. It takes me a while to find the right book or series, but when I do I can’t put it down. You might not see me for a few days!

Did you know… I was on the Today Show and Kathie Lee Gifford wrote me a song? It was a really neat experience. Also that I helped run a cap art mural program with my parks department. I designed them and then used recycled caps to create art! They were featured in a TV show of Operation Awesome. The episode name was “Kindness Counts!” I love meeting new people and am excited to get my book out there and hopefully connect with many others.

You can find me… in my new book out August 24 called Inspire the World: A Kid’s Journey to Making a Difference.

I have links to order on my website or you can order easily online. If you read it I would love to know what you think!

My mom even put together some activities and teacher resources that are available on my website.


IG: @sammiesbuddybenchproject

Twitter: @SammieBenches

FB: Sammie’s Buddy Bench Project

Youtube: Sammie Smiles (my podcast! Check out episode 15 where I interviewed Jarrett Lerner!)

You can also listen to my podcast on Apple Podcast and Spotify.

Remember: You don’t just have to be an adult to make a difference. You can be a kid too!

Get to Know… Lisa Fipps!

My name is… Lisa Fipps.

I am an… introspective extroverted introvert. I love being around people, especially people I can laugh or have a deep, meaningful conversation with, but then I need to escape, retreat to my quiet, private space. When I’m extroverting (I love to make nouns into verbs), not only do I like to have fun and explore the world, but I also gather in my brain basket everything I see, hear, and feel. Then when I’m introverting, I process it all to use it in my writing. Natalie Goldberg describes this process perfectly in Writing Down the Bones. “Writers live twice. They go along with their regular life … But there’s another part of them that they have been training. The one that lives everything a second time.”

As a kid, I was… the good girl, the responsible one, the resourceful one, the problem-solver, the fixer, the glue. Even though I come from a dysfunctional home and am the survivor of several childhood traumas, as a kid I was terrified of losing my family. So, I assumed the above-listed roles. The weight of the world was on my shoulders. All. The. Time. I think that’s why I gravitate toward issue-oriented books for kids. They’re living tough topics. They need books about tough topics.

Writing is… my life. I don’t write. I’m a writer. It’s who I am. I never feel more me than when I’m writing or hanging out with other writers. We see the world differently. We experience it differently. We’re our own artistic creatures that others often don’t understand.

Reading is… part pleasure and part pain. I love reading a good book. Some make me laugh. Some make me cry. Some make me think. Some teach me. Some do a combination of those things. That’s the pleasure part. But as a writer, I often find myself studying how the writer wrote the book. You know how a new mechanic will take an engine apart to identify and understand each piece and how it all goes together? That’s what I do. I dismantle the plot, dialogue, conflict, and so on to figure out how it all comes together, how it works. That gets to be a pain when all I want to do is enjoy a book.

Books are… my escape. When I was struggling with a lot of things as a kid, I could open a book and instantly be transported to England or Florida or another galaxy – far away from the chaos of home. I loved feeling like I was the character in a book and living a different life. If only for a while.

Did you know… I used to test-drive cars and write about them from a consumer point of view. That’s when I was a journalist. A limited-edition Camaro. Convertibles. A new car every week to drive as much as I wanted – I only had to put gas in them if I ran out – for several years. I’ve always had a thing for cars, especially new ones with all the bells and whistles. I never knew my dad because he died when I was 13 months old, but I’m told he was the same. Must be in my genes. 

You can find me… writing, doing school visits and events, reading, dabbling in art (watercolor and photography), and driving. Driving relaxes me. Oh, and you can find me virtually through my website,, or Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Just search for Author Lisa Fipps.

Get to Know… Sam Wedelich!

My name is…

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I am… a Jill-of-all-trades, which is a silly way of saying that I do a lot of things. I used to be sort of shy about this, or afraid that people would think I was bragging. I’m really not, I just like to be creative in LOTS of ways. I’m not great or even good at ALL of them, but I don’t really care. I enjoy learning and growing and trying new things! Oh, I’m also a mom and wife and eater of gluten-free foods (dang allergies!).

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As a kid… I was pretty normal. Nothing special honestly. Just loved making things and using my imagination…. usually to excess. Hmm… Not much has changed actually. Except that I wear shoes now. Even inside, I always have house slippers on.

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Writing is… crafting feelings and emotions and events into words so that other people can live in your imagination WITH YOU. AHHHHH!

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Drawing is… play! No, more seriously… For me, it’s a way of showing how I see and process the world and my life and times into images. Like writing, it’s taking a subjective reality and putting it into a framework that makes it accessible to a wider audience. If you do this well, it’s pure MAGIC!  If not, keep going at it. We’re all works in progress!


Reading is… an adventure!  It’s the other end of the journey… being in someone else’s imagination, benefitting from their perspective and knowledge and craft in writing. You can travel, you can be other people, you can love, laugh, cry… I mean, is there anything better?!


Books are… hard work to make, but worth it in the end! Books take so many rounds of changes and edits. So, so, so many. So, if you want to make books, you can’t be too impatient. I’ve always been pretty impatient and I’ve learned to slow down  and stay with the process in book-making. If I can do it, you can probably do it too.

You can and should have FUN and see where the story takes you.

Did you know… that it’s never too late to learn something new?

You can find me… on Instagram @samwedelich.

Get to Know… Kit Rosewater!


My name is… Kit Rosewater! Some people think that’s a pen name, but it’s my real name too! My maiden name was Watters and my partner’s was Rose, and when we got married we legally combined our last names to be Rosewater! I wish I had a derby name to share… I trained to be a roller derby referee but never got an official derby name. In 2018 I was briefly on a breakdancing crew, and my crew name was KitKat. If I were to lace up my skates again as a ref, I think my derby name would be KitKat, and my roller derby motto would be “Break me off a piece!”

I am a… children’s book author! A shenanigans-starter! A dog-howling-instigator! I am many things, and have tried many things in my life. Before writing books became my career, I worked as a children’s bookseller. Before that, I was a middle school teacher in theatre and English! I have a master’s degree in Children’s Literature and once wanted to be a college professor. But being an author has been my dream from the start. Maybe one day I’ll add illustrator to that title!

As a kid, I was… always imagining new games. I loved letting my imagination build new friends and pets and secret hideaways. My sister and I worked on building a castle in our backyard after school and on weekends. We never got the walls higher than a few inches, but we made a terrific moat to keep intruders out! I had invisible friends who followed me around like Cloud Dragon and Rosie the Pink Dog. I was also constantly making books out of scrap paper. I loved holding my stories as real objects rather than just ideas floating back and forth across my brainfolds.


Writing is… something I do to escape, to contemplate, to think critically. I need to write stories the way people need to eat food. Taking characters on journeys fills me with a rush of excitement and energy and passion. Writing is also something I wasn’t inherently “good” at. I’m always learning how to tell stories in new ways that compel readers. Writing is a lifelong journey for me. I hope I never stop improving and changing the way I make books!

Drawing is… something I do for fun right now. I like to draw portraits with colored pencils. My favorite parts to draw are hair strands whipping around in the wind! Right now I have a notebook full of drawings I keep to myself. I would like to learn more about how to draw figures for children’s books, and one day illustrate my own graphic novel or chapter book series!


Reading is… something I loved from when I was little. Learning how to read the alphabet was like cracking the coolest code ever. I remember reading books like Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Hop on Pop for the first time and feeling so powerful. I still feel powerful when I read. I’m amazed that I can be waiting in line at the post office, pull out a book, and suddenly be transported into another world! I recommend that everyone take a book with them when they go out. It’s so much more fun to read than scroll through phone messages while waiting for the cinema flick to start, or for your food to get to the table at a restaurant.

Books are… PURE MAGIC. Books are incredible. Books are everything. I wanted to write books from the beginning because I realized they could be portals, windows, and mirrors to anywhere. One of my favorite tropes in stories is when a specific book has powers… because I actually think that all books have powers!

Did you know… that while I was growing up, I also wanted to be a wildlife conservationist? In middle school I would wander through the desert plains behind my house and catch horned lizards and snakes. My idol was Steve Irwin, known as The Crocodile Hunter. Steve didn’t hunt crocodiles though–he cared for them and helped relocate them when they were in danger. He passed away in an accident when I was a teenager, but I had always dreamed of meeting him and working at his zoo in Australia. Now I write about the adventures I thought I would go on way back when. And who knows, maybe I’ll still go on some of those adventures someday!


You can find me… barking out the window with my dog Sadie. Or climbing up the Sandia mountain crest in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Okay, I’m not always on that mountain, or even at my office window. But I am always online. You can learn a lot more about me and my books at, and you can catch me on Twitter or Instagram at @kitrosewater!

Get to Know… Hena Khan!

My name is… Hena, which is pronounced “hen-na,” like the tattoo (never “hee-na” please, which is a pet peeve). My last name, Khan, is pronounced from the throat but most people, including me sometimes, say “con.” I’m named after the plant that is dried into the dark green strong smelling paste used for making deep orange henna tattoos. My mom said she named me after a girl in her grade school in Pakistan who she admired, and even though I didn’t love my name growing up, I’m happy with it now. And I kept my last name after marriage because I couldn’t imagine being called anything else!

I am a… scaredy cat. I hate thrills of all kinds. I’ve never ice skated, clung to the walls the few times I stood on roller skates, avoid theme parks, and despise roller coasters. I’m a big fan of naps, drinking good coffee and baking delicious things, and going for walks, which I know makes me sound pretty boring. But I will feed you something tasty, tell you interesting stories, and listen to yours, if you want to hang out with me on solid ground!

As a kid, I was… self-conscious, awkward and a bit of an old soul, and I still feel the same way on the inside as an adult. I’ve gotten a little better at hiding it, most of the time. I like to think that I was kind and a good friend, too.

Writing is… something I’ve done since I was a little kid, in one form or another. I never expected an audience, even when I wrote a family newspaper. And I didn’t dare to dream I would write a book, or books, or imagine that it was something possible. I’m still amazed that I get to do what I do when I stop to think about it.

Reading is… a gift. I still remember my mother teaching me how to read, and being super proud of me when I started sounding out words that I didn’t understand. She used to make me perform in front of her friends. And as bored as they probably were, I never forgot her pride and the feeling that what I was doing was something special and important.

Books are… some of my most prized possessions, along with photos and old letters and cards that I can’t part with. I just recycled some of my old outdated college textbooks, and it was hard to say goodbye to them. I feel guilty when I turn a book upside down to save my place, but I do it sometimes. I NEVER turn down the corners of pages though and feel sad when I see bent pages of a library book.

Did you know… that I have lived within the same five-mile area for my entire life? But I’ve also been lucky to have studied in Spain for a semester when in college, and to have traveled to 35 different countries, on four continents. I haven’t visited nearly as many American states as countries, but being an author and visiting schools has taken me to a bunch of new ones. And I hope to explore a lot more of both the US and the rest of the world in the future.

You can find me… at home, cooking, baking, writing or procrastinating, when I’m not traveling. And you can connect with me online through my website,, on instagram and twitter @henakhanbooks, and on Facebook @hena.khan.books, which I hardly use anymore.

Get to Know… Armand Baltazar!

My name is… Armand Baltazar. I’m the author and illustrator of TIMELESS: DIEGO AND THE RANGERS OF THE VASTLANTIC.

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I am a… writer and illustrator now, but once worked as a pizza delivery guy and waiter to pay for school.  I studied to make book illustrations and stories in college but then embarked on a nearly twenty year career making artwork and visual stories for DreamWorks, Disney, and Pixar instead. One fateful day, my son encouraged me to write and illustrate my own stories again and because of him… I’m finally doing what I set out to do!

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As a kid, I was… painfully shy and moving around a lot didn’t help. Books and comics became constant friends. Reading and writing stories and making artwork for them became both an escape and a joy I could do anywhere. My dad loved adventure stories and my mom loved sci-fi. They introduced me to Captain Nemo and his submarine, Long John Silver and his pirates, not to mention Robinson Crusoe, Spiderman, Batman, even Captain Kirk and the Enterprise. Ok, I used to watch Star Trek a lot with my mom as a kid — still do!

Writing and illustrating are… combining two things I’ve always loved. Merging prose and pictures to tell stories that hopefully entertain, captivate, create beauty, and maybe even make the world a better place is the most satisfying job I’ve ever had, after being a dad!

Reading is… the best kind of exercise! It’s exercising your mind and when you are reading something good, it’s like going on a beautiful hike, or like how it feels riding fresh powder on the mountain with your snowboard. It puts me in tune with my imagination and it both stimulates and calms me like a good cup of coffee. I know — that’s pretty weird, but it can be kinda like that to me!

Books are… like movies that play in your head! The characters and the worlds look just like the way you imagine. And best of all you take the adventure with you and enjoy it as fast or as slow as you want, play it over and over, and it will always play for you without batteries, or power cords, and books never need a software update!

Did you know… I’m a first generation Filipino American born and raised in Chicago. Although my heritage is from a warm tropical island culture… I love the snow! My family and I are avid snowboarders and for a time we even owned a women’s snowboarding shop in Pasadena!

You can find me… on Twitter at @ArmandBaltazar, on FaceBook at @ArmandBaltazarStudios, and on Instagram at armand_baltazar. To buy a signed copy of my book and see and buy my art, check out my website: I’m always up to visit schools, libraries, and stores, and I love speaking with fellow authors! If interested, contact me at my email:

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Want to learn more about TIMELESS? Check out the Introduction to Timeless video and read some reviews below!

“While the action will enthrall, and the struggle for a better world will inspire, the reader will ultimately be won over by the intimate moments in Timeless…Like a midsummer action movie, the scope (and budget) of the book is dazzling. Six hundred glossy pages, with hundreds of luscious color illustrations by Baltazar, depict a world after a cosmic event that has reshuffled epochs. People from every era coexist with dinosaurs and giant robots.” — New York Times Book Review

“This epic tale from Baltazar, is not only wildly imaginative and attention-grabbing, it’s downright beautiful: more than 150 full-color photorealistic art pieces bring the characters and setting to life. A series opener that conveys a true sense of wonder and excitement on every page.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Intricate illustrations, stunning in their lush coloring and quality, are liberally interspersed. [C]inematic dialogue, glossy plot twists, and movie-ready illustrations will likely make readers feel they’ve had a theatrical experience.”  Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“The stunning artwork is the real star here. Sure to be popular with middle school fantasy readers.”  School Library Journal 

“Baltazar’s story is a captivating adventure lavishly illustrated with beautiful full-color paintings worth lingering over.”  Kirkus Reviews

“Vivid world creation and brilliant characters make Timeless an unforgettable, wondrous journey that will stay with you long after the final page.” — Ridley Scott


Get to Know… Paula Chase!

My name is… Paula but once people get to know me (and if I like them) they call me P.

I am a… Virgo and proud of it. I’ve been (mildly) obsessed with astrology since I was about 11 years old and have now infected both my daughters. We’re always reppin’ for our signs, which I allow even though everyone knows Team Virgo is best.

As a kid, I was… quiet but not shy. Which means I was never the “Hi, I’m…” kid but if you talked to me I’d engage. Quiet kids are sometimes misinterpreted as snobby. The world would be pretty chatty if everyone were a “Hi, I’m…” person.

Writing is… an outlet for me. Whether it’s a professional memo or a note to my kids asking them to unload the dishwasher signed “the management,” it’s how I best convey my mood at the minute.

Reading is… an escape. Given the time, I can inhale a book (regardless of size) in a single day. And because I rarely have time, I tend to binge read the way a lot of people binge watch shows. I love falling into the rabbit hole and getting lost inside.

Books are… a personal choice. I’ve always loved being in a library or bookstore and reading flap copy to decide if a book speaks to me. Since becoming published, one of the toughest things has been the circus barker mentality that seems expected of authors. It’s like Survivor Author Edition where people come up and expect you to justify why they should buy your book or get voted off the Island. That goes against the grain of who I am as a reader. Pick it up if it interests you. Pass it by if it doesn’t.

Did you know… the only constant in life is change. My dad said this to me when I was in my early 20s and it was one of those light bulb moments of truth. Change can suck sometimes, but knowing that it’s something that’s going to ebb and flow regardless makes it easier to swing with it.

You can find me… on Twitter at @paulachase, on Facebook at @paulachasebooks and at my website: I know using both my names can be confusing, but apparently Paula Chase is a guitarist and owns that URL, so…

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Below are some reviews of Paula’s MG novel So Done, which hits shelves on August 14 (tomorrow!):

“A beautifully written and achingly realistic portrayal of the growing pains even the best friendships often must endure. Tai and Mila’s journey felt as real and messy and ultimately hopeful as all true friendships are.” — Jo Knowles, award-winning author of See You At Harry’sStill A work In Progress and the forthcoming Where the Heart Is (2019)

“Chase vividly conjures the triumphs, tensions, and worries percolating in the girls’ low-income neighborhood. Tai’s exuberance forms an effective foil to Mila’s internal turmoil, and the building anticipation about who will be chosen for the program and whether Mila will divulge her secret will keep readers turning pages.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“The protagonists tell their stories in memorable voices that ring true to their characters…both Mila and Tai are young women that readers will root for.” — The Horn Book

“An honest coming-of-age tale with two different girls dealing with real issues, crushes, and finding themselves…Chase pulls no punches when it comes to emotional honesty… The dual-perspective narrative tackles serious subjects through an adolescent lens” — ALA Booklist

Get to Know… Tara Lazar!

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My name is… Tara Lazar. Not Tara Laserbeam, but that would be pretty awesome if it were.

I am a… weird person. At least that’s what my kids say.

As a kid, I was… a budding inventor, a neighborhood entrepreneur, a creative writer, a voracious reader, weird and odd, loud and annoying, a fiercely loyal friend.

Writing is… the best way to be me.

Reading is… as necessary as cheese. (I cannot live without either.)

Books are… my favorite friend.

Did you know… I used to be a competitive figure skater? I got married in Hawaii? I have two daughters and a hamster? I have Multiple Sclerosis? I choose cheese over chocolate? I despise coffee? I live in New Jersey? I make the best meatballs in the world? I have a five-foot stuffed purple orangutan named Norman who lives on my stairway?

You can find me… somewhere in my imagination.

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When Tara isn’t somewhere in her imagination, you can find her online at and on Twitter at @taralazar. Below are her books — first the covers of those that have been published, then the titles of four more that are coming soon.

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