I’m excited to introduce a real-life friend of mine today! Erin Salazar and I met at college and stayed in touch through social media ever since (fun fact: she was also our wedding photographer!). She’s a wife, mother, teacher, artist, and writer who loves to travel, and has a passion for opening children’s eyes to the joys of reading and the thrill of discovering the world — whether it be their back yard or a far-away land across the ocean. Through her books, Erin hopes to help children develop a love of learning and cultivate their innate curiosity about the world around them, so that one day they can make a difference for good.
Erin’s newest book, Pix Goes to London (note: affiliate link), combines these interests in a unique way. It’s full of gorgeous photos and interesting tidbits about London (I even learned a few things!), and offers a great way to feed children’s curiosity about the world. Erin graciously agreed to answer some questions about herself and her writing process, and I think you’ll enjoy this behind-the-scenes look at a talented Christian woman who’s using her God-given gifts in a fun and fresh way.
Welcome, Erin Salazar!
Could you share a little about yourself and your family?
My husband has been the greatest source of advice and encouragement that any writer could ever ask for. We have three children and they are the most amazing little bundles of energetic fun! They inspire me to write. Their interests give me ideas about what topics kids would like to read about.
I love to sew dresses for my daughter. My mom made dresses for me when I was young, and my grandmother sewed as well, so when I sew for my little girl I feel like I’m carrying on a rich family tradition. I also enjoy taking my kids to the library or just for a walk around the neighborhood. Sometimes the simple things are the best.
What first interested you in writing children’s books?
As a little girl I enjoyed reading, and that just naturally led to writing my own books. I think I was about four years old when I started cutting and stapling paper to make little books, and I haven’t stopped writing since! At first I wrote children’s stories because that was all I knew. But as I grew older, I continued to be interested in writing for children because children’s books are so imaginative and fun. I also saw the potential for teaching kids important things about life and the world through my books.
How did you come up with the idea for the Pix the Panda series?
I had been thinking for a long time about how important it is for kids to learn about the world, to respect other cultures, and to understand different perspectives. I wanted to use some of the photos from my travels to write a series for children, and I decided it would make the books more appealing to come up with a cartoon narrator. I started brainstorming and eventually settled on a panda with a camera, and that’s how Pix came to be.
Share a little about your newest book, Pix Goes to London.
Pix Goes to London is a book for kids, ages 5-12, about a panda who can easily travel the world because he is made out of paper. He can slip into a pocket or a purse, or even send himself through the mail! This is the first book of a series, and he is going on a trip to London. He shows us his photos from his trip and explains a little bit of the history and geography behind the objects and buildings in his photos.
What other books have you published?
I published a coffee table book in 2008 through Blurb.com with photos from my travels. My first published children’s book, What Can I Be, was released last year on Amazon.com. It has pictures of a little girl dressing up as different occupations such as a doctor or a ballerina as she dreams about what she might be one day when she grows up.
When and where do you usually do your best writing?
I have three kids, so I grab whatever time I can, a little here and a little there. I have an office, but I am always sketching or jotting down ideas in various rooms as I go through my day with the kids. Sometimes I’m even typing with a baby in my lap who is straining to reach the keyboard! But my best writing has probably been produced between 10 p.m. and midnight when the kids are in bed and the house is quiet.
As a writer, what author has had the greatest impact on you?
I suppose I have picked up snippets of style from many different authors, but the one who completely revolutionized my style was Dawn Watkins, a published author who was my teacher in a college course called “Novel Writing.” It was a tough class but really pushed me to improve.
And what books have influenced you the most?
I will never forget as a young girl reading a children’s biography about Amy Carmichael. The author painted a vivid picture of Amy’s broken-heartedness when God did not change her eye color to blue, but later in the book pointed out that her brown eyes were perfect to help her sneak into the areas where she needed to go in order to rescue little girls in India. I remember reading that and realizing that God had a special plan for my life and He made me exactly the way I needed to be in order to fulfill His plan. I think that book also got me started dreaming about finding ways to serve God and help people in other countries.
Do you have any big writing goals for the future?
I want to continue the Pix the Panda series, and also write some bilingual children’s books. I’m considering creating an adult coloring book as well. I was recently commissioned to illustrate an adult coloring book about lighthouses, and it was a really fun project, so now I really want to do another one.
Thanks so much, Erin!
Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links.