We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Bullock and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Laura, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
“Good Things Come to Those Who Wait”. Waiting for things to happen will have you waiting for a lifetime. If I waited for a traditional publisher, or for an agent to guide my work, my books would not exist today. Take hold of your passion and put it into action. Once I stopped waiting on the approval and decision of others, I was able to focus and turn my ideas into readable stories. Don’t wait, even on yourself. I keep pushing myself continually to find new avenues so my books can be accessible to children all over the world.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As a Children’s Picture Book Author, I focus on a specific message in each of my books to be told in a simple and meaningful way. My books stand out from others in that they encompass higher vocabulary, introduce new things and are based in reality. The underlying messages range from empathy, kindness, helpfulness, compassion, or thankfulness and are important values for children to learn at the developmental age, as they will carry it with them throughout their lives. I am most proud of the notes I receive from children who enjoy my books and want to share that with me. Continual writing in the last four years and working alongside some fantastic women illustrators has led me to where I am today. It is not an easy road, as being an independent author I have to push my work and be completely self-reliant. Strong support from artists, friends, and family has helped me to not feel discouraged and to continue forward. My motivation comes from knowing the children who have read past stories and were waiting for new books to read and were following my progress throughout the years. The biggest lesson I learned is to be patient with myself and to give myself a pause when I need to do so. My books are fun to read, and re-read by caretakers and children alike because of the unique story, beautiful illustrations, and the positive messages inside.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
One of my favorite places to explore downtown Phoenix is the Arts District of Roosevelt Row that is a walkable area. There are many art galleries, a first Friday of the month art walk, and tons of neat murals on most of the buildings and also street art. The Japanese Friendship Garden is a beautiful space nearby. The tea house and garden areas celebrate and honor the sister city of Himeji, Japan. If you can go to a Diamond Backs Baseball game, it is one of the nicest stadiums with a closing roof when the weather is too hot. The seats are comfortable, the food and drinks are good and it is always an exciting and good time to attend a baseball game in Phoenix. A must stop is Papago Park. A short hike around the red butte formations has a cut-out area known as the Hole-in-the-Rock with a unique view to watch the sun go down. Right around the corner is the Desert Botanical Garden. It has many trails full of desert plants and wildflowers. There is always some kind of special event there. I saw Dale Chihuly’s Glass Art exhibit there in 2014 and it was spectacular. The Heard Museum is another spot that deserves a full day of exploring their traditional and contemporary American Indian art. The Heard Museum works alongside Native communities to make sure the information, exhibits, and items are current and labeled correctly. There is also a video area in the museum that plays on a loop that shows different native communities and their elders speaking in their native language and describing their culture as well as some of the items that you will see in the museum. A drive worth taking is up to South Mountain Park and Preserve. At the very top, Dobbins Lookout is the only place in Phoenix where you can get a full panoramic view of The Valley of The Sun. Some of my favorite restaurants are: Seoul BBQ & Sushi on Black Canyon Highway, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen on Black Canyon Highway, Bobby-Q BBQ on N. 27th Ave, Fry Bread House on N. 7th Ave, Poncho’s Mexican Food and Cantina on S. Central Ave, and Miracle Mile Deli on N. 16th St.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
All the young readers who continue to learn to read with my books and in turn share the stories by reading to their younger friends and family members. A special shoutout to Mr. Ellijah Davila who inspired a playground scene showing all children enjoying playing together in A Day At The Park: My 1st Seek & Find Book.

Website: www.llaurabullock.com
Instagram: @llaurabullock
Facebook: www.facebook.com/llaurabullockauthor
Other: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7032558.Laura_Bullock

Image Credits
(Ellijah holding book): M. Davila, (Ian coloring): S. Auberry
(Dylan Dolphin with shells): M.Martins

Nominate someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.