Maiden & Princess is a beautifully inclusive and diverse picture book published in partnership with GLAAD, and we recently had a chance to chat with one of the book’s authors, Isabel Galupo, about her inspiration, her writing process, and more! Read below for insight into the book, and don’t forget to purchase your own copy when Maiden & Princess hits bookshelves on April 2nd!
1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always known that I wanted to write for a living. Even before I technically knew the alphabet, I would ask my family members, teachers, and friends a million nosy questions, then “record” their answers — A.K.A. just jot down nonsense scribbles. I applied to journalism school thinking that was the most “practical” way to do what I loved for a living, but inside I was bursting to write fiction. Halfway through college I switched my major to Screenwriting and took traditional Creative Writing classes, fully committing to chase my dream of being an children’s book author and TV writer.
2. What is your writing process like?
It’s messy, and a little chaotic! I’m trying to train myself to be more of a plotter and outliner, but sometimes in the middle of a brainstorming session or outline I get so excited to start that I’ll just jump forward to the writing part and skip a few steps. Sometimes this works out in my favor; sometimes it means more work for me in the long run.
3. Which part of Maiden & Princess was your favorite to write? Why? Can I cheat and say the whole thing? I’ve never co-written anything before and working with Daniel was such a dream. We spent a few brainstorming sessions nailing down the plot of the manuscript, then went our separate ways to write our assigned sections. After we each had a rough draft, we came together and read the manuscript out loud, tweaking lines on the fly. It was so wonderful to have someone to bounce ideas off of and ask for help during the parts that I was stuck on. But if I had to pick one specific section of the book that I loved writing best, I would say the part towards the end that describes the Maiden and Princess falling more in love after the ball. It was so fun to think of how these two characters would spend their day together – reading, laughing, going on adventures!
4. Do you think it’s important for kids to read stories like Maiden & Princess?
Absolutely! As a multi-racial, Jewish, bisexual female raised by two moms, diverse representation in media is a big passion point of mine. I didn’t get to read about a lot of characters that looked like me, loved like me, or had a family like mine growing up. I definitely found that to be isolating and frustrating. Luckily, we’re living in a time where that’s changing; movements like We Need Diverse Books and #ownvoices highlight the need for stories that feature people who have been ignored or silenced for countless years, and organizations like GLAAD (who we got to partner with for this book!) are championing LGBTQIA-inclusive media. And I’d venture to say that it’s even more crucial for the kids who might not “see” themselves or their families directly in the characters of Maiden & Princess to read inclusive stories and learn how to empathize with people different from them.
5. What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I work in children’s television, so I can often be found on my couch catching up on the latest and greatest in kid’s media – right now, I’m absolutely obsessed with She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (Dreamworks TV in conjunction with Netflix). I also love practicing yoga, maxing out my holds at the Los Angeles Public Library, trying new restaurants, FaceTiming with my four younger sisters, and spending weekends at the beach. 6. What was your favorite book to read as child?
My favorite fairytale was East of the Sun, West of the Moon – I read the stunning picture book adaptation by Mercer Mayer over and over again. I also really loved Clive Eats Alligators by Alison Lester, Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, and Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak.