Interview: Laura Falotico ‘13
A conversation with the author, illustrator and publisher of a 34-page children’s book that she calls a “picture of my own imagination as a kid.”
Laura Falotico ’13—author, illustrator and publisher of “If Clouds Were Cotton Candy”—is double majoring in English and studio art, which she calls a sensible combination for a writer and artist. She recently put her skills to the test by reinventing her own childhood poetry and adding whimsical illustrations that appear together in a new children’s book that delights young readers. She recently sat down with Drew Today to discuss her creative process.—Michael Bressman
DT: Isn’t it true that your debut book has been in the works for a long time?
LF: If you want to get technical, I suppose I started writing it as a first-grader. As a little kid, I was really into Shel Silverstein, which inspired me to write on my own. It even got to the point where I was filling my own blank journals with original poetry. About a year or two ago, I rediscovered those journals and read through them. I remembered reading the same poems as a child and laughing because they were funny. As an adult reader, I laughed at them because they were terrible.
DT: Don’t feel too badly about that. Most of us don’t do our best work at age six.
LF: That’s true—but those old poems weren’t throwaways. In fact, the ones that I published in “If Clouds Were Cotton Candy” are based on them. I used the same subjects and wrote newer, better poetry.
DT: How have your friends at Drew reacted to you being an author?
LF: They’ve been really excited about the book. Many have shown their support on Facebook and lots have purchased copies. They tell me they’ve given them away to younger nieces and nephews as gifts, but I’m pretty sure they’re reading the book themselves. Not too many college textbooks are illustrated, so it’s probably a nice change of pace for them—even if they won’t admit it.
DT: And what about young readers?
LF: Kids who have read it, love it. At least that’s what they’ve told me. I trust them, though, because I think kids are honest. The book is geared toward readers from first through third grades. Any older than that and they start getting a little too cool.
DT: Are more books in your future?
LF: I would love a career that would allow me to continue writing, illustrating and publishing. My master plan right now is to become a professor of art. Maybe I could continue writing in the summer.
DT: Any thoughts on where you’d want to teach?
LF: I would love to teach at Drew. I like the intimacy of a smaller school. I actually transferred here from a huge school—so I have unique perspective on how nice it is not to be a number.
‘Like’ what you see? Then be sure to let the Facebook universe know by visiting http://www.facebook.com/IfCloudsWereCottonCandy.
To get your own copy, visit http://www.amazon.com/If-Clouds-Were-Cotton-Candy/dp/1105994937.