Meet mentor Lori Richmond

It’s an understatement when I say Lori Richmond is multi-talented. She writes, illustrates, looks good on TV, and can embarrass her kids like a pro. I was thrilled Lori agreed to participate in Writing with the Stars! Her first book as an author and illustrator, Pax and Blue, comes out in February and looks adorable.

You have been a guest on TODAY, as well as other television shows. What is your favorite memory of a televised appearance?

There are too many to count! Live TV is always pretty crazy, and you never know who you’ll run into. My favorite segments were the Halloween costume ones … we’d have families, kids, and even dogs dressed up in crazy costumes. One family was giant Tetris pieces made out of boxes. The poor things had to waddle through Rockefeller Center like that to get to the studio! The best behind-the-scenes moment was in the green room at the TODAY show. I heard a squeaky voice that was so familiar, and turned around to see Cyndi Lauper right behind me. No big deal.

In addition to writing and illustrating picture books, you do some incredible work with graphic notes. What inspired this line of work?

Like many artists, I have always been a doodler. I started taking notes visually at conferences a few years ago, and translated the style to my travel journals. It’s a really fun way to capture memories. I do it for myself, and also have used the style for some of my client work.

You mentioned in an interview that mornings are chaotic in your home, and your go-to threat is belting out show tunes from HAMILTON at school drop-off in front of your kids’ friends. I am also an obsessed Hamilnerd. The show has given me a few new book ideas in the most unexpected ways—to look at things differently, and to mix things up. Has HAMILTON had any effect on your own work?

Hamilton. OMG Hamilton. I love it so much. I have seen the show on Broadway twice already and am going back next year. I also went to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s parents’ garage sale in Washington Heights and bought a bunch of Lin’s old books, directly from his dad! We tweeted a photo and Lin retweeted it. Best social media day ever, never to be topped. Lin has really inspired me more than the show itself … his incredible work ethic, kind heart, love and respect for his fans, closeness with his family, telling of New York stories … it all just resonates with me so much and makes me want to work harder and make great things.

Your forthcoming book, Bunny’s Staycation, is about a bunny who attempts to foil his mom’s upcoming business trip with adventures of his own. If you were planning your own staycation, what would it include? Did the idea for this book come from a real-life experience?

This entire book is an autobiography, just you wait (see what I did there with the Hamilton reference?) We have done living room camping—my husband set up a full-size tent with lanterns and even put a fake moon (that really glowed!) in the window. I made the boys watch “Troop Beverly Hills.” They were not pleased.

Your kids were named after typefaces. I am dying to know what they are.

Yes! And they are good typefaces too. My older son is Cooper, and my younger son’s middle name is Rockwell.

Thank you Lori. To apply for a mentorship with Lori- http://beckytarabooks.com/contest/

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