Debut Review Challenge with Laura Roettiger

It is my pleasure to welcome Laura Roettiger to the Debut Review Challenge Blog, where she dishes about her debut picture book, why she writes for children, and her current work-in-progress. Welcome, Laura!


Number of years writing:

A lifetime. With the goal of publishing, it’s been 3 years.

Number of years from contract to published book:

2 years from when the publisher showed interest. Contract came after illustrations 18 months later and then six months after the contract ALIANA was released. 

Date your book was released:

2/19/2019 to coincide with the full moon

Number of pages:


Number of launch events:

Number of days per week that writing takes a backseat to marketing & publicity:

During the months before and after the release, it was most days. Now it’s rare. 

Number of critique partners:

2 IRL groups that each have 4 – 6 members (one group fluctuates by the season) and 10 online partners that serve different purposes but are always available. 

Number of books you hope to publish over the next ten years:


Number of times you’ve pinched yourself that you really have a book out:

LOL, too many to count!

Current number of reviews:

On Amazon: 68; On Goodreads: 36

A Few Questions

  • Why do you write for children?

I’m a teacher and a reading specialist so when I decided to leave the classroom to write ‘full time’ it was the logical choice. I’ve been reading and writing with children for many years. It’s my way of continuing to make a difference with and inspire children. 

  • Without giving anything away, tell us about your work-in-progress. What do you love about it so far? Where are you stuck?

I have one that is really amazing but I still need to figure out my story arc. I tend to write a story that has a few different plot lines and then I need to decide which one I’m actually going to keep. At the moment, I’m sitting on feedback from some online partners and will take that feedback to my IRL partners who have seen the story through several revisions. I’m committed to making this work and it may be two different stories when all is said and done. It’s about a wonderful little girl who thinks she communicates well, but no one understands what she’s trying to say. Plus there’s some wonderful STEM elements in it. Yep, that sounds like two stories. 

  • What does your work space look like? Tell us about a typical work session. (Time of day, length of time, pet companion, favorite snack/drink, writing or art routines, etc.)

Charlie, my Goldendoodle, is usually nearby when I’m writing. I have a wonderful room in my house that is only for writing even though it appears to be a dining room. I love that I can move to a different chair, thereby giving me a different view while I write. The room has beautiful artwork and floor-to-ceiling windows to the forest. Time of day varies and I don’t normally eat when I write but I usually drink water.

Time to Play: STORY SMASH!

Think about all the stories you’ve written that have hit a dead end or are hidden away in a drawer somewhere. For each of the items below, lift an element from a different story to create a weird, unexpected mash-up. Who knows? It may even inspire a new manuscript!

Character(s): Sheila

Setting: School

Theme: Wanting to be in Charge

Problem: Forest Fire

Pitch: Sheila wants to save the animals, but the school is on fire and they must evacuate quickly. She’s worried the animals won’t survive. 

Thank you for joining us, Laura! Congratulations on your debut!

TIP: Support debut authors by suggesting your library purchase their books!

It’s time to write some reviews! Leave an honest review on Amazon, Goodreads, or other online site. For every five reviews you write for debut Kidlit creators, you can fill out this ENTRY FORM for a chance to win prizes. Laura has generously donated a signed book and a picture book manuscript critique. Thank you, Laura!

For BONUS ENTRIES, complete this Rafflecopter giveaway!

#DebutReviewChallenge #ReadReviewRepeat

Read More About Laura and Her Book

Bio: Laura Roettiger is the author of ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON and has enjoyed working with children ever since she was no longer considered a child herself. She was a reading specialist and elementary teacher in Chicago, IL before moving to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado where she worked in Environmental Education and as a mentor for two years as a literacy coach at a STEM school. She currently works with third grade classrooms through #KidsNeedMentors, tutors adults in the Boulder Reads program at the Boulder Public Library, is a judge for Rate Your Story, and works with BookstoKids, a Colorado based literacy nonprofit. Her superpower is encouraging curiosity in children and letting them know she believes in them. She has three children of her own whose curiosity and creativity led all of them into STEM related professions. 


Author/Illustrator: Laura Roettiger / Ariel Boroff

Publisher: Eifrig Publishing

Year: 2019

Synopsis: A curious girl inspired by the light of the full moon spends a month experimenting to create a birthday surprise for her little brother using light and reflection.

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