Kita Szpak – Author Interview

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

I’ve just published You’re Special Wherever You Are my first children’s picture book – three stories about a camel, zebra and dragon, who are all a little different. Catalina, Charlie, and Alex show us how important it is to be yourself no matter what the situation.

The 42-page book also has 12 full-page illustrations, and a customized “I’m special because” page. “You’re Special Wherever You Are” is geared toward children aged four years and up. Adults will enjoy it too!

Tell us something about yourself.

I was born in London, UK and came to Canada with my family when I was a little girl. I have two brothers – one of whom is my twin. Because I was always very curious and tended to stray from home, I was affectionately called “Wandering Kita”. Luckily my passion for figure skating took over, and for a while, my parents knew where to find me. I trained and competed for a number of years before retiring at the ripe old age of seventeen. The wanderlust returned in the form of studies and travel abroad. (Somehow this word – abroad – is not used much anymore. For me, it has always represented the magical unknown I have to uncover.)

Two degrees (German and Education), three sons, four cities, and some years later, I am here: working in the communications and marketing field, listening to my rock-guitarist husband’s music, running marathons, and writing my little stories of inspiration.

What inspired you to write this book?

Initially I told stories to my three sons who are all grown up now. However, the stories kept coming and I ended up putting pen to paper to give my little characters a home. This book is a compilation of three stories, whose characters learn that by being themselves, they solve their challenges and are accepted for who they are. “You’re Special Wherever You Are” is a gentle message for all children to let them know that they are special, too.

How did you publish this book? Why did you decide on that publisher?

BAICO Publishing Inc., a small Canadian publishing house, put out this book. The firm is in Ottawa where I live and the owners and I have a similar, flexible approach to business and publishing. For these reasons, I chose BAICO to publish “You’re Special”.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I’ve always been fascinated with language, and at one point wanted to be an interpreter after under-grad studies. Life took me into teaching and marketing-communications instead. As I mentioned earlier, my three sons served as the catalyst to my story telling. Inspiration did the rest, and I’ve been writing for 13 years now.

What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?

Having the discipline to carve out the time in a busy schedule to sit down and write is the hardest for me. Once I finally sit down to write – my ideas may incubate for a long time – it’s quite fluid and the stories are written relatively quickly.

How do you do research for your books?

Once my characters are birthed – and for the most part my characters have been animals – I do research the animal to make sure that anything I write about it is true. For instance, in “You’re Special”, Charlie Zee asks his Mom about his stripes, and she responds that all zebras have their own unique stripes. I didn’t know this before I did my homework on Charlie Zee.

Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?

Apart from some interesting animal facts, I’ve learned that collaboration with your illustrator is crucial to the success of a book, particularly a picture book. I found this relationship to be as important as the relationship with my publisher.

What are you reading now?

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?

I like reading biographies, history, and some self-help books.

Barbara Tuchman, Margaret MacMillan, Eckhart Tolle and Caroline Myss.

I’ve always wanted to learn something when I read, and I think that’s why I tend to choose these kinds of books.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

I have a number of stories already written, and have been asked when the next one’s coming out. It could be about a rocking horse, or an adventurous mouse, or a gecko that is addicted to sugar cubes.

You tell me what you would like to see by contacting me through my website. (

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Writing and publishing are only one side of the coin; getting the word out about your book and you is the key to having a long, successful writing career.

What are you doing to promote your latest book?

I have created a website to promote my book (; I have submitted the book for reviews and awards to a number of sites/organizations; I am on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn; the book is sold locally (Ottawa, Canada); it is available to libraries across Canada; I have submitted the book to a US distribution company for consideration; I have done book presentations in classrooms and bookstores, and certainly welcome any speaking opportunities.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

You’re invited to my website at any time – a quiet corner in this very busy world.