The Backstory: IF YOU GIVE A GIRL A BIKE
I am thrilled to welcome Hayley Diep to The Backstory this week. Hayley is here to discuss the inspiration behind her girl-power, adventure infused picture book, IF YOU GIVE A GIRL A BIKE, illustrated by Braden Hallett.
Welcome to The Backstory and thank you for joining us and sharing the inspiration behind IF YOU GIVE A GIRL A BIKE.
First off, please tell us a little bit about your story.
If You Give a Girl a Bike features three friends mountain biking, skateboarding, rock climbing, and surfing. The girls collect quite a few scrapes along the way, but they always get back up and continue their adventures. It is written in a circular style similar to the beloved If You Give a Mouse a Cookie series.
The book is written to inspire young girls, specifically young girls of color, to get outside and try these sports that are mostly dominated by White men. It includes vocabulary from each sport.
Hayley what a wonderful story you have created. It is the perfect introduction to these sports and I am sure it will inspire many, many children to pick up a skateboard or bike and have a new adventure. I also love the message of perserverance that runs through the story as the girl initially stumbles with each activity, but gets right back up and finds success and a whole lot of fun. Braden Hallett's bright, colorful illustrations compliment your words so well and bring the action of the story to life.
What’s the story behind the story? What was your inspiration? Where did the idea come from?
The idea for this book came to me after a mountain bike ride with two of my girlfriends. We’d spent the evening chasing each other down the trails and trying to beat the sunset. It had been a thrilling, freeing, and fun ride! I drove home with the line, “If you give a girl a bike, she will ride and ride and ride…” That line sparked the idea for this book and led me to thinking, well, after she rides her bike, what happens next?
A perfect example of writing what you know. I appreciate the way you were able to take your personal experience and make it accesible and inviting for younger girls who may not have ever considered these sports or who maybe thought they couldn't try them because they were a girl or too young. This is most certainly a book I will be adding to my daughter's collection to show her she is capable of anything and to be bold and push boundaries.
How did you approach going from this seed of an idea to what is now IF YOU GIVE A GIRL A BIKE? Was it something undeniable you had to write immediately or did you need to sit with this idea and let it grow for a while before it found its way to the page?
When the first line popped into my head, I knew I had to get it down immediately. I just kept repeating it in my mind over and over again during my drive home. Then I got home, hung my bike up, and started writing. The first draft was written in a matter of a few hours because I knew, after the initial seed idea, that I wanted to focus on girls doing other male dominated sports.
I tend to get a bit obsessive when I have a story idea, and I can’t leave it alone until it is finished.
The fear of that spark slipping away before it can be wrangled onto a page is real. And I hear you on being a bit obsessive when it comes to a new idea. It is one of the things I love most about writing, the getting swept up and lost in my own mind as I try to fit all of the pieces together just right.
Where do you tend to find your inspiration or your sparks for ideas?
I typically find my inspiration in nature or hobbies. I get ideas from the world around me and by asking “what if” or “who was” or “what next” questions.
These are great strategies for finding inspiration! And this book shows the potential of aking that "what next" question.
What books have been the most inspirational/impactful on your writing?
I want to say that picture book biographies most recently have been the most impactful in my writing. They’re always filled with such strong and fun verbs. Lesa Cline Ransome’s books, specifically, have been most inspirational. I often study her usage of powerful verbs and vocabulary choice. She trusts her readers to make inferences and understand her writing. I find that she doesn’t oversimplify her vocabulary, which I respect.
Lesa Cline-Ransome is a great source of mentor texts! I like your approach of identifying the craft elements within her books that best serve your work.
What are the must haves for your workspace? Tools? Inspiration? Reference materials?
I just need my laptop and a cup of tea or hot water. I have some picture books lying around in case I need to reference them, but honestly, the internet has everything I need.
Any inspirational words of advice for aspiring authors?
Don’t give up and don’t let anyone tell you your story isn’t worth telling. Also, find yourself a group of trusted critique partners who will give you honest feedback and believe in your work.
I love your words, "Don't let anyone tell you your story isn't worth telling." Believing in our own ideas is so important to our perserverence as are those trusted critique partners you mention.
Do you have any upcoming projects or news you would like to share with us?
10% of the book sales from my website are donated to charities that support girls in the sports mentioned in my book! I have donated over $2,000 so far, so that has been really exciting.
For now, I am working on a picture book biography. We shall see where that goes.
What a generous idea! How wonderful for you to give back and to support young girls who are interested in these activities. And best of luck with your picture book biography. I hope to see it in print in the future!
Where can people connect more with you?
People can visit my website: www.hayleydiep.com or instagram: @hayleydiepwrites
Readers be sure to follow Hayley, check out her website, and consider picking up your own copy of IF YOU GIVE A GIRL A BIKE.
Hayley thank you so much for joining us on The Backstory and sharing the inspiration behind your book!
Hayley is generously giving away a copy of IF YOU GIVE A GIRL A BIKE. (US only)
Ways to enter:
1. Retweet my tweet about this blog post. Additional entry for tagging friends!
2. Leave a comment on this post.
3. Like our FB page and comment on this week's post.
4. Post about this interview on FB/Instagram and tell me in the comments that you did.
Each method earns an extra entry!
ABOUT HAYLEY DIEP
Hayley Diep is a teacher and author in the Bay Area. When she isn't writing or reading, you can find her outside riding her bike, climbing something, or attempting to surf or skateboard.
ABOUT ANDREW HACKET
Andrew’s background of being surrounded by children, both at work and at home, has been a treasure trove of inspiration.
A nature lover, Andrew can be found exploring the woods of Massachusetts with his wife and three kids.
While often witty and imaginative, Andrew’s stories can also delve into the more serious and emotional topics that children can experience.
Andrew is represented by Dan Cramer of Flannery Literary.