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September 30, 2019
A sponsored Q&A with the author of 'Aliens, Ladybugs, and the Lethal Virus'

A former English teacher, Treviño is back with her second book for children, Aliens, Ladybugs, and the Lethal Virus, in which a family of ladybugs helps a group of extraterrestrials save local children from a virus.

What drew you to write for children?

Three powerful forces drew me to write for children. First, teaching language arts, English, and speech to elementary and middle school students for 33 years brought me to the writing arena. Second, Charlie Como, at United Day School where I taught, led the way by taking all language arts teachers to an intensive writing workshop at Brown University—and it was there that I became hooked on learning creative writing techniques. I attended writing workshops at Texas Tech University. The well-known New Jersey Writing Project came to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, and I spent one week writing personal narratives and informative and persuasive essays. The South Texas Writing Project in our city of Laredo, Texas, became the home of reading and writing teachers. Randy Koch, professor at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, offered us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by teaching a creative writing course at Laredo Community College and became my mentor for both of my children’s books.

Third, reading to my two granddaughters, Adriana and Gabby, and listening to them read from toddler age up to the present motivated me to write for children. Their love for reading and writing was contagious. My passion for writing began in 1982. I discovered that writing is the best way to make sense out of my life and to understand the world of readers of all ages.

What was the process for writing Aliens, Ladybugs, and the Lethal Virus?

It took me one and a half years to finish writing this book, and it began the day I lost my balance and fell flat on the marble floor at my house. I was treated for a huge cut on the back of my head and ended up with staples. I was grounded for 10 days; I could not drive or go anywhere. I came home from the hospital, sat at my desk, and stared at a notebook pad. I grabbed a pencil and wrote these words at the top: “aliens, ladybugs, robots, deadly virus, and children.” I spent time every day writing this story and researching UFOs, aliens, viruses, robots, jets, spaceships, and so on. Once the draft of the manuscript was completed, I signed up with iUniverse publishing services. The three-part process of developmental edit, content edit, and quality review took almost 16 weeks as I submitted my revisions to the editors. Finally, the book was published in early 2019.

Your first book, Ladybugs on a Mission, published in 2013. Did writing and publishing your second book come with any new challenges?

Yes, the first book deals with the world of bugs. My second book deals with humans, aliens, robots, spaceships, lethal viruses, the world of medicine, and how children deal with medical challenges. Of course, the ladybugs from the first book are characters in this story. I invested more time in writing my second book, researching, rewriting, and editing.

What encouragement would you give a reluctant reader?

Encourage by setting the example. Let the reluctant reader, especially a youngster, see you reading and enjoying yourself. Read to the reluctant reader; make sound effects and use different voices for different characters. Bring the story to life. Encourage by giving options like comic books, Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, and illustrated books. Give the reader books that contain characters with whom he/she has similarities, in age, culture, race, socioeconomic class, disability, sexual preference, and so on. Provide books on subjects in which the reluctant reader has an interest, such as sports, dinosaurs, superheroes, animals, or outer space.