Kim Hanzo

Kim Hanzo

  • Author

Most authors begin with a written story and seek an illustrator to bring them to life. My experience has been the opposite.

I’ve long believed that life is a story. And, historically, my medium (and passion) for storytelling has been illustration. There’s no greater joy than inspiring thought, evoking feelings, and making personal connections through the power of imagery. 

In a quest to fulfill my life’s dream and in an effort to make a difference in this world, I developed a body of illustrated work that ultimately seemed to have more to say than one picture could contain. And so, with the encouragement of family and friends, my journey to expand the visual stories with written words began. 

I am excited to bring you the 6-book World of Difference series, and I truly hope you enjoy the collection.

Interview

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, your hobbies and interests.

Next to being crafty, illustrating, designing, etc. I love to observe, learn about and photograph wildlife. And, of course, relaxing with family or having a glass of wine with girlfriends is always a plus.

2. When and why did you start writing books?

Illustrating children’s books had been an ultimate career goal since graduating from college in 1995. I’ve always been a visual storyteller and not only love the idea of helping to shape growing hearts and minds, but also enjoy the vast creative opportunities that this genre affords. In September 2020, the time was right and I connected with Fox Pointe Publishing, making that goal a reality. I hadn’t considered writing a children’s book until 2018, when I was contemplating ways to expand on the body of work I had developed under my business name, Lellow Lolly. At the encouragement of customers, followers, family, and friends, I dabbled with my first manuscript. Then, in November 2020, with three contracted books complete, I shared my manuscript with Fox Pointe and added “Author” to my credentials. My first book was released in February 2021, with six more books on the schedule to be completed by the end of the year.

3. What made you decide to tackle writing as a career?

My skill set and career path have always been in the world of visual arts —graphic design, illustration, and creative direction with experience in brand development and marketing. That said, all of the positions I’ve held have been within the printing or publishing markets. As a result, I’m not sure I “decided” to make writing a career, but rather my life experiences led me to this place and I elected to take advantage of yet another opportunity to expand my mediums. To be honest, I’ve been an “artist” for so long, that I’m still getting used to also calling myself. “author.”

4. Which one of your books or characters is your favourite?

I adore the roly-poly penguins in Stand Together. They’re adorable and were fun to draw. I’m also in love with the color palette and collections of critters in Live Gently — probably because they reflect so many animals that I actually do see in my own backyard.

5. Which one of your books was the hardest to write and stretched you the most as a writer?

Gnome for the Holidays was probably the most challenging to write since it required not only a fair amount of research to represent the ways that various cultures celebrate Christmas, but then to weave those key traditions into a verse form that stays true to the tune, “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays.”

6. Who is your favourite author and book?

I am a big fan of audiobooks since I can listen to them while creating artwork. If I had to isolate one book as a favorite (there are SO many to choose from) I would say, The Great Along, by Kristen Hannah. I’ve also devoured the Kingsbridge and Century series by Ken Follet and enjoy mixing in some classics like Anna Karenina, Jane Eerye, War & Peace, David Copperfield, etc.

7. What book are you reading right now?

I actually just finished Beach Music. It was my first book by Pat Conroy and I’m hooked.

8. Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

My current book series is an expansion of an illustration that I did several years ago, called World of Difference. Each book takes a deeper dive into one of six concepts included in that piece; Stand Together, Walk Lightly, Give Freely, Live Gently, Care Deeply, Love One Another.

9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

As a self-employed, mother of three, there isn’t a whole lot of “spare time.” But, when there is, I enjoy relaxing with family or taking a walk in nature.

10. Do you have any new books in the works?

Yes, this year (2021) I plan to complete the World of Difference series and release a Christmas book featuring gnomes.