Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world? Writing is my chosen creative form of expression. I was initially attracted to writing through reading, leading to my careers in journalism, corporate communications, public relations and marketing. My debut children’s book was published in 2018. The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes features multicultural superheroes, science and spy gadgets. My writing is contributing to efforts to repair the imbalance in children’s books. The number of diverse books published each year does not match the nation's demographics. My books feature main characters of color. I’ve had 40+ appearances since my book was published and see the excitement on the faces of children, parents and educators when they pick up my book. That’s reward enough for me as I see the impact of books. Books help build self-esteem and empathy, all needed to improve our world.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block? Sometimes it’s time: stepping away from one manuscript to work on another. Often the remedy is getting out into nature. I also read the works of others for inspiration, or watch a favorite television comedy series or nature film. I’ve also found that switching up my location to write helps a lot. A change of scenery can’t be overstated. Writers’ residencies are a love of mine. I enjoy the lure of a new place, meeting fellow artists and experiencing the passion of others as they discuss their work. This is my reminder that I’m fortunate to write full-time and not to take this for granted. I’m determined to leave behind a body of work I can be proud of and which, will hopefully, stand the test of time.

What is your favorite time to write? Starting around noon after slowly easing into my day. I may write for several hours and then break for dinner. I will sometimes pick it up again into the evening. I'm also inspired to write after being moved by a great piece of art, whether it's a book, essay, short story, painting or sculpture.

What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Make writing a habit. Get into the flow of writing and keep going. Also, experience life because you can’t fully express human emotions when you’re closed to new experiences. It’s also important to follow your passion and believe in your work. Write like you mean it.

What excites you most about being a writer in today's age? Our world is slowly beginning to understand the importance of diverse voices. I’m excited that children of all cultures, from the LGBTQIA community, of various religions, with disabilities can find themselves within the pages of a book. I fully understand that children labeled ‘reluctant readers’ may not have been read to when they were young, or may not have found books featuring characters who look like them. Many of them are now finding exciting entries into the world of reading and all the opportunities that presents through diverse books. My books entertain and open kids’ eyes to possible STEM careers. I'm excited about the possibilities.

Lora L. Hyler's Our Bodies Stay Home, Our Imaginations Run Free: A Coronavirus Covid-19 Story for Children is out now with HenschelHAUS Publishing.