Today we’d like to introduce you to Sara Triana Mitchell.
Sara, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always been a writer but never considered myself a storyteller. As a kid, a teenager, and an adult I filled up journals and wrote poetry. The first time I made a serious attempt to write fiction was during graduate school in a “writing for children” class. Making up stories does not come easily to me but I loved the mental challenge. The first story I wrote was about a teenage rock star named Willa. It felt like a puzzle my brain was constantly trying to put together at every hour of the day– driving in the car, in the shower, anytime I listened to music or heard a conversation with a musician, I would think “Oh! That’s what it’s like for Willa” and I would add a new detail or dilemma to the story.
I moved to the Houston area in 2015 with my husband Mitch and our daughter Anabelle who had just turned one. In the process of creating our new life here and making new connections, I found Jane & John Dough Bakery. Jane Wild, an owner at the time, had a knack for making everyone feel seen and welcome. She remembered my name and my daughter’s name. They would make faces at each other through the glass display over trays of cookies and pies. Jane introduced me to people who are now my best friends here and she became my friend too.
I have always loved coffee shops and the community that occurs inside them over food and drink. Jane & John Dough was a particularly great example because they had incredible bread, excellent coffee, and a warm vibe. I knew there was a story to be written there. I was still tied up in writing and Willa’s story. Sometimes I would stop and try to write a bakery story but the drafts weren’t great. I was still too tied up in the first project.
So it wasn’t until I started sending Willa out to agents and publishers that I felt creatively free enough to work on something new.
Two years after my first visit to Jane & John Dough, now with two young daughters in tow, I wrote the first draft of what I called “my bakery book” at the time. As soon as I wrote this draft, I knew it was it. I could see it for sale at the bakery and at other independent coffee shops and bakeries. I found an artist to illustrate the story. Her work was actually hanging up in Jane & John Dough. I knew I wanted to maintain significant control of the book so I chose to publish in partnership with Lucid Books. I built a Kickstarter for the project that raised almost $17,000.
Since then, I’ve been working every day on this project. Love Love Bakery: A Wild Home for All was released on July 2, 2018, and I excited to meet people, make new friends and listen to their stories on my Summer of Love Love Book Tour.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
One of the biggest struggles has been the learning curve. Pretty much every part of this project has required me to dig in and learn something new. From creating a storyboard with my illustrator, collaborating with vendors to create all the merch that was ordered in the Kickstarter, working with designers on the book’s title and interior design– every day has been different and I’ve learned something every step of the way. So not being able to fall back on the experience, to have to wake up and be a newbie every day, that can be challenging.
Another challenge is finding the time to work. I am a stay-at-home parent and I love going on adventures with my girls, or just spending time at home together reading, playing, baking, being outside. I struggle between wanting to be present to them all the time and also wanting them to see what it’s like for their mom to set creative goals and work hard to pursue them. Finding the best flow for us can be tricky.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Sara Triana Mitchell – what should we know?
I am the author of Love Love Bakery: A Wild Home for All. It is a children’s book about bread and belonging in a bakery where all are welcome for ages four and up.
As an independent author, I am responsible for not only the creative aspects of creating a book, but also all the branding, promotion, events, communication, and distribution. My publisher does work with a distributor that lists the book on Amazon and all the usual internet spots, but it’s my job to create relationships with bookstores, bakeries, coffee shops, any retailer that might sell the book.
I also hand-blend my own rooibos chai tea. I started blending tea last summer and then I offered it as a reward on Kickstarter. Now, I’m prepared to bring Love Love Chai to farmer’s markets and pop-up events along with the book.
I want to write a mountain of books that are meaningful to little readers. What I am most proud of, in terms of this book, is its vision of hope. Inside Love Love Bakery, neighbors are piled in drinking coffee and eating breakfast.
Everyone is different and those differences make the community stronger. I am proud that my book shows the beauty of inclusion, the simplicity of kindness, and how love can be a radical act of resistance.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I couldn’t have created this book without my incredible illustrator, H2 Alaska. She brought a playfulness to the work.
She knew where I wanted to go with the art and she took it so much further. I love the rainbow of colors she used and how captured a world of emotions on the faces of the Love Love Bakery customers.
Jane Wild, the inspiration for the character of Baker Jane, cheered me on the entire time. She is all about artists supporting other artists.
My husband Mitch has been full of grace as we have navigated the transition from stay-at-home mom to work-at-home mom.
- Love Love Bakery: A Wild Home for All $16.50
- Love Love Chai $6
- We All Rise enamel mugs $12
- Fling Your Doors Open letterpress prints $6
- Website: lovelovebakery.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @saratrianamitchell
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/saratrianamitchell/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/junewild
- Other: saratrianamitchell.com
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