We had the good fortune of connecting with Angie Flores and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Angie, alright, so let’s kick it off with a deep question: what’s the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
My book Cub’s Wish shares a message that was instilled in me when I was a child – happiness comes from within so live life to it’s fullest. Through all these years I have held that as one of my principals. Responsibilities and values may have changed, but taking on the challenge of achieving a dream opened my eyes to new views. I have learned several valuable lessons over the past few years since my first book launched, and will be sharing these with my kids as they embark on their journeys, as well as with your readers who are creating their own life stories. 1. Never let others stand in the way of your dreams. When I first started on my journey as a Children’s Book Writer, I was faced with other people’s ideas of what a writer should have already accomplished before putting pen to paper. I was not an English major, a Dr. of Philosophy, did not hold a credential as a Teacher, nor a practicing Child Psychologist. I knew that I wanted to leave a literary mark the way my grandmother did when she wrote and illustrated children’s stories before WWII – If not with the masses, then with my own family as she did with me. I researched all of the ins and outs and read hundreds of articles. I knew that I was on a path I was enjoying, and I was determined to make it happen. 2. Live in thanks because you did not get here alone. All of the articles and webinars were hitting the target of what I needed to know, but I wanted something more. I joined writing groups that shared industry information and broke down the differences between self publishing and traditional publishing. I met people along the way that helped to put all I researched into play. I adopted mentors who I would look to for a more personal approach to create my path. I saw that although I was not financially set to pay for coaches, I was being blessed by people who were looking out for my best interest, and wanted to see me succeed. They unselfishly helped me to cross a threshold I never thought possible. Whether it was an employer, a writing partner, an established author, an honest literary agent, a teacher, a neighbor, an unbiased-brutally honest family member,… I was receiving help that I would be forever grateful for. I would repay in some way, be it a shout out on a podcast, a lead or promo opportunity, or on my website’s gratitude page – I would find a way. I can claim the work as my own, but I know and willingly admit, it took a village to raise this kid. 3. Never limit your possibilities and welcome the blessings Once my book was launched I did not know what to expect. I had friends and family who helped me spread the word and share my information with their own connections. My book debuted on Amazon at #2767 of all 11 million+ books on the site. As a self published Author, with no industry representation, this was an unbelievable accomplishment. This gave me the confidence to look outside of my box to see how I could share the message of my book. I was invited to speak at schools, on radio shows, and at festivals, and created ways for parents to bond with their children while reading the book. I attended San Diego ComicCon and put all shyness aside to ask several celebrities and guests at the event to help promote my book. With positive response, it made for fun filled advertising on social media and spiked curiosity and sales. During the holiday season I was invited to be in 2 city parades to promote my book, making me the first non-council member to be driven in the Redondo Riviera parade for 3 consecutive years, and the first author to be featured in the San Pedro holiday parade. All of these blessings were amazing, but I wanted to meet my goal of being on the shelf of Barnes and Noble. After being turned down for 2 years, my dreams were finally met in the fall of 2019. The Huntington Beach/Bella Terra Barnes & Noble welcomed me in with a very successful book signing event, as well as Torrance / Del Amo Mall, and Boston MA/Norwood Mall. Cub’s Wish sold out at each store event, which fostered an invitation to return to the Huntington Beach store to take part in the Author Convention, which hosted several NY Times best sellers and agented writers – Again selling out of book store stock. I never thought it would be possible for all of these achievements, but I had to try, I could not limit myself due to concerns of failure, or the little voices of fear telling me to stop already. The possibilities were endless of what could be done with this sweet story. I wanted to launch my new book, but complications with the illustrator put it on the back burner. I could not sit idle, so since I owned the illustrations, I had my book converted to Braille. Then, wanting to reach an international audience, I had the book translated in Spanish, French, and Italian. All were launched as Amazon Best Sellers. Now with books being sold in the UK, Australia, and many countries, more languages are being done as to not leave any one out. There is no limit to what can be done, so why not just go for it? 4. Never give up Though I did not get accepted into all the opportunities I would try to make happen, or win all the contests I entered, I did not get discouraged. I never gave up. I knew that I had to focus on the opportunities that DID happen and the awards that I DID win. I was realizing that I was given an opportunity to share my words. I knew I had to believe in myself and share my book with the world, but geeze, It was hard. I was determined to make these dreams come true, but I couldn’t get discouraged. I set my intentions and focused on what I wanted. Regardless of being turned down by agents, I will continue with my other stories since now I have an understanding of the work that goes in to being an Author. Did you know that JK Rowling (My Hero), The Author of the Harry Potter Series, was turned down 150 times before someone gave her a chance? It will happen for me one day, I just have to keep trying. Just as I learned to walk when I was a baby – I would still be sitting on my butt today if I did not get up and try again. I revert to that purpose and willpower to try again. All while remembering it started with a little Panda Cub, who will now influence children all over the world to continue to wish. Because wishes do come true.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I could not live anywhere other than California. Raised in Hollywood, I now call the South Bay my home. If I could show my favorite things about living in this city, We would start out at Echo Park for an early morning ride in a swan boat and hang out with the lotus flowers that dress the lake. We would then go to the Perch for a patio drink and brunch while looking out over Pershing square and the classic buildings that make up L.A. We would make our way to The Last Bookstore and get lost in the labyrinth, then head to Clifton’s Cafeteria and visit their Tiki Bar to rest our feet and grab a snack. The L.A. Art district would be a must for pictures with my favorite L.A. Artist, Colette Miller’s Angel Wings and other amazing murals. After treating my guest to a beer at Angel City Brewery (And even more Angel wing pictures), we would head back to visit the top of Que Skyspace – The Tallest observation deck in California that lets you see the glistening ocean, to the snow capped mountains. We’d take the glass slide then stand in front of even more Angel Wings that have a beautiful city view background. We would watch the sun set into the ocean while all the lights came on in all the sky scrappers, making the city look like a galaxy of twinkling stars. We would have a late dinner at Mrs.Fish, an underground Japanese restaurant with a groovy modern feel. We would enjoy Sushi while sitting under aquariums filled with tropical fish. To call it a night, we would stay at the Biltmore hotel, one of the oldest and famous hotels of Los Angeles. Used in several movies, the art deco truly takes you back in time. The next day would start with a drive up the coast to Malibu.We would stop at Moon Shadows for a bite to eat by the coast, where the waves hitting the rocks is like music to the ears (More Angel Wings too). After enjoying Malibu for a while we would head back down the coast to the Santa Monica Pier for a ride on the carousel, a turn on the Ferris wheel, and a Margarita with delicious Mexican food at Mariasol at the end of the pier. We would then go into Old Town Torrance for a late afternoon tea at Chado Tea Room. This tearoom is filled with hundreads of teas, an indoor water fountain, and walls covered in teapots. A snack tray of finger sandwhiches and scones go perfect with the tea pods that blossom before your eyes. relaxed from the tea, we would head to Torrance Beach in time for the sunset and strap on the skates to roll out to the Redondo Beach Pier where we would have our choice of Tony’s, a classic seafood restaurant that has been around for over 50 years, El Torrito, or follow the delicious smell of charbroiled fish to Kincades. The next day we would just HAVE to visit Hollywood. Although it has changed drastically since I lived there myself, There are still some gems that are worth seeing. We would start with a Lunch at one of Hollywood’s oldest mexican restaurants, El Coyote! My favorite place to eat when visiting my home turf. The eclectic decor is a treat to enjoy, as well as the wait staff who dress in traditional Mexican wear. Next we would make a quick stop at Canter’s to grab a bag of Amazing freshly made cookies to enjoy while touring the city. Melrose is fun to walk along to see the colorful street art and fashion trending stores- and what do you know, more Angel Wings! Cruising on Hollywood Boulevard and checking out the stars from the car would be the route as we head up to Lake Hollywood to get a close-up look of the Hollywood sign and finish the Canter’s Cookies. As we head back down to Hollywood boulevard we make our way to Las Palmas drive to eat dinner at Michelli’s, Another one of the Hollywood Classics. I love this place because you can order a bottle of Chianti and you get to sign and hang the bottle on the ceiling. Frequented by Hollywood stars, the charm is strong, and it is a must for Italian food! To end the night We would head to the Magic Castle – an exclusive club for Magicians and entrance is by invite only. as to not give up the secrets of what lay behind the front door, we will skip to the night cap, up the hill at Yamashiro Restaurant, to unwind from the day and look out at the view of Hollywood from another old classic restaurant.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First and foremost I thank God for making all things possible. A big shout out to my loving and supportive husband who has supported my dream and joined me on my journey with patience and love. To my 3 boys who were my inspiration to never give up. To my Grama for being my Guardian Angel and role model. And to my amazing circle of family and friends who believe in what I do and cheer me on at every turn.
Image credits to Angie Flores Books