Yep, that’s me.
Well hello there. I write (award-winning!) books for children (16 in print so far). It’s so nice to virtually meet you! If I look familiar, it’s probably not because I was the one yelling at you to move it, mister, I’ve got a soccer game to get to. It’s probably not because you read one of my (award-winning!) books, although some day I hope to change that (**it’s not b/c my books stink–they are for the school and library market, so honestly, odds are you haven’t come across them in stores as they aren’t supposed to be there). But you may have seen me on CNN (twice) or on one of my regular local morning TV segments in Sacramento, Portland, Phoenix, or Albuquerque, heard me on national radio, read the syndicated newspaper column I co-wrote for five years, or seen one of the literally hundreds of articles I either was quoted in or wrote, like in Writing Children’s Books for Dummies, Working Mother magazine, California Kids!, PC Week, Investor’s Business Daily, blah blah… Maybe you’ve been at one of my author events or at one of the dozens of writer conferences where I spoke? Why, maybe you’ve driven by me on the freeway and didn’t even know it!
What I’m most proud of now are my six picture books, seven NF chapter books & three YA titles I’ve authored with publishers like Lerner and Rosen, and the many many books I’ve professionally edited for others. When I’m not eating dark chocolate, pretending to clean the kitchen, or yelling at my kids, I’m dedicated to the children’s book industry. My husband and three kids have been very supportive, and I’m looking forward to more published books, more conference presentations, and more school visits.
Are you a fellow or budding children’s book writer? Check out my blog (or click above) for writing tips specific to the kidlit industry. We dance to the beat of a different drummer here. It’s not the same beat as the traditional lit world, or any industry, really, and I must say, it’s divine. You’ll love it here!
If you’re looking for an official bio to use in conference materials, try this one written in third person. Otherwise, feel free to ditch and check out the rest of the site.
BITSY KEMPER is an award-winning author of 16 children’s books so far. You may have seen her on CNN, CBS This Morning, heard her on national radio, or read her musings in hundreds of newspapers and magazines across the country. Maybe you drove by her on the freeway and didn’t even know it… Mom of three kids (four if you count her husband), she is active in sports, theater and church (but not all three at the same time). She has held author visits and conference workshops from CA to NY and can’t wait to do more! Visit her at www.BitsyKemper.com
Wait, you’re already here…
This is the (much) longer version, if you’re just plain curious–no offense if you skip it!
Bio: the long version
Bitsy grew up on Lawn Guyland (commonly spelled “Long Island”), New York, the youngest of five kids born within five years. Her family didn’t have much growing up but they all learned the value of family, of fun, and of faith. She was one of those perhaps rare kids that LOVED school, and was involved in every extracurricular activity ever offered.
She went to undergraduate college in North Carolina, got a “real job” right after she graduated, and moved out to sunny California, where she earned a graduate degree, got married, had kids, and wrote books, but wait, this is the long version so hold on. CA is where she remains today but lots have happened in the meantime.
Early on in her career, Bitsy worked in the computer industry as a PR and marketing manager. She created marketing plans, product intro plans, and excelled at pioneering new avenues of company growth. Bitsy enthusiastically taught Presentation Skills to engineers (tough crowd!) and Media Trained executives (ditto!). She wrote product, advertising, and corporate documents, and many many news releases—sometimes technical, sometimes educational, sometimes flat-out boring.
While wrapped up in the corporate world, she helped run a multi-million dollar educational program, and co-wrote a nationally syndicated newspaper column that ran for almost five years in fifteen different newspapers throughout the nation. She had regular gigs on TV and radio in four different top 10 markets. Once she ditched her business suits, she then penned her own newspaper column for years in California. Her solo column appeared in the Sacramento Bee for many years, then she had a stint as a news reporter, where her articles often landed on the front page (oh the perks of small papers). She then ran a monthly column for California Kids! magazine, interviewing famous children’s book authors and illustrators.
She soon realized she was a cruddy reporter, but a pretty good writer.
How did a major in Economics (w/ minor in Marketing), plus Speech/Communication (w/ minor in Theatre), not English or journalism–or that Master’s degree in business (MBA)–get her where she is today?
She thinks she’s always been a storyteller of sorts. And not in the “quick–lie to dad!” kind of way. Throughout her “real life” and even computer-industry career, she’s performed in shows, appeared regularly on TV and on panels, won public speaking awards, emceed events, hosted live web chats, was in a few movies, did TV commercials, hit the professional theater scene, and somewhere in the crowd you’ll see her in music videos. She starred in the award-winning TV show “Dots Correct!” on Sacramento cable. She’s been interviewed or profiled in literally hundreds of media outlets worldwide, from CNN to Writing Children’s Books for Dummies. All this is to say…creativity has always been a part of her life, and it led her to authorship.
She wrote her first book, in rhyme, in her mind while on her daily stroller walks with her youngest child. She researched how to get it published and has been knee-deep ever since. Her first contract was a four-book, nonfiction deal with Picture Window Books in 2006. Within a few years she presented at the very conferences she first attended, the revered International SCBWI Conference in L.A. Her most recent titles are two YA titles (ReferencePoint Press, 2017 and 2018), three finance chapter books (Lerner, 2016), plus four nonfiction titles (The Child’s World, 2015), an NF YA for the school and library market (Rosen, 2014), and two ESL picture books (TunTun Books, due.. eventually).
Whoever would have guessed this is where she’d end up—and that she’d like it so much?
It never feels like work when you love what you do!
Keep in touch with me on Twitter. I hardly ever swear. (On Twitter, at least.)