Author Interview: Kim Rogers on Career After Debut

By AJ Eversole

I had the pleasure of interviewing former Cynsations reporter Kim Rogers for her debut picture book, Just Like Grandma (Heartdrum, 2023) back in January and am so pleased to interview her for her second picture book, A Letter For Bob, illustrated by Jonathan Nelson (Heartdrum, 2023).

What is the heart of A Letter for Bob?

The heart of A Letter for Bob is family—that includes the white sedan that Katie’s family owns in this story.

Many of us sensitive kids have memories from early ages that follow us into adulthood. At the age of three, one of my first memories was having a strong attachment to my parents’ green Camaro. I remember crying when they traded it in for a new car. Parts of that day are still so tattooed into my mind because it was so emotionally impactful.

Children have attachments to cars and other meaningful things in their lives, so this is a book that can help them deal with grief they experience when they have to let those things go.

A Letter for Bob is a love letter to the family car and a book I needed when I was a child and still do as adult. It’s always been hard for me to say goodbye to cars. I currently own a little white SUV named Daisy. I love that car and don’t look forward to the day I trade her in!

A Hot Wheels model of the Camero that inspired A Letter For Bob.

Was Just Like Grandma a tough act to follow?

Just Like Grandma was a different act to follow. A friend told me that A Letter for Bob is so unlike my debut. This is true! Each of my books have their own unique soul and vibe. But many of my themes are consistent—family, love, joy. We all have different parts of personalities and all my books are a reflection of mine. And I always want to keep stretching my writing.

How do you celebrate your success?

I have this motto: Cake for everything! That’s how I like to celebrate. I especially love cheesecake and chocolate or white cake with buttercream frosting.

A few months ago, I was writing at my local coffee shop and received some amazing publishing news via email. I told the barista that I just received some good news and wanted to order a slice of Tres Leches cake to celebrate. It included a layer of cheesecake which was heavenly. The following photo is how they served it. Yes, I teared up. I am still so incredibly touched by their kindness!

What’s next from you?

Right now, I’m working on three projects in various stages. My writing is slower right now than I’d like it to be because life keeps getting in the way.

Writing simultaneously on several projects is a new approach for me. For a while, one project took precedence. Now, I’m back to working on all of them. I’m enjoying going from one project to the next when I’m stuck. It’s working well. But things could change again. That’s how life is, but I’ve learned to roll with it.

My next book comes out in February, I Am Osage: How Clarence Tinker became the First Native American Major General (Heartdrum, 2024). This is an inspiring story about military hero Clarence Tinker. I come from a military family. Six of my family members have been stationed or have worked at Tinker Air Force Base in Midwest City, Oklahoma. The base was named in General Tinker’s honor. I can’t wait to share this picture book biography will you all. And I have more coming, so stay tuned!

Cynsational Notes

Heartdrum Native American Heritage Month Celebration! Kim Rogers will be featured at the Heartdrum authors panel, along with Laurel Goodluck (Mandan-Hidatsa), Dawn Quigley  (Ojibwe), Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee), and Brian Young (Navajo). The free event will be at 12:30 p.m. Sat., Nov. 4 at the Austin Public Library, 710 W. César Chávez St. in Austin, Texas. For more information, please visit BookPeople’s event page.

Kim Rogers writes books, short stories, and poems for young readers. She is the author of Just Like Grandma, illustrated by Julie Flett, A Letter for Bob, illustrated by Jonathan Nelson, and I Am Osage: How Clarence Tinker became the First Native American Major General, illustrated by Bobby Von Martin comes out in winter of 2024, all with HarperCollins/Heartdrum. She is a contributor to Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids (HarperCollins/Heartdrum, 2021). The cover, illustrated by Nicole Neidhardt, was inspired by Jessie, the protagonist in her short story, “Flying Together.” Her poem, “What is a Powwow” is also included. Kim is an enrolled member of Wichita and Affiliated Tribes and is a member of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition. Much of her current writing highlights her Wichita heritage. She lives with her family on her tribe’s ancestral homelands in Oklahoma.

AJ Eversole covers children’s-YA writing, illustration, publishing, and other book news from Indigenous authors and illustrators for Cynsations. She grew up in rural Oklahoma, a place removed from city life and full of opportunities to nurture the imagination. She is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and writes primarily young adult fiction. AJ currently resides in Fort Worth, Texas; with her family. Follow her on Instagram @ajeversole.