Lysa Mullady has been an elementary school counselor for 28 years. She is known for her engaging, enthusiastic, and creative counseling style. Her passion is to teach her students to be problem solvers by talking it out and thinking good things. Lysa was born and raised on Long Island, where she still lives with her family and two golden-doodles. You can find her on the weekends enjoying the beach with her husband, walking the dogs and searching for beach glass, all while imagining ways to help others become the best they can be.
Not all days are good days, but with the right attitude, the world could be full of many more “sunshine and lollypop days!” Lysa celebrates being a celebrity in the eyes of the children that inspire her and talks more about how a lifelong dream turned into Bye Bye Pesky Fly.
Please welcome the lovely Lysa Mullady!
What do you do when you’re not writing books? I have been an elementary school counselor for 28 years. I look forward to seeing my students every day. On the weekends, I create hands-on activities to engage them in the learning process. We have so much fun, it helps balance the adversities they deal with at home and the challenges they face in school.
What’s your normal writing process? How do you decide what topics to write on? Inspiration comes to me during the quietest moments of my day. Walking the dogs, driving, cooking dinner for my family. During these routine times, my mind drifts to how I can help my students. To be an effective counselor, I need to be creative. I imagine colorful and humorous ways to meet their needs. If an idea makes me laugh, I think it’s a good one! I quickly jot down notes in my journal, which is never too far away. From there, I continue to think about how I can make that idea come to life.
How does it feel to be a published author? Being a children’s book author has been a lifelong dream. I have been writing my whole life, never losing sight that one day it would happen for me. My journey as a writer is just beginning. I know I first needed to work with children in order to find my voice and to be able to write from my heart. It is amazing to me that the words I worked so hard to craft, will be shared in classrooms and homes everywhere. My hope is that they will inspire others to feel good about who they are and the importance of treating each other with kindness.
What is a surprising/different than you expected about getting a book published? I imagined the students at my school would be excited when my book was published, but I never thought I would become a celebrity in their eyes! After all, I’m just Mrs. Mullady, school counselor in their everyday life. What touches my heart, is that students have begun to share with me the stories they write on their own. Unexpectedly, an eager child will show up at my door, with their written words in hand. I cherish the moments that I marvel over their hard work and give them words of encouragement to keep writing and believing in their dreams. With certainty I assure them, dreams do come true.
What children’s book was your favorite (or made the most of an impact on you) when you were growing up? I remember reading Charlotte’s Web in third grade. I had always enjoyed reading, but this was the first book that whisked me away. I laughed, and I cried, as I embraced the characters and their story. Even when I wasn’t reading the book, I thought about what was happening to the characters. I couldn’t wait to get back to the next chapter. I believe it is this book that taught me the power of a well told tale. It only seems fitting that the main character in my first book is a pig.
What is your newest book about? Pig is a peaceful character who is enjoying the calm beauty of a sunshine day, until the Pesky Fly comes along. Pesky Fly is annoying, and Pig becomes upset. Pig has to decide what to do with his unhappy feelings. The story leads the reader through Pig’s choices. Pig deals with his frustration in a positive way. In the end, Pig and Fly are friends.
What is your book really about? Irritation is part of life. We can deal with a nuisance in either an aggressive, passive or an assertive way. As we teach children to deal with conflict, it is important for them to see the effects of the actions they choose. When you take responsibility for your own feelings, and deal with them in a positive way, you will be rewarded with inner peace.
What inspired you to write this book? Working as an elementary school counselor, I once had a student who would cheerfully walk into my office and declare, “Today is a sunshine and lollypop day!” Yet, on other days, he would be filled with such sadness because someone had bothered him. It is a common theme. School age children often base their happiness on how others treat them. I wanted to empower my students, showing them how they can take control of their own feelings.
How did you get your ideas for the characters? Years ago, I embraced the stress reducing powers of long distance running. For me, it has become a form of moving meditation. My mind wonders as I look for creative solutions to whatever problems I am wrestling with. I was running a half-marathon in Lake Placid. It was warm and beautiful. It reminded me of my student, and his “sunshine and lollypop” days. But as I was running, I was annoyed by flies. Swatting them away, the idea of the Pesky Fly was born. For the remainder of the race, I wrote Bye Bye Pesky Fly in my imagination.
What made you want to publish with Magination? After writing Bye Bye Pesky Fly, I made it into a PowerPoint presentation to use with my students in school. The kids and teachers loved it. A teacher remarked that if it was a book, she would read it to her own children. I was motivated to find a publisher who appreciated both the story and the message within. Magination Press was a perfect fit. As part of the American Psychological Association, they strive to print important works that guide parents, caregivers and educators, as they inspire our youth to become the best they can be. I am so proud to be part of the Magination Press family. Each and every person I worked with is dedicated to their craft. Together, we created such an amazing children’s book!