Friday, October 28, 2022

Q&A with Jessica DelVirginia



Jessica DelVirginia is the author of the new children's picture book Rocky's Road to the Big City. She is the founder of the strategic communications firm Insite Strategy.


Q: What inspired you to write a picture book about Rocky, the little owl who ended up in New York City's Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in 2020?


A: I was living in NYC at the time, and the story broke that they had found a tiny owl in the Rockefeller tree. The image of Rocky wrapped in the orange blanket was all over the local news and social media, and I couldn't stop thinking about her. So I reached out to [illustrator] Courtney [Ling], and we pulled together the initial version of Rocky's Road to the Big City ahead of the 2020 holiday season. 

Q: What kind of research did you need to do to write the book, and did you learn anything that especially surprised you?


A: For this 2022 version of the book, we did a lot more research about the type of owl that Rocky is. We thought it was funny that everyone kept calling her a baby, when in reality, she's a saw-whet owl, a breed of owl that's naturally tiny. We included a list of fun facts about the owl breed at the end of the book, making it not only a fun book outlining her adventures, but educational as well. 

Q: What do you think Courtney Ling's illustrations added to the book?


A: This book wouldn't exist without Courtney's immense talent. Her attention to detail and inspired illustrations made my jaw drop when I first saw them, and I'm still in awe of them today. I couldn't have asked for a better friend, illustrator, and partner in this project. 

Q: What do you hope kids take away from the story?


A: I think young readers will be excited by Rocky's adventure, and begin to dream big about future adventures of their own. I think they can also learn a bit about resilience and bravery, reading about how our feathered friend stayed strong through such a long journey.

Q: What are you working on now?


A: Right now, we are just sharing the word about Rocky with the world, wherever we can. We are open to doing readings and signings, and hope that the book continues to find success and becomes a holiday classic. 

Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Rocky's Road to the Big City is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, Strand Books, and most places books are sold!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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