Behind the Scenes: “The Voices in My Head” by Lauren Kerstein

Do you have a voice in your head that continually gets shut down? Do characters talk to you? Do you have a snarky editor on your shoulder that criticizes your work? Voices in your head? This all sounds normal to me! Here, Lauren Kerstein shares what happened when she let that voice out onto the page.  

Lauren has generously offered a giveaway of a copy of ROSIE THE DRAGON AND CHARLIE SAY GOODNIGHT with swag! Just comment below and you’ll be entered to win. 

The winner of last week’s Giveaway of Soaked is….Patrick Woodruff!

The Voices in My Head Kerstein_022 (1)

I have two voices in my head.

Wait… don’t run away. I’m not talking about those kinds of voices.

I’m talking about my authentically ME voices.

I have my sassy, Jersey-girl voice.

And I have my sensitive, heartfelt voice.

I’ve always been good at using my sensitive, heartfelt voice. After all, I’m a mental health clinician. But, the key to writing Rosie and Charlie was acknowledging the ever-present (and ever-growing) Jersey-girl voice that was begging to see the light of day in my writing.

Updated good night coverAs a Jersey-girl who went to college and graduate school in St. Louis, I quickly learned to quiet my sassy Jersey-girl voice. After all, my New Jersey license plate and propensity for “east coast” driving did enough damage to my wallet (and psyche). I learned to favor my sweet, sensitive voice. It just seemed like the way to go. (Unless you’re a very close friend or family member, and then you’ve definitely heard the Jersey-girl voice to which I’m referring.)

But the older I get, the more that Jersey-girl voice wants OUT!

And so, when I wrote the very first Rosie and Charlie, I finally unleashed that sarcastic, subversive, sassy voice. The original manuscript was How to Put Your Mommy to Bed, and I tapped into my Jersey-girl voice in ways I hadn’t let myself do in the past. I think letting that voice shine was the key to finding a brand of humor that not only entertained me, but uncovered my unique, albeit quirky side.

Yawn and Timer Picture (Good Night Book)

 And then the revision work began!

How to Put Your Mommy to Bed received positive accolades among critique partners, but I was told to make it more unique.

Okay, how about a dragon.

Then I was told to make it even more unique. No problem…

At the time, I was one of the parent reps for my daughters’ swim team and spent hours and hours at the pool. How about a dragon who wants to learn how to swim. Can you imagine the humorous moments that will provide?! I dove (see what I did there) deeper and deeper into my Jersey-girl humorous voice.

Bubble Bath Scene (Good Night Book) (4)

Then, my agent recommended actual swim skills. Genius!

Then my editor wanted actual character names! Excellent!

And thus, Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves (Two Lions/Illustrated by the incredibly talented Nate Wragg) was born.

When it came time to launch the sequel, we went back to that original bedtime story— that initial moment when I finally set my Jersey-girl voice free. I revised and revised so that I had a blend of sass and sweetness.


Bedroom Scene (Good Night) (2)

Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Say Good Night will snuggle into bookshelves on September 1, 2020! Nate Wragg’s illustrations bring this story to life in ways I could never have imagined. I am so grateful that we were able to work together again.

OH, and please join us for our virtual launch on August 30th at 4:30. The event is free, but you must RSVP.

I hope you enjoy Rosie and Charlie’s next adventure, and find that it offers a satisfying blend of the two voices in my head. Rosie the Dragon and Charlie tackle bedtime dragon-style and discover that the best way to face bedtime bumps is to weather them … together.

Lauren Kerstein is an author and psychotherapist. She is a Jersey girl at heart who currently lives in Colorado with her husband, their two dragons…er, daughters, and their rescue dogs. Lauren’s debut: ROSIE THE DRAGON AND CHARLIE MAKE WAVES (Illustrated by Nate Wragg/Two Lions) splashed into bookstores in 2019. The companion volume, ROSIE THE DRAGON AND CHARLIE SAY GOOD NIGHT (Illustrated by Nate Wragg/Two Lions), will snuggle into bookshelves September 1, 2020. HOME FOR A WHILE (Illustrated by Natalia Moore/Magination Press) is expected February 2, 2021. Lauren also writes books in her field. Lauren is one of the founders of #ReVISIONweek, a judge with Rate Your Story, runs a critique business, and is a long-time member of 12×12 and SCBWI. Visit her at, on Twitter @LaurenKerstein, Instagram @LaurenKerstein, or Facebook.

LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW TO BE ENTERED TO WIN A COPY OF ROSIE THE DRAGON AND CHARLIE SAY GOOD NIGHT. (Winner announced next Friday. Continental US addresses only, please.)

7 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes: “The Voices in My Head” by Lauren Kerstein

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