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Writing to the Finish Line

Inspired by another “Dream Big” Mama, Brianna Grant turned a running concept into a reading experience. With determination and endurance, she blazed her own trail and finished strong with We Are Girls Who Love to Run.

Name
Brianna Grant

City / State
Duvall, WA

What was your big dream?
My big dream was to publish a children’s book.

How did you accomplish it?
After over two years of sending manuscripts to publishing companies, I finally decided to self-publish my book. I joined forces with my mom to create our company, Balanced Steps, which is publishing We Are Girls Who Love to Run and will also provide educational consulting for teachers and children at our local schools. We promote hands-on/minds-on learning experiences that make teaching and learning fun and engaging for everyone in the classroom. Once kids get excited about what happens in the classroom, they’ll become involved and retain what they’re learning. Engaged children are happy students. Happy students make for happy teachers. Happy teachers make for a positive learning environment. . . you get the idea! It all just grows from there.

Where did you find inspiration to get started?
Girls on the Run inspired me to write We Are Girls Who Love to Run. Several of my students participated in the program – they just radiated self-confidence and positive self-esteem. It changed my own relationship with running, even though I wasn’t actively participating in the program. Their experiences with Girls on the Run crossed over into other areas of their lives and rubbed off on those of us who were around them. Thank you, girls! I called Molly Barker on a whim one day (a year after I left teaching to stay home with my son) to share my idea for taking the great lessons of Girls on the Run and my own inspirations/visions of running to create a picture book for girls. She encouraged me to go for it. The rest fell into place with many late nights, crunch time during kid naps & good ol’ sweat!

What motivated you to keep going?
I was feeling overwhelmed and frustrated by the process of submitting unsolicited manuscripts to publishing companies. While I was getting signed letters from editors from large publishing houses, the bottom line remained that they weren’t picking up my book. I found a small publisher in Fredonia, WI (my best friend in college grew up there, so I had actually been to that great little town) and decided to make a leap and call the owner, Stacey Kannenberg. Knowing the town where Cedar Valley Publishing was removed any apprehension I previously had about making a cold call. If she was from Fredonia, I knew I could talk with her easily. And I was right! While Stacey was financially unable to pick-up my book for publication, she was rich with advice and encouragement. A year later, with my book now at the printer and getting ready for distribution by February 2008, I still email and call Stacey with progress updates and questions I have about the process. And, she keeps me posted and asks ME questions as she tackles her new adventures! I had no idea that morning I dialed the phone that I’d be making such an amazing connection and that it would lead me to forming my own company and realizing my dream of publishing a book. I get goose bumps just thinking back on it!

What’s your next Big Dream?
My next Big Dream is to create a series of books similar to We Are Girls Who Love to Run. I know I can realize it, too, seeing how far I’ve come and all that I learned in the process of “birthing” the first book. Someone recently asked me which was more fulfilling – finishing a marathon or publishing a book? While there is exhilaration in crossing that finish line 26.2 miles after starting your run, for me the book is actually something that I can pass along to others to share my passion for running. It’s a tangible version of the passion the Girls on the Run kids shared with me. Both experiences are priceless, but I’m more excited about being able to pass the torch to others.

When you were 5 what did you want to be when you grew up?
A teacher.

What about when you were 15?
Anything but a teacher.

Now, what do you want to be when you grow up?
A healthy role model for my son and daughter.

What book is on your night stand?
Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin (I attended a lecture she gave at UGA and was awed)

What’s your Guilty Pleasure? (Grey’s Anatomy, Peppermint Mocha Lattes)
A scone from this amazing local bakery in town. I haven’t found a flavor there that I wouldn’t eat again!

What song moves you?
Just about anything by Sugarland – it reminds me of my college days when Jennifer Nettles was part of the duo Soul Miner’s Daughter

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