Meet the Author—Karolyn Denson Landrieux
When my first granddaughter was born in 2017, I went to bed one night and dreamed about a character who was a little girl. The next morning, I decided to write down that dream. The girl, of course, would need a friend—that’s how Maxine and Beanie were born.
Bits and pieces of their story were inspired by my real life—for example, Maxine’s mommy likes to cook and sew, just like my daughter and I do. Maxine was inspired by my granddaughter and Beanie was inspired by their tuxedo cat, Penelope Cruz—but Maxine and Beanie would soon grow to have a life all their own.
I created Maxine as an homage to my granddaughter, Leilani. And what little person doesn't need a sidekick?
Beanie is Maxine's kitty and life-long friend. In the Adventures series, Beanie is a stuffed bean bag kitty that goes everywhere with Maxine.
Another thing Maxine and I have in common is that we both come from diverse families where everyone has different shades of skin, different colored eyes, and even different beliefs! When I’m writing these stories, I’m telling the extraordinary stories of an ordinary little girl who reflects the way other Black and Brown girls might see themselves in the world.
Representation is important for children from all backgrounds. Maxine teaches us that we are more similar than different overall. In an inclusive world, all children can do and be whatever they choose. The Maxine and Beanie series is meant to be visually exciting and intellectually stimulating. It’s full of fun, colorful stories the entire family will enjoy.
Creativity has always been my passion, but after I retired because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I really started to chase it. Aside from the cooking, sewing, painting, and design I usually do, I started to write and decided to publish the Maxine and Beanie series. I love this project and I love that I can now dedicate so much time and energy to it!
More About Karolyn...
Karolyn is recently retired and lives in Pittsburgh and Paris. She is CEO of Landrieux Holdings LLC and Goudelock and the 3 Bears Publishing located in Pittsburgh PA. Karolyn loves to travel but loves her time at home with family. She loves cooking, painting, writing, designing, decorating.
Karolyn has worked as a flight attendant, a professional model, and owned her own art gallery. She studied graphic design at Carnegie Mellon University and also has degrees in fashion and interior design. Aside from Maxine and Beanie, Karolyn also writes short stories, and poetry. Although she loves to travel and has travelled most of the world, she enjoys her time at home with her family. When it comes to what she loves, creativity is her passion!
Karen Light, Illustrator
Karen Light is the Founder, Chief Creative, Illustrator, and Artist / Mentor at Studio Light Illustration. Karen partners with authors to nurture humanity through the magic of storytelling. She believes that stories connect us as humans, forge understanding, evoke empathy, and challenge us to think of ways to create a world in which all living creatures can thrive! Karen can also be found hiking, swing dancing, spending time with loved ones, or curled up with a good book.