Life Lessons

INTERVIEWED BY DARREN ELMS Roseanney Liu is a South Bay Renaissance woman. In addition to publishing two books—with a third in the works—she’s a mom, a teacher, a Walk with […]


Roseanney Liu is a South Bay Renaissance woman. In addition to publishing two books—with a third in the works—she’s a mom, a teacher, a Walk with Sally mentor, a member of South Bay Business Women’s Association, an alumni ambassador with Loyola Marymount and a frequent volunteer around town. She decided to put her experiences to paper, co-authoring with her young daughter and completing her own memoir.

Why was it important that you write How to Survive Elementary School with your daughter?

There was not a book in the market penned by both parent and child on the subject of elementary school issues, and therefore it offers an interesting angle. But also because sharing this huge project with my child taught us how to work with one another. It allowed me to see her inner workings and stream-of-consciousness as a writer and how she transfers that onto the page, as well as my having the opportunity to share with her various limits and angles that we as writers need to test and explore in order to best offer what we can to our readers. In other words, this book allowed me to share my craft with her, and she’s now transferring that skill onto lyrics writing, to combine it with her love for music.

What was it like growing up in the South Bay? How has it changed for your kids growing up here now?

Growing up in the South Bay I’d always felt safe and that it was a fun place to live. As a teen I biked or jogged everywhere between Torrance/PV and Manhattan Beach, and I never questioned my safety. The beach towns and Del Amo mall I’d bike to offered cool shops for which I’d save my babysitting allowance. And between the beach, the mall, the movie theaters and The Strand, I never thought it was crowded or too touristy.

Now as a parent in the South Bay, everything is still fun and beautiful inside the bubble—but I now see it via the lens of an adult raising two school-aged children. So now I see the vast crowds in certain hot places in the South Bay, and I think about safety and parking issues. I see and wonder about the commercial development that juxtaposes our beautiful beaches with the mini- and mega-malls just blocks away. I see and think about the vast number and variety of choices that kids have now to have fun that are beyond what was available to myself and my friends when we were teens—and the amount of money pouring into these choices.

So while we have at our fingertips all these choices and access to new retail complexes that have made the South Bay a desirable destination for locals and for tourists, my family and I still just enjoy the sand and the sun for hours on end on any weekend at our local beach. Because the best things are constant … and oftentimes free.

What is it like being a teacher in 2017 … in the South Bay? Did you set out to be a teacher originally, or how did you fall into this profession?

I definitely fell into teaching after a few years of burnout in account management with big ad agencies. Working in large agencies was indeed glamorous with all the perks you can imagine. But teaching is a calling. It takes a certain personality to not only master your craft but to also want to share that with would-be learners so they can also learn how to master the craft and then do whatever they desire with the acquired skill.

Are you self-published?

My first two books went via two of the three routes for publishing: You did WHAT now?!, my memoir, is self-sourced and self-published. I worked as a project manager with every vendor one needs to put forth a book (e.g., editor, cover designer, formatter, printer, etc.). I then put the book for distribution and printing via two popular houses: CreateSpace (Amazon) and IngramSpark (huge and necessary as a distributor in the publishing world).

The learning curve was steep in managing the process working with various vendors and uploading materials onto the distribution houses because I didn’t know what I didn’t know. So when I did learn something I had to take care of, it slowed things down to a halt because I had to wrap my head around this new learning concept, figure out how to do it, maybe backtrack a step in order to make the new step more well-rounded for completion. But I am glad to have had the experience of this learning curve.

With How to Survive Elementary School, I went hybrid via a small-press publishing house (that I didn’t have to pitch to or convince to publish the book) that oversaw the entire process (which was longer than self-publishing entirely). I gave input and green-light/red-light every step of the way—from chapter format and font to cover design elements and nuances to back cover elements and layout to PR stuff.

It sounds like a picnic, right? Well, sometimes it was, and sometimes it’s a lot of waiting around for simple changes to take place and wondering how I could best communicate things online with my project manager when a white board or in-person meeting or Skype wasn’t available to me to communicate my thoughts.

With the third book that I’m working on procuring interview subjects now—A Crazy Day on the Job as a…—an agent I met at a writers conference said it’s interesting and wants me to put together a book proposal for him so he could use it as a tool to pitch to larger presses. So who knows, maybe I’ll experience yet a third type of publishing route via the agent-traditional press method.

Many people want to write and publish their own books, and people are aware of self-publishing options but they don’t know the exact steps involved. So I’m happy to share this process with them so it doesn’t have to feel daunting.