Bianca Geissler was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Vancouver, Canada. She eventually moved back to Hong Kong and lived there for 20 years, where she met her Swiss husband. Now, she’s a first-time children’s book author celebrating the release of her debut picture book, Who Are You, Suzie Woo? The book follows the story of Suzie Woo, a young and biracial girl who is struggling with her identity. To learn more about Bianca’s story, we sat down to chat about the writing and publishing process.
MIRIAM LAUNDRY: Hi, Bianca! Congratulations on publishing your first picture book. Can you tell us who it’s for and when you started writing it?
BIANCA GEISSLER: Who Are You, Suzie Woo? Is for children ages five to 11. I had the idea for this book many years ago, when my children were still very young. We were living in Hong Kong at that time and because my kids are mixed race — Dad is Swiss and Mom is Canadian Chinese — many of the local people were curious about their nationality. They were often asked, “Where are you from?” It was during those moments when I became more aware of how they would reply and even I wondered where they felt they came from. This is when the seed of the idea was planted.
I became focused on what they felt their cultural identity was and I was sure that there were so many other children in the same situation. I became interested in sharing their story and experience. I wanted other children to know and understand that even though their parents are from different countries and cultures, they need not feel that they don’t belong or fit in anywhere. That coming from a family with a mix of cultures is indeed a blessing.
ML: What inspired you to become an author?
BG: I have already published an adult nonfiction book about entrepreneurs. It is a compilation of various entrepreneurs and their business journeys. At that time, I was working as a PR consultant and many of our clients were successful entrepreneurs who would tell us their stories of how they started from nothing and through hard work and dedication, had built multi-million dollar companies. My co-author and I were so amazed and fascinated with their journeys that we thought it would be interesting to share them with others, to inspire others who were thinking about starting a business.
So, for this same reason, I had been wanting to publish a children’s book that shared the story of the experience of my own children.
ML: As you worked on the book, did you face any challenges? What was your biggest challenge when writing?
BG: Finding the time to work on it without interruptions.
ML: Yes, finding the time is definitely a big struggle for authors of all kinds. I must say, it was incredible working with you through Publishing Mastermind, and I’m curious to know. What was the biggest value to you by being part of Publishing Mastermind?
BG: It was the amazing MLP team that gave me the support and knowledge that I needed in order to achieve my dream of publishing my children’s book. No request was ever too much trouble or too difficult for them. They were always so patient and willing to help and offer support. I honestly do not think that I could have completed it otherwise.
It was also of great value getting to know other aspiring authors and to hear about their challenges and successes. We could all support each other on our author journeys and I no longer felt so alone and isolated on mine.
ML: I’m glad to hear that, Bianca. It’s been such a pleasure working alongside you for this. Before we log off, can you tell us why it was important to you to share the message in your book?
BG: I wanted to inspire other children to believe in themselves despite being “different” from their peers. All little children want, is to feel like they belong. By writing the story, I wanted them to realize and understand that they too belonged, regardless of their mixed race.
ML: Thank you, Bianca, and congratulations again on publishing your first picture book.
Bianca Geissler was born in vibrant Hong Kong and grew up in Vancouver, Canada. She worked as a Communications Strategist for a global multinational for many years and her first foray as an author was a book about entrepreneurs.
She believes that everyone has a place in this world, no matter where they are from. Bianca is passionate about cultural diversity and travelling. When she is not writing, you can find her exploring nature, hiking, biking, or at a bookclub meeting. She currently lives in Vancouver with her husband, son and daughter.