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Celebrating Valentine's Day with Love and Slime!

When I came across the glittery cover of Be My ValenSLIME at the bookstore, I immediately grabbed it up. As a lover of holidays AND slime (as well as a Co-Host over at, I knew it was right up my alley. And what better book to feature and author to Interview for February’s Valentine’s Day!

LYNNE MARIE: In Be My ValenSLIME, we are introduced to a sweet monster named Snoodle who is lovey dovey and not gruffy and grumpy like the other monsters. What gave you the idea for this character?

KRIS TARANTINO: As I was brainstorming story ideas about love and Valentine’s Day, I knew I wanted a character who loved everything. Enter Snoodle.

LM: Which actually came first, the character or the problem or the plot? 

KT: First the title and Snoodle. Then the problem. Lastly, the plot. 

LM: Growing up, which group would you fall into – gruffy and grumpy, or lovey dovey? Why? 

KT: Haha, probably a bit of both. I’m generally a perfectionist and can get frustrated and grumpy when things don’t go especially well. But I’m working on staying more positive, like Snoodle, and letting go of stuff that really doesn’t matter.

LM: One thing that stands out to me is the brilliant way you wove in the characteristics of love into the manuscript. I love how this ties story, message, and takeaway together. What gave you the idea to weave these into the story in this way?

KT: I wanted to write a story about how kids can show love to each other on a kid-to-kid friendship level. I also wanted to share how love is worth celebrating, at its best and at its messiest. Through the process of writing and revision—lots of revision—slowly the layered story, message, and takeaway worked together into a complete narrative.

LM: I also love the way you allow the monsters to still be monsters and show Snoodle making the best of it even though it’s not what she imagined. Was that part of your initial idea? Why, or why not?

KT: Yes, it was in the first draft. I intentionally wanted them to play off of each other. I thought it would be funny to kids and amp up the humor. 

LM: Snoodles comes up with the perfect mash-up between what she wants and what her friends need. How did you come up with the idea for Valenslime! 

KT: The idea for Be My ValenSLIME came together after years of experiencing people who repeatedly demonstrated a lack or void of love and kindness. I found myself saying, This doesn’t feel like love. What’s love anyway? Then the idea of exploring What’s love anyway kept rolling around in my head. And I thought what better way to get down to the kid-level on the topic of ‘love’ than with the opposite kind of character—a mash-up of monsters (typically viewed as a nasty unloving group). But they all couldn’t be monster-y. Then Snoodle burst on the page, along with the fun title, and the rest was history.

As I developed the story, I knew I wanted it filled with humor and heart. So, the funny rambunctious monsters who “DON’T DO Valentine’s Day” provided the chaos and silliness, and the kind, patient, forgiving Snoodle provided the heart-part showing kids the application of love. 

LM: Share a favorite childhood Valentine’s Day Memory with us.  

KT: Favorite childhood memory was in elementary school when our class exchanged valentines. 

LM: What’s next on the horizon for you?

KT: WaterBrook/Random House just signed Cori Doerrfeld and I to two additional monster stories! Look for more monster mayhem and slimy antics in 2026 and 2028.

LM: Ask yourself a question that you wish we had asked and answer it. (How did the illustrator, Cori Doerrfeld, become involved?)

KT: Once the manuscript was ready for art, my editor asked me to put together a list of illustrators who I thought would be a perfect fit for the story. I was shocked. Afterall, it’s well-known in the industry that the author doesn’t pick the illustrator, the art director and editor do. I was honored and delighted that they asked for my input, even if they decided to pick someone else. So, I poured over all my favorite picture books and put together a list of illustrators, including why I liked their style, and how it could best fit Snoodle and her monster friends.


And here’s the cool part. My editor put together a list too. And Cori Doerrfeld was on both of our lists! How amazing is that? I love it. And, it turns out that one of Cori’s favorite things to draw is… you guessed it—monsters!

Kris Tarantino writes picture books for children. She is a member of SCBWI and the 12×12 Picture Book Writing Challenge.

She has participated as a faculty speaker on a SCBWI Writer/Illustrator Panel, and has won numerous writing and mentor awards. Kris holds a B.A. in Business, Marketing, and Art. Prior to writing children’s books, she worked in marketing, licensing popular characters for companies that make fun products like toys, books, and balloons.

Kris is represented by Keely Boeving at WordServe Literary. You can find her online at, as well as Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.

You can buy BE MY VALENSLIME by clicking here!



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