Today's interview is with children's book author, Brielle Lilygarten of Fishy, Fishy.
You can find her on Instagram @brililybooks
When did you become an author?
My book was published in May 2021, officially making me an author.
Do you have a writing background?
Yes. I have always loved to write and have since I was a young girl. I have also been an English teacher for the past 15 years, so I have a lot of experience in writing, as well as teaching writing.
How did you come up with the story?
I love rhyming books for young children. I think they are super engaging for them. I had started brainstorming one day and decided to incorporate my love of the ocean into a book. I began playing around with different rhyming words while trying to think of a story that would captivate young readers.
How did you come up with the character?
It kind of just came to me. When I was thinking about making the book about the ocean, I started thinking about different sea animals and decided on a fish. I was going to go in a totally different direction with the story, but then I started rhyming words and the fish seemed to just stick. My illustrator really helped the character come to life.
Did you hire an illustrator or do the illustrations yourself?
I was given the opportunity to look through a database of illustrators through my publisher. I was able to narrow it down to three illustrators and then they submitted samples based on my story. I then picked the one that most closely mirrored what I had envisioned for the book.
Are you self-published or published through a publishing company?
I am published through Mascot Books.
From the day you came up with the idea for the story until you were holding your published book in your hand, how long did it take you to complete this book?
It took just about a year. It was during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, so printing was delayed. I submitted my idea to Mascot Books in March of 2020 and the book was published in May of 2021.
What made you want to publish a children's book?
This has been a lifelong dream of mine! Ever since I was a child, I have been determined to write a children’s book. I am obsessed with books and love sharing my passion for reading with young children. I also read daily with my own children and love sharing new books with them.
What is one thing you wish you knew before beginning your book publishing journey?
How hard it would be to get published!
Any tips for future children’s book authors?
Don’t give up! I submitted many, many manuscripts before I finally published this one. I was met with a lot of rejection and disappointment, but I was determined to make this dream a reality.
What is the best reaction from a reader, so far?
One of my young readers loves the book so much that her parents had to buy a second copy of the book so that she could bring it to daycare with her and have it with her at all times!
What is something you’d like people to take away from your book(s)?
A love and enjoyment of reading it and the ability to make a connection with a child.
Where do you get ideas for your stories?
Life experiences, experiences with my daughters.
What's your writing process like?
I open up a Word document in a quiet space and just start typing. Sometimes I make lists of ideas, sometimes I start writing words, sometimes I vary between sentences and lists. It all depends on what I am feeling at that moment. And then I revise, revise, revise!
Do you have any other books in the works?
Yes, I am currently working on a second book! Stay tuned!
What does literary success look like to you?
Literary success is having people be inspired by my books and make them want to read more. I also want to be the author that is recommended to everyone because the books are just that good!
Do you read all of the book reviews you receive?
Yes, I do! I love to hear what my readers have to say.
What was the hardest thing about getting your book published?
Researching how to go about getting a book published and doing it on my own! It was also difficult getting a publisher to pick up my book and run with it.
What's your favorite(s) children's book of all time?
Ohhh, this is a tough one. I absolutely love children’s books! If I have to choose it is either The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle or The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn.