When did you become a children’s book author?
I self-published my first children's book in December, 2019.
Do you have a writing background?
Yes. I was a journalism major in college and spent the early part of my career as a reporter for a local newspaper in the San Francisco Bay Area where I live.
How did you come up with the character? How do you select names for your characters?
The characters (Amanda and Sabrina) are based on my real daughters (named Amanda and Sabrina). I decided that I wanted my books to have strong girls as the central characters to (hopefully) serve as positive role models to young girls (and kids in general).
How did you come up with the story?
I wanted the main characters to use their minds and not hide the fact that they are intelligent. So I decided the best way to do that is to have them solve mysteries.
Did you hire an illustrator or do the illustrations yourself?
I hired a wonderful illustrator named Heidi Emily Adams to handle the illustrations. I don't draw. I joke that I can't even draw a straight line with a ruler! ;)
Are you self-published or published through a publishing company?
I am self-published.
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?
I think it took about 10 years from the time I came up with the original idea as I was only able to work on this as a side project since I still have a full-time job.
What made you want to publish a children's book?
I had been thinking about writing a book for a while but didn't decide to write a children's book until I was volunteering in my daughter's second-grade class. I saw a lot of kids struggling with bigger chapter books but well beyond the early reader books. So I decided to write a small chapter book to help kids transition to bigger chapter books.
What is one thing you wish you knew before beginning your book publishing journey?
I spent so much time looking at traditional publishing options before I discovered that I could self-publish. I wish I had self-published a lot sooner.
Any tips for future children’s book authors?
Just write. There can never be enough children's books.
What is the best reaction from a reader, so far?
"I can't wait to read the next one."
What is something you’d like people to take away from your book(s)?
I hope that Amanda and Sabrina serve as positive role models to young girls (and kids in general). And that these books will help develop a lifelong love of reading.
Where do you get ideas for your stories?
Since the main characters are based on my daughters, I pull many of my ideas from their real life.
What's your writing process like?
I write down every idea that comes into my head. Then I review the ideas to see which one jumps out at me. Then I start drafting the storyline (What is the mystery? Is there a villain? How do they solve it?) Once I get that, I start writing the actual story.
Do you have any other books in the works?
Yes. I already have two more books written, but haven't started the publishing process on them yet. And I have ideas for about 10 more books that I will develop.
What does literary success look like to you?
Hearing that young readers enjoy my book. That is the most important thing to me.
Do you read all of the book reviews you receive?
Yes, I do. As I was developing the first book, I had a teacher friend of mine read it for her class and have her students write me letters with their thoughts. Those were very helpful while I was shaping the characters and developing future story ideas.
What was the hardest thing about getting your book published?
I started looking at the traditional publishing route, but ran into so many hurdles. I wish I had discovered the self-publishing process sooner.
What is your favorite children's book(s) of all time?
Little Lefty by Matt Christopher