When did you become a children’s book author?
November 15, 2022
Do you have a writing background?
I’ve been a career music executive but I always thought I should have gone into advertising.
How did you come up with the story?
I was in Lake Tahoe, looking at the Lake by myself when a hummingbird flew over my shoulder. It hovered for a while around 10 feet from me feeding from a rose bush. A few feet over, I saw a handful of bees doing the same. It was odd that bees usually make me run and hummingbirds usually fly away when they see me. But that morning, everyone was chilling enjoying nature. Then my mind starting wondering into the story.
How did you come up with the character?
I saw the hummingbird with it’s long beak and thought it could represent me and the bees could represent my wife. I thought of doing a feature movie made for kids the adults can enjoy about “the talk” - the birds and the bees, and these two characters are what the story is based on.
How do you select names for your characters?
I used people in my life that had alliterations for the main characters. The Hummingbird, Herbie, is named after my uncle. I wanted a one syllable name for the bee, so Bree came to mind from a childhood friend. My mom, is a grandma, and in the Jewish religion, we call grandmas Bubbie.
Did you hire an illustrator or do the illustrations yourself?
I went through a thousand illustrators online and narrowed it down to a handful. Then I hired all of the finalists to submit me their takes on Herbie and Bree. I loved a few of them but I connected with a woman named Yuliia from the Ukraine. My grandparents were from there and Russia was about to invade them. I made sure she was safe and hired her knowing it would help her crazy situation.
Are you self-published or published through a publishing company?
We are published through Sumerian which is through Simon and Shuster.
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 almost ten years.
What made you want to publish a children's book?
The ideas for the book I really believed in: the themes, the characters, the timing of events in today’s mixed up world. But the main reason was I had a newborn and wanted the first book she ever read was to be her Daddy’s.
What is one thing you wish you knew before beginning your book publishing journey?
Creating the marketing ideas, building the awareness, the social media pages are very important, just like launching another entertainment form of content.
Any tips for future children’s book authors?
Have something that breaks the clutter when walking through the children’s book section. I believe I have the best illustrated book that’s been released for a very long time. The story line should also be relatable and make sure it rhymes simply.
What is the best reaction from a reader, so far?
Every reaction from family thus far has been so rewarding. My mother’s friend read an advance copy and it moved her to tears. Teachers are saying they love it for their classrooms for so many different reasons. I know we’re on to something here.
What is something you’d like people to take away from your book(s)?
There are important themes throughout the book including tolerance, openness to mixed couples, team work to save the world and mostly the biggest theme is LOVE OVER EVERYTHING.
Where do you get ideas for your stories?
For this book, I took reference from my wedding week in Cabo San Lucas. My side of the family are Jewish from New York and her side is African American from D.C. That week saw a lot of merging of the family under love and it was an inspiration to all that attended.
What's your writing process like?
It goes in spurts. First I need to understand the format, where the characters need to be introduced, what is their purpose and how to tell deep, important issues as simple as possible. Then edit, edit, edit, until you go to print.
Do you have any other books in the works?
I am developing this book into a scripted podcast and a children's television show. I’m introducing new characters based on the future mission of the Bird and The Bee. It’s so much fun and the ideas are really flowing.
What does literary success look like to you?
When I got the books delivered to my office from the UPS driver, when I opened it, and it looked better than in dreams, that’s the success. Now I just hope people love it as much as my family and I do.
Do you read all of the book reviews you receive?
I’ve only had 10 so far, but the book comes out in a few weeks. I will read them all.
What was the hardest thing about getting your book published?
I think I was lucky because I never intended to get it published by a major company like Simon and Shuster. I just focused on making something undeniable and I hope it measures up to that standard.
What is your favorite children's book(s) of all time?
Charlotte’s Web. Hands down.