A Birthday Fairy Tale : https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B15K3JW5
Coming Soon: The Tooth Fairy Quits
Fairy-Tailed Wish : https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08681F4ZP
Fairy-Tailed Birthday Trouble : https://www.amazon.com/dp/B092MR6VX9
Link to website or book page: www.FairyTailedWish.com
When did you become an author?
March 21,2020, is technically when I became an author, if you are going off my first published date. That is when Fairy-Tailed Wish was published. It just goes to show that sometimes you can start your series somewhere in the middle. As my creativity grows, the first book is slowly making its way to the back of the series. A Birthday Fairy Tale was published on May 11, 2022. This is my newest title and the first book in the series.
Do you have a writing background?
I have always loved writing. Years ago in school, if I had the choice between a test and a paper, I would choose the paper every time. As I progressed through my education, I found that some professors liked my writing more than others. I feel this has prepared me well for both positive and negative criticism in the writing world.
How did you come up with the story?
I develop my stories from life while adding some creative twists. A Birthday Fairy Tale was an idea that grew from my mom’s birthday being on December 28th. She always grumbled about how there would be hints of Christmas wrapped in with her birthday as a child. Observing the last holiday season, I realized she was not alone in this struggle of holiday birthday blues. My family’s Birthday Fairy tradition helps many children feel special, including those with birthdays on or around the holidays.
How did you come up with the character?
Reese is the main character in this particular book. She is a smart and creative little girl, just like my niece Caprice. I like to pull characters and names from my real life. It helps me connect with them and makes the story more meaningful as it comes to life. It warms my heart to think that one day they will sit with their children and read these books to them, emphasizing their connection to the story.
How do you select names for your characters?
Many times, the characters’ names are related to someone close to me in life. For example, in A Birthday Fairy Tale, we have little Reese and Charlie. These are the names of my niece and nephew. In addition, you see that the mother in the illustrations is pregnant. You will be happy to know that my sister had a little boy named Felix. Had she had him while I was writing, I probably would have had her holding a baby on her hip.
Did you hire an illustrator or do the illustrations yourself?
I hired an amazing illustrator. She was wonderful to work with. I am very particular about my illustrations. I like to send detailed notes about each spread and how it will be laid out. There is typically a back story I like to have going on with the illustrations, and I need to be sure the illustrator can communicate that to the reader and nonreader. I wish I could do the illustrations myself, but I just do not possess that talent, and I have learned to know my limits and hire a professional for the things that are not my strength.
Are you self-published or published through a publishing company?
I self-published and I am very proud of this. I have a creative vision for this series that I want to come to life. If I were to go through a traditional publishing house, I would not have had as much creative freedom. I took a lot of time selecting the right illustrator, and I would not have had that opportunity. I do not think I would be able to give the detailed notes outlining how I would like the illustrations to appear on each spread. While I would not rule out working with a traditional publisher or agent, I am learning a lot and am glad I can bring my artistic vision to life the way I want to by self-publishing.
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?
That is a hard question, as I have not kept track. This book went a lot faster than some others I have worked on; it just flowed really well through the process. I think the idea started percolating around the holiday season in 2021, and I had it in my hands in May 2022.
What made you want to publish a children's book?
I wanted to publish children’s books to help spread joy while helping children develop a positive mindset by thinking outside the box. Picture books are so much more than words on a page paired with an illustration. Children can study the illustration for clues into emotions, situations, and ideas about what is to come. The words, many times, are reread to the point of memorization, where they can repeat them to themselves or others in times of boredom or when in need of a distraction. They are a way to ask leading questions and create new stories based on the characters they know and love. Fostering a love for reading has always been a priority in our home, and I want to contribute to sparking that love in children’s hearts everywhere.
What is one thing you wish you knew before beginning your book publishing journey?
Slow and steady. At times, I felt like things were not progressing at the speed I would have liked them to. I am not just referring to A Birthday Fairy Tale, but regarding all my titles . . . including the one I am working on right now. I need to take a deep breath and remember to enjoy the process. Just like everything in life, enjoy where you are while you are there. It is not always about rushing to your next mile stone, but enjoying the process of getting there. Taking it slow and steady means I put more thought and care into the words and stories I am putting out for young minds to absorb and enjoy for years to come.
Any tips for future children’s book authors?
Take the leap! If you have a story in your heart, you can do it. The first step would be to start writing and then join a critique group. I have found mine to be invaluable throughout the process. You can find one locally, or even online. Take your time to complete the process correctly. Write a great story, then rewrite it, and rewrite it some more. There are so many resources online. Just take it one day at a time. If you commit to doing something every day slowly, you will accomplish great things.
What has been the best reaction from a reader, so far?
I loved the reaction from my niece Reese. She saw the illustrations, and immediately informed me, “I do not have bangs.” It made me laugh, and I had a flash of the future as I someday told her children what she said when she first saw the illustrations. Children are so precious and brutally honest.
What is something you’d like people to take away from your book(s)?
Besides a love for reading, I would like children to take away from my books that life is full of so many fun little moments. You never know what will come next. You have to keep going to find out what is around the corner. Persevere through the tough times, think of solutions, and ask others for help. Without the downs, the ups wouldn’t be as special. I also like to reinforce a sense of community within my books. While it is important to be strong and independent, your family, community, and those around you are there to help. I have talked a lot about the importance of reading, but I also enjoy working with my hands. So, in many of my books you will find a craft idea or something children can do after the story. For example, in A Birthday Fairy Tale, they can use pipe cleaners and beads to make their own bracelet.
Where do you get ideas for your stories?
For years, I wanted to write children’s books. However, I knew I needed to focus on something I was passionate about. I tried writing other stories and found myself lost and unmotivated in the rewriting process. Until I decided to focus on something I loved as a child, and I loved seeing the joy in my own daughters’ faces when the Birthday Fairy came. Reading book series is enjoyable as an adult, and writing multiple books on the same topic is just as much fun. So, to answer your question, I got the idea for my stories from a family tradition back in the 1980’s. The Birthday Fairy would come and toilet paper our bedroom. When I woke up in the morning, I remember feeling so much joy. I have continued this tradition with my children and have seen their faces light up with joy on their birthday mornings. This has given me the passion to spread joy to other children and create stories around something that has sparked joy in my life and family for so many years.
What's your writing process like?
Generally, my writing process is slow. People may think a 600-word book is quick to write, and it is. . . until you rewrite it a few dozen times. I want to make each word impactful and enjoyable, moving the story forward and entertaining the reader at the same time. While I consider the illustrations and how they can complement the words and enhance the experience. As I said earlier, I do not write alone. My critique group has been amazing to bounce ideas off and read over my work so I can implement their wonderful feedback. I also have others read the story to be sure it makes sense, and I listen to it over and over on the computerized text to talk application. Slow and steady makes for a quality product for children to enjoy.
Do you have any other books in the works?
Definitely! I always have multiple books in the works. Currently, I have my next title, The Tooth Fairy Quits, in the illustration process. Another manuscript is close to completion and a third is just in the beginning stages. I have more ideas brewing all the time, which I make notes on and eventually decide which ones to focus on next.
What does literary success look like to you?
Spreading joy to children. That may look like more children finding a love for reading. That may be more children getting a spark of creativity or imagination. Or it may look like a child being filled with joy by the Birthday Fairy.
Do you read all of the book reviews you receive?
I do read the book reviews I receive. I really enjoy the positive feedback. It makes me feel so good to know that I am spreading joy and meeting my goal. I also read the less than positive reviews. I take them in and let it challenge me as a writer. Reviews mean a lot to authors. If you can take the time to write one . . . or even just give them the stars, please do so.
What's your favorite(s) children's book of all time?
I cannot select just one. There is such a wide variety out there, which makes me smile. There are books I loved as a child, like the Madeline and Frances series, Mr. Men books, and the Bernstein Bears, all of which built my love for reading and expanded my imagination. There are the books I loved reading to my daughters, like Love You Forever, Chica Chica Boom Boom, and The Pout-Pout Fish, which showed me a new world and opened my daughters’ creative minds. The public library is one of my favorite places. I visit it almost weekly to replenish our stash of books. Having just one favorite book is an impossible concept for me, as books cannot be compared to one another. I will continue to love new and old books, and hopefully someday my stories will make it onto someone’s list of favorite stories they love.