I taught grade 8 Math and Science in Perth, Australia in 2007. I wanted to send some pictures to my young nieces in Arkansas. I bought a furry kangaroo album (photo of which is at the back of the Where’s My Joey? book). As I started to put some photos of Australia in it, the story just appeared (I call it downloaded) and I then had to figure out how to put each of the pictures and the dialogue into the story that I had in my mind and heart.
Prior to this picture book, what was your publishing and writing background?
I have a Bachelor in Science (Specialist in Computer Science and Major in Mathematics) and a Master in Mathematics Education, in other words, I am more of a numbers rather than words person. I consider myself an "accidental author." I didn't set out with the goal of writing a children's book but I just got excited about a story that came to me. This is my first but not my last book. I am very excited about the next one I am working on this summer.
Other than getting your book published, what has excited you the most in being a published author?
I really love how being a children's book author has given me the opportunity to connect with some special people. In this past week, I had so much fun playing Where's My Joey? with a 6-year-old girl where we would take turns hiding a stuffed Joey and then with our stuffed Mamma Kangaroo have to look for him. I also love spontaneous giving the book away.
I love the whimsy of your front cover. How did you to find your illustrator?
Thank you. I also LOVE the front cover and all the other illustrations of Roxana Antochi (now Chitanu) as well. She is currently working on her own children's book. I found her by reaching out to several illustrators that I found on various Internet sites.
What has frustrated or surprised you the most in putting together this book?
With Aurora's guidance, I got a Featured New Release with Bookbub and I have done some advertising with them. I also have run some Goodreads giveaways. I am on Amazon Kindle Unlimited so I run a free eBook promo every 90 days. My next one will be from August 10th to 14th. I will run a Featured Release with Bookbub for this promo. I found that Freebooksy was a really worthy venue to advertise the free book.
What’s the best writing tip you’ve learned or been given that you’d like to share?
Keep your audience in mind. Where’s My Joey? has some challenging words in the book (specifically echidna, quokka and emu) but, as an educator, I feel it is good to stretch children especially when an adult is there to support them in their learning. I have a page on my website that gives more information about Joey's friends including how to pronounce their names.
What other works do you have in the process?
I have written my second children's picture book. It is about the power of choosing love and not fear. I am in the process of searching for an illustrator.
I'd also like to add that Where’s My Joey? has a coloring book to accompany it. The book has just been released in Italian and Spanish, French and German and should be out before the end of this summer.
SPOILER ALERT: My hope for the reader is that the message of "the important answers are within us" reaches into their hearts.
I've dressed up in my kangaroo costume and have had a lot of fun reading the story to school children. "Mamma Kangaroo" has often asked after reading to school children, "What in life do we look for outside ourselves and in the end, we have to first find it within ourselves?" She has gotten many answers such as:
* Glasses when they are really on your head.
* Cellphone when it is in your bag.
As well as some deeper insights such as:
* Where does happiness need to start?
* How can we love another person if we don't love ourselves first?
* We have to be peaceful within if we want to be creating a peaceful world.
What future plans do you have for writing?
I am independently published and if a story "comes to me" I will continue to author more children's books. My book was only published this year so I am very new to being an author. I would like to reach as many readers as possible so I am open to working with a publishing company if it will help reach that end.
That's all for today's interview. If you'd like to buy this book or learn about her upcoming books, here are some links to get you started.
Amazon Link: www.amazon.com/Wheres-My-Joey-Heartwarming-Children/dp/1777378907