When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
It was when I was in the Fourth Grade. My English teacher assigned us a fiction piece. I was very surprised how my pen flowed and flowed. Problem was after turning in my work, the teacher announced a few days later that all the papers were lost and she was not able to look at them or grade them. I was devastated.
What do you love most about writing stories for children?
The creativity and opportunity to learn; being able to return as a child to marvel in the small things in life that bring joy.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Much of the inspiration I get is through travel. My "Travel with Me" series is based on animals and places that strike me as exceptionally interesting and would bring a sense of wonder in children.
How did you get your first story published and what was it about?
My first story was about a rooster and cat I encountered during my honeymoon in Tahiti, "Super Rooster and Wonder Cat." Every day in Moorea from our hut on the water I would look to the shore to see a rooster and cat frolicking together on the beach. I thought it might be fun to write a book about what they might be doing, and combine it with what I'd learn about the sea creatures of French Polynesia. When it came time to publish the book in 2017, I decided to create my own publishing business to use for my imprint. This company is called, "Sweetbeet Books." I chose "Sweetbeet" as its a term of endearment I used to call my children when they were little.
How many books have you written and which is your favorite?
I have written and published 8 books since 2017. I would have to say my favorite is Serafina Soars. Its the third book in my Travel with Me series and is set in Andalusia, Spain. It's about a shy eagle owl who not only discovers the beauty of her country but also her own self-confidence. I was very shy as a child and have learned to break from this as Serafina does in the story, by taking small steps outside my comfort zone. I thought this might be beneficial to children who are experiencing anxieties preventing them from enjoying their lives to the fullest. The book also teaches of places and animals one might encounter in southern Spain.
What topics do your stories cover and why are these important to you?
Most of my books are about acceptance of others and self and the benefits of expressing kindness and gratitude. All my books are educational and include fun facts.
Have you always loved stories and reading?
Yes! As a child, I used to make up stories and invent plays for the neighborhood kids. I particularly loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder series.
Which other children authors do you love? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
Shel Silverstein (The Giving Tree), James Dean (Pete the Cat series), Tomie Poala (The Legend of the Poinsettia), Miroslav Sasek ("This is" travel series) all influenced me in my writing. That said, I think my writing styles and themes are pretty original and come mostly from my personal life experience.
Why do you think it is important for children to develop a love of reading?
Besides helping them advance their language skills and build their vocabulary, reading also offers children a window to other concepts, ideas, places, and animals that they may not have yet thought of or encountered. What is exciting about writing for children is that what children learn through reading could be the very things that fuel their dreams and goals for their futures.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I have recently moved to southern France, so right now it's about setting up our life here! But when not doing that, I love traveling, hiking, yoga, cooking, meeting with friends, and practicing my French.
Are you working on a new book at the moment? What can you tell us about it?
Yes. It is the second book in my Catterfly series. The series, about a part-cat, part-butterfly; teaches about butterflies, but also encourages children to understand that everyone is different. The second book will teach children about how butterflies pollinate flowers and grow gardens. This book, Catterfly Book 2, "Catterfly Grows a Garden," will be released this summer. The first book, "Catterfly is Born," is available for sale through Amazon. It teaches children in simple terms how butterflies come to be.
How can our readers/viewers get hold of your books?
All my books are available on Amazon.