It’s another Author Interview Thursday. It’s always a joy to discover new authors. If you think about it, J.K. Rowling was once considered a new author but she isn’t anymore. Stephen King was once upon a time a newbie author… but not anymore. And I believe, even though the lady whose on the hot seat today, maybe considered a new children’s book author, something tells me she is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the very near future. Please join me in welcoming Deborah Bradley.
Deborah tell us about your latest book and what format is it available in?
My first two children’s books were both Kindle books about African animals:
ABC Animals Of Africa – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B8YKL4C
Awesome African Animal Facts – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C0V4PPS
I started with those because I had the resources to move quickly with them and get a couple of published books under my belt. I’m much more excited, however, about the books I’m creating now. I should have my next book published within the next week or so about a little dancing bear. It’s a rhyming book which was a great surprise to me because I didn’t know I had a talent for writing rhyming stories, but it came out quite naturally and is a lot of fun.
What other picture books have you written?
Those are the only picture books I have published to this point. I have one other book on the market: Boston Tourism Essentials which is a Boston travel guide that goes hand-in-hand with my website: Boston-Tourism-Made-Easy.com.
I find that no matter what I write, the feedback I see most often is that people enjoy the energy and style of my writing. My somewhat subtle sense of humor seems to come out in my writing whether it’s about tourism, animals or anything else. I write in a very personable way as if I’m really talking to the person on the other side of the page.
In addition, I really enjoy formatting my children’s books to have an engaging yet clean feel, so you can count on a high quality look for each book. This probably results in me paying a bit more for delivery on the books, but I feel it’s worth it to know I’ve put something awesome out into the world.
What marketing methods are you using to promote your book?
So far, mostly KDP select and reaching out to family and friends. I’m slowly building up a mailing list as well so, hopefully, down the track that will turn into a consistent source of sales.
What’s book have you had the most fun writing?
Good question. I found the ABC book the easiest to write as my focus was simply on finding one thing to really engage the kids with each picture. Short and sweet tends to be my style. However, as I said earlier, I’m much more excited about some of the books I’m currently working on. I have two that I’m really hoping will turn into a series’ (if I see the demand for them). One is the rhyming story about the dancing bear as mentioned above, and the other is about a little girl and her day-to-day adventures. These stories take a bit more focus for me, but are extremely satisfying when I feel I’ve gotten them “right.”
Where do you usually write your books?
Either on our living room couch or at my desk in our home office which we had built into the back-end of our bedroom!. It’s a little tight, but it gets the job done and gives me some non-kid time.
With the animal books, I started with the images as I had almost all of what I needed courtesy of my parents from their trip to Africa. I then made a plan for the focus of each book and created the style and content accordingly. For all of the books I currently have in production, I have started with the content. Once that’s nearly finalized, I look to outsource the illustrations. From there I decide on the best look and feel for the book, put it together and publish!
What mistake(s) have you made whilst publishing your books that you would advise others against?
I don’t know if this is a mistake, but I’ve had trouble managing the categories of my books on Amazon. At one point I was trying to change one of the categories through KDP and nothing was happening. I wrote to KDP to ask for support. As a result they made the change, but the book was also dropped out of the first category that I still wanted it in (the “Alphabet” category for my ABC book!). After several emails back and forth, they very apologetically said that “things have changed” and they can’t just put it back. So now the book is listed in less appropriate places and not currently doing very well. I’m planning on giving it a bit of time and then trying again!
Do you believe in writer’s block and what do you do to overcome it?
The vast majority of my writing has been for my tourism website. I wouldn’t say I ever had writer’s block per say, but I would say that there were times that I just wasn’t in the zone. I will usually give myself 10-15 minutes and if the words don’t start flowing, I’ll focus on something else for a while until I can feel that I’ve relaxed and am ready to dive back in. I do often find that simply standing up and moving around/getting a snack/going to the bathroom is all I need to get the clarity I need to move forward. I used to be a computer programmer and I always found the same thing when I was stuck. The moment I walked outside, the answer would come to me!
Who are your favorite authors?
Ironically, I can’t say I have any. At this stage of my life I mostly read non-fiction how-to books as I’m always reading something to improve my life in some way – my parenting abilities, the health and well-being of me and my family, etc. I tend to be more focused on where I can get the information I need than who wrote it. When it comes to kids books, I tend to focus on theme as well. The books that I’m most inspired to get for my kids are:
- about being confident, happy, healthy and inspired people,
- about Australia (as much of our family is there so it’s a way of keeping them connected with their roots)
That said, we still have plenty of Dora, Barbie and Disney princess books here as well :).
What were some of your favourite books as a kid?
As a very little child:
Pat The Bunny and Good Night Moon
As a slightly older child:
The Diggingest Dog
Morris The Moose Goes To School
The Ugly Duckling
Make Way For Ducklings
Do your children inspire any of the characters in your books and do you involve them in your writing process?
Yes, definitely. Especially my nearly five year old, Siena. She’s such a character herself, that it’s very easy to bring aspects of her into my young female characters – it actually make the writing much easier for me. I like to read what I’ve done to see how engaged she stays. She’s definitely more into my “stories” than my factual animal books. When it comes to illustrations, I’ll often ask for her input, but she invariably likes “all of them!”
Definitely Shrek. Toy Story was cute, but Shrek had an exciting, mature and full story line – LOVED IT!
Which are scarier, dragons or monsters?
Monsters. Dragons are cool mythical creatures. Monsters (out of the young children’s book context) can be scary, gross, erratic and mean creatures.
What are your best memories from your childhood?
- Watching Red Sox games with my family
- My summer dancing at the Alvin Ailey school
- Pizza birthday dinners at Scappys Restaurant (no longer there)
- Playing tennis with my family
- Dressing up with my sister as “Mr. and Mrs. Smedley” then having afternoon tea as we played bridge (the cards game – which I no longer remember how to play) with our parents
- Body surfing in the ocean at Cape Cod
What do you love the most about Boston?
- The Boston Common and the Swan Boats at the Public Garden
- The Cheers Bar – even though it’s super touristy and the inside is nothing like the one they used on the show
- Glorious spring and summer days
- Taking the girls sledding at our local park
- How easy it is to get around using the T (our public transportation system)
- The passion for our sports teams
- Watching the Boston Marathon run by our home
- Love/hate our extraordinarily erratic and extreme weather
Tickets to see the New England Patriots or the Red Sox?
Either/both, but if I had to pick – definitely the Red Sox. Fenway Park is such an institution with such a great energy and so many fun memories. Plus, the long standing “curse” (which has now been broken) somehow gave us a fierce loyalty that you could only fully understand if you were born into it.
Where can people find out more about your writing?
I have just started building a list of my books as well as “recommended reading” on my newest blog: Vita Mama Online.
The kids’ books page is: http://www.vitamamaonline.com/KidsBooks and there is a place on that page to sign up for my mailing list so I can let you know when I have new books out or other pertinent news to share. I’m going to start doing book reviews on the blog soon as well. So far I have been experimenting with what exactly the site was going to be about, but I’ve gotten much clearer as I’ve gone down the kids books path and will be focusing my posts in that direction.
And, of course, you can find loads of Boston information on my tourism website: http://www.boston-tourism-made-easy.com. This has been a labor of love that I started back when I was living in Australia! It’s been amazing to come “home” and to be able to continue working on it from here.
Anything else that you’d like to add?
Just, thank you for the opportunity. It was a lot of fun :)!
The pleasure was all mine Deborah. it’s been a very refreshing experience interviewing you and your zest and passion for life really does come across. I really have to agree with your comment about Writer’s block. Sometimes, it’s possible you’re just not in the ‘zone’ and a walk away from your desk and taking your mind of the project at hand has a way of getting you back on track. I’m really looking forward to seeing the books you’re working on.
You can bookmark Deborah’s Amazon Author Page and see her current published titles by clicking the link below
You can also follow her on Twitter – https://twitter.com/VitaMamaOnline