Zachariah Rippee is the author of the children’s picture book series that deals with the joys of reading.
This month, our featured Indie children’s book author is Zachariah Rippee. Zach has written an amazing series of picture books that deals with the treasure that can be found while reading. His main character, Elijah, has a series of adventures discovering the joys of taking a perusal through a book. Each book deals with a different theme of reading. Knowledge and imagination start out the series in the first two books, Elijah and the Key of Knowledge and Elijah and the City of Danger.
I had the chance to talk to Zachariah about his series and the joys he’s discovered writing them.
1) How did you get the idea to write your books?
Mr. Rippee: This is a good question. It is always fun to look at the “birth” of an idea. From a young age I have hoped and dreamed of being a father. Most kids dreamed of being doctors and firemen, a policeman maybe. Nope, not me. I wanted to be a father, a husband. I think that is because of the strong example I had in my own father (who is today my biggest hero). As I got older I began to understand this desire was not only to be a father, but to be a role model for children.
Plain and simply put our children are our future. It only seems logical to want decent role models for our future. As a father I hope my children learn to love reading. As a teacher and role model I want the same thing for my students. I want to do as many things to encourage that as possible. The books are just an extension of my desire to help our children build a better future. Reading is the key to that. If a child can read, they hold the key to their own learning and to a brighter future.
2) Did you have trouble reading as a child? How did this inspire your books?
Mr. Rippee: Short answer: YES!!! I can honestly say, without a doubt and with full understanding of what these words mean, “I HATED READING AS A CHILD!” I did not learn to read easily. I fought to not read. I had such insecurities because of reading deficiencies. I can actually trace being shy and introverted back to an insecurity because of my poor reading ability. Many are shocked to find out that I did not read my first chapter book from cover to cover until I was 22 years old.
The first chapter book I read was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Full disclosure, I only read this book so that I could talk to a girl. The girl!!! She loved reading. She always talked about the Potter books. I find it humorous that reading caused me to pull away from social settings as a child, and reading was the door through which I entered into the most important “social setting” of my adult life. That girl, the girl, is now my wife of nearly eleven years. She has helped me grow my own love of reading. Because of her example I can now see the value of reading as an important life tool. (She also scolded me for reading the Harry Potter books out of order)
My troubles with reading inspired my own books because my books were born out of the desire to prevent my story from becoming my children’s story. After I wrote my first book, Elijah and the Key of Knowledge, I realized that it wasn’t only my story or their story. Kids all over the country are living the same struggles and experiencing the same fears and anxiety that I did. Thus my continued writing.
3) What would you suggest to a reader to try if they want to be an author someday?
Mr. Rippee: In today’s world there are so many tools available to aspiring authors. Social media is full of groups and clubs that are geared towards helping authors learn and grow. Publishing has become so easy with online self-publishing platforms. You can LITERALLY write, illustrate, and publish your own books in a few days. That being said, consider these things: What is your message or story? Who is your audience? How will you build your platform? Who are people you can trust to be helpful resources (editors, illustrators, proof readers, and people to bounce ideas off of)?
Finally, if it is a dream of yours to become a writer…write!
4) What were some of your favorite authors while growing up?
Mr. Rippee: As a child I didn’t like reading. However, since I have been “playing catch up” I have found several wonderful stories by amazing authors.
I am a fan of older (some might say classic) dystopian novels, mysteries, spy novels. Ann Rand, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Ian Fleming, Ray Bradbury, Edgar Rice Burroughs, George Orwell are some of my favorite authors. I love Anthem by Rand and my favorite book is probably her epic Atlas Shrugged. The ideas and philosophies the novel discusses are interesting to me. I actually spent hours reading it during my 10 year wedding anniversary trip (in flight reading).
I love J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. Jay Asher is a good author. I am also reading The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday.
5) What was the drawing and writing process for your children’s books?
Sketches by Zachariah Rippee during his illustration process in creating his children’s book series.
Mr. Rippee: The drawing process began 5 years and 9 months before my first book was published. I illustrated my character Elijah on the day my wife told me she was pregnant for the first time. (included image). All of my illustrations start as hand drawn sketches that are then scanned and colored digitally. Formatting has been a fun journey for me, as I format all my own books. That is the beauty of self-publishing. You get creative control of the entire project. Several steps happen in between the first sketch and the final draft.
Finished layouts of the book Elijah and the City of Danger by Zachariah Rippee.
As far as the writing process, I have adapted a saying my father taught me. When building something ( we dabble in woodworking) he says “Measure twice, cut once.” I will consider a page or paragraph in my head for days, rewording it, revising it, and so on. When it hits the paper it is usually fairly close to the finished product. Most of my writing happens in quiet times of waiting ( at the grocery store, eating lunch, in the car). My mind just rolls it over and over until something shiny pops out at me!
6) What writing projects do you have coming up?
Mr. Rippee: I am currently rolling around several stories in my head. I just began self-publishing in the spring. So several ideas have been pent up waiting to burst forth. I am currently working on books that nod to the classic monster movies and campy 60’s superhero shows. I am also working on a whimsical look at how feelings affect our perception of the world around us.
Thank you so much to Mr. Rippee for sharing his experience and his creative process with me for my blog readers. I’m hoping you’ll be inspired to start writing your own stories. For more information on Zachariah Rippee’s books, visit him at Facebook or his Amazon Author Page at:
Facebook Link: https://m.facebook.com/mr.rippee.sir/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Zachariah-Rippee/e/B06XFKLHK9
***His picture books, Elijah and the Key of Knowledge, Elijah and the City of Danger, and The Green Ladybug: A Book About Kindness are available on Amazon.
***Barnes and Noble links:
***Next week, book reviews of the featured books by the author in the Indie Authors Monthly Spotlight!
***Tiffany Turner is a children’s author that has been self-publishing for over 10 years. She started the Indie Children’s Authors Connection to help get the word out about amazing children’s books she has found by other Indie authors. Her children’s fantasy adventure books, Crystal Keeper Chronicles series, is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.