Category Archives: Picture Book Recommendations

Interview with Carey Azzara

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Carey Azzara is the author of the children’s book, The Sick Puppy. 

I have an extra treat for you. A new book from the author, Carey Azzara is coming out in this week. Carey is one of those authors that just have to write and get his message out to the world. His upcoming book, The Sick Puppy, is due out for release on [release date inserted]. I had a chance to talk to Carey about his influences as an author, his writing routine, and what he would like to write about in the future.

Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?
Carey Azzara:
I’m a fan of Mark Twain (who isn’t right?). His stories flow with ease and they all make sense. He teaches as well as entertains (something I aspire to). We learn something of true value from his writing, like the concept of a good lie in the book Huck Finn.

Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.
Carey Azzara:
I am not overly disciplined in my routine. I typically do my best work in the morning and late in the evening. However, when an idea strikes, I try hard to get it down on paper no matter when the muse is being helpful.

What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?
Carey Azzara:
My next project is a series of books written for the YA audience. It features a fifteen-year-old girl living in New Mexico who is part Apache. Along with her Apache mentor, an elder in the local Native American community, she discovers she has extraordinary powers. The working title is Gila Wilderness Warrior.

the-sick-puppy-ebook coverThe Sick Puppy is the story of a seven-year-old girl that has enjoyed living in her home in Cumberland, Maine. But when her Dad receives special news, her life is turned upside down to adjust to a new home. Heidi learns to adjust to her new town by a friend that puts the meaning into rescue. A sweet, little puppy.

The Sick Puppy is available on Amazon.com in ebook edition or paperback. It is also available at the publisher’s website at Glass Spider Publishing.

For more information on Carey Azzara, please visit his website at:

https://careyazzara.com/.

 

 

 

 

Interview with Cody L Clark

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Fall is a beautiful time of year to read a book with your young one, or enjoy some quality time at bedtime. Here is a newly discovered children’s author I’d like to introduce you to for these longer night reads. Cody L Clark grew up in a small North Carolina town. His imagination was active as a child, and it just never stopped. It helped him create a story about his two dogs that were adopted from the Atlanta Humane Society.

Lucky Dogs Shake Paws is based on the meeting of two dogs from different backgrounds. Cody L Clark tells a story of two dogs learning to get along in a new home. I had a chance to talk to him about his writing, inspirations, and what he has in store for us.

1) Why do you enjoy writing?
Cody L Clark:
Writing allows me to create my own adventure by using my imagination. Writing also allows me to share the adventure with others. To sum it up, I enjoy writing because it gives me the freedom to create a story with my imagination and share it with people.

2) What inspiration sparked the story Lucky Dogs: Shake Paws?
Cody L Clark: My two dogs are the inspiration behind the story; Ruby and Juliet. When the dogs first moved in together, uncertainty was clear, but over time they have become best friends.

3) What is the moral of the story?
Cody L Clark: Acceptance. The story is about accepting others and their differences.

4) Why did you choose to name the town Dogwood?
Cody L Clark: Being from North Carolina, I decided Dogwood was fitting since that is the state tree.

5) Will Lucky Dogs be a standalone book or do you see this become a series?
Cody L Clark: I plan to make it a series. The characters are a lot of fun.

PawsCoverMayor Ruby has a problem in Dogwood. It’s the quietest and most peaceful place on Earth. But when a new dog arrives into town, the new hound, Wiley, creates uproar. Will Mayor Ruby find a way to keep the peace in Dogwood without upsetting the new resident?

Lucky Dogs Shake Paws is available at Amazon.com and Barnes and Nobles.com.

 

 

Interview with Charlotte Safieh

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Cover 3With school starting in many states, it’s not too late to start building your school or home library for the new school year. Charlotte Safieh has written a picture book called “A Cry for the Ocean” to help create awareness and support to clean the plastic littering our oceans.

Charlotte lives in Toronto, Canada with her family. She has been in the teaching profession for many years and specializes in teaching creative writing. She is celebrating her first published book. Charlotte has also started her own imprint called Blue Jay Press to help support new authors with stories needing to be told.

I had a chance to ask Charlotte about her childhood reading memories, favorite authors and impact that writing has had and the influences she hopes to accomplish.

  • What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Charlotte Safieh: My favourite memory from reading as a child was reading Gerald Durrell and following his adventures collecting exotic animals from exciting far away countries. Something that would not be allowed anymore! I recently learned that he was very influential in changing how we manage zoos, so that instead of simply being a source of entertainment we are protecting endangered species and learning more about their natural environment and behaviour.

  • Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Charlotte Safieh: My favourite writer for children is Roald Dahl. He is very entertaining and irreverent with such a unique imagination. I also love Barbara Kingsolver, and I’m just reading her new book “Unsheltered” which is a remarkable story that can tell us so much about our current time and the challenges we face with our poor treatment of the natural environment.

  • Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Charlotte Safieh: I need to be accountable with my writing and love doing courses and being a part of a writing group. I love sharing ideas and talking over writing with fellow writers.

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Charlotte Safieh is the author of the new picture book “A Cry for the Ocean”.

  •  What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Charlotte Safieh: I would like to continue to write stories about the natural world to help children to understand how important it is to protect nature and wildlife. Maybe Sukara can go on to do more great things in the future!

  •  What is storyquest.com, and how did it influence you to become a writer?

Charlotte Safieh: Storyquest is a creative writing project that I have been running for several years. After I qualified as a teacher I began working in classrooms with students teaching them how to write stories and putting their stories together as published chapter books. This has been very enjoyable and rewarding, and I have seen hundreds of students write incredibly exciting, imaginative and powerful stories. I feel very lucky to have done this work, as I see how much they enjoy writing the stories, and I love creating a space to allow that to happen.

  •  What other environmental issues would you like to address in future books?

Charlotte Safieh: I would love to write more about protecting nature, and have been considering a story set in the rainforest, as we are losing our forests so rapidly. I would also like to write about the kids 4 climate movement, as I have been very excited to see that grow in the last year. I am a really big fan of Greta Thunberg and have been following her journey across the Atlantic on a yacht this week.

  •  Why did you start your own independent publishing company, Blue Jay Press?

Charlotte Safieh: I started Blue Jay Press because I love publishing books. It is a true passion, and although this is the first book I have authored I have published over 400 children authored chapter books. I hope to continue to grow Blue Jay Press with books by other authors as well as more of my books.

  •  What advice do you have for aspiring writers who are interested in self-publishing?

Charlotte Safieh: I would say go for it. The self-publishing industry has grown exponentially. Now it is very achievable for anyone who has a story they are passionate about to self-publish. I used Kickstarter very successfully to fund the first set of books and my wonderful illustrator Tamara Piper, who I found on Fiverr. Self publishing makes up a significant proportion of sales of books, especially ebooks.

  •  For our younger authors, what can they work on now to help them become better writers?

Charlotte Safieh: When I teach creative writing I work a lot on encouraging children to be confident in their writing, and to ignore the critical voice in their head that can stop them from enjoying writing. When they are getting ideas down I also tell then not to worry about spelling or grammar so they can let their imagination flow.

  •  What is writing to you in one sentence?

 Charlotte Safieh: Writing is sharing our inner worlds, our lives, ideas and connecting with each other.

“A Cry for the Ocean” is a picture book that brings forward the cause of helping clear our oceans of plastic pollution. Sukara meets a mermaid and learns about the plastic pollution in the ocean and finds a magical way to save it. It will bring awareness to the plight of our oceans and be a great addition to any school or home library. It will be a wonderful teaching tool for ocean and environmental units. Teaching resources accompany the book to help teachers and parents.

“A Cry for the Ocean” is available at Amazon.com.

For more information on Charlotte Safieh’s new book “A Cry for the Ocean” and free resources, lesson ideas, activities, and to order wholesale books, please visit her website at: https://www.bluejaypress.ca/.

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with Laura St John

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Laura St John is the author of the picture book “Don’t Judge A Bug By Its Cover”.

With all this beautiful summer weather, it makes me tune into all the beautiful nature around us. What better way to connect with that than a picture book that includes bugs and an important message. “Don’t Judge A Bug By Its Cover” is a book that teaches children to accept themselves and others for their differences. Told with the cutest bug characters, the author Laura St John brings to life lovable characters expressing wholesome values and good decision making in her stories. I had a chance to talk to Laura about her childhood reading memories, favorite authors, and her writing routine along with her plans for future projects.

What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

 
Laura St. John:
I loved reading poetry. The simplicity of it and the rhyming. My father had written many poems and cards to my mother, and it was really cool to read his words after he had passed away. I made my own little poem booklet as a child out of colored paper, stapled together and still have that today in a box.

I had a tough teacher in middle school who made us read about twenty novels in one school year and write book reports on them. He assigned the classics, To Kill a Mockingbird, Dracula, The Hobbit and we all didn’t like all of that reading. But looking back, it taught us a lot about the world and about descriptive writing. He also made us memorize poems like “Annabel Lee” and recite them in front of the whole class. Don’t think students are doing much of that today.

Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

 
Laura St John:
My office is a quiet getaway place with a soft carpet that I can rub my feet into when I write. I prefer to have complete silence to gather my thoughts. My three dogs are usually laying near me when I write since they follow me everywhere. If I feel like writing, then I do. Sometimes you just don’t feel like it which, I guess, many call writer’s block. But if the mood hits then you better start typing or you’ll lose your thoughts. Thank goodness for computers as it is so much easier to type versus writing with a pen.

What subjects would you like to write about in future projects? 


Laura St John:
My next book will be about a character that I created called the Alphabet Chef. She has been with me since the late 90’s. So, I am finally going to write a children’s book about her teaching kids about healthy eating habits. I also want to do a series of books with the bugs from my first book “Don’t Judge A Bug By Its Cover”. Maybe I can focus on some other human topics that easily can be expressed with the bugs. My writings are always to help change the world (I hope) in a positive way like in “The Christmas House”. I don’t like writing about dark topics or things that don’t inspire people to think.

Bug Book “Don’t Judge A Bug By Its Cover” is a journey of a ladybug named Lace and a suave bug named Mr. Roach. Every step though the bug world is a step of uncertainty. They have to learn to rely on each other and see the beauty within others to survive their adventure together. This book is a great way to teach the themes of anti-bullying, teamwork, and seeing the beauty within others. It will make a great addition to any child’s or classroom library.

“Don’t Judge A Bug By its Cover” is available at Amazon.com.

For more information on Laura St John, please visit her website at: http://www.laurastjohnenterprises.com.

Interview with Sola Togun-Butler

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Sola Togun-Butler is the author of the book Where Do You Keep The Lions? An African Girl’s First Day of School In America

Looking for educational books to add to your child’s learning or augment your classroom’s read-alouds? I had the chance to interview author Sola Togun-Butler, author of the book “Where Do You Keep The Lions?”. She has written a book about her experiences as a young African immigrant attending an American school for the first time. It’s a book that highlights the importance of cultural diversity and awareness while encouraging children to ask questions when they are curious about other cultures. Sola shared with me her childhood reading memories, favorite authors, and what she has in store for future writing projects.

  1. What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

My favorite memory reading as a child was the ability to immerse myself into the life of the character I was reading about. I would completely forget about my own surroundings and literally feel like I was living in the world of the character. I enjoyed the ability to form images in my head of the character’s life and experiences. Even till this day, I would rather read a book and form the images in my own mind than have those images given to me in a movie or television show.

  1. Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

My favorite author is Chimamanda Adichie. She has the amazing ability to capture the attention of the reader with the title and maintain that attention throughout the book. Therefore, it was important for me to choose a title that grabs the attention of the reader and have a story line that maintains it.

  1. Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you

I prefer to write in the morning when I am really energized. I grab a hot cup of tea, open the window blinds so I have a beautiful view of the sunshine or rain, turn on Bossa Nova or music from Nigeria, Mali or Senegal, sit at my desk and just write away. I am inspired by both music and nature

  1. What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

I would like to continue writing children’s books about cultural diversity and sensitivity. The world is diverse, and curiosity about other cultures is normal and should be encouraged by parents. It is important for parents to talk to their children to identify any stereotypes or biases that they might have about other cultures that could negatively impact their interaction with peers from that culture.

  1. What is writing to you in one sentence?

Writing opens up the world and takes one on a journey of self-discovery.

KeepLionsBkCvrWhere Do You Keep The Lions? An African Girl’s First Day of School in America. Kemi, an eight-year-old African immigrant girl is looking forward to her first day of school in the United States. But when her classmates start asking upsetting questions about Africa, the negative attention confuses her. With advice from her father, she decides to show her classmates a different side to their understanding of African culture. This book is a wonderful way to expose children to sensitive cultural understanding by encouraging positive questioning about new cultures.

This book is available on Amazon.com.

For more about the author Sola Togun-Butler, visit her author’s page at: https://www.amazon.com/Sola-Togun-Butler-Ph.D./e/B07SHL16PL.

 

Interview with Glen C. Kinnaird

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Glen C. Kinnaird is the author of the book “Tony The Theater Dog: Puttin’ On A Show”

Summer is here! I bet you’re feeling the heat already. Time for a great read for your little ones. Here’s a brilliant picture book that grabbed my heart. “Tony The Theater Dog: Puttin’ On A Show”. It’s the first of a series that introduces children to the behind the scenes of theater. Playwright and author Glen C. Kinnaird wrote this book as a story to teach children about live theater. He lives in New York with the real Tony the Theater Dog. He developed the story from experiences backstage at a national tour of a Broadway show. I had a chance to interview Mr. Kinnaird about his picture book series, authors that influenced him, and what future projects he has in store for us.

  • What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Glen C. Kinnaird: My favorite book from my childhood that really sticks in my mind was a book called Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls. The book is set on a Cherokee farm at the end of the 1800s and it tells the story of Jay Berry, a young boy from a poor family, as he tries to capture a group of runaway circus monkeys. I was captured from the first pages and as a boy who struggled with identity as a child and found it hard to make friends, books became a way for me to imagine I was friends with the characters in the books, going on the adventures with them.

  • Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Glen C. Kinnaird: Now that is a tough question. I think C.S. Lewis is my favorite author of all time. Lewis writes in both rational argument and imaginative analogy that helps me consider more deeply my faith. I remember thinking to myself it was the first time I had read someone who was both an intellectual and spiritual at the same time.

  • Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Glen C. Kinnaird: I am shamed to say I am a writer who goes with inspiration. I do not have a set routine yet, although I did not find my interest in becoming an author until 2012 when I began another young adult trilogy called, The Legend of the Crystal Lotus. It has been a story that has taken me almost eight years to develop the world, the characters and I have revised the plot lines about four times over the years. “Tony the Theatre Dog” took almost two years to write and had three different plots and story lines when we started. The illustrator began her drawings as I was doing the final editing on the book. I would bring her images and a description of what I wanted on the page. She did not see the actual text until I showed her the first draft summer of 2017.

  • What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Glen C. Kinnaird: I would like to find my Southern Voice as a writer. I feel that my childhood was kind of odd and I think there are a ton of kids that need to hear a voice that understands. So, this means I need to dive into those memories and some of them may be painful. It took time to explore those memories. I think I suppressed a lot of the pain. Now that I am almost fifty coming up in August, 2019, I see joy in my childhood where in years past the only thing I could see looking back was painful memories.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Glen C. Kinnaird: Writing is like flying for me, looking for new worlds.

Tony the Theatre Dog - 9 x 7-3Tony The Theater Dog series starts with the book “Puttin’ On A Show”. Tony takes the reader through the preparation of a theater production. Kids are introduced to the jobs that help put a theater show together. Different locations are explored, and Tony even brings peace to the cast and producer inspiring everyone to work together as a team.

 

“Tony the Theater Dog: Puttin’ On A Show” is available at Amazon.com.

It is due to release on July 15, 2019. Pre-order is available.

For more information on Glen C. Kinnaird, please visit his website at: https://www.tonythetheatredog.com/.

Interview with Erin Spaulding

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We’re almost to the biggest weekend to kick off the summer. Time to start stocking up on some good reads for your little ones to help keep them occupied during the long summer months. Here is a great book to consider by the author Erin Spaulding. Erin draws from raising her family to come up with family-oriented stories. Her own childhood and the raising of her children inspire her. In fact, going on adventures with her daughter gave Erin the idea for the book “Eden Visits the Orchard”. It’s a great mother and daughter reading adventure to learn and share time this summer.

I had time to talk with Erin about her childhood reading memories, favorite authors and what writing means to her. 

  • What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Erin Spaulding: I used reading as an escape. I could lose myself in stories when I felt alone or scared. 

  • Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Erin Spaulding: My favorite author in high school was Stephen King. I read a variety of his stories and I enjoyed his style for drawing you in especially with his series. I also appreciate his struggle to be taken seriously as more than a horror writer.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Erin Spaulding: For me, writing is a type of therapy. I enjoy writing multiple genres based upon what is happening in my life at the time. I have been working on a series of books related to my children as well as a middle grade book inspired by the current crises of violence in schools.

EdenVisitsOrchardCVR“Eden Visits the Orchard” is the recent release for Erin Spaulding. When Eden and her mother visit the orchard, they have a surprise tour guide. Join Eden as she learns about how an orchard and farm work. For ages 4-7. Great for farming units and introductions to farming. It is available at Amazon.com.

 

Interview with DeWana Green

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DeWana Green is the author of the picture book “Vonny B and Me”.

Spring is a great time to start thinking about summer reads. The best way to start gearing up is to consider some new picture books. I’ve found a darling story called “Vonny B and Me”. I had a chance to talk to the incredible author, DeWana Green. DeWana was a foster child that overcame many challenges in her life. She graduated from university with a bachelor’s and master’s degree. She works in healthcare and bio tech, and teaches at the college level part time. She’s an inspirational speaker and has her own jewelry line that benefits foster children seeking higher education.

I had a chance to talk with DeWana about the challenges and memories from her childhood, what inspires her to move forward, and what projects she is planning in the future.

  • What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

DeWana Green: My favorite memory from reading as a child was learning to read. I learned to read very young. In fact, I was three-years-old when I learned to read fluently.  

  • Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

DeWana Green: My favorite author from childhood was Shel Silverstein. I was obsessed with “I Know Where the Sidewalk Ends”. Also, I loved Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, the Places You’ll Go”. As an adult I like Maya Angelou and Robert Fulghum.

  • Do you have a writing routine?

DeWana Green: When it comes to writing, I don’t really have a writing routine. I write best when I am near water. I do have a couple writing rules: 1. I always write from an outline 2. I never force my creativity to flow, so I have never had writer’s block. If there is no flow, it’s a no go… I only write when I feel it. I write when I am inspired.

  • How did you get the idea to write “Vonny B and Me?”

DeWana Green: VBM was inspired by the relationship of my son with learning differences/special needs and his dog. It truly demonstrates that we all have areas that we can excel and be great!

  • You have faced many challenges growing up. How has this helped you to inspire young people?

DeWana Green: It has only been since my divorce over the past 4 years that I have really embraced the pains and fears of my past. I realized that it took ALL of it to make me who I am today. I am always mentoring young adults in some facet of life. There are times I have young adults onboard doing intern work for me and helping research my ideas and concepts. There are other times I am simply spending one-on-one time with them and reminding them that there is NO-thing that they could ever encounter that they cannot overcome once they have decided to overcome it in their minds.

  • I noticed you design jewelry. What are the ideas behind some of your designs.
  • DeWana Green: Yes, I love to jewelry design. It’s a great creative outlet. Each piece I make comes with a unique writing about that piece. My ideas are inspired by nature and the colors of sun, ocean, and sky.
  • What would you suggest to future aspiring writers?

DeWana Green: My suggestion for aspiring writers is simply take time to understand your gift by writing and learn how your gift flows. We all flow and are inspired uniquely and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s that creative energy that’s responsible for so many different books.

  • What plans do you have for the “Vonny B” and Me series?

DeWana Green: The plan is for there to be 5 books in the series. I had 5 different concepts when the idea came to me for the initial work. So up next we will find that VB goes on a unique trip with some friends to some cool places! What I love the most is the subtle lessons that children learn from the book(s).

  • What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

DeWana Green: In the future I see myself writing more in the VBM series. I would like to finish it out. Also, I see superheroes in my future as I have gained some inspiration in that area.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

DeWana Green: Writing is the ability to take an imaginary world living in my head and bring it to life on paper so that everyone can experience it too.

vonnyBandmeCvr“Vonny B and Me” is a captivating picture book about a dog and his boy. A seven-year-old boy and his dog take you on a journey of love as you follow their relationship of friendship and courage. The boy has many challenges, such as a learning difference. But through the love of his dog, he can face them. This is a touching story to teach about dealing with differences, changes, and using communication to solve problems. It will make a great addition for any child’s or teacher’s read aloud library. This is the first in a planned series.

“Vonny B and Me” is available at Amazon.com.

For more information on DeWana Green, please visit her website at: www.courageousme.net.

Interview with Justin Melquist: Author of “God Is In Your Pizza”

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I found another great book to help teach spiritual awareness and presence to your child. “God Is In Your Pizza” is a children’s picture book for kids 3-7 years old. It helps to explain what God is. Justin Melquist is the author and loves to write children’s books that explain spiritual concepts to children. I had a chance to ask Justin Melquist about his writing process and what he wishes to write next.

  • Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Justin Melquist: I find it’s easiest to write about something you’re passionate about or write for someone rather than picking a topic from a list that sells.

  • What subject would you like to write about in future projects?

Justin Melquist: I really enjoy writing books that educate or inspire kids. I will let the universe decide my next project!

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Justin Melquist: Writing is allowing the message to come through you.

GodIsYourPizza“God Is In Your Pizza” is a picture book that helps parents introduce kids to what God is. God isn’t just a bearded man that lives in the sky. God is in us all and all situations, even the silly and fun instances. This book is available in paperback and as an eBook on Amazon.com.

Interview with Billie Kelpin, Author of Lucky, the Left-Pawed Puppy

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Billie Kelpin is the author of the picture book, Lucky, the Left-Pawed Puppy.

I have found a great addition to any read-aloud library, and had to talk to the author, Billie Kelpin. She is a former teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing, sign language interpreter, and worked as a college writing tutor. Billie currently has written this fabulous picture book, Lucky, the Left-Pawed Puppy. Set in Hollywood, this adorable story helps children learn about differences being strengths. In my discussion with the author, Billie Kelpin shared her childhood inspirations, what she enjoys about being a children’s author, and what writing means to her.

  • What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Billie Kelpin: My mother loved to memorize poems and stories and she would recite them to me at bedtime rather than read them to me. She’d tell me the story of “Wonderful Tony”, a rooster who couldn’t swim. The repeating rhythm of the words was especially appealing to me: “Tony became thinner and thinner, and sadder and sadder.” This story was actually a tale of altruism. When Tony got “outside of himself” and helped a little robin, his life turned around. I think of that story often.

  • Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Billie Kelpin: No one famous was ever my favorite author instead, I loved reading Father Francis Finn’s books. He was a Jesuit who wrote twenty-seven young people novels that resembled “The Hardy Boys” and Dickens stories a bit. His books influenced me with the high-minded morality. (You could only find them in our school’s library). The main character was “Tom Playfair” who was always challenged to do the honorable thing and always won out over his impetuous nature. Then, when I was around eleven or twelve years old, the Milwaukee Journal featured a Sunday Magazine section that featured essays from “The Art of Living” by Wilfred Peterson. While these essays seem quite dated now, reading them each week made me fall in love with the creative non-fiction genre.

  • Do you have a writing routine?

Billie Kelpin: I wish I were the kind of writer who could wake up at five in the morning and write; I can’t. I find routines in any aspect of my life difficult. I think I would be more productive if I were more disciplined. I tend to simply write when life doesn’t interrupt me.

  • What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Billie Kelpin: I tend to have several projects going on at once. I’m not sure if this is characteristic of being left-handed or not. I plan to continue to write pieces on being left-handed. I’m presently attempting to finish my first novel, a coming of age story set in the Vietnam era. Another ongoing project is an app I created called, “The Perfect Husband App” which consists of a list of phrases every spouse loves to hear along with short excerpts that explain why those phrases are helpful in everyday relationships. I want to add more personally narrated stories and essays to my “Stories to Go” app and hope to convert a short story called “Sylvia” that appeared in the Lost Coast Review into a screenplay.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Billie Kelpin: To borrow from Walt Whitman, writing to me is simply acknowledging that ‘the powerful play goes on and we can contribute a verse’.

luckycvrLucky, the Left-Pawed Puppy is a read-aloud for children ages 4-8. With adorable illustrations by artist Julie Parker, we are drawn into Lucky’s self-discovery journey. As a follow-up, matching games, online flashcards, and narration of the story can be found at the website: www.leftpawedpuppy.com. Parents and teachers will love this as an addition to their library. It is a great book for teaching understanding of differences that all children can appreciate.

Lucky lives under the “H” of the Hollywood sign with his owner, Mrs. Poppyset, and his two puppy brothers. But he has a problem. He often does things the opposite direction of others. While his brothers lead with their right paws, he leads with his left.

Things change when William T. Stagent, the Hollywood agent, books them for a Bow-Wow-Chow-Now commercial. But Lucky has trouble following Hector the Director’s cues. Lucky turns left while his brothers turn right. Leslie, a famous dog trainer, is called in to look over Lucky and discovers he is left-pawed. Just as she is showing what to do be done, an earthquake hits the studio. Lucky saves the day, and it is all thanks to his left-pawed ability of naturally turning left.

Lucky, the Left-Pawed Puppy is on sale at Amazon.com and through the website, www.leftpawedpuppy.com.

Link here for my recommendation of Lucky, the Left-Pawed Puppy.