For those of you who do not follow Stories for Children Magazine's blog at http://familiesmatter2us.blogspot.com/ you may have missed this great interview with children's authors Heather Hewitt and Tom Listul. Here is the interview we did for that blog. They are inspiring authors and the book is delightful. Look here for a book review on the 22nd of the month. In the mean time follow them on tour by checking out the blog for Stories for Children Magazine.
Welcome Heather and Tom.
1. Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became a children's book author.
Tom: I grew up in Southwest MN. Although I am a farmer by trade, my background is a musical background. I have been playing guitar and singing and writing songs all of my life. Our book Monkey Made Dream came from a song Heather and I wrote together.
Heather: I have a wonderful memory of writing Monkey Made Dream with my dad when I was 8 years old. He surprised me on Christmas this year with a finished copy of the book!
2. Tell us about your current book. Give a short summary, tell us about your publisher, and also how you got the idea for this book.
Tom: Our book Monkey Made Dream comes from an idea that Heather and I thought up one day when Heather was young. We wrote this song called Monkey Made Dream. This last year, I decided to turn this little song into a children’s book and give it to Heather as a gift. So, I found someone to do the illustrations and started a new process for me. I published it myself through Trafford Publishing. They helped me walk through the steps on publishing our own book.
3. What is a typical writing day like for you?
Tom: There is really no typical writing day. Sometimes an idea will come to me and I will write it down on paper or on the laptop. I might not look at it for a while. Other times I will just write in the mornings. Other times I will write late at night.
4. What do you enjoy most about writing for children?
Tom: Your imagination can just go in so many directions. Anywhere you want to take your story you can.
Heather: I enjoy seeing how children’s faces light up, and their reactions to fun stories.
5. What is the most difficult part of writing for children?
Keeping your imagination and ideas coming.
6. Tell us about the marketing process for authors. What do you do to market and sell your books?
We are new authors, so this is a new experience for us. We are learning as we go along. So, we are using Facebook and the internet and a book signing day in our local area to start with. We will also place our book in some local markets. We will try to get as many reviews written as we can and follow that with postings in the media.
7. Do you make school visits? If so, please describe a typical school presentation.
Tom: I have made school visits. I bring my guitar and we have fun singing songs together.
Heather: I work for a school district as a speech language pathologist, so I enjoy reading and sharing a love of books and writing with my students every day. I have not shown my students the final copy of Monkey Made Dream, but I am excited to see their reactions.
8. Do you have a website? If so, please give the URL. If not, where can listeners go online to learn more about your book(s) and to order?
We do not have a web site as of yet, but are looking into it. You can order our book online from many sites. Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Book World and Trafford Publishing. Type in the title our book Monkey Made Dream, and you will be directed to the web page.
9. What are you working on right now?
Tom: Promoting Monkey Made Dream. I also have some songs that I have written and they are being pitched to artists and record companies. Also, looking at some new ideas for another children’s book.
10. What is your best tip for aspiring children's book authors?
Just keep writing. Be a kid yourself when you write. Read children’s books and discover what works for you.