Monday, January 12, 2015

Christa Pierce, author & illustrator of Did You Know That I Love You?



Author Bio:
Christa is an author and illustrator from Portland, Oregon. She is a lover of tea and acrylic paint - but not together. Christa received her BA in Illustration with a creative writing minor from Seattle Pacific University in 2013. She is currently making her debut in children’s publishing, preparing a second book with HarperCollins, and preparing other illustration projects. Her first children’s book, Did You Know That I Love You?, is available in bookstores everywhere. Christa is particularly interested in visual storytelling, speaking to students about the relevancy of the arts, and empowering others to find meaning through the arts.

Title: Did You Know That I Love You?
Author: Christa Pierce
ISBN: 0062297449
Page count: 32
Genre: Picture Book, Feelings and Emotions
Price: 17.99

Tell us about your book:
In my picture book, Did You Know That I Love You?, a small blue bird expresses her love to a rust-colored fox. I wrote the words simple, sweet, and universal so that readers could project many different relationships from their lives into the story. I also kept the imagery clean and balanced, to keep the focus on the relationship between the two characters, keeping in mind the illustrations in The Giving Tree. I wanted the book to be a sweet ode to love.

How long did it take to write the book?
I actually wrote the book all in one go, laying in bed at night. I keep a nightstand full of journals and scratch paper for this reason. Sometimes issues I’ve been struggling with in the back of my mind all day come out when I lay down to go to sleep.

What inspired you to write the book?
My mom inspired me to write the book. We have a complicated relationship, one that we are always working on. We love each other, but at the time, that was getting pretty hard to sense, and even a little hard to believe. Years of tension were coming to a head the summer before I wrote, Did You Know That I Love You?. Things between us have been much warmer since I wrote this book. I think writing the book for her, even before it was published, really helped break the ice between us. I reached out to her in the way I best knew how – through writing and drawing. It was the first gesture of vulnerability between us, and it helped both of us lower our defenses and focus on reconciling.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
I try not to have a writing process. Counterintuitive, I know. I’m a naturally anxious person, and if I sit down specifically to write, I freak myself out and can’t. My best writing happens when I’m relaxed and inspired. I’m usually in bed trying to sleep, or taking a walk on the farm, or looking at art, or listening to a friend’s problem when I need to write. Then, I have to hurry to grab a pen before I forget what I’m thinking. A lot of things inspire me, usually examining emotions and relationships, so I try to always have a pen. Sometimes I can sit on my porch in the evenings, when it’s raining, and write, but usually it catches me off guard.

For this book, I did about a year of research without really knowing it. My ongoing fight and separation from my mom was at the forefront of my mind, always. I couldn’t stop wondering, ‘how can you love someone, but act as if you don’t?’. That year before I wrote the book, I fell in love with my boyfriend, and learned about that. I did my senior art show for college about the brain chemicals involved with love, and falling out of love. I collected love letters from my family and friends, and built tiny paper houses out of them, trying, I think, to build a space where love could make more sense. I frequented a family counselor and talked out my theories with her. The senior art show, especially, provided me with hours and hours of silent oil painting to think about love and what it was, while I tried to explain it visually for the show.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
I hope my readers read my book and feel loved. I want them to know that they are worthy and deserving of love, and that we are all loved more than we know, even when we feel that we are not.

Excerpt from book:
‘I want you to always know, however big you get to be, that all my love is for you, and it will always be’

Where can we go to buy your book?
Bookstores EVERYWHERE! Also on the HarperCollins site and amazon.

Any other links or info you'd like to share?
I’m very proud of my Etsy store – www.etsy.com/misswhimsyjane
This is my illustration website – www.christapierce.com

Book Trailer Link:

Monday, January 5, 2015

Richard McEwan, author of The Adventures of Sir Buddy and Mr. Pupples ~The Rescue~



Author Bio:

Richard McEwan retired to the Outer Banks of North Carolina after a long career in sales, marketing and advertising. He lives with his wife, Christie, and their two dogs, Buddy and River, one cat named Oyster and many photos of foster dogs. He was inspired to begin writing because of his grandchildren's love of books.





Title of Book: The Adventures of Sir Buddy and Mr. Pupples: The Rescue
Written by Richard McEwan
Illustrated by Amy Rottinger
Publisher: Halo Publishing, Int.
ISBN Number: 978-7-61244-307 -2
Genre of Book: Children’s Picture

Tell us about your book:


This is an engaging story for children to read or have read to them about a lost puppy. Hopefully, it will encourage young ones to think about the story when they come upon a stray dog or cat; and seek the guidance of an adult in helping to find it's family...or new home.

How long did it take to write the book?

I started writing by hand but quickly turned to the computer. That made it infinitely better because of ease of restructuring, adding/deleting and most important…to be able to read what I had written! 

Since I am a beginning author and my this is first book, although fiction that is based upon fact (which I was very much a part of), writing this story was fairly straightforward. I know in the future this will not be the case and I will have plenty to share.
 


What inspired you to write the book?

Our grandchildren have been a great influence because of their love of books…whether being read to or looking at the books on their own. Our dogs inspired me to start writing due to their antics and their own stories that needed to be told. The fostering of dogs has been a love of ours not only for saving a dog’s life but for the joy it brings to the one who adopts the pet.
 
Our two dogs inspired the characters. Their personalities, antics and for this book, that they are both foster dogs. The plot was inspired by what my wife and I have witnessed in reference to stray/lost dogs and cruelty to dogs, and the rescue efforts, including fostering, that involves so many people.

Finally, since I wanted to convey a message about caring for lost pets to children of a young age, what better way than a picture book. 


Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?

There is a room at the rear of our home that I use as an office. It is decorated with a mixture of antiques including two red velvet chairs, a bookshelf and a triptych painting done by an artist in 1928 depicting some of my family’s historical events. My desk consists of a butcher-block type top set on two old brown metal filing cabinets…quite unassuming, but quite comfortable for the last 40 or so years. My desk sits in the corner of the room where windows are in front and beside me letting in copious amount of light/sunlight, and giving me a sweet view of our gardens and the birds’ activities. 


I may spend time with our dogs or make French press coffee or eat chocolate (nothing less than 75% cacao) or do all three! These are some of the things I love to do to remove myself from everyday life, to clear my head. At other times, I will have a thought or several thoughts that need to be written down before they dissipate like a puff of smoke. In all honestly, it is whatever works to get the story on paper. 

This first book I did very little research because the knowledge and experience my wife and I had rescuing and fostering dogs. In conjunction with that, I actually lived with the characters, therefore, I did not have to develop them. For future books I have already completed some research and will, of course, do a great deal more so that when I weave in facts they are as accurate as possible.


Oh, I almost forgot about Oyster, my 11-year old cat. He keeps me company, and I use that term loosely, by being on my lap, laying in front of the keyboard or laying on the keyboard!



What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

The key message I hope the children will take from the story is the importance of caring for animals. The sub-message is the introduction to fostering of dogs, and that it plants a seed of at least awareness, if not involvement.
 

Excerpt from book:
Pupples paced the edge of the road. He sniffed, but he could not find the scent of
his mother or siblings. The stench of cars burned his nose. He whimpered. If only
he hadn’t crawled off to sleep under the bush. But his brother had poked and rolled
over him so many times that he couldn’t get comfortable. When he woke his family
was gone. He had barked and searched, tracking their scent until he lost it at the
road.

If he could cross, maybe he would pick it up again. He placed a paw on the black
surface. He took two steps then froze as a car swerved to miss him. A horn blared
and he raced back to the side of the road. He crouched panting and shaking
amongst the weeds. He waited until it was quiet and forced himself to try again.
Every time Pupples took a few steps onto the road, cars appeared forcing him to
run back. He howled in frustration.

Then a car pulled over to the side of the road and a woman got out. Frightened,
Pupples ran back into the woods. He hid watching the woman. She called to him
with a soft voice, but Pupples was too afraid to come out. After a long time, the
woman went back to her car and drove away.
 
Where can we go to buy your book?

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Ingram



Any other links or info you'd like to share?
MY Website: www.twodogstales.com 
 
Book Trailer Link:

The Adventures of Sir Buddy and Mr. Pupples
http://youtu.be/0ZdOCfAO99s?list=UUjcOpPUInovIAsrR8HLtxYA