Posts Tagged With: Children’s Books

MWN Author Feature- Ms. Hen

Amy HenricksonThis week the Motown Writers Network features Ms. Hen. Ms. Hen has been writing all her life, but has been writing children’s books since 2011 when she began to annually attend the Iowa Writers’ Summer Festival.
She began writing the Lottie Gunderson, Girl Scientist books when she worked as an elementary library supervisor and was disappointed in the offerings for girls and boys. She — and her students — wanted to read books that featured a smart, spunky, principled, and interesting protagonist. Ms. Hen says, “Girls can be anything: scientists, mathematicians, astronauts. Girls are so much more than glittery princesses; they are self-reliant problem-solvers.”
John Ball is a biography of the man who donated the land to establish the Grand Rapids, Michigan park and zoo that bears his name. His life was amazing — he had Christmas dinner with a king, traveled across the United States, and walked unannounced into the White House to have a chat with the U.S. President.
Mackinac Island is a place that many wish to visit. Even those who have been there may not know how it’s history helped to shape the United States. The book includes a walking tour, travel tips, and a bit of a scavenger hunt as well as historical and current information that will prove interesting and helpful for visitors as well as students who are writing a report on the special island.
Ms. Hen lives in Michigan, the Mitten State. She has two grown children, two grandchildren, and two kitties. Her favorite color is orange and she loves to travel.

Where are you from?  

Grandville, MI
Latest News
I just published “Let’s Explore Mackinac Island,” and will be speaking at the Michigan Reading Assoc. Conference in Detroit — March 2016
When and why did you begin writing?
I was an English major in college and taught English for a couple of years.  I also did some proofreading and editing. I had never written creatively but always wanted to, so in 2010, I went to the University of Iowa for the Summer Writing Festival and have been writing creatively ever since.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?  
When my first book, Lucky Lottie, was published in 2012 and my library (KDL Grandville) hosted a book-signing party.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Originally, I thought I wanted to write Memoir, but found that I have a knack for writing for children.  As all authors do, I incorporated some of my own story into the character of Lottie Gunderson, Girl Scientist.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I enjoy writing fiction and poetry, but I think my forte is researching and distilling information in non-fiction.
How did you come up with the title? 
The Lottie Gunderson, Girl Scientist books are a series of 4 books with rhyming(ish) titles that give a hint of the story:  Lucky Lottie, Spotty Lottie, Rocky Lottie, and Lakey Lottie.  My great aunt’s name was Lottie and I loved her to pieces.  My writing group helped with the series title.
Is there a message?
Each book has not only some nuggets about science, but also information about Michigan and some character lessons, delivered in a light-hearted way.
How much is realistic?
The Lottie stories could happen to any curious child.
Experiences based on someone or events?
I believe every author inserts some of him- or herself in all of their fiction writing.  I would say that Lottie is the girl I wish I had been.
What books have influenced your life most?
The Bible, My Antonia, Pippi Longstocking, Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Blessing, The Gifts of Imperfection, To Kill a Mockingbird, Whistling in the Dark, One True Thing
Which writer would you consider a mentor?
Willa Cather
What are you reading now?
Sapphira and the Slave Girl; The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up; The Torah
New authors who have grasped my interest?
Katie Van Ark, Wendy Booydegraaf
Current Projects?
Just published “Let’s Explore Mackinac Island.”
Entity that supported you outside of family members?
My writing group:  FLAG (Four Ladies and a Gent)
Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, but not a dependable financial path
Would you change anything in your latest book?
No — but it’s fresh.  I’m sure I’ll see/think of something as time goes on.
How did my interest in writing originate?
I loved books and reading for as long as I can remember.  I’m sure that influenced my interest in writing.
Share a little of current work?
I’m revising a novel that has been in the works for a few years.  It’s a project close to my heart. That’s all I can say about that right now.
Anything particularly challenging in my writing?
I get impatient to publish, but I find if I let the manuscript simmer a bit, the revisions are better.
Favorite author/why?
I would have to say that Frederick Buechner is my favorite author.  He writes beautifully with great candor about life, faith, doubt, and hope.
Do you travel much concerning your books?
I have traveled in West Michigan to promote my books at various author events and libraries.  I traveled to Mackinac Island to research and take photos for my latest book.
Who designed the covers?  
I illustrated the books and took the photos, but my daughter, Abby Bedford, is a graphic designer and she professionally formats the covers.
What was the hardest part?
Ignoring distractions of life to hunker down and get ‘er done.
What did you learn from writing your book?
I learned to trust my “muse.”  The stories unfold and characters appear and sometimes I’m surprised to see what I’ve written.  That’s the best!
Any advise for other writers?
Write as much as you can,  keep a notebook for ideas (you never know when something will inspire you), join a writing group,  engage in social media,  be an extrovert about your writing, read, be a constant observer/listener, don’t quit.
Anything specific to say to readers?
In my work in elementary libraries, I found that many books for children are pretty silly or fluffy.  That’s okay in small doses, but in the Lottie books, I wanted to portray a girl who wasn’t a princess or a fairy, but spunky, real, and full of curiosity.  Science is not only interesting, it’s important.  Kids can enjoy reading fun stories that also teach.
Lucky Lottie
Rocky LottieLakey LottieSpotty Lottie
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MWN Author Spotlight ~ Yvonne Stegall @WriterYvonne

Yvonne StegallThis week’s MWN Spotlight is on Yvonne Stegall!

Yvonne Stegall, is a communications addict, freelance writer and published book author. She has been a professional writer for over 14 years. She started out as a music reviewer, then landed a job at that very magazine as the Editor-in-Chief, where she remained for just over 2 years (until the magazine was sold by its original owner).

Following her print work, Yvonne started writing online. She has written for online blogs, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, social media and more. In 2010 she started working full time from home as a freelance writer. She has also done work in copyediting/copywriting, SEO, marketing and digital PR.

In 2008 Yvonne published her first book. Since then she has taken up self-publishing and has been focusing on children’s books.

Yvonne also enjoys photography, painting, drawing, and creating many types of crafts (from jewelry to soaps, and many things in between).

Where are you from?

Originally from the thumb, I currently reside in Fenton
Tell us your latest news?

I just released the first book in my new tourist series ‘Experience Michigan.’ The first book is ‘Experience Michigan Wildlife’ and I am already hard at work on ‘Experience Michigan Tourist Traps.’
When and why did you begin writing?

I have been writing since first grade. I did a poetry book in my first grade class.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I started getting poetry published in the late 90s.

 

What inspired you to write your first book?

Michigan and the nature and outdoors. It was a children’s book about a firefly.

 

Do you have a specific writing style?

No. I just write.
How did you come up with the title?

I love Michigan and I think it’s a great place to experience. There is more about Michigan that just being here.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Just that Michigan is an amazing place with so much to offer.
How much of the book is realistic?

This particular book is completely non-fiction.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I love travelling Michigan and I love the wildlife here in this state. So, it is definitely based on events in my own life.
What books have most influenced your life most? On The Road by Jack Kerouac and Catcher In The Rye by JD Salinger.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

My writing mentor would have to relate mainly to the poetry and short stories I used to write… and then it would be a tie between Edgar Allan Poe and HP Lovecraft. I really loved writing dark and macabre stuff in my teens and twenties.
What book are you reading now?

Ghost Hunting Michigan by Helen Pattskyn
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Kelly Gay, although I don’t know how new she is. I enjoy books with otherworld beings in them.
What are your current projects?

The Experience Michigan series, my own memoir and a couple novelettes that fictional, one is paranormal.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Probably my friend Anna Gustafson. She’s always quick to read my stuff and give me honest feedback.
Do you see writing as a career? It is my career. When I am not working on books I am a freelance writer professionally. It’s how I make a living.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Nope.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

It was doing that poetry book in first grade.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I am most focused on the Experience Michigan series. I already have 13 book ideas, which includes the one already published. I have 3 road trips to take in the next 3 weeks in order to get all the photos and info I need for the tourist trap book, which I hope to have published in July.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Just finding the time to do it all.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

My all time favorite author is also a tie, between Kelley Armstrong and Kim Harrison. I love both of their fictional worlds of otherworld creatures living among us humans. I can’t read a book if I can’t “see” what I am reading, and both of these authors really know how to make my mind turn their words into a mental movie.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I hadn’t, but I will be with this new series.
Who designed the covers?

I publish all of my stuff through CreateSpace and I use their cover designer to create my own covers.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Time.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned with this Michigan book that I really do have a passion for my home state. I have never felt so good about a book I’ve done and been so excited to share it.
Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write what you know. Put your heart into it. And just keep writing.

Experience Michigan Wildlife

 

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Michigan Literary Network Blogtalk Radio~February 20, 2013

Kris YankeeToday at 5:30pm on the Michigan Literary Network Blogtalk radio show Sylvia Hubbard will be interviewing Kris Yankee. Who is Kris Yankee you ask? Kris is a children’s author who wrote Cracking the Code: Spreading Rumors. Listen in as she talks about her new book. You can also check out Kris Yankee at  adventuresthatscore.blogspot.com

cracking the code

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t miss the Michigan Literary Network’s interview with “Coach” Keller Coleman the author of The Power of Positive Thinking as he talks with Sylvia Hubbard at 5:45pm.

coach-keller-book-signing

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Michigan Literary Network Blogtalk Radio~ February 13, 2013

Anita T Gibbs II

 

Joining us today on the Michigan Literary Network Blogtalk radio show is author Anita Gibbs. Listen in at 5:00-5:45pm as Sylvia Hubbard talks Anita about her new  children’s book “Daddy’s Magic Stamp”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marquin ParksStay tuned at 5:45-6:00pm as Sylvia interviews Marquin Parks the author of the children’s book “Wrinkles Wallace: Knights of Night School” . Check him out at Writing For Wrinkles.

Winkles Wallace

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MWN Features Children’s Author Judy Seaberry

Judy Seaberry

Judy Seaberry is an author who strives to write about relevant issues. As a native Detroiter she has experienced multiple challenges and changes that shaped her own life as well as the life of her city. Judy’s love of reading and writing came full circle when in 2004 she retired from corporate America and wrote her first book “Is your family dysfunctional”.  On the heels of her first success she tackled romantic relationships by writing Men from A to Z.
Judy is a rare author who uses humor seamlessly in her writing to ease into difficult subjects. Both of her previous books go to the core of what issues we face when we connect with others. “A Day in the Life of Amanda” goes one step further. Amanda allows us to experience the young soul, as family, friends and society shape her life. Through Amanda’s eyes we witness our own behaviors and how they affect her attitude. Through Amanda’s prayers we witness the impact our actions have on her spirit.

5 Questions with Judy…

Who are some of your favorite authors?             

 Being a little old school with a love for fiction, I like Jane Austen, Danielle Steele, Tom Clancy and Alice Walker.

When did you realize your calling to write?

Like most authors an English teacher praised my compositions and encouraged me to seek a literary career.

Why Children’s books?

Writing for a child was not my first choice; I am at heart a humorist.

How did you come up with the concept of your book “A Day in the Life of Amanda”?


Amanda was inspired by an incident at a local service station. A young mom chided her daughter about purchasing the wrong pop and I witnessed this ill-conceived attempt at parenting. She asked my opinion, I offered it and in an instant the concept of right parenting vs. wrong parenting was born. The name Amanda was whispered to me in my sleep and the rest of the story is history.

What’s next for Judy?


What’s next for Judy? well I am considering an e-book of how Amanda came to be with the many illustrations I rejected prior to finding the right look for my little girl. Initially, Amanda was to be black and was drawn to those specifications but over time a more multi-cultural look was adopted. With the current success of  “A Day in the Life of Amanda” a look back might be interesting.

The wait is finally over~ “A Day in the Life of Amanda”  is available www.zoelifepub.com

Judyseaberry.com  http://www.youtube.com/Judysea1 https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/118778

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