Ellwyn’s Blog

The Curious Lyle Lunarman

Lyle Lunarman was a curious child. He had a curious mind, read curious books, and played curious games. But, the most curious thing about him was how he came to sit upon the milky sliver of moon each night.

When passers floated by and asked him how he got there his answer was always the same. He’d shrug in that lackadaisical way only eight-year-old boys can then cast his long silvery line into the endless ocean of space.

“Search me,” he’d say, “but it’s the best spot in the whole galaxy to catch starfish.”

Who do you think this boy is?

Interview With Author Kristin Ward

Kristin Ward is a benevolent soul who cares deeply about our environment. This love of nature comes through in her thought provoking writing where she presents characters and themes pertinent to our modern day society’s damaging effects on the world.

Kristin has a wonderful sense of humor, enjoys long walks with her family and welcomes the chance to spout her favorite movie quotes.

Now that I’ve introduced you to Kristen let’s get to know her a little better.

Pin Me Please!

Hello, Kristin, and welcome. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

What inspired you to be a writer?

I would have to go back to middle school, 7th grade to be precise. When my English teacher, whom I still keep in close contact with, likened my writing to Saki, the author of The Interlopers, I was hooked.

That defining moment began my foray into mad scribblings of terrible poetry and story starters galore.

As an adult, I spent many years dabbling in writing and began a few book ideas I have yet to complete, though I may never finish those as my interest waned.

The inspiration for my first self-published novel came from research I conducted while writing a graduate course in environmental education. As I dug into the history of the earth and learned about various environmental shifts, a seedling of an idea took root.

I began to wonder what the world would look like if drought ravaged the planet and water became the global currency. While this first book took about five years to write, family and career being the primary reason for the delay, I finally reached that pinnacle of achievement and published in May 2018.

The sequel was published in November, following a very strict deadline I had set for myself after completing the first book.

Is writing your full-time profession?

I would love to be an author full-time. In fact, that is an aspiration. However, I have a career outside of my author life I enjoy.

How long have you been writing? *see the response to the first question

Have you won any awards?

Yes! I am overjoyed to say I recently won the 2018 Best Indie Book Award in young adult fiction. This award was incredibly validating as it tells me that the premise of my story and writing style have merit.

I have entered other competitions and will enter the sequel as well. I feel that book awards are a great way to reach a broad reader base and increase exposure as an author.

How many books have you written?

I have published two books. My plan for 2019 is to publish another two novels and a collection of my poetry (My 7th grade English teacher has repeatedly asked that I do so as she loves the poems I post on social media). 

Which genres do you write? 

My first two books, and my current work in progress, are in the young adult category. However, I have numerous story ideas floating around in my head and plan on branching out into adult fiction as well.

What do you find most challenging writing for these genres?

I think the biggest hurdles, in any genre, are originality and large-scale appeal. While I feel that my first two works are original ideas, I struggle with reaching a broad reader base that includes teens.

Most of my readers are out of high school. I do a great deal of advertising and am active on social media in an effort to attract readers who enjoy dystopian fiction and hope that my novels find their way into the hands of high schoolers.

What are you working on now?

My current work in progress is a sci-fi-fantasy crossover with a bit a romance, all entwined in an environmental theme. I’m having a lot of fun developing the characters in this story and I’m looking forward to reaching the point when I can write the big action scenes. My goal is a spring release of this work.

Where do you find inspiration for your characters?

My inspiration comes from a variety of sources. I love reading a wide range of genres and am always inspired by the characters and story lines. I also get many of my ideas from my own interests and research I do along the way.

Like all authors, the characters I write always have pieces of my personality within them. The main character in my current work definitely has my sense of humor!

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?

There are a few experiences that have been true milestones in this journey. The first of these was the moment I clicked submit on Amazon’s site.

It was elating and terrifying. My work would officially be in the hands of readers. This thing I had nurtured and kept close to my heart was suddenly out there for everyone to read, interpret and comment on.

It’s a bit like dropping one of my sons off at school for the first day of kindergarten! I was excited and a nervous wreck!

The most rewarding experiences come in the form of reader’s comments. Not everyone will like what an author writes, but when a reader takes the time to compose an honest review, it’s profound.

I have been blessed with a few truly glowing reviews that reflect the connection readers have with the characters and content of the books. A couple of comments on the sequel show a depth of understanding and appreciation for the message the story is conveying.

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?

“If you dream it, you can do it!” ~ Walt Disney

That quote sums up how I feel about someone who longs to be a writer. Publishing has transformed over the years and this shift has opened the door for new voices to make themselves known and share their work.

Self-publishing provides a platform accessible to everyone. Plus, the indie author community is incredibly supportive and I’m grateful to have joined their ranks.

For those writers just beginning their journey, here is some sound advice:

Hire an editor! Everyone needs one. I love my editor, David Taylor of thEditors.com. He’s helped me develop my first drafts into something wonderful through his expertise and understanding of the story I want to tell.

Establish a website and begin blogging. This was actually my first step. I started my blog and worked to establish a reader base for my blog and newsletter. It’s a great way to connect with readers and is a good platform to practice your writing chops!

Get on social media, especially Facebook and Twitter! Twitter is a huge platform for authors, agents, and publishers. On Facebook, you’ll find author groups that will enable you to connect and support each other.

Learn how to market your book. I never realized how important marketing is when publishing a book until I started this adventure. Author groups on Facebook are a great marketing asset!

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?

I love connecting with readers and I’m very active on social media! Please reach out as I would love to hear from you

What message are you sharing in your books?

Big themes in my books revolve around the environment. In my first book, After the Green Withered, my main character inherited a world we are in the midst of creating.

Perhaps if people had made different choices, her world and the challenges she faces would be much different. I feel it’s important for us, as human beings, to step back and think about the world future generations will inherit. Every action is important, and no action is too small to make a difference.

What are your favorite books/authors?

In the dystopian genre, I really enjoyed The Giver, The Handmaid’s Tale, and The Hunger Games. Each of these stories touches on themes that are thought-provoking.

I’m also a classic re-reader. The true test of whether I love a book or just like it is if I will re-read it. One of my favorite books to read every few years is The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet.

This epic saga is a roller coaster of action, emotion, intrigue, corruption, and storytelling that takes me back to a world I love to visit every time I read it.

What are your favorite movies, TV shows?

I’m a movie nut and I quote movies. A lot. My favorite movie quotes come from The Princess Bride. If you were to come to my house and utter the phrase, “No more rhyming now, I mean it!” There would be a chorus of, “Anybody want a peanut?” Yep, from The Breakfast Club to Guardians of the Galaxy, my movie favorites come out in numerous quotes and references.

When you’re not writing where can we find you?

I love taking walks with my sons and our dogs. When the weather is nice and trails aren’t muddy, you can find me in the woods. I also enjoy relaxing at home, curling up on the sofa with a good book or chilling out with a great flick.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/kristin_ward_author/

website:

https://www.writingandmythreesons.com

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Kristin-Ward/e/B07D5LC4CR/

Twitter:

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/KristinWardAuthor/

Where can we find your books?

Amazon:

And other online retailers:

https://www.books2read.com/b/after-the-green-withered

Thank you, Kristin, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!

Interview With Children’s Author Margot Finke

Margot Finke is a natural-born storyteller. At ten, she discovered her talent for weaving a great tale but later put it aside to raise a family. This passion for spinning stories resurfaced during her time as a teacher’s aide and has inspired her to write an impressive sixteen books.

Originally from Australia, Margot Finke now lives in the USA with her family.

Now that I’ve introduced you to Margot let’s get to know her a little better.

Pin Me Please!

Hello, Margot, and welcome.

Thank you for having me.

What inspired you to be a writer?

I have always written things—from the age of about 10.  I still have the first short story I wrote then–about a dog and her puppies.

Is writing your full-time profession?

Yes, it is. I didn’t begin full time writing until after I watched the taillights of our youngest kid’s car disappear down the road– off to college!  I need peace and quiet to write.  Rarely found when three teenagers live at home!

How did being a teacher‘s aide influence your writing?
It really gave me a huge PUSH.  A teacher I worked with heard me telling stories about the Aussie animals and the native people Down Under – the aboriginals. The indigenous people as they like to be called these days.

I used a detailed Australian map, and classes would pick an animal for me to talk about.  One teacher loved the tales I told – right off the top of my head.  She said I should write them down.  I did, and my “Magic Carpet of Books” was born.

How long have you been writing?
Bits and pieces, plays and stories, for as long as I can remember.  Seriously, for approximately 25 years I was one of the first to twist my husband’s arm into buying a computer. He didn’t GET it, but I did.

Being online opened a fantastic new world of writing and publishing contacts and opportunities. I got in touch with other writers and joined a wonderful critique group.  The six of us were all struggling to write well and were then unpublished. Every one of us had a fire in our belly to reach that Holy of Holies, Published Authorhood!

How many books have you written?
I have 16 books published, from picture books up to mid-grade.

Which genre do you write? 

I write a mixed bag of educational books for ages 5 through 10 years—fantasy, outback adventure that features Aussie aboriginals, family saga, ghost mystery,  helpful themes, and picture books with fun facts about animals (some in rhyme).

What do you find most challenging writing for this genre?
Ideas are not a challenge. An idea or theme comes and I do research if necessary, and then the idea takes shape—characters, facts, and the plot come together in an organic and natural way.

Although,  characters sometimes try to take over. But I tell them I’m the boss.  They might grumble and snarl a little, but threatening to kill them off in the last chapter usually works. After all, as the author I have the ultimate power, and my rambunctious characters know it!

What are you working on now?

At the moment, a medley of rhymes about life is milling about inside my brain. Some of my picture books are in rhyme, and I have always had a talent for writing that way. So, who knows what I will spin onto my pages in the coming months.

Where do you find inspiration for your characters?

Ideas come, stay a while, and then either become stored away for later use, or designated as trash.  Most of them come in the dead of night when I should be sleeping. 

I sneak into our bathroom, so as not wake my husband, and jot these freshly germinated ideas onto the paper I keep there—just in case genius strikes.

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?

Definitely my SKYPE Author visits to classrooms in the US and other countries. I chat about what goes into writing a terrific story, and the importance of using active and powerful words. I also offer the teacher free books + other writing helpers. Students have fun while learning.

Hearing from individual kids, or the classes I have Skyped with, how much they loved my books. This happens a lot when I do a Skype Classroom Presentation. They have usually already read a selection of my books. I love answering their questions and chatting to them about the fun of writing stories of their own. Most children’s authors write for the LOVE of it. To not write is unthinkable!  We certainly don’t write for the big bucks we earn! 

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?
That’s easy.  Know the basics before you begin—grammar and punctuation are vital.  Use powerful words that paint mental pictures in your readers’ heads. FOCUS on tight plots, good pace, and characters that feel venerable and real.

Find a great critique group, where you all advise, offer comments, and encourage each other—one that writes for the same age as yourself.  My group played a huge part in my becoming published.

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?
Well for starters, I’m an Aussie transplant. I met and married a New York fellow while in Australia, and we ended up settling in Oregon. 

I clearly remember the first half of my life Down Under, so my Aussie roots are deep. I guess that’s why some of my books have Aussie themes and animals. 

Raising three kids, gardening, reading and travel, have filled the cracks between writing and promoting my books. Our three children turned out pretty well and live fairly close to us. We also have four delightful grandchildren, and one awesome great grandson.

What message are you sharing in your books?

I like to make my books “kid friendly,” with lots of fun, adventure, and things to learn tucked in here-and-there. When the story grips a child’s interest, learning simply becomes automatic.

What are your favorite books/authors?

Alice in Wonderland as a child. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold, at the moment. 

A past favorite is The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, both by Khaled Hosseini. His use of descriptive language took me with him on his journey. I fell into the story and stayed there until it was done.

What are your favorite movies, TV shows?
This is Us, and Downton Abbey.

When you’re not writing where can we find you?

These days, winter finds me writing in my den, or by the fire, catching up on my reading. In summer, I help my husband in our extensive garden, enjoy the birds and hummers as they feed, or read in the shade while birds bathe in our two fountains. 

We used to travel a lot, but airports and plane travel today is not the fun it used o be. The last time we travelled, we ended up sleeping on the airport floor, because of some snafu or other.  My bones are still recovering!

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?

Yes I do.*Website: http://www.margotfinke.com   ( Books-Writing Help –and more ).
*SKYPE Author Visits and Presentations to Schools: http://virtualschoolvisits.blogspot.com/

*Amazon/Kindle :
http://tinyurl.com/j26s6wu
*Facebook:  (Timeline)
https://www.facebook.com/margot.finke
*Linkedin:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/margot-finke-1a73608/ 
*Alignable Group: (vote for me as Small Business Person of the Year)
https://www.alignable.com/newberg-or/margot-finkes-world-of-books-for-children

*PINTEREST Boards:  ( My Books, Food, Parenting/Family, Teachers, Writing,  Special Needs, “Content” Editing,  +  much more:
https://www.pinterest.com/margotfinke/boards/   

Where can we find your books?
You can order my discounted and autographed books through my Website.  Email me – mfinke@frontier.com 

Also Amazon  (http://tinyurl.com/j26s6wu  ), B & N, + Little Book Cave.

I would like to thank Ellwyn for taking the time to interview me, and YOU, her wonderful Blog Fans, for reading about me.

Margot Finke–“Content” Editing.
Magic Carpet of 16x Books.

Skype Classroom Presentations.

Thank you, Margot, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!

Interview With Author/Teacher Bobbie Hinman

Bobbie Hinman loves many things about her life: the Florida sunshine where she lives, supporting other authors, her family and fairies. She loves the latter so much she’s written five multi-award-winning books about them.

A former elementary school teacher, Bobbie uses her experiences to capture the heart and soul of a young child’s unique voice and how this perspective translates into the world.

Now that I’ve introduced you to Bobbie let’s get to know her a little better.

Pin Me Please!

Hello, Bobbie, and welcome. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

What inspired you to be a writer?
I grew up in a generation when kids spent Saturdays at the library. There were just a few TV stations back then and reading was what we did for enjoyment.

I have known since then that there were stories in me waiting to be told.

Is writing your full-time profession?
After writing most of my life, my full-time writing has gradually transitioned into full-time editing.

I still have a few stories left to tell, but it is even more fulfilling helping other writers see their dreams come true.

How long have you been writing?
My first books (7 cookbooks) were published in the early 1980s.

Having been an elementary teacher before that, I have taken a long, round-about route to writing children’s books.

I released my first fairy book in 2007. Wow! I just realized how long ago that was.

How has teaching influenced your writing?
Teaching taught me how children think. I don’t think you can write effectively until you know what children are interested in reading, how they think and how they process information.

There’s a chapter in my book called Think Like a Child – Write Like an Adult where I offer insight into a child’s thinking process.

How many books have you written?
I have written 7 cookbooks that were traditionally published, 5 children’s picture books that I self-published and my recent book, How to Create a Successful Children’s Picture Book, also self-published.

Have you won any awards?
My children’s books have received 28 children’s book awards, including the Moonbeam Award for Best Picture Book Series for 2017.

My “how-to” book just received a silver Benjamin Franklin Book Award.

Holy Cow! Congratulations and Well Done!

Which genre do you write?
I write mainly Children’s Picture Books.

What do you find most challenging writing for this genre?
It’s very challenging to come up with ideas that will both appeal to the youngest readers and teach them something.

I always advise new authors to spend time with children in the age group they are targeting. Read your stories to them. Ask them what they like. Listen carefully to what they have to say. Their opinions are crystal clear.

What are you working on now?
After cookbooks and children’s books, I’m now working on a ghost story. It’s the true story of a ghost that shared our house in the 1980s.

Wicked!

Where do you find inspiration for your characters?
Mostly from my grandchildren. They have helped me keep my creativity at a high functioning level. They are so clever in ways that my generation was not.

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?
My school visits, and I have done hundreds, are where the rewards are found. There is nothing like sitting in front of a group of children and watching their eyes light up as they lose themselves in a story.

Then there are the group hugs as I leave their classroom, often followed by the fairy drawings they often send me.

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?
First, know your target audience—who they are what they like.

Second, form a focus group of children in this age group and read your stories to them. LISTEN to what they have to say. Their opinions matter more than those of your best friend.

And please, please have your book professionally edited. Don’t do all the work and run the risk of producing an inferior product.

And one more thing: Read! I firmly believe that you can’t write if you don’t read.

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?
I have 13 grandchildren, the best hubby in the world and 2 kitties. Someday I hope to write a book featuring photos of “Twinkle” and “BooBoo.”

What message are you sharing in your books?
In How to Create a Children’s Picture Book, I share everything I have learned on my journey.

My message is twofold: If I can do it you can, too. And, if you are going to do it, do it right. My goal in writing the book is to help others become successful.

What are your favorite books/authors?
Dr Suess. He taught me to love reading at an early age; he also taught me to rhyme.

What are your favorite movies, TV shows?
I’m not much of a TV watcher, but I love movies. My all-time favorite is When Harry Met Sally.

When you’re not writing where can we find you?
Riding my bike while enjoying the Florida sunshine.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?
www.bestfairybooks.com, Bobbie Hinman( Facebook) Best Fairy Books (Facebook) Think Like a Child – Write Like an Adult (Facebook Group)

Information about my editing services can be found on my website: https://www.bestfairybooks.com/bobbie-hinman-editor-consultant.html

Where can we find your books?
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, my website, many libraries and gift shops and the trunk of my car.

Thank you, Bobbie, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!