By way of introduction, here is Donald Lloyd’s bio:
Donald Lloyd is a first-time children’s book author looking for a way to bring childhood lessons to light.
Originally from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and a professional Landscape Designer by trade, Donald has spent the last decade watching his kids learn these lessons.
His book, The Adventures of Monkey and Toad: Unlikely Friends, explores what it is like to make a new friend.Donald lives in Maryland with his family.
Hello, Donald, welcome to Angel Kiss Publications. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.
Thank you for having me.
When did the writing bug ensnare you?
The short answer is that I have been writing all my life. The slightly longer version is that it all began when I lost my job in January.
I was looking for a creative outlet and a way to occupy my time. My wife told me to write the book that I had in my head for the longest time. So that is what I did.
Is writing your full-time profession?
Absolutely! Since writing the book I have spent nearly 8 hours per day marketing, promoting, reviewing, and connecting with other authors and illustrators.
As you know it is not something you can go into lightly if you want to succeed.
Isn’t that the truth!
How long have you been writing?
As a professional author I have been writing for about a year. But as I said earlier, I have been writing all my life. Short stories, poems, really whatever moved me in the moment.
How many published books have you written?
I just have my debut book, The Adventures of Monkey and Toad: Two Remarkable Friends, but I have illustrated 2 others for authors which are available as well. I do plan on making Monkey and Toad’s adventures into a series.
Which genre do you write?
I am a children’s book author/illustrator. I prefer this genre because I am a light-hearted person who enjoys making kids smile with fun rhyming schemes and illustrations.
What do you find most challenging writing for this genre?
The most challenging part for me is the message for the story. Sometimes I start writing and it just flows. Other times I need to take a break for a few days and the message becomes clear.
What are you working on now?
I am working on illustrating books for 3 authors while simultaneously writing and illustrating book #2 for The Adventures of Monkey and Toad.
Where do you find inspiration for your characters?
All of my inspiration comes from my 2 boys (ages 12 and 7) and my wife. She is a former zookeeper with lots of stories and the boys are a never ending font of inspiration on life lessons, both good and bad.
What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?
That’s easy, getting to spend my days with my kids. Since this whole pandemic began I have spent more time with them than I could have ever hoped for in a lifetime.
It has been great watching them grow and to be able to share this experience with them and to see themselves as characters in a book has been wonderful.
What advice would you give to authors just starting out?
I have two pieces of advice:
1) If you want to know who your greatest competition is look in the mirror. So often we are afraid to take a chance on the unknown that we miss out. I was in that boat and believe me when I say that taking the leap was life altering and
2) The greatest enemy of creativity is self-doubt. There are so many creative people in the world that have beautiful talents. They doubt themselves because they are afraid, but I say to them let the world see you for who you are and you will never be disappointed. The people who are supposed to be in your lives and support you will find you!
Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?
This is a second career for me and one that I wish I had found or should say been brave enough to pursue when I was younger. Creativity should not be kept in but let loose on the world.
I am a huge supporter of the arts and cherish every artist I get the chance to meet. I think the world would be a much happier place if we all were a little more artistic!
What message are you sharing in your books?
My primary goal is to share multiple messages throughout the series. The debut book shows children that in a digital age where we are more likely to be friends on a screen that sometimes all you have to do is open up and give someone a chance.
You never know they may be the best friend you were looking for all along! There are so many things that our kids learn that I know I have taken for granted. So I try to observe and report, as it were, on the nuances of childhood.
What are your favorite books?
My favorite books are really any books that make me smile. I grew up loving The Berenstein Bears, Clifford, Charles Dickens, Sylvia Plath.
I have such diverse interests that it really does boil down to the fact of a book making me lose myself. Who doesn’t love getting lost in a book!
If you could create an author’s group with writers from any time period, who would you invite?
Wow, that is a tough question! I would have to say writer’s from the Renaissance. There is something about the rebirth that I find intriguing as if to say we were awakened to new possibilities.
Who has influenced your writing the most?
That’s easy, my kids. Everything I do is for them and to the end that I get to spend time with them every day!
When you’re not writing where can we find you?
I’m usually watching rugby or cricket. If not there then I am in the workshop working on my latest carpentry project.
And yet I’m at the computer working on illustrations too. Like I said I have diverse interests that allow me to be creative every day!
A movie producer wants to turn your book into a movie and you get to make a cameo. What would you do in the movie?
I would be the plucky zookeeper in the story. They have not made an appearance yet but…oops! I just gave away a character in the upcoming book!
And we were the first to know about it! How exciting!!
An elf named 12-25 approaches you. He’s sneezing, wheezing, coughing, and there’s a strange tattoo of a snoring dog on his cheek. What do you do?
I love this question!
Well if I already know his name then that’s not strange to me and I am sure I know the story behind the tattoo.
So, in this instance I would offer him some cough and cold relief or take him to the doctor’s office.
On the other hand, I may not know his name and simply have seen his name tag. I would probably then cover my face so as not to get sick too. And as far as the tattoo I would probably ask what the dog’s name is and if it was his only pet!
What are your most effective marketing strategies?
Honestly, it has been word of mouth advertising. My family has been fabulous at getting the word out and generating support for the book.
I have friends all over that have supported me through purchases, social media, and telling folks they meet.
Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?
I am currently working on a website so stay tuned for that in the coming months.
As for Facebook the link is: https://www.facebook.com/DonaldLl0yd.
I can also be followed on Instagram (@donaldlloyd_author) and Twitter (@DonaldLl0yd) and Amazon Author Central (https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B08DDB5TS5).
Where can we find your books?
Barnes and Noble https://bit.ly/32AARmG
Halo Publishing https://bit.ly/32BYRWr
Or you can order one directly through me by sending me a message on social media. Once the website is up and running customers will be able to order one through it as well.
Thank you, Donald, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!
Donald’s Featured Book
Ever wanted to make a new friend but were not sure how? Have you ever met someone and instantly knew that you would be friends?
The Adventures of Monkey and Toad: Two Remarkable Friends is a story about finding a friend, learning how to be a friend, and realizing that a true friend can be anyone from anywhere!