Interview With Author/Illustrator Donald Lloyd

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.

Photo courtesy of Donald Lloyd via Facebook

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.

Photo courtesy of Donald Lloyd via Facebook

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!

Photo courtesy of Donald Lloyd via Facebook

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?

Amazon   https://amzn.to/2YI7A7D

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

Available on Amazon

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!

I’m A Messterpiece By Lauren Eresman

Available on Amazon

Have you ever heard a child say something negative about themselves, such as “I can’t do it!” “I’m not good at this!” or “I’m a mess!”?

Confidence is like a muscle that needs exercise throughout our lives. Helping children develop a supportive, resilient, and compassionate inner voice is a great place to start.

FOLLOW ALONG on a frustrating week that emphasizes how children can view mistakes as a part of learning and see themselves as a work in progress — a perfectly imperfect MESSterpiece!

GRAB a copy of this book for all the kids in your life that could use an extra BOOST of self-love.

About The Author

Lauren Eresman is one of those crazy over-committed moms that rarely says “NO.”

Following a journey to find herself and build boundaries, she recently fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming a children’s book author.

Her desire to encourage young girls to feel empowered in their own skin has ignited a fire.

Lauren is passionate about telling stories that encourage girls to shatter the glass slippers, choose their own footwear, AND pick the path their feet will take. Making mistakes, being imperfect, or stumbling while they chase their dream is perfectly fine too.

Giving up is the only thing that’s not allowed.

You can find Lauren online at www.laureneresman.com.

Lauren’s Books:
The Cherry on Top (2019)
The Treehouse Trio (2020)

Interview With Author Deborah Kalb

By way of introduction, here is Deborah Kalb’s bio.

Deborah Kalb is a freelance writer and editor. She spent about two decades working as a journalist in Washington, D.C., for news organizations including Gannett News Service, Congressional QuarterlyU.S. News & World Report, and The Hill, mostly covering Congress and politics.

Her book blog, Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb, which she started in 2012, features hundreds of interviews she has conducted with a wide variety of authors.

Hello, Deborah, 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?

I’ve always been interested in writing. I grew up in a family of writers and journalists, so I guess it was just something in the air. I remember writing a “novel” in third grade in a series of black-and-white notebooks.

Is writing your full-time profession?

At this point, more or less. I was a journalist for many years but have been focusing more lately on writing books, plus freelance writing and editing.

How long have you been writing?

Most of my life. But specifically, in terms of published books, for more than a decade now.

How many published books have you written?

I’ve written a nonfiction book for adults (with my father, Marvin Kalb)–Haunting Legacy: Vietnam and the American Presidency from Ford to Obama.

I’ve written three children’s books, George Washington and the Magic Hat, John Adams and the Magic Bobblehead, and Thomas Jefferson and the Return of the Magic Hat.

They’re a series of middle grade novels focusing on a group of fifth graders in Bethesda, Maryland, who go on time travel adventures and meet the early presidents. I’ve also edited/written some reference books about U.S. history and government.

Which genres do you write?

It’s eclectic nonfiction for adults and fiction for kids. Plus, I have some other manuscripts I’m working on that are fiction for adults.

What do you find most challenging writing for these genres?

In terms of the children’s books, probably getting the right balance between the historical time travel events and the everyday 21st century events happening in the kids’ lives.

What are you working on now?

I’ve handed in book four in the series, James Madison and the Magic Book, to my publisher and am working on book five, about James Monroe.

Where do you find inspiration for your characters?

It’s all a matter of combining bits and pieces of things I see, hear, and experience. Somehow the characters emerge. And for the historical characters, I do a lot of research to make sure the details are right.

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

Talking to kids in school groups or elsewhere about the books and answering their questions, which often make me look at things in a completely new way!

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?

Don’t give up! Keep trying. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you run into writer’s block.

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

I live in the Washington, D.C. area and I have a blog, Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb, where I interview a wide range of authors about their books.

What message are you sharing in your books?

The importance of understanding history.

What are your favorite books?

Some of my favorite kids’ books are the Half Magic Series by Edward Eager. I loved them as a kid. There are so many others. For adults, again, there are so many it’s hard to say. Some authors whose work I admire include Elinor Lipman, Nick Hornby, Stephen McCauley, and Tracy Chevalier.

If you could create an author’s group with writers from any time period, who would you invite?

I’d invite Jane Austen, definitely. Maybe Louisa May Alcott and E.L. Konigsburg.

Who has influenced your writing the most?

My family. My parents are both authors, and so are my uncle and aunt and sister and cousins.

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

Reading, taking walks, and—pre-pandemic—sometimes traveling.

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 probably play a 18th/19th century journalist covering the events I’m writing about in my children’s book series.

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?

Get six feet away from him and ask him why he’s not wearing his face mask.

What are your most effective marketing strategies?

Social media, word of mouth through friends, and family.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?

Yes! I have several websites, but the one that links to my other pages is www.deborahkalb.com.

You can find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/deborahkalbauthor/

Twitter at https://twitter.com/deborahkalb,

Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/deborahskalb/?hl=en.

Where can we find your books?

Amazon, Indiebound, Barnes and Noble, Bookshop, and (I hope) some local bookstores and libraries.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Jefferson-Return-Magic-President/dp/0764360191/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=deborah+kalb&qid=1597764263&sr=8-1

Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780764360190

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/thomas-jefferson-and-the-return-of-the-magic-hat-deborah-kalb/1136295992?ean=9780764360190

Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/books/thomas-jefferson-and-the-return-of-the-magic-hat/9780764360190

Schiffer Books: https://www.schifferbooks.com/thomas-jefferson-and-the-return-of-the-magic-hat-6908.html

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

Deborah Kalb’s Featured Book: Available September 28, 202o

For ages 8-12

After almost six months in Maryland, fifth-grader Oliver still misses his friends back in New Jersey. But things start to change one day, when his neighbor—and possible new friend—Sam lends Oliver a magic hat that takes him back to the 18th- and 19th-century world of Thomas Jefferson.

Oliver and his sisters—Cassie, the nice one, and Ruby, the annoying one—end up learning more about Jefferson than they’d expected. And Oliver finds that his new neighborhood might not be so terrible after all. 

Thomas Jefferson and the Return of the Magic Hat is the third in The President and Me series that began with George Washington and the Magic Hat and John Adams and the Magic Bobblehead.

This new adventure brings back previous characters Sam, Ava, J.P. (blink and you might miss them, though!), and of course the cantankerous talking hat itself.

Please Help Spread The Word

Hello Readers!

When I started The Kamyla Chung Series I drew on my experiences as a public school teacher. During my tenure I witnessed the difficult situations many children live in and the violent outbursts that brought into my classroom.

I hope that Kamyla Chung and the Classroom Bully will be a stimulus for heartfelt, meaningful conversations between parents and their children and teachers and their students.

To cure school violence, we must address the mental health of students and offer consistent and viable support to those who are struggling. Books that approach the subject gently are one tool educators and counselors can use to accomplish this.

Awards are a great way to earn the recognition required to spread a book’s message. Will you please help me get my message to those who need it by voting for Kamyla Chung and the Classroom Bully in The Author Academy Awards.

Click here to vote.

If you’re interested in a community that shares resources on bullying and mental health please join my Facebook group Kamyla Chung’s Bully Free Zone.

Click here to join. If we work together on solutions for our children, we’ll be one step closer to curing this social disease.

Thanks for your support.

Children’s Author Artie Bennett    

Yesterday I had the good fortune of meeting author Artie Bennett at River Reads, at Prallsville Mills, in Stockton, New Jersey. Mr. Bennett has written several books that will surely delight and educate children of all ages.

Through rhyming verse and lively illustrations, Bennett’s books address topics that children thoroughly enjoy laughing about. Some of his titles include The Butt Book and Poopendous!  


Bennett’s book would be perfect for an ‘All About Me’ theme or a body awareness lesson. Mr. Bennett enjoys visiting schools and libraries, and if his titles are any indication, his visit is sure to be filled with fun and endless giggles.

www.artiebennett.com

www.artiebennett.com