So tell us…
Do you still teach Kindergarten?
Yes! I love my students very much. It’s a joy to be an early childhood educator!
What’s an interesting fact about yourself?
A few years ago, I spent part of my summer tutoring a student in Australia. In Sydney, I climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge, which was an incredible experience. I can’t wait to return to the land down under!
We all have favorites…
And the Good News Is by Dana Perino, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, and 41: A Portrait of My Father by George W. Bush.
As for children’s books, Substitute Teacher Plans by Doug Johnson, Love You Forever by Robert Munsch, Snatchabook by Helen Docherty & Thomas Docherty, The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and THE BIG HUNGRY BEAR by Don and Audrey Wood, Waking Dragons by Jane Yolen, and All Through My Town by Jean Reidy, just to name a few.
“Leadership is not about popularity, it is about doing what is right.”
Former First Lady, Mrs. Laura Bush
Scuba diving, traveling, and photography
About Passing the Bone…
What makes “Passing the Bone: America’s Next POTUS” unique?
“Passing the Bone: America’s Next POTUS” is written for children about the office and responsibility of the president and presidential pup, from the first dog’s perspective. In a political year, children have a book that engages them in current events, captures them with humor, and teaches patriotic facts while they get an inside look at the White House pup.
Why did you want to write a book during the election season?
I wanted to write a book during the election season specifically for children. Any presidential election is historic and an educational opportunity! While the nation is consumed with campaign trails, election coverage, and political predictions, “Passing the Bone” includes children by engaging them at their level and appealing to their interests.
Is “Passing the Bone: America’s Next POTUS” only for children?
Readers of all ages can learn new facts from the book! A few excerpts in “Passing the Bone” were taken from true events. For example, Bo appeared as a guest on two popular talk shows, Jimmy Fallon and Ellen DeGeneres. Upon visiting the White House, British Prime Minister David Cameron graciously gifted Bo with a bone wrapped in red, white, and blue ribbon. Facts are hidden in the illustrations as well! You’ll find all five of America’s living presidents, along with former first dogs, inside the pages.
How can children get excited about the Presidential election?
The key to exciting children about a presidential election is teaching them they have an important role in our nation! Children are young, but they are capable of being good citizens. Their character, passions, interests, and the way they treat others matter. American children also have the privilege of being born in a free country, where one day they can vote and take part in electing a president! And of course, they can get excited about the new White House pup that will be moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Did you get to meet your illustrator?
Not yet, although we’re connected via social media. Usually, an author does not meet the illustrator or speak directly to the illustrator though the publishing process. The publishing company acts as the middleman. The illustrator creates the illustrations based off the text and his/her artistic interpretation. My illustrator, Jingo de la Rosa, did an amazing job bringing the text to life and personifying Bo’s character and wit.
Is Bo’s character in the book influenced by a dog you know?
Well, of course! My twin sister’s goldendoodle, Beau, is very humorous and has quite the personality. Beau was kicked out of obedience school as a puppy, swallowed a sock which put him in the animal ER, would give up on his exercise walks and have to be carried home, and even kept a secret stash of M&Ms, matches, nails, and socks under the couch. (How he got all those items remains a mystery!) Beau is extremely personable, playful, and loving. I think readers will enjoy his personality shown through the book.
Where can people buy your book?
My website! You can also purchase through Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and select bookstores. Passing the Bone will be available on eBook (Kindle, Nook, iBooks) on Flag Day, June 14, 2016.
Let’s talk writing…
Is writing easy for you?
Yes and no. It’s easy to write about your passions, but the writing process takes hard work and commitment. There were instances I cleared my schedule to write, yet I’d have writer’s block. Other times I was preoccupied, but felt the story coming to me. I’d interrupt what I was doing to write it down. I’ve also spent countless hours reviewing the text and making revisions. Through each of these experiences, I grew as a writer.
What was your earliest experience with writing?
I have a pen pal from London, England, whom I’ve kept in contact with for 21 years! My Mom registered my sisters and me for a pen-pal program in our local library. My twin and I were paired with twins from London. We started writing each other when we were seven years old. I couldn’t wait to check the mail in hopes of a new letter! As soon as it came, I would sit down at my kitchen table, read over every word, and then write my response. Writing letters to my pen pal developed a lifelong love for reading and writing! I still have most of the letters.
How did you get started as a writer?
I took a children’s literature class in college where I had to come up with ten short stories. From that assignment, I knew I wanted to publish one day. Then as a teacher, I paid attention to what children found engaging and intrinsically took notes. I started writing in my free time and once I had a completed manuscript, I began the process of seeking publishing.
What was the most surprising things you learned while writing your book?
I didn’t expect the amount of time I’d spend editing and revising the text! Revisions don’t always mean changing the story-line or a paragraph. Revisions can be changing two words, adding one, reformatting a sentence, etc. It’s the little changes which bring out the best of the text and create fluency for the reader.
How long does it take to complete a book?
Well, completing a book is relative to each author and book. “Passing the Bone: America’s Next POTUS” was written in twenty minutes; however, I spent one year making revisions. Revisions are tedious and can last months, if not longer. However, it’s the most important aspect of completing your writing!
Are you working on another book? If so, what is it about?
Yes! I have a completed picture book manuscript about President George W. Bush and his father, President George H. W. Bush. I spent two years writing it. It’s been a very special project and a story I believe should be told. Stay tuned…
When you begin writing a picture book, do you know what the ending will be?
Not always! I have a general outline of the story where I know the character, setting, plot, and solution. Through the writing process, ideas come to mind that can alter minor details or change the direction of the story. For example, I have a completed manuscript with a different ending from the original rough draft. As I wrote and rewrote, the original ending evolved into what it is now, becoming its own through the creative process.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
My Mom and Grandma would buy my sisters and me blank books when I was in elementary school, which I loved! I would sit in my room for hours, writing stories and illustrating the pages. My younger sister did the same, writing “novels”, which included a journal from spying on my twin and me. It’s hilarious! We still laugh when we go back and read it.
What other things did you write as a kid?
My sisters and I wrote a song in 5th grade called, “Spinning ‘Round the World.” It’s a classic about a young teenage girl who can’t wait to grow up, wear makeup and lipstick, and be on her own (insert hilarious laughter). We are still waiting for it to chart the Billboard Top 100.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My work space has to be quiet, clean, and distraction free. I can’t listen to music while I write and my house has to be spotless. I can’t concentrate otherwise! It makes me feel disorganized, which keeps me from being able to think creatively. I’m easily distracted, so I have to block out everything to focus.
Advice for other writers
Don’t give up! When I googled, “How to publish a children’s book,” most of what I read was negative, warning of the near impossibility to publish and break into the industry. And as I read, I worried my dream of publishing would be too difficult. However, I starting telling myself, “Someone has to write books. Why not me? Why sit on the sidelines?” I determined my dream was now a goal and my goal would become an accomplishment, no matter what. I’d write the story I’d want to read and despite any “no’s” or roadblocks to come, I wouldn’t give up. Now that I’m on the other side, I’m glad I didn’t let negative reviews scare me. There are numerous talented writers out there-share your story! Plenty of people are waiting to read it.’‘