Illustrator Interview: Ben Sanders

Ben Sanders IllustratorPROFESSIONAL BIO:
I’m an Australian family man. I have a charming mid-twentieth century single car garage converted into a studio where I used to illustrate, stare blankly out of the window from my swivel chair and stroke my chin. But now I have a new studio in Bolivia, South America 
in the Spanish colonial city of Sucre, where I volunteer part-time while continue to illustrate for clients in Australia, USA and the UK. 
I’ve been an illustrator since 1987 but in that time I’ve completed secondary school, university and defected to the design and advertising industries from time to time.

1) How did you become an illustrator of children’s books or similar works? Did being in the advertising industry equip you to make this transition?
Yes my background in advertising and design was a big influence my return to illustration. I really enjoyed my time as an Art Director and Designer, and during that time I incorporated illustration into as many projects as I could. So it was inevitable that I would find a way back to full-time drawing. Having been on the ‘other side of the fence’, I knew what I needed to do to give freelance a good crack. I found out where to be found, and how to promote myself well enough to gain the work I wanted to do. I’m thankful that it worked out.

After establishing myself commercially, I had time to write children’s books and was fortunate enough to have a great agent who was able to connect me to publishers.

2) Describe your illustration style and creative process. What makes your illustrations unique and different?
The creative process for me is actually quite simple. If an idea enters the brain an attempt should always be made to scribble it down, no matter how bad I think the idea may be. After a while there should be quite a few badly drawn but reasonably good ideas on the page. I then need to recognise which idea will work best on the page, as well as deliver the story in the right ‘tone of voice’. I then work up a pencil sketches that will provide enough but not too much detail. 

Once the sketches have been given the thumbs up it’s time to apply colour. I recreate the drawing on my Mac in a vector format, and devise a simple, muted scheme. I then create a new file for each colour the same way a screen printer would build a new silkscreen for each ink. The separate colours are imported into Photoshop in individual layers and multiplied on top of each other. Often the intersecting of these layers will create new colours similar to letterpress. I then mess up the crispness of the vector shapes by erasing details and applying texture. 

If I’ve done a good job, we’re all satisfied. We exchange heart-warming emails about how we both enjoyed working with each other and vow to do it all again sometime soon.

3) When did you realise you could make a living from your talent?
Well, my dad was in the printing trade (and an excellent artist in his own right). One of his regular clients was a small local publishing outfit who needed a bunch of illustrations for a sheet of kids’ stickers. I was twelve years old, and in the late 1980’s child labour laws were easier to ignore than they are these days, so my dad encouraged me to submit a few drawings for consideration. 

During that summer I illustrated 32 stickers – things like elephants riding bicycles, walruses smoking pipes, apples with bites out of their bottoms – the usual stuff. Each summer holidays throughout secondary school I illustrated a new set of stickers. They were quite popular and the publisher found overseas markets for them, so it was nice to know my work was getting out there. It also meant that I didn’t need to get one of those summer jobs as a spotty-faced supermarket trolley-boy. So it was pretty early on that I got a taste of working as a professional illustrator.

It wasn’t until 2004, while working as an Art Director at an advertising agency that I made the decision to become a full-time illustrator. I was hiring illustrators for ad jobs and became a little jealous of their freelance-iness. I quit and started promoting myself as an illustrator.

4) Has technology changed your trade and the way you work?
Oh yes, technology has changed EVERYTHING. I couldn’t have imagined as a twelve year old watercolourist that I would be relying so heavily on technology for both communicating with clients as well as the execution of the illustrations themselves. These influences are obvious, but there is an even greater affect. Location. I live in Bolivia, South America now, volunteering, creating books, and illustrating for my commercial clients in Australia, the UK and the USA. None of these things would be possible for me without my computer, its applications and the reach of the internet all the way up the Andes Mountains. Ahhh … technology!

5) Who are your biggest influences in your artistic career and why?
My dad is the greatest influence. Our styles are completely different but nobody has influenced me more in this department. He was the one who got me my first freelance gig while I was still pre-teen.

My first full time job was at a place called Paul’s Signs. The owner Paul van Gaans is one of the most creative people I know. While we worked on signs in the mid-1990s we spurring each other on creatively. Paul taught me not to settle for less – to keep striving. That’s why we no longer make signs. Paul is now a hugely successful 3D Animator with a brilliant body of work.

In the recent past I worked collaboratively with a couple of other illustrators and friends in Ballarat. Both Travis Price and Sam Harmer have been influential in bringing me out of my creative shell.

6) When collaborating with an author or a client, how do you ensure you are able to translate their words into art and convey the message they are trying to portray?
On a weekly basis I’m reading stories and attempting to pick up on the right tone. That’s something that I’m used to now after illustrating for hundreds of magazine articles. For me it’s not so much interpreting the words or message, it’s more about what else I can contribute to the story. What can I add to the piece? Can I approach the subject in a different and complimentary way?

With picture storybooks, so far in my career I have only illustrated the books I have authored, so it’s a far easier process to understand where the writer is coming from. As I’m writing the books I’m often imagining the pages completely illustrated.

7) Tell us how you came about creating the Ben Sanders gift store and the products that you sell.
The Ben Sanders Shop on RedBubble is a fun side-project that has exceeded my expectations. I decided to utilise a bunch of out-of-use illustrations that I felt would work well as household and stationery items like cushions, journals, phone covers and even bed spreads.

8) What advice do you have for aspiring illustrators about being true to themselves and how to navigate the big bad world of publishing?
Well, the publishing world can seem big and bad at times, but I think that’s only a perception. There’s so much competition that you really need to have a unique voice in order to be heard, that’s the tough part.

When you have the opportunity to publish your work take as much advice as you are given by wiser and more experienced people in the industry. My books improved greatly during the development process, due to listening intently to editors and publishers. At the same time don’t be afraid to have your input and express your vision for the project. A good publisher will appreciate your enthusiasm, and take into consideration your ideas.

9) Please provide a short brief of each of the pictures you have submitted
Cover of I’ve an Uncle Ivan children’s picture book.

I've An Uncle Ivan by Ben Sanders

Cover of I Could Wear That Hat! children’s activity book.

I Could Wear That Hat by Ben Sanders

Buck gets his gut stuck in his truck, limited edition print of a character from I’ve an Uncle Ivan.

Buck Stuck Truck by Ben Sanders

Should you wish to know more about Ben, here are his pertinent details.

Website: Ben Sanders
Ben’s social media connections:


Press: TQS Magazine

TQS Magazine

Wishful Wedding is featured on TQS Magazine UK! According to TQS Magazine, “This new LGBT children’s book will melt your heart”.

The magazine writes “So she has created Wishful Wedding a picture book about marriage equality for same gender families. Told through the eyes of a small child from a same-sex family, the book is aimed for children 3-6 years, aiming to highlight diverse and multicultural family units through beautiful illustrations.”

In 2010, Editor Jamie McHale a blog to talk about his favourite LGBT films, then continued on to talk about TV and music. As the blog grew, he gained some wonderful contributors and evolved into the more general pop culture webzine that we see today.



I’ve Written My Book, Now What? Where To From Here?

Posted by Deb Hockenberry.
Deb Hockenberry is the children’s picture book author of Where Can We Have The Party? Deb always wanted to write for children since she was a child myself! Deb also blogs about her writing journey and what happens after you’ve written your masterpiece!


Milan Book Stall by Weldon Kennedy

YAY! I did it! My picture book is being just about ready to go to print. Okay, that’s great news for me but now what? I know I have to market and promote my book but exactly how do I do that?

I’ve found a few things out. First, it’s very important to have a web presence. Start a blog, a website, or both. If you want to do both, Weebly is a very good webhost. It’s a WYSIWYG website and that makes it very friendly for a non – techie person like myself. So is GoDaddy. There are also free ones out there like Blogger and WordPress. All of these are what-you-see-is-what-you-get sites.

Unfortunately, I’ve only found one book on how to market and promote a children’s book. That book is called: How To Promote Your Children’s Book: Tips, Tricks, and Secrets To A Best Seller.  This book is chock full of information. I can tell you from experience that you really should read this eBook with a pen and notebook next to you!

From this book I’ve found out a few things.

  1. Join social networking sites. Yep, let yourself be known. I don’t mean to constantly talk about your book. That’s spamming. Just socialize—that’s the key word in social networking. Then when you get your book cover or box of books, take a picture and share it on those sites. Now, you can talk about your book. But again, don’t talk about it every day. You might get a sale this way!
  2. Pull up a spreadsheet (or write this down) of your plan to market your book. Are you going to ask your online friends to review your book? That’s always fun. I’ve been involved in many blog-hops! Do you plan on going through a paid publicity site like World of Ink? Are you going to contact the Author’s Showcase to see when you can be on that internet radio show? How about where you can do book signings and book readings? You can put an ad in the newspaper announcing your book. You can also have you friends who review books interview you. Actually, this can be any friend you blogs. Write all this down so you don’t forget your plan.
  3. Google the subject of your book in your town. For instance, my book subject is a birthday party. Google “birthday party + your town. I was so surprised at the amount of links I received for this! I had no idea there was a place specifically for parties in this town. You can use you phone book to look these places up.
  4. Have a media kit (media release) prepared. I’m still working on mine since my picture book won’t be out for a few months but here’s what you need: On one sheet of paper you should scan a picture of the book, have a short bio of yourself, and a blurb of the book. Also on this page you should have the pertinent information about your book (ISBN number, number of pages, price, and the buy links). Don’t forget you contact information on that page! This includes your mailing information, website, and email address. On a separate page have your publicity picture.
  5. Read marketing blogs and books. They’re full of advice. True they aren’t specifically geared to children’s writing but to marketing in general. I’ve found an excellent marketing website called The Publicity Hound by Joan Stewart. Don’t forget to sign up for her free ezine. It’s full of advice!
  6. Learn to make a video. Videos promote you and your book much better than plain text. I’ve found this out by using Facebook. It dawned on me one night when I was thinking about how to market my upcoming book, that I always stop at the videos on Facebook to watch them.

In your computer is a free movie maker. If you have Windows, you’ll have Movie Maker, for a Mac it’s called iMovie or iMovie Maker. Windows also has free music included with Movie Maker called All Free Music. The point is that you can make your own book trailer by yourself and for free. Book trailers raise interest in your book and that means more possible sales.

This is what I’ve learned so far with the most important being a web presence. You can advertise and even sell your book there. So, get one! Read those marketing books and form your own ideas. Join the many different social networking sites, get to know the people, and let them know you!

Author Interview: Michelle R. Eastman

The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale by Michelle R. Eastman


1) Please provide a short excerpt of what your children’s book is about.
The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale is a light-hearted story about a serious topic: Being Yourself.

The Legend of Dust Bunnies will open your eyes to a world of dirt and dust that you never knew could be so magical and fun! Did you know that Dust Fairies come into our homes at night and spread dust, drape spider webs, and even spit crumbs into the carpet? They do!  It’s true!  Well, not all fairies. Artie is different. He doesn’t like messes, and he doesn’t fit in. At first, Artie is lonely and unsure of what to do, but then he takes matters into his own hands. When given lemons you’re supposed to make lemonade, right? This story does one better, it turns DUST into DUST BUNNIES. The Legend of Dust Bunnies is the story about how and why a misfit Dust Fairy turns dust into cuddly dust bunnies and the joyful aftermath that follows. It will have families looking at dust bunnies in a new light, and may actually give kids an excuse NOT to clean their rooms.

2) What inspired you to write this book?
My story’s main character, Artie, was inspired by my eight-year old son’s habit of collecting things.  He notices and appreciates the beauty in items that most of us would cast off as trash.  Artie uses found items to create unique treasures and happily shares them with his fellow Dust Fairies.

3) Why did you pick this genre?
Rhyming picture books are my favorite books to read. My son and I make a trip to the library once a week to fill our bag. He is now 9, and I still read aloud to him each night. I have wanted to write a picture book for most of my adult life. Publishing this book has been an incredible experience.

4) How do the illustrations complement your book? What was important to you as an author?
The book’s illustrator, Kevin Richter, created the cover and the entire layout and design of the book. I connected with Kevin via Elance. He is an incredibly talented guy, and he’s a pleasure to work with. He is in the UK, and I am in Iowa. All of our communication has been via email. Despite the distance, it has been a wonderful collaborative partnership. Kevin “got” the story immediately. Not only did he bring my vision to life; he brought elements to the story I hadn’t even imagined. Kevin is an experienced comic book illustrator, and I think his experience with that genre gave the characters and scenes an action-packed quality that further enhanced the story.

5) As a child, what books and/or authors influenced you the most and why?
I grew up in a low-income household with teen-aged parents. Books were not a priority in our house.  I am pretty sure I was never read to as a baby or as a small child. When I started school, I began to develop a love for books. It was exciting when the book-mobile rolled into our neighborhood and I could climb on board and check out a few books. One of my favorite books was Charlotte’s Web. I won a copy of it as part of a RIF sponsored contest at school. I cherished that book. I also loved Beverly Cleary books and anything relating to history and biographies.

6) What is the most fulfilling thing about being an author?
Visiting schools and libraries and interacting with kids is the very best part of the whole author experience. I am also proud of a literacy initiative I started called Picture Book Pass it On.  I encourage people to collect/donate books to kids in need. This past March, I hosted a special drive called MARCHing Books to Kids. We collected over 300 books for children of incarcerated parents. Children’s authors from around the world donated signed copies of their books to the project.

7) What do you hope children will take away with them after reading your book?
The main character, Artie, has a hard time finding his place among the other Dust Fairies. He wants to be accepted, but he isn’t willing to change who he is to do that. Although there is a take-away message, I try to subtly weave it into the story. Kids are smart cookies-they take away what is meaningful to them and their life experiences.

8) Who is/are your favourite author/s as an adult and why?
I spend a lot of time reading children’s picture books. I enjoy reading them and I find them comforting and inspiring. I like to read short stories (especially sci-fi from the 50’s and 60’s). It is fascinating to see how many of the futuristic elements are now commonplace. I also like reading and re-reading poetry from Langston Hughes.

9) What are you working on now?
Kevin and I just released our newest book, Dust Fairy Tales: Absolutely Aggie. This book takes a light-hearted approach to the compelling desire kids have to fit-in. The story validates the need we feel for acceptance, while imparting a gentle take-away message of the joy that can come from embracing one’s individuality.

Here is the synopsis:
Fairies, music, and dust! Oh my! Aggie is a little Dust Fairy with a big problem. She wants to join the fairy band, but they do not approve of her offbeat style. Aggie is determined to impress them, but that turns out to be harder than she imagined. Just when she thinks she will never find a way to fit in, Aggie discovers it might be more fun to stand out.

Michelle R. Eastman

Should you wish to know more about Michelle R. Eastman and would like to purchase her book, here are all her pertinent details.

Website: Michelle R.Eastman
Where to purchase her book: Michelle R.Eastman, Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Michelle’s social media connections:

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A Brand New Day Review: by C.J. Anaya

A Brand New Day receives a 5 STAR review from author C.J. Anaya of The Healer Series. She began writing short stories for family and friends when she was thirteen years old. This soon morphed into an extensive project every year during Christmas as a way to create a fun and inexpensive Christmas gift. Her passion for reading and writing led her to following her own dreams of becoming a published author.

C.J. also contributes her book reviews every fortnight for the Skin Deep Exposures online magazine. SDE Magazine is a quarterly publication committed to meeting women where they are and then inspiring and uplifting them as they discover where they are meant to be. Please find the original posting here.

Here is her most generous review:
Hello to all of you voracious readers. Today I’ve highlighted a story that takes on a difficult aspect of life and helps to search out the positives for children and parents alike. A Brand New Day introduces the issue of divorce and addresses the outcome in a way that helps children transition into their new and sometimes overwhelming circumstances.

I adored this children’s book. From the delightful illustrations to the sweet, poignant message, I think the author has provided families with a special treasure we should all add to our children’s book collection. Divorce is a difficult matter to take on, and finding the positives in this situation is a refreshing approach. I think the poetic lines of the poem break down the different moments spent with separate parents in a happy, feel good way, and the message of this book encourages little ones going through such a difficult experience to remember that separate doesn’t equal unloved. It simply means they are being loved in two different homes with two different families.

I’ve never experienced a divorce myself, but other parents going through it have mentioned to me their worries and concerns about their children and the negative emotional consequences they must suffer. It’s for this reason that I decided to highlight this book on my blog and SDE magazine in the hopes that it will help those of you who are going through a divorce to find a comforting resource within the pages of this book.

The author used a beautiful poem that is easily understood by children while being intricate enough for adults to appreciate the innate beauty in the words themselves. This story is meant to help parents in their quest to ease their children into that transition from one household to two. I highly recommend this children’s book to all families everywhere.

Illustrator Interview: Keika Yamaguchi

Keika Yamaguchi

Keika Yamaguchi is a children’s book illustrator of Sick of Being Sick written by Justin Sullivan, and Puddle Pug written by Kim Norman. Her newly illustrated book that came out this June is What About Moose? written by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Rebecca Gomez. She is a graduated from Pasadena Art Center College of Design with honors. She studied Entertainment Arts, and work for clients including Walt Disney Imagineering and Walt Disney Publishing.

1) How did you become an illustrator of children’s books or similar works?
A friend of a friend, Justin Sullivan, was looking for an illustrator for the story he wrote. He owned a children’s app company, and at the time, there were only few companies that specialized in phone apps for children. I enjoyed the story that he came up with since it allowed me to illustrate variety of environments. While working on that book, I rediscovered my passion for children’s books. After self publishing that book, I was going to bookstores to see if people will be interested in having my book in their stores. I was then referred to checkout Society of Children’s Books for Writers and Illustrators. I went to one of the events and there, I was immersed into this industry.

2) Describe your illustration style and creative process. What makes your illustrations unique and different?
It’s hard for me to identify what exactly makes my work mine and how it appears different from other people’s artwork. I enjoy placing my focus on characters, the layout of the pages, and the amount of details I place in each page. Perhaps that makes my illustration distinct.

3) When did you realise you could make a living from your talent?
When I was in highschool I have done multiple art competitions and won few awards. That games be confidence that maybe I can get somewhere with this talent. A  teacher outside of my school made living out of doing art, so convinced me that it’s probably possible to make a living pursuing art.

4) Has technology changed your trade and the way you work?
Yes, technology has changed the way I work. It has added few short cuts for me compared to illustrating traditionally that been coming in handy when under tight deadline. Sending my artwork to clients became much easier when painting or drawing using photoshop. I do not have to scan my work and alter the colors in the scanned image to match what I have in my traditional artwork. I don’t have to go to the post office, wrap my work, then send my originals to my client in NY.

5) Who are your biggest influences in your artistic career and why?
At the moment, my biggest influences are my peers at my coworking place–Kleverdog. People there are either self employed, small business owners, trying their best to maintain their business. They’re full of passion and we share openly of what’s working for us what isn’t. Every time I talk to someone I feel inspired to work harder and keep going.

6) When collaborating with an author or a client, how do you ensure you are able to translate their words into art and convey the message they are trying to portray?
Usually, before getting hired to be the illustrator, the publishing company that I would be working for would ask to draw or paint the main character in the book. The feel of the book is usually determined at that stage. If there are details that they would like for me to depict in the book, there are usually artist notes included when they provide me with the final manuscript so I make sure I put in what they asked.

7) Tell us about the proudest piece of work you have done. Did you enjoy working on Puddle Pug and its subsequent book by the same publisher?
Each illustrations within those books had it’s own challenges that I had to solve. Knowing that I’ve done my best with all of them, I’m proud of all the pieces I‘ve illustrated. I enjoyed working on all of the books I’ve illustrated too!

8) What advice do you have for aspiring illustrators?
I always feel weird giving advice since I feel like I’m still learning…Perhaps “Don’t forget to have fun! And do it for you.”

9) Please provide a short brief of each of the pictures you have submitted
A spread of Sick of Being Sick by Justin Sullivan

Sick of Being Sick

A spread of Puddle Pug by Kim Norman

Puddle Pug

A spread of What About Moose by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Rebecca J. Gomez

What About Moose

Should you wish to know more about Keika, here are her pertinent details.

Website: Keika Yamaguchi
Keika’s social media connections:


Author Interview: Hazel Edwards

SLEUTH ASTRID; LOST VOICE OF THE GRAND FINAL BY HAZEL EDWARDS Sleuth Astrid - Lost Voice of The Grand Final by Hazel Edwards

1) Please provide a short excerpt of what your children’s book is about.
Sleuth Astrid, a hi-tech, mind-reading chook rides a Harley, plays e-games and finds lost things. Illustrated (with visual clues) by Jane Connory, this e-version of the original popular print book includes a new story The Lost Voice of the Grand Final.

In Book 1, The Mind Reading Chook, the Magician has lost his sense of humour. Astrid must find that before the 3pm show.

In Book 2, The Lost Voice of the Grand Final, Astrid has to find the Voice of the Coach in time for the Saturday Grand Final. Was the Voice captured in the TV ‘Footy’ studio? Lost down his throat? Was a Voice Coach any use? What about the Speakeasy? or the Voice-over on the TV Footy panel or on Talk-back? And then there’s the Bird Wedding of the Year. Carrot was supposed to be the MC (Master of Ceremonies) As usual, Sleuth Astrid the Mind-Reading Chook, solves the problem.

2) What inspired you to write this book?
When staying at Varuna, the writers’ retreat in the Blue Mountains, I was introduced to a ‘chook’ who used to belong to a stage magician. They said the chook could mind-read and was part of the magician’s act. I believe in observation, not mind reading,so thought the chook could become a very observant sleuth. So Astrid has unusual things to find, like a lost sense of humour.

3) What do you hope children will take away with them after reading your book?
That it’s ok to see things differently. Use your imagination.

4) With your picture books, how do you ensure the message of your book is conveyed succinctly through to the illustrations and how do you ensure it is a smooth and productive collaboration?
I choose an illustrator like Jane Connory, who has a quirky sense of humour. I don’t always have a ‘message’ but I like to encourage unusual problem-solving. Creativity depends upon putting together things which have not been in that combination before.

5) Tell us about some of your extra challenges you have experienced in pitching controversial subjects for junior books.
f2m;the boy within the YA novel about coming of age and transitioning gender from female to male has been the most controversial for the subject, not the way we wrote the book. Check out the Youtube clip which interviews us as co-authors. Ryan Kennedy, my co-author is an ftm. And a family friend.

Currently I’m writing a junior chapter series Hijabi Girl , with a Muslim children’s librarian Ozge. Our character is s feisty 8 year old girl who wears a hijab and starts an Aussie Rules girls team. Plus there’s Rastus Rastus the Reading rat, soccer-mad Zac and the new girl who cartoons everybody. Just a fun school-based  story.

Feymouse about a large and clumsy cat born into a family of highly talented mice is a different way of showing how to cope with being different. Now a picture book app on Itunes but previously a rock pop musical and a print book.

6) What is the most fulfilling thing about being an author?
That your book may go into the lives of readers and let them be a little more tolerant of others who are coping successfully with being different. PLUS be an enjoyable read.

7) Tell us about your adventure to Casey Station in the Antarctic and how that inspired you into writing your YA books.
As an expeditioner with the Australian Antarctic Division, I became beset in the polar ice when our ship got stuck en route to Casey Station. So lucky to be with some of the greatest experts on Antarctica who all wanted to talk to me and helped me plot the YA novel Antarctica’s Frozen Chosen and the other plays and books. We did get rescued after several weeks. Check out the ‘cool’ Antarctic stories here.

8) What are you working on now? 
My memoir ; Not Just a Piece of Cake: Being an Author

Should you wish to know more about Hazel Edwards and would like to purchase her book, here are all her pertinent details.

Website: Hazel Edwards
Where to purchase her book: Hazel Edwards and Port Campbell Press
Hazel’s social media connections:

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A Brand New Day Review: by Joss Rodillo

A Brand New Day receives a 5 STAR review from book review blogger, Joss Radillo of Chapter 5. Thank you Joss for your wonderful and insightful review!

Here is what she had to say:
“Aww this is such a cute bedtime or day time reading for little kids and for some oldies like me. I feel really touched with this short story. Love how this little girl embraced the fact that their parents were separated and instead of let that take over her. She enjoyed her time with her daddy, her mum and her little step brother and all the activities they do together. She feels so loved and cherished from both of them. I think this kind of stories are able to help kids during their parents split and make them embrace this situations and have fun with it.

My mom and dad were separate when I was little and really had a hard time dealing with it, more when my step dad came to my lives but at some point I felt blessed because now I have 2 Daddies. So I totally can relate to this book and feel a bond with it, which is excited and amazing totally a gain.

Overall, I’ll highly recommend A brand new day by A.S Chung and I’ll definitely will keep an eye on her. From the cover design, the catchy title ,the fast paced story and the beautiful illustrations in this book make it a must have on your kids shelf.”

Author Interview: Beth Ferry

STICK AND STONE BY BETH FERRY Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry

1) Please provide a short excerpt of what your children’s book is about.
Stick and Stone is a short, rhyming story about friendship.

2) What inspired you to write this book? Did it take you long to translate your idea into words and subsequently into a book?
A song by the band Train, called “Drops of Jupiter” was the inspiration behind Stick and Stone. There is a line in the song about friends sticking up for one another and that sparked the idea of a stick sticking up for a friend, namely, a stone. Friendship is a common theme in picture books, but an important one. I began writing the story in prose and wasn’t having much success. When I switched to rhyme, the story developed quickly.

3) Why did you pick this genre and how did you come to be a writer?
I chose to write picture books because of their beauty and importance to the youngest of readers. I also think picture books transcend age ranges and can speak to people of every age. I love the bond they offer parent and child. I’ve always loved to write, but I became a write in 2011 when I challenged myself to write a picture book that was under 200 words. That was the genesis for Stick and Stone.

4) How do the illustrations complement your book? What was important to you as an author?
Well, the illustrations of Stick and Stone are phenomenal!! Tom Lichtenheld created characters are that sweet and cuddly and utterly perfect – quite an achievement for a stick and a stone. His illustration process shows the extreme care and time he put into making the illustrations a perfect match for the text. I couldn’t be happier!

5) As a child, what books and/or authors influenced you the most and why?
The picture books I remember loving the most are Maurice Sendak’s Nutshell Library. As a child I adored miniatures and so this tiny set of books was right up my alley. I had every story memorized. I also loved Miriam Young’s Miss Suzy. I think the dollhouse aspect also appealed to my love of miniatures.  As I grew up, I read all the classics – Nancy Drew, Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables and A Wrinkle in Time.

6) What is the most fulfilling thing about being an author? Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring children’s authors?
Having a child tell me they love my book are some of the sweetest words I’ve heard. It floors me every time. Interacting with children at schools and bookstores is the most fulfilling aspect of being a children’s book author. The kids themselves are the best reward for being a picture book author. There are so many wonderful blogs that give advice to kidlit writers. My advice is to join SCBWI, and to check out,, and Also, to write, write and then write some more. Don’t give up. This business requires a supreme amount of patience.

7) What do you hope children will take away with them after reading your book? What do your children think of it?
I hope they will see how good friendships require a bit of effort and that friends help each other – it’s not a one-way street. I hope they also see that we all might act like Pinecone now and again, but it’s important to forgive those prickly characters in our lives. My children are all teenagers, but happily, they love the book. There’s nothing better than overhearing them tell their friends that their mom wrote a book.

8) What are you working on now? We wait with great anticipation!
My next book, Land Shark, is being released on August 4, 2015. As I’m waiting for that, I’m working on a few stories involving a scarecrow and an alligator, but not in the same story. Although that might be interesting . . . Thanks for asking!

Should you wish to know more about Beth Ferry and would like to purchase her book, here are all her pertinent details.

Website: Beth Ferry
Where to purchase her book: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indie Bound
Beth’s social media connections:


Winner! Readers’ Favorite Award!

Readers' Favourite Book AwardA Brand New Day, by self-published author A.S. Chung, has won a bronze award for the category of Children’s Concept books in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Award contest! A Brand New Day is a children’s picture book about divorce using loving words and beautiful  illustrations. We are absolutely thrilled as contestants range from first-time authors to New York Times bestsellers and celebrities!

Here is more about the Reader’s Favorite Award Contest:
Readers’ Favorite is the fastest growing book review and award contest site on the Internet. They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, and have received the Best Websites for Authors and Honoring Excellence awards from the Association of Independent Authors.

“We receive thousands of entries from all over the world. As a result of these large submission numbers we are able to break down our contest into 100+ genres, where each genre is judged separately, ensuring you only compete against books of your particular genre for a more fair and accurate competition. We receive submissions from independent authors, small publishers, and publishing giants like Random House, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, with contestants that range from the first-time, self-published author to New York Times bestsellers like J.A. Jance, James Rollins, and #1 best-selling author Daniel Silva, as well as celebrity authors like Jim Carrey (Bruce Almighty), Henry Winkler (Happy Days), and Eriq La Salle (E.R., Coming to America). “