Meet Author Kerryn Ponterart – Superhero of Another Kind!

I first met Kerryn through a Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Facebook group when she posted a very simple yet effectively inspiration picture of her three little ones and writing about her accomplishments. I immediately knew I wanted to ask her how she does it and share it with you, my lovely readers.

Thankfully she was able to find the time to answer a few questions for us which I invite you to enjoy:

1) The mother of three boys, plus a writer and illustrator – first things first – I am in awe! Any tips on how you balance being you while still being a mom?

Thank you! Being a mom is and always will be my first priority, if that was all I was doing, I would be just as happy. Over time I have learnt to work quickly, I make use of every half an hour I can find. If I need me time, I will use that time to eat chocolate and watch youtube, and if I feel inspired, I will get a bit of writing in. I feel I have a pretty good balance… it works for me anyway.

2) Was being an author always your dream or was that inspired by your family?

I always had this idea in the back of my mind that one day I would like to write a book for my kids. So one day when they were both napping, I began writing my first book. Initially it was just a little home made book with rough pen drawings. Soon after that, my friend said she had sent in her book submission to the publishers, so I decided to do the same. To my surprise, Penguin Random House decided to publish my book. I think my books work because they are inspired by my children and the things they can relate to.

3) What advice would you give to one of your sons if they wanted to follow in your footsteps?

As long as they know there isn’t much money in it and they aren’t going to bum off me forever- I’d say go for it 😉

4) If not a writer, illustrator or a busy mom, what would you love to do?

I would love to travel more with my husband. or be a full time artist.

5) As a woman who wears many hats metaphorically, do you like to wear actual hats?

I don’t even own a hat. My two year old however, is obsessed with wearing hats.

6) After a hectic day how do you unwind?

Haha everyday feels like a hectic day! My husband and I unwind together once the kids are in bed at 6pm. On very hectic days we collapse on the couch together, watching series. .

7) Your main character in your books is an owl – is that your favourite animal/ bird and why?

When I was a very young child my grandparents rescued a barn owl. I named it ‘owl’ and considered it one of my first pets. My grandparents always had a lot of respect for owls though, so I think that is where my love for owls comes from.

8) Anything else you’d like to tell new readers?

If I had to give one piece of advice it would be something my great gran once said to me “if you move your ass you can do anything.”

For more please visit her on Facebook and check out her books on Amazon!

Meet Children’s Author Shari Tharp

1) Congratulations on your success with your following thus far, Shari! Which social media avenue you do prefer to focus your efforts?
– Thank you!
– I probably use Facebook more than anything else. But I am really trying to use Twitter more.

2) Did you always want to write for children or did your son inspire you?
– My son definitely inspired me. I’ve always loved books and loved to read, but I never consciously decided that I would write a book. It came about quite by accident as I was telling my son a story one night. Each consecutive night the story grew, until the characters began talking. That’s when I said, “I better write this down!”

3) On Goodreads you mention your ideas come throughout the day when you see a drawing or picture that inspires you… has this always been your method or do you try to sit down and write a story from scratch?
– I do now sit down and write stories ‘from scratch’. I think about what children like – such as pirates and giants. And I also think about what skills children are learning to master in kindergarten, such as cutting paper, drawing people, writing their name, identifying and sorting colors and shapes, etc. Then I try to write books related to those things.

4) Your favourite fictional couple is Frog and Toad – what should new readers of this old series look forward to about their personalities and/or relationship the most?
– Frog and Toad is actually a series of books originally written and published in 1970. I read them in the 1st and 2nd grades. I thought they were funny and I enjoyed the relationship between Frog and Toad. They were best friends, but sometimes had ‘problems’ with each other that they needed to work through. They razzed each other a lot and I thought that was funny. Those books are still in print and I’ve recently seen them at my library. I love frogs, so I wrote some stories about a Granny Franny frog. They’re still works in progress.

5) Your Granny Franny series, be honest, is it based on someone you know?
– Ha! Sort of. I originally wrote the story based on this picture:

But, then, yes, I did loosely base it off my mother and just grandmothers in general!

6) What do you love most about writing for kids?
– I like to sneak in some adult humor. So that the adult reader and child are both entertained. 😉

7) Would you love it if your son becomes an author? Does he love writing now?
– Ha! After listening to me talk about books and stories for the past 3 to 4 years, he’s quite tired of it. He is now a teenager and while he enjoys writing, he doesn’t so much enjoy reading (or hearing about book stuff in general!). But when he was younger, he loved for me to read him stories at night.

8) Tell us about the best time you’ve had reading a book in public?
– I was at an elementary school getting ready to read my book, Gertrude and Toby’s Friday Adventure, to a 2nd grade class. I was telling the kids about Gertrude and Toby and how they like to sneak off the farm to go on adventures and a little boy raised his hand and asked, “Is this a movie?” I said, “Not yet.” The teacher laughed hysterically and I thought, Hey, it could happen! 😉

9) Besides yourself, who is your favourite children’s book author and/or book and why?
– Oh, that’s a hard question. Of course, I like Dr. Seuss books. All my favourite authors would be older ones, like Madeleine L’Engle. When I was in middle school, she and Judy Blume were two of my favourite authors. I don’t read as much nowadays, because I am busy writing. That’s one thing they don’t tell you: Once you start writing, you stop reading (as much). In other words, you lose one of your favourite passions, but in the process gain another.

10) Any advice for the parent of a hesitant writer and, the opposite, one who can’t stop writing?
– Keep writing and keep learning about the business of writing. And after you write your story, find a critique group. The best thing I did was join SCBWI [Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators]. Writing is like any other job. The longer you do it, the more you learn and the better you become. When I started writing, I thought that my love of books and reading was all I needed to know; I thought I was well equipped. But I really didn’t know anything. There are word counts and genres and … rejection. Then once your book is written, there’s marketing; how do you let people know your book exists?

Thanks for joining us today, Shari and much success for you going forward!

Sarah Butland

Meet D.H. Gibbs!

It has been a long time since I’ve posted and I wish I had a better reason than I do but I’m back at it and would love to introduce you to a fellow children’s book author – D.H. Gibbs. Let’s celebrate her newest book – Don’t Go Mango Picking – and show her a great welcome by sharing and commenting.

1) How do you prefer to write- pen to paper or computer?
I prefer to write on paper. Something about scrawling all my thoughts across that white sheet of paper helps my creativity. Also it helps to increase my word count as I am always in transit.

2) What do you find different about writing children’s books versus young adult?
The most difficult thing about writing for children is remembering that this is a younger audience. Their attention span is shorter so everything has to be simplified to hold their attention.

3) You share on your site that you are honing your graphic design skills – do you create your covers, too? And do you offer your services to other authors for their covers?
Yes I do create my covers as well as illustrate my children’s books. I have never offered my services to other authors because I’ve never been asked. I suppose if someone wanted me too we could work something out.

4) You’re an explorer- where is your favourite and where do you want to go and haven’t yet?
I don’t think I have a favorite just yet. There are so many place and countries I want to visit that I can’t keep track. But for sure I want to go to Italy and see the Sistine Chapel, France and of course Amsterdam.

5) Has your family always been supportive of your writing goals?
Yes they have been. They try to help me out in whatever way they can.

6) Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
I have the most cliché advise, but it’s cliché for a reason. Never give up. Keep trying and learning about your craft. Indie authors are the most welcoming group out there and they are a great support system for your writing. You can do it if you want to.

7) You’ve written poems for ages 0-3 in your book Danny the Firefly – tell us what inspired that book? Danny was inspired at a time when I was now venturing into officially publishing my books. Many of my friends were having children and read to them before bed. As I result I wanted something short and exciting they could use as a bonding moment with their children.

8) Who is your favourite author and what is your favourite book?
Harper Lee and To Kill A Mocking Bird

9) Do you remember the first book you cherished as a child?
The first book I cherished was given to me as a gift. It was a huge hard cover book, I could not hold it in my lap. I had to sit on the floor with it to read. I think it was either Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty was the story.

10) Tell us about your writing routine – what keeps you motivated and are you an early writer?
My routine is spotty at best. LOL. But I am an early writer, I try to squeeze in writing whenever and wherever I can. For me, writing motivation comes from reading and sometimes the stories themselves because I think by they stalk me. When I a story has me in its grip I can’t help but write it.

Kids Can Sing N Sweep!

Children everywhere have a tendency to sing during all activities. And they love to be stars, gaining the love and attention of their parents and loved ones.

Microphones are imagined from brooms, phones, spoons and kids dance around the room loving life and their own voices. This fun activity – the dancing and sweeping – starts a habit of being physically healthy and a great emotional well being.

I talk a lot about books and food here, both are staples in everyone’s well-being and so is physical activity and imaginative play. A New Brunswick resident created a product that celebrates both and called it Sweep N Sing and he needs your support.

Trent Washburn, the creator of this outstanding toy, wants to send you one of the first Sweep N Sing’s for your kids to enjoy. You can be a part of this by donating even just $1.00 today through his kickstarter program. I encourage you to do so today.

I can totally see Sammy cleaning up his house while having fun and singing his favourite song – what about you?

Thanks for reading,

Sarah Butland

Total Wellness Summit

There is so much information available to improve our health and a lot of is for free! Taking advantage of what people are offering is one way to shift your perspective and improve your total well-being.

The Total Wellness Summit put on through the Food Network is just one of them. I’m learning so much from their free videos and it puts me in the right frame of mind to open up to healthier ways of living.

So many people say it’s too expensive to eat or be healthy – gym memberships cost too much, vegetable prices are unreasonable and junk is just so cheap but at what cost? Long term wise, it’s easy to understand why more and more people are starting to invest in themselves and their family to improve their total outlook in life. FoodMatters, the website which hosts this summit, offers a lot of advice and information that will motivate you to make a healthier meal everyday of the week!

It’s easy to feel better and still be able to afford an occasional treat. I challenge you to research how to make your favourite meal even healthier today!

Thanks for reading and trying,

Sarah Butland