Tell me a little bit about "The Grands Go - Oh No! The Great Smoky Mountains."
I am writing a travel series for grandparents and grandkids. The books feature a family of pygmy goats, Grandbuck, Grandnan, Billy, and Lilly grandkids, who take trips together and learn to see the silver lining when plans fall apart. The website for the book helps grandparents plan trips by providing suggestions for accommodations, restaurants, parks, activities, and playlists.
Awesome! What inspired you to write this story?
I was looking for a location-specific book for my granddaughter while on vacation. I couldn't find what I was looking for, so the next morning, I wrote "The Grands Go - Oh No! The Florida Panhandle." After a positive reaction from family and friends, I decided to see how far I could get with self-publishing.
Congrats on starting your self-publishing journey! What do you hope to achieve with your story?
I hope children will engage with the story, and grandparents will be proactive in taking their grandchildren to fun and memorable places. One of the saddest things about the pandemic was the loss of time with older family members. I think we all better appreciate time together now and will be more intentional about how we invest our time.
I agree. There is never too much time spend with loved ones. You mentioned this book was apart of a series, and have mentioned a few titles so far. Can you tell me about future plans and any others that are coming out soon?
The second book is "The Grands Go- Oh No! The Florida Panhandle" and the third is "The Grands Go - Oh No! The Grand Canyon. Book two is being illustrated now and I just finished writing the third. I hope to have them all available by Grandparents Day in September
What a wonderful day to celebrate! You've got your hands full! What has been the reader's reaction to the book so far?
I have been surprised at the reaction to the book since publishing on April 1. Most of the buyers so far are from this area (East Tennessee) and have the same memories I do of visiting the Smokies. I wrote the book for kids, but adults seem to like it just as much. My favorite thing is when I get a picture of a child holding the book or reading it.
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What inspired you to write your newest book, My Big Welcome?
On May 3, 2016, My family and I were one of the 90 thousand people that fled the Fort McMurray wildfires. As a result of the wildfire, we lost our house and were displaced from life as we knew it. It was quite overwhelming, especially for my older daughter, who was six years old at the time. We moved to the city of Edmonton and had to just start over. My daughter had to go to a new school, but she was so scared. She was so worried about being the new kid in school and thought people might not be so nice. That all changed the moment, we stepped into her new class. The kids were AMAZING! I must say I have never met kids as nice as that before. They were all over her, ready to be her friend. That show of love, that gesture of kindness, turned the fear in my daughter's heart into hope. That was what inspired My BIg Welcome.
That gives me full-body chills. I'm so happy that the children were so welcoming to her, such a nice contrast to the tragedy you and your family experienced. What are you hoping to achieve with My Big Welcome?
I hope to highlight the power and importance of kindness in our world. My hope is that children will be inspired and equipped to be kind. Kindness can be learned and taught. I believe kindness heals and does make the world a better place. What better way to teach kindness than to show an example of kindness, which is shown in My Big Welcome.
I agree. Your book is powerful! Are you already thinking of your next story idea?
Yes, I am! I have a few stories I am already working on.
Exciting! When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I have always written. I remember being a kid and always scribbling stories. I had a lot of lined notebooks filled with some of my stories. My no. 1 reader was my younger sister. I am so thankful for her! I believe this passion grew when I was about 13.
Wow, that is amazing! It would be fun to revisit some of those stories. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I like to play. I love playing lego or just playing pretend with my kids. We make up a story and pretend to be the characters. I enjoy making very silly character voices. I also love listening to music!
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