Tell me a little bit about I Chose You!
When five-year-old Sammy puts a cowering, crying puppy from the adoption tent into his reluctant Mom's arms, she loves it's sweetness. The experience leads Sammy and his Mom to have a conversation that links his adoption and the adoption of the puppy. Mom allows Sammy to adopt the puppy, but trouble erupts between the puppy, Bailey, and the family's pet bunny, Thumpster. Will Bailey and Thumpster ever get along? Sammy must learn how to help Bailey feel safe and accept love and comfort in his new home, as they love past their differences.
It sounds interesting! Having worked for an animal shelter for many years, I always love hearing stories of animals finding their forever homes. What inspired you to write this story?
I was taking a writing class at the time I started this story. The focus for that week's lesson was to write an attention-getting opening paragraph. Inspiration came as I wrote the first sentence about a family heading into a pet store for bunny food. The attention grabber was the pet adoption tent in the parking lot and a sad-looking puppy off by itself. That immediately led me to create a main character who was also adopted. It probably has something to do with seeing so many joyful adoption stories on Facebook.
Are you already thinking of your next story idea?
Yes, I'm already working on the next manuscript. I write and illustrate so my mind sees both parts. Even though I have over 40 stories written and waiting for me to illustrate, a new one popped in my head and is taking over.
I always think it is so special when an author is also the illustrator and love hearing about that process! What do you hope to achieve with I Chose You?
I hope to convey to my audience the importance of caring about others, even when they don't look or do things the same, but instead, loving past our differences.
That is a beautiful message. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
When I'm not working on books, I love painting Classical Realism oil portraits and seeing the joy a finished painting brings to my customers.
How wonderful! What has been your reader's reaction to the book?
My readers are touched by the love seen not only in the words but also the emotion from the illustrations. It seems to transport them to a happy, peaceful place.
Can you tell me a little bit about Nikki Adopts Abbey Dog?
Nikki is helping at her uncle’s weekly auction when a man drops off three puppies to be adopted. Nikki desperately wants to adopt the smallest of the basset hound puppies. After much anxiety, Nikki’s Uncle ensures she is able to adopt her puppy for a “sticky” quarter. Nikki names her puppy Abbey Dog and the two head home to start their many exciting adventures.
I love stories about animal companions! What inspired you to write this story?
I grew up with three brothers in a small town in Iowa. There was not much to do, so we would come up with fun adventures to fill our days. All the ideas for my stories come from things that happened during my childhood or during my children’s.
That's so wonderful that a part of you is in your book! Publishing isn't easy, was there a point when you wanted to give up on writing your book?
Initially, I thought the only way to publish a children’s book was to work with a publishing company. Therefore, I sent a submission to a publisher but was discouraged when I never heard back. I was not aware of the self-publishing option until I came across Bethany’s videos. This discovery opened my eyes to new possibilities, and I immediately signed up and got started. I studied the videos and used the In-Design practice lessons to prepare myself for my first attempt at self-publishing. After a few times back and forth with KDP, my first book was published.
I am so elated to hear that you were able to carve your path and continued to follow your dreams even after the initial setback. Is this book a part of a series? If so, tell me about your plans and any others that have come out!
My book series is “The Adventures of Nikki and Abbey Dog.”
The second book of the series has also been published, “Nikki Rescues Abbey Dog from the Dark Shadows.“ I have two more books written, edited, and awaiting illustrations. The third book is “Nikki and Abbey Dog Rescue a Bunny,” and the fourth is “Nikki, Abbey Dog and the Weird Blue Alien.”
Wow! You have your hands full! I am so excited to see your books continue to come out and narrate the story of Nikki and Abbey Dog!