Thursday, January 31, 2019

Interview With Author/Teacher Dean Russell-Rands




Dean Russell-Rands is a teacher, a writer, and an advocate for the under-represented. He discovered his passion for performing arts at a young age and has taken this creative zest with him wherever he goes, whether it be teaching in an elementary school classroom, writing a picture book, or reading children's stories on his Youtube channel.

Dean lives in Essex with his husband and their cat named Shadow.

Now that I've introduced you to Dean let's get to know him a little better.





Hello, Dean, welcome to Lemon Drop Literary. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

What inspired you to be a writer?

I’ve always been a creative person and a bit of a dreamer, really. I guess some people would say I had an overactive imagination (and hopefully I still do). 

I started writing and performing at a young age–I had a poem published at age 9, a short story published at age 11, and then another poem at age 15.

Is writing your full-time profession?

It’s not my full-time occupation yet. I’m a teacher and I’m currently working as a supply teacher.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since I was young but I’ve taken it more seriously since completing my performing arts degree. I have a catalogue of stories saved and recently I put my hand to illustrating so I could self-publish.


Photo courtesy of: Dean Russell-Rands

How has teaching influenced your writing?

I had settled into a lovely school which I miss dearly but I realized that I was telling children to follow their dreams and I hadn’t fully chased my own.

Also, I told my last class I was getting married to a man, and they were so accepting but together we noticed that there aren’t many books that promote equality, diversity and inclusion.

I decided then I’d focus on my creative dreams and publish books that all children and families could relate to.


Photo courtesy of: Dean Russell-Rands

How many books have you written?

At the moment,  I’ve self-published one book ‘Love, Cuddled & Tickled Too!’. However, I have a catalogue of stories I continue to develop and tweak.

Can you tell us a little about your Youtube Channel Big Box Of Books?

I very quickly discovered that self-publishing requires a lot of effort and a lot of promotion. I turned to social media and my YouTube channel was born.

Big Box of Books is a tool I use to promote lesser known books including my own. There are so many great books out there that deserve to be read many times over.

What inspired you to start your Youtube Channel?

It was primarily my own struggle to promote my book but also seeing so many new children’s authors on Facebook pages and Instagram.

How can an author have their book read on your channel?

They can contact me via my Facebook page, Instagram or my website www.deanrussellrands.com.


Photo courtesy of: Dean Russell-Rands

Which genre do you write? 

I write children’s picture books.

What do you find most challenging writing for this genre?

I think it’s about keeping an open mind to the age range of books–it’s important to remember the age of your audience but with important topics like ‘equality’ you want to remain as accessible as possible so that the right message can be spread to lots of readers.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on a book that’s all about being different. It begins with everyone and everything looking the same but someone has an idea and it all starts to change…

Where do you find inspiration for your characters?

With my first book, it was a lot about the families I worked with. I had a multi-racial girl in my class and I included a multi-racial family in the story so she could feel included.

With this book, it’s mostly people on the street and clowns. I think my inspiration is usually what I see around me and parts of myself that I want to explore too.

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work? 

Recently, a girl at the school I’m currently working in told me she’d found my book. She said she really liked it and that it was a very important message for others to hear.

If I can make one child realize that love is love then I did my job.

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?

Just do it, take the plunge–once you put the effort into getting your work out there, more opportunities will come.

Is there anything else you'd like your readers/viewers to know about you?

I have two beliefs–everyone has the right to be happy and everyone has the right to be treated equally.


Photo courtesy of: Dean Russell-Rands

What message are you sharing in your books?

Hopefully, exactly what I’ve written for question 16. We’re all different but deserve to be treated the same.

What are your favorite books/authors?

I have soooo many. I love Rachel Bright and Tom Fletcher.

As for adult books, I love an emotional story–Cecelia Ahearn and Rowan Coleman are great for that.

What are your favorite movies, TV shows?

I’m a total Netflix fan–Grace and Frankie is fantastic. I’m also desperate to watch Homecoming because I LOVE Julia Roberts.

When you're not writing where can we find you?

If I’m not writing, I’m usually watching tv or a show. I love Wicked the musical. I also like travelling and this year I’ve got trips booked to New York and Disney World.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?

There are links to all of my social media on my website: http://www.deanrussellrands.com/

Where can we find your books?

 Search for me on Amazon.

I’m currently organizing book signings with a certain Highstreet store and I’ll post the details on my website as soon I have finalized the details.

Thank you, Dean, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!



Photo courtesy of: Dean Russell-Rands



Story Starter!

Pixabay

Who lives here?

My answer:


Who is asking such a silly question? I live here of course. Mr. Shirley Tims, Keeper and Composer of the Maps of the Great Realms, at your service.

A wonderful little spot isn't it? Don't you love how the the great roots keep groping forward? They grow about two feet every year. It's widely rumored in Fawnwood that my tree house has the best roots in the forest. They're perfect for storing my favorite ale and other valuables that I'd rather not mention.

How long have I lived here did you ask? Oh, about 200 years now. Wonderful neighborhood. Not much changes around here, except for the leaves on my roof.

I hate to dash off in the middle of our conversation. You seem like the perfect conversationalist but my dear nephew Simpson is on his way. He and his friends are off on a merry adventure to search for The Fountain of Fair Fortune. And I have the map he requires to get there.

Do drop by anytime. I adore company. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to find that map before he arrives.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Story Starter!

Pixabay


This would be the perfect setting for:

My answer: 

An elf prince returning home to his fatally ill father.


Story Starter!

Pixabay

Where does the stone path lead?

My answer:

A pretty cottage, speckled with golden sunlight, nestled among a copse of trees. It's a quiet place where a poet can collect his thoughts or a couple can share in a private rendezvous.

The Curious Lyle Lunarman

                      https://pixabay.com/en/boy-jeans-shirts-moon-balloon-1262989/



Lyle Lunarman was a curious child. He had a curious mind, read curious books, and played curious games. But, the most curious thing about him was how he came to sit upon the milky sliver of moon each night.

When passers floated by and asked him how he got there his answer was always the same. He'd shrug in that lackadaisical way only eight-year-old boys can then cast his long silvery line into the endless ocean of space.

"Search me," he'd say, "but it's the best spot in the whole galaxy to catch starfish."

Who do you think this boy is?

Friday, January 25, 2019

Interview With Author/Teacher Bobbie Hinman

Photo courtesy of: Bobbie Hinman

Bobbie Hinman loves many things about her life: the Florida sunshine where she lives, supporting other authors, her family and fairies. She loves the latter so much she‘s written five multi-award-winning books about them.

A former elementary school teacher, Bobbie uses her experiences to capture the heart and soul of a young child's unique voice and how this perspective translates into the world.

Now that I've introduced you to Bobbie let's get to know her a little better.




Hello, Bobbie, welcome to Lemon Drop Literary. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.


Thank you for having me.


Photo courtesy of: Bobbie Hinman


What inspired you to be a writer? 

I grew up in a generation when kids spent Saturdays at the library. There were just a few TV stations back then and reading was what we did for enjoyment.

I have known since then that there were stories in me waiting to be told.


Is writing your full-time profession? 

After writing most of my life, my full-time writing has gradually transitioned into full-time editing.

I still have a few stories left to tell, but it is even more fulfilling helping other writers see their dreams come true.


Photo courtesy of: Bobbie Hinman

How long have you been writing? 

My first books (7 cookbooks) were published in the early 1980s.

Having been an elementary teacher before that, I have taken a long, round-about route to writing children’s books.

I released my first fairy book in 2007. Wow! I just realized how long ago that was.


How has teaching influenced your writing? 

Teaching taught me how children think. I don’t think you can write effectively until you know what children are interested in reading, how they think and how they process information.

There’s a chapter in my book called Think Like a Child - Write Like an Adult where I offer insight into a child’s thinking process.


Photo courtesy of: Bobbie Hinman

How many books have you written? 

I have written 7 cookbooks that were traditionally published, 5 children’s picture books that I self-published and my recent book, How to Create a Successful Children’s Picture Book, also self-published.


Photo courtesy of: Bobbie Hinman

Have you won any awards? 

My children’s books have received 28 children’s book awards, including the Moonbeam Award for Best Picture Book Series for 2017.

My “how-to” book just received a silver Benjamin Franklin Book Award.

Holy Cow! Congratulations and Well Done!


Which genre do you write? 

I write mainly Children’s Picture Books.


What do you find most challenging writing for this genre? 

It’s very challenging to come up with ideas that will both appeal to the youngest readers and teach them something.

I always advise new authors to spend time with children in the age group they are targeting. Read your stories to them. Ask them what they like. Listen carefully to what they have to say. Their opinions are crystal clear.


What are you working on now? 

After cookbooks and children’s books, I’m now working on a ghost story. It’s the true story of a ghost that shared our house in the 1980s.

Wicked!



Where do you find inspiration for your characters? 

Mostly from my grandchildren. They have helped me keep my creativity at a high functioning level. They are so clever in ways that my generation was not.


Photo courtesy of: Bobbie Hinman

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work? 

My school visits, and I have done hundreds, are where the rewards are found. There is nothing like sitting in front of a group of children and watching their eyes light up as they lose themselves in a story.

Then there are the group hugs as I leave their classroom, often followed by the fairy drawings they often send me.

Photo courtesy of: Bobbie Hinman

What advice would you give to authors just starting out? 

First, know your target audience—who they are what they like.

Second, form a focus group of children in this age group and read your stories to them. LISTEN to what they have to say. Their opinions matter more than those of your best friend.

And please, please have your book professionally edited. Don’t do all the work and run the risk of producing an inferior product.

And one more thing: Read! I firmly believe that you can’t write if you don’t read.


Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about you? 

I have 13 grandchildren, the best hubby in the world and 2 kitties. Someday I hope to write a book featuring photos of “Twinkle” and “BooBoo.”


Photo courtesy of: Bobbie Hinman

What message are you sharing in your books? 

In How to Create a Children’s Picture Book, I share everything I have learned on my journey.

My message is twofold: If I can do it you can, too. And, if you are going to do it, do it right.

My goal in writing the book is to help others become successful.


What are your favorite books/authors? 

Dr Suess. He taught me to love reading at an early age; he also taught me to rhyme.


What are your favorite movies, TV shows? 

I’m not much of a TV watcher, but I love movies. My all-time favorite is When Harry Met Sally. 


When you're not writing where can we find you? 

Riding my bike while enjoying the Florida sunshine.


Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc? 

www.bestfairybooks.com, Bobbie Hinman( Facebook) Best Fairy Books (Facebook) Think Like a Child - Write Like an Adult (Facebook Group)
Information about my editing services can be found on my website: https://www.bestfairybooks.com/bobbie-hinman-editor-consultant.html



Where can we find your books? 


Amazon, Barnes & Noble, my website, many libraries and gift shops and the trunk of my car.


Thank you, Bobbie, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!




Photo courtesy of: Bobbie Hinman