Today, I’m starting an interview series on my blog—six weeks of award-winning authors of YA and children’s books! The interviewees have won awards in the 2017 Literary Classics Book Awards contest, and they’re invited to a medal ceremony in September. I’m honored to introduce them to you.
Our first award winner is Hayley Rose. Her children’s book, Fifo 50 States, won Gold in the Preschool/Early Reader Educational Book category.
Congratulations on your achievement! When did you first start writing?
Professionally, 2002 after I met a publisher in a restaurant…by accident.
What’s the target age group for your books?
I mainly write educational picture books for kids with a target age of 2-10 depending on the book/subject. My Fifo the Bear books read like reference books. Not only do they educate, but they are written with family time in mind. For instance, with this year’s Literary Classics winner, Fifo 50 States, it’s best to take a state or two at a time and talk about what makes that state great. You can also play a “find me” game with the state bird or the state flower with each state as well. With Fifo Musical Animals ABC, you can talk about what sounds the instrument makes or what other animals start with the letter A, or even where those animals can be found. The Fifo series of books aren’t necessarily books that you read straight through like a story.
What inspired your award-winning books?
I find inspiration everywhere, but mostly from love. I am also a big fan of anything educational. My love of travel inspired me to write Fifo 50 States, my love of music and animals inspired me to write Fifo Musical Animals ABC, and my next book The Ruffington Dog Show shares my love of dogs. Picture books just seemed to be the best fit, and I discovered I really enjoyed writing for children.
Describe one of your characters with a cliché or a famous quote.
Fifo the Bear: “Oh the things you can find, if you don’t stay behind!” —Dr. Seuss
Do you have plans to, or have you already, released audio editions of your books?
Currently there are no plans to release audio versions of my books, but I’m hoping to release Kindle versions within the next few weeks.
Who would you cast as the voice actor for your main character?
Benedict Cummberbatch. He’s quite the talent when it comes to voices, and he seems like a really nice guy.
How did you find your illustrator?
My current illustrator, the ever so talented Mark Sean Wilson, used to date my best friend’s sister. I brought him to my then publisher and I have been working with him ever since. Most publishers will pair you up with an illustrator. If you are going independent, there are many ways to find an illustrator. A good place to start is the Society of Children’s Book Writers and illustrators. (scbwi.org) Social media groups are another good resource, and of course, through other authors.
Who are some of your favorite YA and/or children’s book authors?
I love Shel Silverstein. I couldn’t put down, Where the Sidewalk Ends. I’m still talking about it forty years later. That’s always a sign of a good book. Of course, I’m a fan of Dr. Seuss. My next book, The Ruffington Dog Show, was influenced by Dr. Seuss and you can see that in the writing. I’m a big fan of J.K. Rowling as well.
Do you have any quirky writing habits?
Not that I’m aware of.
How do you balance writing with book promotion and everything else there is to do in life?
It’s a business and you have to treat it like a business. I set aside time each day to work on some aspect of marketing my book business. As for the writing part, once I feel inspired I stop what I’m doing and write. The whole book will usually spill out of my mind within a few minutes.
Do you have anything special you’d like to say to your readers or fellow award-winning authors?
First of all thank you! And for fellow authors, write for yourself first. Make sure you’re happy with it and then everything else is icing. It makes it much easier to sell when your heart is in it.
Hayley Rose is a #1 best-selling, award-winning author, dedicated to bringing fun, educational and inspiring books to kids through her brand Books by Hayley Rose.
To learn more about this author, read her full bio and browse her library of available books on Amazon.
In this delightful rhyming story, Fifo, a warm and lovable brown bear, is bitten by the travel bug. Fifo dreams of digging up diamonds in Arkansas, looking for fossils in Kansas, enjoying a delicious bowl of gumbo in Louisiana, and even seeing a Broadway show in New York. Yes, America is an exciting place!
Fifo’s second book is full of adventure. A colorful reference-like geography book, Fifo discovers the wonders each state has to offer. He learns along the way each state’s capital, shape, flag, motto, and much, much more. The possibilities are endless! So, come along with Fifo and you’ll soon discover the beauty of America one state to another. A positive experience for both Fifo and the reader. Learning should always be this much fun!
“As young readers travel along they learn the capitals, state flowers, mottos and other interesting facts unique to each state. Rhyme and repetition, and a fun sing-song sort of cadence make this book one that children will want to read again and again.” —Literary Classics Book Awards
This book is available on Amazon.