Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I am so happy to have Becky Van Vleet as my guest. Her award-winning children’s book sounds like such an adventure and how fun that they are all inspired by family stories! Read on to see how you can win a copy!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. I have been married to my college sweetheart for 45 years. I live in Colorado Springs and I’m enjoying retirement from my teacher/principal positions. After raising four daughters (yes, my husband survived hormone hill), we are now enjoying life as empty nesters. And certainly, the scampering around of eight grandchildren are an added blessing. When I’m not busy with the Grands, I enjoy writing, gardening, oil painting, and hiking and biking around in God’s great playground He designed in Colorado.
Tell us about your current release. Talitha, the Traveling Skirt was published in August 2019 by Elk Lake Publishing Inc. Geared for ages three to eight, this fun tale takes young readers through three generations of little girls who wear a plaid skirt and get their pictures taken on their second birthdays. But Talitha encounters problems when she least expects them. And Tippy, the dog, even creates some of the problems. Filled with colorful and detailed illustrations, I believe young children will delight in this heartwarming story about a little skirt’s adventures. This children’s book has won two awards: The Purple Dragonfly Award, 2nd place, and EIE Award, 1st place. And I’m excited that Harvey, the Traveling Harmonica will be coming out soon as a companion book. I have plans to write two more “traveling” books, all inspired by true family stories, ultimately making these books a series.
How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher (or agent or audience if you self- publish)? Admittedly, I struggle with this from time to time, so I have to work at pushing back the fear. When I write, I try to shoo peer pressure out the door. I read spectacular blogs and riveting books galore, but I won’t compare myself to other fabulous writers who have numerous published works. Un-huh, won’t go there!
What’s the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? I will never forget the headline of President John F Kennedy’s assassination. I was in the fourth grade in 1963, so I never would have thought to have saved the paper. But I sure wish I had a copy today. I remember feeling that our world was so horribly shaken as I heard my parents talk about this and our small black and white television was filled with this shocking news.
How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? I would have to say for me, it was the luck of the draw. I really did not know anything about the self-publishing and traditional paths and the differences. So, as I set out to publish my first children’s book, I got in touch with a free-lance editor for help. When all was said and done with editing and the proposal, she recommended Elk Lake Publishing, a small Christian press, to me. And it’s history from there. They are publishing my second book coming out soon.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers? I believe the most important advice I can offer, whether you are a teen or a retired senior, is to just start writing! I know this sounds like an overused cliché, but it’s so important. Write down your thoughts and ideas, start some files, take note of events in your life, and just write. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish. Don’t focus on publication—that can come later.
Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? (Book series, maybe?) My two favorite authors as a young child were Beverly Cleary and Carolyn Haywood. Cleary wrote the Henry Huggins and Ramon Quimby series and Haywood wrote the Betsy and Eddie books. I loved my third-grade teacher when she read these books aloud for our class every day after lunch! These series are classics now.
What is one thing that you “never saw yourself doing” and either do it now or have done? That’s an easy one. I thought I would never write a children’s book and have it published! But now my second one will be released soon and I’ve started my third. I’m also currently working on a YA book about my father’s service and adventures aboard the USS Denver in WW2. I’m enjoying this new path of writing immensely in my sixties!
Here is where you can find Becky online:
Becky is giving away one signed copy of children’s picture book, Talitha, the Traveling Skirt, along with coloring pictures, geared for ages 3-8 to a reader! See below how to enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway