Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Children's author, Donna J. Shepherd visits Write What Inspires You!
DMc: You have quite the interesting professional background (not to say you aren't interesting personally, I know for a fact you are...since I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting you in person in St. Louis last Fall.) of writer, speaker, and singer. How do you balance all these talents so effectively?
DS: It was a pleasure meeting you, too! I have been singing for many (many!) years. I started in my teens when I traveled with a gospel quartet. Now I play the piano and sing in the church where my husband and I are pastors. The writing is a newer endeavor beginning with an article I submitted in 2003. I started writing for children in 2004. I found the 4-year old inside!
My first speaking engagements were for women's conferences and church services. After I began writing, I started speaking at meetings and conferences for writers. I founded a local group for writers and Greater Harvest Workshops for writers and speakers.
So, all three - writing, speaking, and singing, dovetail. When I speak, I usually ask if I may share a song first. It actually relaxes me to sing first.
DMc: You recently signed another book contract with Guardian Angel Publishing, congratulations! Please share with us the synopsis and what inspired you to pen your latest children's book.
DS: Thank you for the congrats. It's always a thrill to sign a contract. This latest picture book is about an ant that's the lead architect for her colony and decides to quit her job. The underlying theme is that each of us (even ants!) has unique talents and as we work together, we can accomplish great things.
DMc: For those visitors that are not familiar with your children's books, please share with us each title and one sentence describing each.
DS: I'm delighted to! Starting with the newest….
Where is Salami? - Beth's little brother has so many pets, he's lost track of a few! Children will delight in finding the animals in the vibrant illustrations by Jack Foster and discovering hidden pictures on every page.
Bradybug - In a book that's both fact-filled and fun, a ladybug compares the words used to describe male and female animals.
Sully's Topsy Tale - The final picture book in the Topsy Tales trilogy features a jazz loving, bebopping, singing snake suffering with laryngitis. What's an independent snake that only sings solos to do? Endorsed by licensed and certified speech-language pathologist Victoria Ryan, MS/CCC-SLP, Sully's Topsy Tale.
Poodle and Doodle - Angel, a twelve-pound prissy poodle, is none too happy when Leah brings home Scruffy, a seventy-five pound clumsy Labradoodle. Why ever would Leah want another pet when she had the perfect dog already?
Dotty's Topsy Tale - Dotty's Topsy Tale features Dotty, a pink hippo that doesn't quite fit in. With help from her best friend, Chizzy, she finds she can be happy with herself no matter what her color.
Chizzy's Topsy Tale - In Chizzy's Topsy Tale, whimsical rhymes speed Chizzy and Dotty into the jungle on a whirlwind search for tempting fruit.
No More Gunk! - In No More Gunk!, short, playful rhymes and Kevin Scott Collier's humorous illustrations help children learn in a fun way the importance of proper dental hygiene.
OUCH! Sunburn! - In Ouch! Sunburn!, snappy rhymes, along with the 15 colorful and fun illustrations by Kevin Scott Collier, help children see the need to protect their skin in the sun.
The Lonely Lightning Bug (eBook only) - A lovely little poetic easy reader of one boy's challenge- of keeping a lightning bug or letting it go. Proceeds from the sale of this eBook benefit StarShine Hospice of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
Topsy Turvy Land - Come visit a place of peace and whimsy where green monkeys and singing snakes live. Children will delight in the lyrical rhymes and vibrant illustrations while searching for the hidden hearts.
DMc: When you are on the "speaker circuit" what topics do you address? Where can our readers learn more about your speaking engagements?
DS: I've spoken at MOPS meetings, writers' conferences, and churches. I devoted a page on my website to speaking topics. You can find it here: http://donnajshepherd.com/Speaking.aspx
DMc: Not only are you a singer you provide voiceovers for various media. Please share with our readers your services in this arena.
DS: I set up a home studio and started by providing voiceover for book trailers. I'm now reading audio books. It has been an interesting and fun way to use my voice. I've posted a few samples on a blog:
DMc: Where can our readers learn more about the many facets of your professional life?
DS: I blog about my varied interests. Topsy Turvy Land is my main blog for children with puzzles, coloring pages, games, and updates about my books. Just go to http://www.topsyturvyland.com/. Scroll down to where it says, "I'm a Blogaholic" (lol!) and scroll.
I'd also love for you to check out my Facebook Fan Page. I update it the most with writing tips and fun tidbits about all kinds of things. It's at http://www.facebook.com/donnajshepherd .
Thanks so much for interviewing me, Donna! As you can see, I love to stay busy!
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.