Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m a children’s book author/illustrator, digital artist, and graphic designer who lives in Ohio with Mama Paws and our doggies. I wrote and drew my first comic book at about age nine featuring my dog, Woody and have been drawing dogs ever since. After a long day of writing about and drawing dogs, I love to snuggle up on the couch with my wife and watch movies with our doggies to unwind.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The Hole in the Fence. One morning after letting our dog Macy out, she would not come when I called. I went out to get her and discovered a hole in the fence between our yard and the neighbor’s yard. Thankfully, their yard is also fully fenced. I had to head over and ask to get into their yard to retrieve a very confused Macy.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I wouldn’t say I have any unusual writing habits. But since I am writing illustrated children’s picture books, I do storyboard out the books first as a rough guide to the images and story points. I don’t actually write the real words for the book until I’m actually placing the illustrations to make my first mockup. My wife is a fabulous editor, so once I have a decent enough version, I hand it off to her for review and then we collaborate to create the finished book.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I would say that for my children’s picture books, my fond memories of The Little Engine That Could and all those little Golden books inspire me to make something like that for the next generation.
What are you working on now?
I’m starting on book 5! My mentor has challenged me to release four books per year since I already have strong ideas for up to book 12. Might as well get them out into the world.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Be authentic. If you aren’t authentic and love what you are doing, then no website or book promo is going to help you. Personally, I like being on Amazon and Apple Books and I’ve had some success with Fussy Librarian and BookDoggy promos recently.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Ideas can marinate for a long time before coming to fruition. I’ve dreaming of illustrating children’s books since I was new to graphic design. I’ve had the basic notion of The Everyday Adventures of Papa & Paws for almost 5 years before I started my first book. But I’m glad it took as long as it did, I wasn’t ready then do to what I’m doing now. Be sure to have fun along the way too!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Especially if you are scared and/or tired.
What are you reading now?
Art & Fear by David Bayles & Ted Orland.
What’s next for you as a writer?
The Papa & Paws series is my main focus now, but I do have a YA book that I’m working on that I’m pretty fond of. And I have an idea of an art deco style series of illustrations that I would love to work on.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
The Night Circus, Tao de Ching, and a book of fairy tales.