Today, I’m excited to share with you a wonderful author who is currently in production with the third book in her second series, having just finished wrapping up the fourth book in her first series (that was just too much fun NOT to say). You can find her at bookstore signings, classrooms, and reading festivals in her current home state of Ohio as well as neighboring states when she’s not busy writing. Please allow me to introduce to you award winning author, Aileen Stewart!
Q. Hi Aileen. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your books.
A. I live in Ohio with my very supportive husband, my beautiful daughter, and our three cats, Max, Daisy, and Fluffy, all of whom provide me with inspiration. I started writing in fourth grade when my teacher entered my class in a poetry contest. I won honorable mention and that was all it took for me to fall in love with writing. Of course it also helped that my father was a freelance author for hunting and fishing magazines in his spare time and encouraged my brother and me to read.
I always knew I wanted to be a writer, but it wasn’t until about 2008 that I decided to write stories for children. My daughter was very young and we were watching cartoons together when I began to notice that the ones we loved best were based on children’s books. One day I told my husband that I could write books good enough to be made into cartoons and he said, “Well, why don’t you.” And that, as they say, was the beginning.
When I sat down to write, I planned on writing a chapter book; but all my chapters ended up becoming short stories. I wasn’t sure if creating a collection of short stories was acceptable or not, but I figured someone would tell me if it wasn’t. Eventually, I ended up with twelve short stories all taking place in the fictional town of Fern Valley. The characters, who are farm animal children, and the events that take place, are loosely based on people and events in the town in which I grew up. The short story collection format seems to be working for me and many people have told me they make great bed time stories.
After a few years of working on my Fern Valley Series which includes Fern Valley, Return to Fern Valley, and Cooking In Fern Valley (stories and recipes), I started working on a picture book series. It is a series about two unlikely friends, a duckling and a kitten. The first book, Quack and Daisy, released last September and the sequel Quack and Daisy – Beyond the Meadow released this April. A third book, Quack and Daisy – Room for One More is currently in production and will release some time next year.
Q. That’s wonderful. Please tell us something about your greatest success.
A. My greatest success would have to be the time a grandmother called me to tell me about her granddaughter who had been a reluctant reader. The woman had brought her granddaughter to my very first book signing and at the time I was giving away small pins on buttons of my characters. The grandmother had purchased Fern Valley for her granddaughter and the girl had picked out the pin she wanted which happened to be Sammie Gruff, a young goat.The call occurred about a year later and she told me how her granddaughter had never finished a book before. But after she received mine, she kept reading because she wanted to see how many of the stories contained Sammie. When she was done reading the entire book, she took it to school along with her pin and shared it with her classmates. Everyone was eager to hear what she had to say which boosted her low self-esteem. By the time the woman was done telling me her story, I was practically in tears. To have touched another human being’s life in a positive way with my words seems to me to be a truly amazing thing.
Q. What has been your biggest challenge?
A. My biggest challenge as a published author is simply getting the word out about my books. It is really time consuming trying to find creative ways to promote without always shouting “buy my book”. It is also quite challenging to find people who are willing to leave reviews once they have read one of my books. I’d say only one out of every fifty people leaves a review.
Q. What are your plans for the future?
A. As I mentioned briefly before, I am in the production process for the third book in my Quack and Daisy series. This book, Quack and Daisy – Room for One More, introduces a new character, Daniel the rabbit, to the meadow. I also just finished writing the fourth book in the series entitled Quack, Daisy, and Daniel Save the Day. Other than that, I just keep writing. I am working on several projects from picture books to middle grade.
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Page Length: 24
Genre: Children’s Fiction – Ages 4-8
Quack the duckling and Daisy the kitten are best friends who spend most days playing in the meadow. One day Quack decides to tell Daisy a secret. She tells her of Mama Duck’s ominous warning to not go beyond the meadow. Will the two friends heed Mama’s words about the dangers beyond the meadow, or will their curiosity get the better of them?
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Thanks for reading!