Monday, August 30, 2010
Interview with fairy author, Bobbie Hinman
Bobbie Hinman grew up in Baltimore and has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She is the author and co-author of seven successful cookbooks. Several years ago, Bobbie decided to re-invent her literary career. With her experience as an elementary teacher, along with the joys of reading to her ten grandchildren, Bobbie has turned her attention to the world of children’s literature.
Bobbie’s books have received numerous awards. She is currently in demand as a presenter at schools, libraries and book festivals.
VS: Bobbie, I want to thank you for being our guest here today. Now, you started writing back in the 80’s when your children were teenagers. Can you share with us how the writing industry has changed over the years?
Bobbie: In the 80’s, when I started writing, the only way to have a book published was to be accepted by one of the major publishing companies. Today there are many small, independent publishers to work with, so the chances of having a book published are much greater. There are also expanding possibilities for authors to enter into the world of self-publishing and produce their own books. One of the other major changes in the writing industry is in the area of promotion. It’s hard to believe that in the 80’s there was no internet. Today we can advertise our book to the entire world with just the click of a button.
VS: You are so right Bobbie. The internet has really helped open doors for authors and marketing their work. Now, I have a teenage son who just started fencing. I find it hard sometimes to fit everything into my day between running him to class, my personal writing, my writing jobs, and now doing a blog talk radio show. What did you do to help bring balance in your writing and family life?
Bobbie: It wasn’t always easy to juggle the needs of my family with my desire to write. I waited until they were teenagers before I started to take my writing seriously. When they were younger, I had to carefully schedule my writing time and then be flexible enough to realize that the needs of younger kids can’t always adhere to a schedule. I’ve always told them how lucky they were that I started by writing cookbooks. Most of my work took place in the kitchen, so I never got away with the excuse that I was too busy to cook.
VS: LOL. I’m sure my kids would love me to write cookbooks vs. children’s books. I’m very grateful my hubby cooks most of the time. Now Bobbie, you mentioned that you wrote seven cookbooks and your kids were your very serious, very critical recipe testers. Did you find including your kids in your writing helped them understand what you did as a writer?
Bobbie: From the beginning, I included my kids in the process. They became my first line of recipe testers and even earned a salary (albeit small) for their work. I actually had them prepare many of the recipes themselves so I could be sure of the ease of preparation. They were also a big help with the typing (Remember, no computers). Not only did this help them understand what I did as a writer; it made them appreciate how hard one has to work to reach a goal.
VS: I’m not sure I would trust my five year old with typing up my manuscript, but I know she loves helping me with my craft submissions. I do find when I do these types of submissions my kids are more understanding about my work. I think it is wonderful you did the same thing Bobbie with the cookbooks. With that in mind, would you consider yourself to be a born writer?
Bobbie: I was a born “wanna-be” writer. As a child, I was always writing stories and poems. I loved Dr. Seuss and perhaps it was his influence that inspired me to write my stories in rhyme. In college, I took a number of children’s literature courses. I always knew I would eventually be a writer.
VS: Wow, that is so great you had an idea what you wanted to be. You even went from writing cookbooks to writing children’s books. I’m sure those courses have paid off. Now would you say your ten grandchildren are the source of your inspiration for these books?
Bobbie: Oh yes, definitely! In fact, the idea for my first children’s book came to me while I was combing my granddaughter’s hair. I was trying to get through the knots and tangles, and the result was a lot of whining and tears on her part. So, I created a story to keep her from crying. Alas, The Knot Fairy was born.
VS: That is amazing. I would never have thought of a book just from combing my daughter’s long hair. I was wondering Bobbie if you could please share with us a little about each of your books. You had mentioned the premise of all your children’s books is, “Who better to blame it on than a fairy?” What a unique idea. I always tried to blame my invisible friend. Maybe I should have tired blaming a fairy.
Bobbie: The Knot Fairy is a mischievous little fairy dressed in pajamas and fuzzy slippers. She visits children while they sleep and is responsible for the knots and tangles in their hair when they awaken.
The Sock Fairy is a playful little boy fairy responsible for lost socks, mismatched socks and the occasional hole in the toe. (And you thought the dryer was the culprit!)
The Belly Button Fairy is a grandmotherly fairy who flies through the sky in her rocking chair. She visits babies in the hospital and gives each one a belly button, making sure it is exactly in the middle.
The Fart Fairy is a playful little boy fairy who travels with his pet skunk. He is responsible for the often-embarrassing sounds and odors that are a part of everyday life.
The premise of all of my books is, "Who better to blame it on than a fairy?"
VS: Bobbie, all your books sounds so fun and imaginative. I know they are my list to buy. Now all your books come with a CD as well. Can you share with us the idea behind the cd’s that accompany your books? I know your grandchildren are the accompanying chorus. What is it like working so closing with family on your projects?
Bobbie: I believe that children benefit from multi-sensory learning experiences. My CDs feature the story narrations, with a bell that rings when it is time to turn the page. (I am the narrator.) When early readers are able to follow along with the CD, they are very quickly able to read the books on their own. There is also a funny fairy song on each CD, sung by professional vocalists, with my grandchildren as the chorus.
Making the kids an integral part of the process has further solidified my bond with the kids. They are such an integral part of the process. As we were leaving the sound studio after recording the first CD, my 6-year old granddaughter looked up at me and asked, “Mommom, am I famous now?”
VS: Children are so cute. I hope you told her, “Yes.” Now Bobbie, your books have received 19 awards. What type of book promotions do you feel work best for you? Any special strategies you would like to share?
Bobbie: In order to spread the word about my books, I do many different types of promotions. I do presentations at schools, libraries and bookstores. I have also been a featured presenter at a number of large book festivals in different parts of the country. I have an interactive website and also take advantage of the amazing new world of Social Networking. My favorite venues are the ones that allow me to be in direct contact with people. I love the interaction, especially with the kids.
VS: That’s wonderful. I know a lot of authors don’t like to be the center of attention. I believe you have found the right platform/marketing strategy for you and your books. What do you enjoy most about writing?
Bobbie: The smiles on the little faces when children read my books.
VS: I agree. There is nothing like a child’s smile to make your world just a little bit better. They just have a way of lighting up everything around them. What would you say is the most difficult part of writing?
Bobbie: It’s always hard for me to know when to stop. I’m a bit of a perfectionist with my writing. I revise and revise and revise. Usually it’s my husband who finally steps in and says, “Enough already!”
VS: I use to be the same way. I finally learned to just throw it all up on my computer screen and then to let it sit before doing any revisions. Now your newest book, The Fart Fairy was just released; can you share a little about this new book for children?
Bobbie: Most children are fascinated with bodily functions. It’s often an embarrassment to mothers; however, kids are proud of the noises they can produce. Kids love the fact that the books about farts and poops seem to give them permission to use the forbidden words for at least a few minutes. Also, parents of reluctant readers have actually found that children are encouraged to read when they encounter books of gross-out humor. I would love to take all of the credit for this book; however, it was totally my husband’s idea.
VS: I hope you gave him credit in your dedication. My hubby is also very helpful with new ideas or even story plots. Now that your book is due to come out, do you have any other works in progress? Can you share a little about them?
Bobbie: We do have a few other works in progress, including one about a small but might “Super Fairy” and a friendly monster who is blamed for missing items. We are also working on a coloring book, converting our books to eBooks, and translating our books into Spanish.
VS: Sounds like you have some great things coming our way. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Bobbie: I am so thankful for my supportive family and I hope my adventures in the literary world have taught them to work hard, keep their goal in sight and never give up.
VS: I’m sure it has Bobbie and thank you for taking the time to share with my readers and me about being a writing fairy. You’re a very talented and unique author. It has been a real pleasure.
For more information about Bobbie, and to view video trailers of her books, please visit: www.bestfairybooks.com
ISBN numbers for Bobbie Hinman’s books:
The Knot Fairy - 9780978679101
The Sock Fairy - 9780978679118
The Belly Button Fairy - 9780978679132
The Fart Fairy – 9780978679149
*Stories for Children Publishing, LLC. (SFC) and its divisions do not receive any compensation for product reviews beyond a sample and/or limited access to a paid website. SFC donates all books sent for review to a charitable organization. SFC may do a contest or giveaway of samples we receive.