Friday, February 3, 2012

Interview: Children's Author Kasey Kellem

February is bringing many new and exciting posts and today is another great interview with children's author, Kasey Kellem. Welcome Kasey.


1. Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became an author. Presently, I am a high school counselor and have been in education for 22 years. Prior to counseling I was a special education teacher. I have been intrigued by resiliency since I began teaching. I even went back to college for another degree beyond my masters to study resiliency in the form of school counseling. I wanted to further my studies at the doctorate level to learn HOW to teach kids resiliency, but ran into some contractual roadblocks at work. I was still determined to somehow teach kids how to be resilient, so I later came up with the book idea.




2. Tell us about your current book. Give a short summary, tell us about your publisher, and also how you got the idea for this book. “Believe” is the first of my five Mind Over Matter (M.O.M.) Books which are geared towards preschoolers to help them learn how to be resilient. The books help teach kids skills to be prepared with the right tools to face the challenges, adversity and obstacles that may become a part of their lives. The additional books include are: DREAM; LOVE; LAUGH; and RELAX. Each book shows, through whimsical illustrations and simple wording, how to be resilient . These books are designed to also be decorations in a child’s bedroom or playroom on book shelves, nightstands, or desks which will serve as constant resiliency reinforcement.

I had put a post on Facebook looking for a publisher and a former student set me up with his sister’s publishing company. Lisa Umino from Halo Publishing International loved my books and their purpose! She focuses on children’s books, Christian books and books that help others! My book could have fallen under all three of those categories. I am grateful for social media!

Throughout my home I have wooden decorations that say, “Believe,” “Relax,” “Laugh,” “Love,” and “Dream.” I felt that children should also be reminded of these resiliency skills in a more whimsical way. So, my niece, Jackie, and I originally brainstormed the ideas for each book about 5 years ago. I kind of let it go for a few years and revisited it this past year. It just took off and in a few short months I was going to print with “Believe!”

( Also See above for how I came up with the book)



3. What is a typical writing day like for you? I usually work on my book and marketing for an average of 4 hours a day after work. My husband and I are pretty much empty nesters with college age kids, so I gratefully have a lot of time. I am very good with balancing time after work. I make sure I work out each day, have down time with my husband and make time for my books each day.



4. What do you enjoy most about writing? It is very relaxing and allows me to use my brain and my creative side. Sometimes when I am at work, the paperwork stifles my thinking and creativity, so this is a nice outlet. Also, I feel like I am doing something good for others which is my purpose and mission in life!



5. What is the most difficult part of writing? Coming up with a specific number of ways to Believe, Love, Laugh, Relax & Dream was a bit challenging. My niece, Jackie was very helpful in brainstorming initially, but my team and I had to revisit a lot of the original ideas and revamp them. I also needed a catchy and meaningful name to describe the books and the company I created to sell these books. It took a few months to finally come up with MOM books. Mind Over Matter not only describes the purpose of these books, Resiliency, but also included my late mother (the acronym M.O.M.) who always encouraged me to write books!



6. Do you make school visits or do speaking/book signing engagements? If so, please describe a typical presentation. I have been to a day care and did a reading circle with a group of about fifteen 3-7 year old children. I had a webkinz caterpillar with me and each child had an opportunity to come up front, hold the caterpillar while finding the hidden caterpillar on each page. At the end, we formed a circle, passed around the believing caterpillar and told one thing we believed about ourselves. Each child was then given a sticker that said, “Believe!”

I have also done book signings at a church function and craft fair. I had the books and some framed illustrations displayed and signed books purchased from the various patrons. I hope to have many more book signing opportunities and am working on scheduling those now.



7. Is there any book that, when you read it, you thought, "I wish I had written that!"?

Yes, I wish I had created the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I wish I had come up with that idea and gathered successful stories from former students, friends and family because they all have great resiliency stories. I think those books really show people overcoming all sorts of challenges in life from simply being a teen or a mother to battling cancer. The stories are very inspiring and motivating which is my mission with my books: to inspire and motivate!



8. Do you have a website? If so, please give the URL. If not, where can readers go online to learn more about your book(s) and to order?

Halo International-Believe:

http://www.blogger.com/goog_2036848099

MOM Website

http://www.mindovermatterbooks.com/

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1612440398

MOM Blog:

http://mindovermatterbooks.blogspot.com/

Facebook Page:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mind-Over-Matter-Books/148030188625482

YouTube (Children’s Authors Show Interview):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_PPnSHXzzY

LinkedIn:

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kasey-kellem/1a/552/94

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/#!/kaseyc7

9. What are you working on right now?

We are doing the final editing pieces of the next book in the series, Love. As soon as I sell enough Believe books, I can go to print on this book. The additional 3 books, Laugh, Relax & Dream are also pretty much done and ready to go to print.



10. What is your best tip for aspiring authors?

Go for it! Don’t make excuses to not follow your dreams. Set aside a few hours a day to just write and make it fun. If you start to feel stressed during the writing process, walk away, do something fun and mindless and come back to the writing table when you are ready!



11. What advice would you give children and teens as they prepare for life? We all have to face obstacles and challenges in life. Don’t think you are the only one experiencing adversity. Don’t make a platter out of the sandwich you have been served, instead enjoy the dessert that comes with it. If you believe you will get through your issues, have people who love you, relax often, laugh and have a dream, you have the skills to get through anything!










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*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.