Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Interview with Debut Author LeeAnna Kail



Ever since LeeAnna Kail was little, she had an interest in writing. In fact, when she was in the fourth grade, she completed a career project and dressed as an author with dreams of writing her own book one day.

LeeAnna attended Duquesne University with a double major in political science and English with intentions of attending law school after graduation. While studying abroad in Rome, Italy, LeeAnna had a change of heart and decided to continue her education at Duquesne studying elementary education instead. She knew she found her niche the first day of class. Inspired by an assignment from a children’s literature course, LeeAnna's dream of writing a book has come true.


Thank you LeeAnna for being with us today. Can you share with us about your current book. Give a short summary. (You can follow this up with any points you hope readers will take away with them)
My book is about an owl that cannot “WHOO.” Instead he says, “WHEERE!” or “WHEEN!” or “WHYY!” and sometimes “WHAAT!” Because he is different, the other owls tease him. When his little sister gets lost in the forest, Ollie comes up with the idea to use his special words to find her. This story shows children that it is okay to be different and that you should love and embrace them.

Can you tell us about your publisher and how the process worked in being published?
Halo Publishing makes publishing a book an incredible experience. When I shared my story with others, they always said that they could see my story as a cartoon or as a real book. I decided to try to get it published, knowing in the back of my head that J.K. Rowling got denied 6 to 7 times with Harry Potter. I assumed I didn’t have a chance. However, Lisa Umina loved my story because of the morals within it. From there, I signed a contract, chose a wonderful illustrator, approved of the edits, and published a book within about 3 months.

How did you get the idea for this book? The book came from a Children’s Literature class I had in graduate school. The professor had us write and illustrate our very own children’s books as we analyzed other children’s authors. Well, I am a procrastinator by heart and do my best work under pressure. True to character, a week before the project was due I still didn’t have any idea what I wanted to write. During class, I started looking around and noticed a small owl. It’s almost as if this paper cut out was looking at me. As soon as I thought of it, the idea came to me, “Hm…what about an owl who can’t WHOO?” And I ran with it.

What is a typical writing day like for you? Writing is a stress reliever for me. It helps me gather my thoughts and plan what I want and need.  I like to see it on paper. A typical writing day for me is jotting random thoughts down to later be worked on. 

What do you enjoy most about writing? In undergrad, English with a focus on writing was one of my majors. I find that writing is able to capture a person’s thoughts, emotions, and dreams. Just like a photograph captures a certain moment. One of my favorite things about writing is rereading pieces I have written in the past, such as an old diary, my travel log from when I studied abroad in Italy, or a poem imitating Frank O’Hara from a class in college. Some of the stuff I have written surprises me and reminds me how blessed I am to have had the experiences in my life.

What is the most difficult part of writing? Getting started. Having the discipline to take the time out of a busy day.

How has publishing a book changed your life? It has made me realize that you really can accomplish a dream, no matter how far-fetched, out of this world it really is. In fourth grade, I dressed as an author for Career Day. I remember the exact outfit I had on, a brown suede button up shirt with a matching long skirt. It was hideous. I had no idea what author’s wore. But I did it. And I couldn’t be more proud of myself for having to “accidentally” achieving a life goal.

What are your plans now? I plan to write a series of children’s book following Ollie and Pip as detective characters. Again, finding the discipline to sit down and write it has been difficult for me as I am starting a career and very busy during the school year. I plan to do so during my stay-at-home mom years! J

What is your best tip for aspiring authors? If an original idea comes to you, go with it. You never know where it can take you.

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?
http://www.halopublishing.com/bookstore/LeeAnna-Kail/the-owl-who-couldnt-whoo 

“Join Ollie on his adventure in searching for his sister and learning the significance of being different.”

About the Book:
Ollie is known for one thing in his village: he is the only owl who cannot “WHOO.” The other owls tease him for saying “WHEERE!” or “WHEEN!” or “WHYY!” and sometimes “WHAAT!” All Ollie wants is to fit in, but when his little sister gets lost in the woods, Ollie discovers he can help.

While providing insightful perspectives on diversity, The OWL Who Couldn’t WHOO offers educators, libraries, parents and young readers a fresh new look on anti-bullying and self-confidence.

Title of Book: The Owl Who Couldn’t WHOO
Publisher: Halo Publishing, Int.
ISBN Number(s): 978-1-61244-129-0
Genre of Book: Children’s picture book
Publication Date: Feb. 2013

Places where available: Halopublishing.com, Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, by author

You can find out more about LeeAnna Kail, her debut children’s picture book and her World of Ink Author/Book Tour at http://tinyurl.com/n5bul86

Follow LeeAnna Kail at
Twitter: @LA_Kail

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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. SFC does not review any samples sent without a request for review to the Blog Editor, VS Grenier. SFC's staff members will not return unauthorized samples to the senders, but will donate them without review.