Please welcome author Deb Hockenberry to Interview an Author Segment of Jemsbooks Blog. Thank you, Deb, for stopping by today to tell us about yourself and your books.
Please tell us a little about yourself and how you first became interested in writing?
I’ve always wanted to write for kids since I was in elementary school. Why? I really don’t know except that my mother would always read to my brothers, sisters, and myself. Also, both parents encouraged all of us to use our imaginations and to pursue our dreams.
I mentioned that I have brothers and sisters. Yes, I’m the oldest of six kids! I have a sister and brother who both wrote for adults. I wish they hadn’t given it up since they were good. Well…maybe they’ll take it up again. As for myself, it’s my life!
Of course, my life has taken a few detours before I settled into writing. For instance, I was going to go to California and be a singer for a while! Then there was the time my sisters and I were going to open up the flower shop. Things like that.
What inspires you to write?
What inspires me to write? Just about anything. My own childhood memories, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephew, the time of year. The list for inspiration goes on and on. Even my cat gives me inspiration.
I have a passion to bring disabilities to the forefront of children’s stories more. From what I’ve read, disabled children are there but that’s it. They’re just there. Books don’t really show children what they can do. I want to encourage these children. I guess having a disability myself has urged me to do this.
I also want to bring girls out into the forefront as the hero more. We all know that girls have done heroic things through the years but it really hasn’t been brought out that yes…girls can do it. Look at what Malala did in Pakistan!
Please share your book/books with us and a synopsis of one or more.
My debut picture book, Where Can We Have The Party?, is currently at 4RV Publishing. Since it’s not out yet, I don’t think I should talk about this one. But I do have another that I can talk about!
My other picture book is called Beepy’s Christmas Wish. It’s a cute Christmas story about a little taxi who wants to say Merry Christmas like everyone else. He tries to do this in several ways but can’t. In the end he learns that there are several ways to say Merry Christmas and that he has the whole time!
Since I like to give gifts at Christmas, I give everyone who asks for one, a copy of this book for free over my website. All you have to do is ask for a copy either by emailing me or through the ‘contact me’ section of my website and I’ll send it to you!
Which one is your favorite and why?
Which book is my favorite? That’s a tough one since both books were so much fun to write. I’d have to say Where Can We Have The Party? since it’s been running around in my head trying to get out for so long. Why? Another great question. Where Can We Have The Party has a little bit of mystery and it’s pure entertainment. I have only a small hint of a lesson in it. This is something else I’m passionate about. I believe there’s a lot of room for entertainment in picture books.
Where do you prefer to write? With music or without?
With, definitely with. It depends on what I’m working on at a given time whether I have music playing or not. If I’m proofreading or critiquing a story I don’t. If I’m writing my own story or reviewing a children’s story, then yes, I have the stereo or Pandora Radio on.
What do you like to do in your spare time, when you have it?
In my spare time I like to do several things. There’s knitting, crocheting, reading (of course), watching movies, listening to music, or just socializing.
What is your favorite genre? Do you write in multiple genres?
My favorite genre has to be children’s fiction. By that I mean fantasy, like talking animals or Beepy who wants to say Merry Christmas. There’s always room for children’s non-fiction but I keep returning to the fantasy picture book. I have tried writing for different ages but keep returning to picture books. Your imagination can take you to so many wonderful places where anything can happen. Yes, I’ve tried writing for different genres for different ages for children. These are my works – in – progress. I haven’t tried writing for adults yet but would like to try my hand at that. I’ve found that I’m more comfortable writing picture books.
What is your target audience?
I write for children ages four to eight.
Please share your latest project or next one?
I mentioned my works – in – progress before. I’m currently am working on a book for ages nine to thirteen. This will bring another disability out. I’m also working on a historical fiction for new adults. This story happened in Massachusetts during the War of 1812 that brings the heroic deeds of girls to the forefront. I’ve been working hand – in – hand with the historical society in researching the book. They’ve been more than helpful!
Can you give new writers/authors any advice?
I’m sure everyone says this but it’s true. Don’t give up! If writing is something your heart is leading you to…do it. I regret not starting sooner and caving to peer pressure.
Is there anything else you would share?
If there’s any children’s writing conference that you can get to go! The same goes for a general writing conference. There are a lot of online conferences you can attend too. The reason I mention these is that you will be rubbing elbows with publishers, editors, agents, and other writers. You’ll pick up so much valuable advice at these. You’ll also have the chance to network with other writers as well as to pitch your work to publishers. Every year, I attend The Muse Online Writer’s Conference where I can pick workshops that apply to children’s writing. This year I attended The Nerdy Chicks Rule Summer School. This was a blast!
Please share your links to purchase and social links to contact you.
Since my book isn’t published yet, I can’t give you any purchase links but I can give you my social links:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Deb-Hockenberry/234986433292961?ref=hl
Thank you, Deb, for sharing your books and road to publishing with us. It was a pleasure to have you on my blog. Please keep in touch and let us know how you are doing and when your book will be available.
Thank you readers for stopping by to learn more about another fascinating author.
REMEMBER: READING GIVES YOU WINGS TO FLY!