Blog Archives

In Some Faraway Magical Land

T C Bartlett Author Interview

The String follows an ordinary young boy who discovers an ordinary ball of string and uses it to go on adventures with his imagination. What was the inspiration for your story?

That’s a great question. I was reading my picture book, It’s Music Time, to a 1st-grade class at one of our local elementary schools where I live in Brown County, Indiana. I say reading, but it’s really a near-wordless picture book with 15 words at the beginning and 15 at the end. Anyway, as I flipped through the pages, one little boy in the class had a small hand-sized rubber ball he was playing with. The teacher quickly took it away from him, but I could tell by the look on his face that he was in some faraway magical land playing with his rubber ball and didn’t like it at all that he was brought back to reality by the teacher.

The very next weekend, I was thinking about that little boy’s expression, and I knew all he wanted to do was play in his imaginary world with his rubber ball. So I looked through the drawers in my kitchen cupboard, and the first thing I saw was an orange ball of nylon string. And it hit me all at once. At that very moment, I knew exactly what the little boy in my story would do with that string.

​The art in this book is fantastic. What was the process like to create the art while writing the story at the same time?

Sometimes I will do a drawing and become inspired to write a story because of that drawing. My young adult novel, The Good Witch of the South, was like that. When I first gazed upon the fairy that I used for the front cover of my novel, I knew she was the daughter of the Good Witch of the South and knew precisely what she would become in that story.

My String book was different. When I first saw the ball of string, I sat down and wrote the story while catching glimpses of illustrations in my head as I was writing.

Once I finished the manuscript, I started the illustrations. Once the drawings were completed, I did a small dummy of the book. From there, I changed some of the text and added a couple of new drawings. For example, in the original manuscript, the little boy didn’t use the string, or his sister, to pull a loose tooth. He didn’t have a loose tooth. But when I made my dummy, I needed to add more illustrations and decided to add a loose tooth to the text. And that made the illustration of the little boy brushing his teeth funnier. All in all, it took over a year to write, draw and put the book together.

What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

One of the best ways to discover what we will become when we are children is by using our imagination. Children love to pretend to be this or that. Mostly, I want children to know they can be extraordinary in every way. All they have to do is try. When children see the little boy in my book doing all the amazing things he can think of doing with his ball of string, it is my hope it will inspire children to take flight with their imagination.

Who knows what extraordinary things they might achieve?

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Oh yes, my next book . . . I am incredibly excited about my next book, which will come out in 2024. The title is, That Will Never Do. It’s taken me over a year to do the illustrations for this book, just like The String.

I have to say, though, That Will Never Do might actually be one of my favorites.

Author Links: Amazon | Website

How far does your imagination go?

And if your imagination used a string, what could you do with that string?

There is only one way to find out and that is to read this book, The String, and follow the adventures of one very imaginative little boy.

The Experience Of Love

Geraldine Moran Author Interview

The Moon Child tells the story of one adopted girl’s connection to her birth parents through the Moon and Sun. Why was this an important book for to you publish?

My daughter is adopted and this story was something that I used to tell her when she was little.

I think the personification of the moon and sun allows a child or parent that may have had the experience of separation from a parent to understand that they are never forgotten and always loved. The sun and the moon provide that tangible link as we all look at them from time to time.

The art in the book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Daniella Banco?

Dani is such a legend and beautiful person. She nailed the concept of the book in her first draft drawing which happens to be the cover.

She asked wonderful questions, got some photos of our family and made the book such a personal joy for my daughter, Bella. She captured the words and gave them life through her illustrations.

What scene in the book did you have the most fun creating?

I think capturing The Moon Child with her favorite things was the most fun. Morphing Bella’s favorite things into the image with the sand and her dog and her tutu. The joy of a child in their experience of love.

Dani and Bella met after the book had been published and they were like kindred spirits. It was beautiful.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your story?

My hope for readers is that they can share in the love that exists for children in adopted or foster families.

Most importantly allow a child to understand that no matter where in the world or what happens in their life, their birth parents never forget them or stop loving them. Just as their adoptive or foster parents provide love to them.

Author Links: Website | Amazon

This is the story of Bella, who was born in China and is growing up into a beautiful young woman in Australia with her adoptive parents, Geraldine and Geoff.

Author Geraldine Moran first wrote this story when Bella was a baby, and has continued to tell it to her over the years. Bella has always loved hearing her story. It has also been told to Bella’s friends, classmates and teachers, and resonated with them as the story of Bella’s special life.

Both Geraldine and Bella are delighted to now share her story with a wider audience.
The Moon Child celebrates the importance of adoption but never forgets the parents who still love their child, but cannot be an active part of their life.

It is also a story of belonging.

Literary Titan Gold Book Award Feb 2023

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and writing talent of these brilliant authors.

Award Recipients

Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information.

Literary Titan Silver Book Award February 2023

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and writing talent of these brilliant authors.

Award Recipients

Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information.

Children Are Always My Inspiration

Tamera Foley, Ph.D. Author Interview

Cassie’s Big Change: Going from the Living Room to the Classroom follows a young girl who is learning to write a story in her class and learning to express her feelingsWhat was the inspiration for your story?

The inspiration for the book was seeing children around the world missing the social interaction with peers in their classroom and school. I believe we need to allow children to express their feelings and continue to encourage them to use their voices. It was important for children to have hope that things could be back to normal with the support of teachers, family, and friends.

Many children also experience difficulty transitioning back to school. We know that many children had multiple mental health issues in the height of the pandemic and school provides a safe place. This is where they can get services and resources.

Children’s mental health and social-emotional health must be a priority for families, schools, and the nation. 

Children are always my inspiration to help make a difference in their lives and others.

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Gaurav Bhatnagar?

Gaurav and I worked well together, going back and forth. I gave him detailed instructions. We also met via Zoom when he needed help understanding. We are still working together on projects now.

What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

It was important that I told the story from Cassie’s perspective. It was also important that children were able to share their feelings and have adults who supported them. I wanted them to know that it was crucial, to be honest with themselves and others. It was my goal to incorporate social-emotional learning in every Cassie book.

What is the next book in Cassie’s Big Change Series you are working on, and when will it be available?

I am actually working on two books and don’t know which one will be published first. I probably will publish one later this year.

Author Links: Facebook | Website | Goodreads | Twitter

Cassie has been learning on a laptop at home due to COVID-19 but once again, things are changing. Vaccines are available and infection rates are declining, allowing schools to reopen. Going back into the school building means that Cassie, her family, and friends must readjust once more; while some things are the same, other things have permanently changed.

In this second installment of the Cassie’s Big Change series, Cassie and her crew transition from learning on the computer at home to once again sharing the educational experience in the classroom. Peek in on the first days back in the building, how COVID changed life for Cassie and her friends, and the tools their teachers give them to manage their thoughts and feelings during this big change.

An Unexpected Adventure

Christina Champion Author Interview

Noah’s Wild Birthday follows a boy who loves lizards and plans to show his mother that he’s responsible enough to care for a Leopard Gecko. What inspired you to turn your real-life story into a children’s book?  

For my children, having pets was a great way to bolster responsibility, encourage learning, and increase compassion for others. Just as Noah wrote his parents a letter in the book, my middle child used to write us persuasive letters explaining how much he wanted a pet and which pet would be best for him. But, having a pet is not without its mishaps, and we experienced a few in our family! My youngest child’s leopard gecko went on an unexpected adventure once that turned into a story in my head over the years. I hoped one day to share the excitement of meeting new animals and searching for a lost pet in a children’s book. I was inspired to put pen to paper once the idea of my middle son becoming the illustrator was discussed. 

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Danny Champion?

Collaboration with the illustrator for this project was very special since the illustrator is my middle child. Each of my three kids has their particular giftings, and it is my middle child who is the artist. He has a humorous way of viewing the world and showing expression in the characters he designs. Together, we set a goal of creating two books before he graduates from high school, and Noah’s Wild Birthday is the first. 

While I provided some illustrator notes in the manuscript, Danny took control of how the illustrations actually appeared. He was also in charge of the cover design and all formatting. This was a great opportunity for him to expand his skillset and for us to create something together before he moves into the next season in his life. 

What scene in the book did you have the most fun creating?

My personal favorite is each birthday party scene where the children are introduced to different animals. It was fun reminiscing through photos of the real birthday parties that Danny had when he was younger and choosing the animals that would be introduced in the book. There was a real moment when a red-eyed tree frog did in fact jump onto my daughter’s face, and I love how Danny portrayed Noah’s expression as the frog jumps toward him in the book. 

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m glad you asked! The next book is actually the real reason that we chose to create the two books together! In real life, the leopard gecko from the story belonged to my daughter. All I can say right now is that he went missing for quite some time. It was this event that has been in the back of my mind for over 6 years, and I’m thankful that we are finally able to share the story and hope that others enjoy it! My illustrator is busy working on the second book while also doing his best to finish his senior year strong. We are on track to have this book launched by May 2023.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

Have you ever wanted something but you weren’t old enough yet? Noah’s Wild Birthday will introduce you to a child who loves animals so much that he has had the same animal birthday party for three years in a row. Noah especially loves lizards and hopes to have his very own leopard gecko one day. You’re invited to join the fun at Noah’s birthday party and find out if Noah’s parents finally think he is ready for such a large responsibility.

This picture book (written for ages 4-8) is based on real experiences from the author’s children when they were younger. The book itself is illustrated by the author’s middle child during his senior year of high school.

She’s Still Here

Kate Sablowsky just moved to Iowa with her famous news anchor mom, Maria Silver. Following the move, Kate starts the seventh grade at Ravendale middle school, where she discovers more than just a cast of kooky teachers. She quickly finds out that she has a gift passed down that allows her to see and speak with the dead. With this skill, she meets Jane, a shy girl who loves chemistry but who died a tragic death in school over 20 years ago. Jane is not fully sure of why and how she died; is there possibly a killer on the loose? You can find out in the first installment of the Kate Sablowsky Paranormal Investigator Series, She’s Still Here by Caitlin Alexander!

This exciting book is a much-welcomed refresh to the middle-grade detective/horror genre. It has all of the simple but entertaining qualities of a classic Nancy Drew mixed with the spookiness of John Bellairs’ works.

Alexander’s writing is simplistic in language but has enough complexities in the plot to make the book appropriate for the targeted audience. As an adult reading this, I was still thoroughly entertained and engaged. Throughout the book, Alexander hints that the killer may still walk amongst the school halls, but all is not what it seems, and I appreciated that final twist to make the book less predictable.

Seeing as She’s Still Here is the first book in a series, I am hoping to see Kate’s character grow and evolve. I feel that Kate comes off as a bit shallow and unwilling to embrace small-town life at the start. The characters encounter typical teenage social situations and struggle to adjust and fit in with peers. Middle-grade readers will be able to relate and sympathize with the characters’ feelings as they navigate middle school. These themes are mixed into the storyline seamlessly next to the paranormal mystery and adventure components.

She’s Still Here by Caitlin Alexander is a gripping paranormal mystery and adventure novel for middle-grade readers that a wide age group can enjoy. I look forward to reading more books in this series.

Pages: 184 | ASIN : B0BHFDRYVW

Buy Now From Amazon

They Are Capable of Doing Anything

Kitty Arceneaux Author Interview

I Can Do What Mommy Can Do follows a young girl as she helps her mother around the house and has a lot of fun doing it. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

I wanted to show kids that they are capable of doing anything they set their minds to. Plus, most kids look up to their parents so I wanted to show how it can be fun learning things from the parents.

The art in the book is wonderful. What was the art collaboration like with illustrator W. Smiley Isaac?

Smiley is actually my daughter. I gave her the words and she created the characters and the backgrounds.

What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in this book?

Spending time together. Children being encouraged. Creating a desire for kids to be helpful.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I actually just released a coloring book for black and brown girls that includes positive affirmations. I haven’t come up with another concept for a children’s reading book just yet. But you never know.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

In this adorable book, Tess is a four year old girl who is ready to help her mom around the house. Her mom is delighted to help Tess learn new things. While imitating her mom all day, Tess has lots of fun and looks forward to doing more things with her mom.
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