Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I wanted to be a lot of things growing up. A writer was one of many professions I considered. I doubted myself though and kept that dream to myself.
When did you first start writing?
Very early in life actually. Every Friday my Mom would drop us off at my Grandparent’s home so she could go grocery shopping. My Grandma Terry encouraged us to use our imagination and do all sorts of crafts. I remember making books and creating plays that we would read or perform when Mom got back from the store.
Why did you choose to illustrate your books yourself?
It’s quite expensive to hire an illustrator unless you know someone and they are willing to cut you a break. Being that it was going to cost a couple thousand dollars we didn’t have I decided to attempt it myself.
Were you nervous about illustrating your own books?
Yes, I’ve never taken any art classes and didn’t pursue it because someone close to me told me more than once that my art was (insert inappropriate word here).
Thankfully my husband, as well as, my siblings and one of my cousins encouraged me to ignore that person and go for it. Do I think the books would sell better had I used a professional illustrator? You bet. However, it is fun to say, “I created every piece of this” with the exception of the font of course. That fun little font is my cousin’s handwriting.
Why did you choose to self-publish instead of going through a traditional publisher?
I chose to self-publish because with a traditional published they could make Rune look however they wanted. Instead of being an Aussie/Collie they could have made her a Labrador. I wanted Rune to look as much like the real life Rune as possible, but still slightly different in her own way too.
How did you feel when you published your first book?
Honestly, I was excited, but also terrified. I’ve always been self-conscious of anything I’ve done. A few days after publishing the first book though I received a phone call from my Grandma Viv. She told me how proud she was of me, how much she enjoyed the fact the book was interactive, that she was thrilled to see something written to encourage children to read, and how much she loved the book itself. That phone call meant everything to me and made me stop second guessing myself. I didn’t know it then, but that was the last time I’d ever hear her voice. She passed away a few days later. The Mysterious Case of Colby Rat will always be special to me because of her.
What’s one thing you find challenging about the Self-Publishing process?
There are two things actually.
The first one is trying to build a fan base. That is really hard to do alone. I feel like I’m constantly pestering my friends and family to share about the books and share my posts to get the word out. Word of mouth is so powerful and unfortunately many don’t understand that. Most Authors success comes from their support group. Our fan base is growing at a sloth speed, but I’m hopeful it will one day pick up.
The second thing is marketing. Marketing is extremely tough. Not only do you need to know your target audience, but you need to have the funds or the media connections to do so. You have to really put yourself out there. I have done a few ads here and there. I’ve also done a few book signings. I’m hoping to get into a few local vendor events and school book fairs too.
Is there anything in the Rune Myth pipeline you are excited for?
Yes, I’m working with a toy company to create Rune plushies. I knew my books would never be best sellers, but I also wanted to have Rune’s stories in as many kid’s hands as possible. I think the plushies will not only be cute, but they will also make kids want to know more about her.
Do you plan to make more Rune Myth books in the future?
Absolutely! It might be a while before I’m able too. With the baby on the way I know it’ll be a challenge to sit down to write and illustrate for a while, but yes, many more adventures with Rune will happen.
How does Rune feel about being the star of her own books?
Rune is a social butterfly. She thrives off of the attention although in the photos she never looks happy. That’s purely because she’d rather be visiting with her fans than sitting still for a photo. There is actually an inside joke about her being “joyless.” We even have “Team Joyless” shirts for when Rune and I go to competitions.