Interview with Author Kathy Brodsky
Who knew that in my mid-50s I’d discover something new about myself? That’s exactly what happened! My mother had a birthday party and I put a little poem in with the family invitation. I decided that writing was fun, and I’ve never looked back. You have to write what you know, so my first poems were about swimming and how bathing suits fade and get saggy. I got rave reviews from my swimming pool friends, and they kept encouraging me. I wrote poems for cards, refrigerator magnets, and mugs. All of my pool friends suggested that I write a book. So, being a psychotherapist and hearing everyone’s story for so many years, I had a wealth of information to draw from.
My first book, “Moments in Our Lives,” is a compilation of moments in everyone’s life —- 65 little vignettes of our universal experiences. I had no idea how to get published, so I took a course on self-publishing at our local adult education. The instructor told us our first night, “You have no idea where this can lead.” Boy, was she right!
After “Moments in Our Lives” (2004), I thought I was done, however, while walking one day with my dog I saw a crooked pine tree. I wrote “My Bent Tree” (2008) within the next week. Then I had to find an illustrator. I was taking Argentine tango lessons and my instructor informed me that he was an artist. I had no idea that Argentine tango would lead to books!
Once again, I thought I was done, however, a friend needed some letters mailed on a snowy February day. I told her I would mail them for her. She said, “They’ll be very happy.” She had no recollection of that, but I did, and four nights later at midnight”The Inside Story” (2009) was born.
Again, I thought I was done, but following a talk I gave at a women’s group, a woman who was a dog lover emailed me suggesting that I write a book about dogs. “Just Sniffing Around” (2010), stars a Dogue de Bordeaux but is really about all our dogs.
At another women’s group, after hearing “Just Sniffing Around,” a woman approached me and said, “If you write a book about dogs, you have to write one about cats.” For “Purrsnikitty,” to find my star and to raise awareness for animal shelters, I ran a cat contest. With the submission photos, people had to donate to animal shelters. We raised $678.00.
When I was looking for cat owners who might be interested in the contest, I approached two friends. I asked if they had cats and told them about the contest. One said, “My dog Annie could win a cat contest.” From that sentence, the book following “Purrsnikitty“, “The Winner Is…” came into being. It’s a very funny book about a large dog and a cat contest . In The Winner Is… , there’s a pig sitting in mud whose name is Stover. He also has another life that’s not evident in The Winner Is… Because Stover wanted to tell his own story, he got his own book. What do you think pigs do when they’re not home? Stover is a very fit pig with a secret life!
All of my picture books contain questions which promote further discussion for readers.
Kathy Brodsky Wins Two 2011 PREFERRED CHOICE AWARDS
2011 Creative Child Awards Program consisting of moms and educators awarded:
Stover – Book, a 2011 PREFERRED CHOICE AWARD (Health & Fitness Storybook category)
The Winner Is…. Book, a 2011 PREFERRED CHOICE AWARD (Books-Character Building category) http://www.kathybrodsky.com/index.htm
I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog
What is the last book you read? American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
What were your earliest memories of writing? Other than writing in school, and writing letters to people, I really didn’t write much. I started writing only 10 years ago. My mother had a birthday, and I wrote the invitation as a poem. I decided that writing was fun, and I haven’t looked back.
Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural? I feel lucky because writing in rhyming verse comes very naturally to me. The rhythm is important. Each of my books started as a poem. What I like about poetry is that it’s very succinct.
Are you working on a new book? Yes, my next book, due by Christmas is about a therapeutic riding horse, A Horse Named Special. To find the star of the book, (basis for the illustrator’s artwork), we had a horse contest. People sent donations to equine rescue shelters when they sent in their photos. We had similar contests for Purrsnikitty and The Winner is…
What inspired you to write Stover? When I wrote my first picture book, My Bent Tree, we had three main characters – a little girl with red hair, a bent tree and a red bird. For each subsequent book, these characters always appear in some fashion. Also, in each book, there may be some connections with other characters from a prior book. Stover first appeared in my book The Winner Is…which is about a dog who wants to win a cat contest. To achieve his goal, the dog has to learn to be “cat-like.” To learn how to groom himself, he watches Stover – a pig in the mud – who’s grooming himself. That was Stover’s first appearance. Also, we have a huge problem with obesity in this country. I thought that Stover would be a great role model for kids. He’s a pig who knows how to be fit and eat healthy foods.
How did you come up with each character? Each character in my books comes from either something someone has said to me or something I’ve seen.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? Not really, but there are some times when I just can’t think of a good way to say what I want in a rhyming way. Then I’ll put the poem aside and come back to it later.
What is the most difficult part of writing? I don’t think I really consider writing difficult. It’s marketing each book that’s the most labor intensive.
What do you do when you’re not writing or promoting your books? I’m a clinical social worker, so, I’m probably seeing clients. In my “down” time, I swim, work out at the gym, spend time with family and friends and walk my dog.
How do you react to a bad review? If the review is bad, I feel it’s usually because the writer didn’t really “get” what the message was in the story.
Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with? Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, John Irving, Moliere, Jody Picoult, Emily and Charlotte Bronte.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.? As a therapist, I obviously work with an appointment schedule. With writing, I don’t have a particular time to write. Once I start something, I usually finish it. In my books for adults – Moments in Our Lives – my poem “Little by Little” talks about getting things done by putting one foot in front of the other until the task is completed. That’s usually how I approach things.
What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read? This is very subjective. Obviously it depends upon the age of the child, the child’s interests and also what the parent has in mind when choosing the book.
What advice you would give to new writers? Just go out and do it! Also, belonging to a writers’ group is very helpful. Writing is pretty solitary, so having a group to bounce ideas off of, is important.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? Encourage your kids to read, read, read! Then when they’re older, they’ll have tons of images and stories in their heads. When they’re asked to write something, they can “reach inside” and pull out something from their imagination. That’s what happened to me. Writing is whatever you make it, and it’s yours. It can be so much fun!
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My name is Ella Johnson. I started Mymcbooks to promote reading. As a former teacher, I know that making basic education fundamentals interesting to children can be challenging. Education can be fun, exciting and captivating for children with the right learning tools. So my goal is to “make learning interesting and fun” for the children while they learn, by introducing them to fun books with colorful and captivating illustrations.
In 2009, I start the giveaway program giving away free school supplies at random to 2 winners each year. I also started a monthly free giveaways for books and gifts.
August 2010, I extended the free school supplies from 2 to 5 winners at random on my blog and also give away 20 bags full of school supplies to familes in need at Chick-fil-A in Brandon, Florida during their family nights. And in 2012, I beat my that number and gave away a lot of school supplies to needy families. Hopefully, I can continue to do this each year.
In 2011, I started writing reviews on children’s books then giving these books away free on Mymcbooks Blog. I increase the number of books we giveaway free to help support parent. My goal is to give away as many as I can each year. This is also a great way to introduce parents to new books.
Mymcbooks blog is always looking for other ways to give kids free books. So I started Mymcbooks Birthday Library http://mymcbooksbirthdaylibrary.wordpress.com/
My goal is to giveaway at least 300 books to children each year.
Books Given in 2011: 315
Books Given in 2012: 380
Books Given in 2013: 330
Books Given in 2014: 257
Books Given in 2015: – 127
Read Interview about Ella Johnson, http://melangeofcultures.wordpress.com/2011/07/31/interview-with-ella-johnson-founder-of-memorable-children-books-gifts/ Interviewer: Nicole Weaver
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