Interview with Author Scotti Cohn
Bio: Scotti Cohn is a freelance writer and editor living in Pendleton, South Carolina. Born and raised in Illinois, Scotti began writing stories and poetry in elementary school, winning a state-wide poetry contest as a teenager. Scotti’s short stories and poems have appeared in numerous magazines for young people. A member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Scotti is the author of eight nonfiction books published by The Globe Pequot Press, as well as two children’s picture books published by Sylvan Dell Publishing. Her third picture book, which is about animal mass migrations, will be published by Sylvan Dell in 2013. http://www.scotticohn.com/
Interview with Scotti Cohn author of the Mom’s Choice Award for Big Cat, Little Kitty and One Wolf Howls.
I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog.
Thank you for inviting me, Ella!
What is the last book you read?
I just finished reading Bones of Faerie, a young adult fantasy novel by Janni Lee Simner, first published in 2009.
What was your favorite children’s book?
My favorites were Eloise by Kay Thompson (illustrated by Hilary Knight, published in 1955) and Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers (illustrated by Mary Shepard, published in 1934).
What were your earliest memories of writing?
I started writing stories and poems around 4th grade.
Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?
A little of both. It was very natural for me to write stories and poems, plus I received a lot of encouragement from my parents and teachers.
Are you working on a new book?
Not at the moment. I have a young adult fantasy novel that needs revising, but I have not started anything new lately.
What inspired you to write Big Cat, Little Kitty and One Wolf Howls?
One Wolf Howls was inspired by a dream that prompted me to learn everything I could about wolves. The book came out of that. I wrote Big Cat, Little Kitty because I have always been fascinated by the similarities and differences between the big cats (lions, tigers, etc.) and domestic cats. I have had domestic cats as pets most of my life. At the moment, I have five of them.
Big Cat, Little Kitty received the Mom’s Choice Award, could you please explain this award and why it was important to receive it?
The Mom’s Choice Awards® recognizes authors, inventors, companies, parents and others for their efforts in creating quality, family-friendly media products and services. Entries are scored on a number of elements including production quality, design, educational value, entertainment value, originality, appeal and cost. The panel of judges includes Julie Aigner-Clark, creator of Baby Einstein, and Dr. Twila C. Liggett, founder of PBS’s Reading Rainbow. Parents, educators, librarians and retailers refer to this panel’s evaluations when looking for quality materials. It was a great honor to have Big Cat, Little Kitty receive a Mom’s Choice Gold Award for 2011 in the Children’s Books category.
What is the most difficult part of writing?
To me, the most difficult part of writing is turning an idea into a workable, publishable final product, whether it be a short story, novel, or poem. People often ask, “Where do you get your ideas?” as if that must be the difficult part. I am constantly coming up with ideas. The difficult part is turning them into something that “works.”
Do you write full time or do you still have a day job?
I am a freelance writer and editor, which means that I set my own schedule. I have to structure my time so that I can meet deadlines when necessary, and so that I have something to show at the end of the day for my investment of time and energy.
What do you do when you’re not writing or promoting your books?
I make jewelry, read, participate in a number of internet forums, and take care of my five cats. My husband and I also take trips to various parts of the country to visit family. http://jewelrybyscotti.blogspot.com/
How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
I can usually take a bad review in stride, although in one case, it really upset me because for a time, the bad review was the only review of a particular book posted on Amazon.com. I was relieved when a couple of other people posted positive reviews to offset that one. I experience writer’s block at some point in the process every time I write something. I find it helps to step away from the work mentally and focus on something else for awhile.
Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with?
Cornelia Funke, Neil Gaiman, Terry Prachett, and Susan Cooper.
What author inspires you the most and why?
I write in more than one genre, so I have been inspired by different types of authors. Now that I think about it, none of my published books were inspired by any particular author.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
I write every day, but I don’t really impose a schedule unless I have a deadline I need to meet.
What do you hope that readers will take away from your book?
With all of my picture books, I hope readers will take away an appreciation for animals and a desire to make the world a better place for both animals and people. I donate a percentage of my royalties from my picture books to animal charities.
What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read?
It seems to me that the most important thing is to read any book you are considering for your child. Read it all the way through, and decide if your child would learn from it, benefit from it, and enjoy it.
What advice you would give to new writers?
If you want to write, then write — but also be aware that if you want your book to be published and read by large numbers of people, you will need to network, market, and promote yourself and your book. Don’t be too quick to jump on the self-publishing bandwagon. There are advantages to having your book published by a traditional publisher, small or large.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Encourage your children to read by reading to them or with them. I am puzzled and dismayed when people tell me they aren’t going to purchase my picture books because their child or grandchild is “too young to read.” The time you spend reading to young children is something that both of you will always remember.
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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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