#1- Tell us a little about yourself outside of your writing career…
My husband and I have been married for 30 years. We have two children; Nicholas who is 17 and is a senior at a charter school here in Fresno, and our daughter, Andrea, who is 10 and is a 5th grader on the varsity cheer team and into every club and sport she can sign up for! I am a certified scuba diver and dove the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. My family and I have been very fortunate to spend vacations all over the world. I work full time at a law firm and fundraise for various charitable organizations, as well as supporting my childrens’ schools.
#2- You write in the children’s genre, which is a tough market. What challenges have you faced, and do you have any plans to try your hand at writing outside of the children’s market?
Back in the mid-90s, I submitted my story, Nicky’s Nocturnal Octopus, to every publishing company I found that was taking submissions. Everything was done by snail mail and you could only make one submission at a time and you had to wait for a response before submitting to another company. After numerous rejection letters, most of them advising they weren’t accepting rhyming stories at that time, my ego was deflated and I put my dream on hold. It wasn’t until I started writing birthday poems, Christmas card poems, and other bits and pieces that friends praised and raved about, that I decided to venture back into the writing market. I soon discovered in today’s world, this is a whole new ballgame. With the invention of the Internet, there is so much free literature at your fingertips. If you seek it, you can find it! So, I researched for months, I e-mailed everyone I could find that had recently published a children’s book and asked them for advice, help, etc. I decided to self-publish, since this was my first go-round, to get a feel of this procedure. Finding the right publishing company was another daunting task and then when I narrowed it down to the one I wanted, I bravely sent them my story . . . and waited for their response. Miraculously, the next day, I received the e-mail advising they had accepted my story and we were in business. But it didn’t stop there. Then came the website (I learned and made my own), marketing and promoting of my book. I have been fortunate that I have a lot of friends and family that wanted a piece of my success and have purchased my first book. Schools have been very receptive as well and I am in the process of marketing to zoos and aquariums.
I also realized that you must have some sort of “gimmick” to help promote your book, or to ensure its success. Hence, the educational facts in my childrens’ books.
I am also venturing into the romance genre. I am currently working on the first of my romance novels, In Search Of. . .The Ultimate Reward.
#3- As you know, I reviewed your title Nicky’s Nocturnal Octopus for Bookpleasures and loved it. But how do you handle the negative reviews and critiques you receive?
Thanks again for the glowing review and praise!
Like everything in life, there are always trials, tribulations and disappointments, but it is how you deal with these situations that help you to grow and make you a better person. As a writer, I realize that rejection and negative reviews are part of the job description (even though this is not written anywhere.) I was (and am) prepared for the good, the bad and the ugly because not everyone is going to agree with your point of view and grasp the meaning of what it is you are trying to portray. I think positive and concentrate on the GOOD!
#4- I think most writers have something that inspired them as a child to want to pursue a career as an author. You have two children and a full time career. How do you balance writing and your life outside of it, and what inspires you to keep at it?
It wasn’t until a couple of years ago (when I turned 50) that I started thinking about this “new life.” I thought, well, I’ve reached a milestone in my life and now its time to do something for me, something I can leave my children when I’m gone from this earth. I have this rhyming story I wrote for my son many years ago, so why not do something with it. So I researched, I studied and I asked a lot of questions and I learned. When I got and held my first book in my hands, I told myself that this was just the beginning. I had done it, and there would be more to come! And so my journey as a writer began. Now, I’m addicted and I can’t stop! I have so many ideas constantly flowing through my head.
Every spare second I get, I try to write. I’m constantly jotting down notes, phrases, things that pop into my head, scrounging in the car or through my purse for something to write on. (I know you other authors can relate!) Alas, I have stocked up on post-it-notes and have them. . .everywhere!
I try to set aside a little time each night to compile those jumbled-up notes into some sort of comprehensible sentence. The weekends are when I really write, into the wee hours of the morning. Suffice it to say, I don’t get much sleep these days!
#5- You had an illustrator for your children’s book, Sandy DiLeo. How was it collaborating with her to complete the book?
My illustrator, Sandy DiLeo, is wonderful, no, she’s remarkable! Sandy is a multi-talented woman who is a musician, composer, music teacher, artist and now an illustrator. This was her first attempt at illustrating and she did a magnificent job at bringing my story to life, with her whimsical, water-color creations. I gave her the story, made some suggestions of what I thought some of the pictures should look like, and she came up with the ideas. When I saw the completed project, I couldn’t have been more pleased.
Sandy would be interested in pursuing other illustrating projects if other writers are in need of illustrations. You can see her work on my website: http://www.ginnymchristensen.com/sandy.htm, or you can contact her directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
#6- Are there any upcoming releases we would like to know about, and could you give us your web site so readers can check it out?
Sandy is currently working on the illustrations for my next children’s book Princess Andrea’s Birthday Surprise. It is scheduled to be released around the end of March or early April. This is the first in the Princess Andrea series. Like my Nicky’s Nocturnal Octopus book, it is also written in rhyming prose. In the second book, Princess Andrea will be traveling around the world and her first stop, of course, is Paris!
More information on me and my works, as well as information about Sandy, can be found on my website: www.ginnymchristensen.com
#7- This about concludes it. Thank you again for joining us. Is there anything else you would like to share?
First, thank you Kelly for the interview.
And yes, I would like to share that I also have in the works another adventure for young Nicky. This time he comes in contact with a parrot and a turtle!
In addition to my childrens’ books and series, I am nearing completion of the first of my romance novels, In Search Of. . .The Ultimate Reward. It will be followed by a sequel, In Search Of. . .New Beginnings, slated for release around the end of the year and the final book, In Search Of. . .The Truth, scheduled to be out in 2010.