Hello again! Sorry for the lack of posting lately. I picked up a summer job after we moved and my schedule has been out of control. I have also been dealing with the down side of summer with a neurological disorder. I am here tonight to bring you another author interview. This week we have Claressa Swensen. I got lucky enough to read her book Little Bear and His Chair and will be doing a book review here in the next few days. Until then, check her out and maybe grab a book or twelve on her link.
Little Books and Hobbies
Author interview with:
Little Bear and His Chair
Claressa Swensen is the author of multiple children’s picture books including “Little Bear and his chair”. When she’s not writing, she’s busy being a mom to her own little bookworm. Claressa resides in northern Utah.
Q: Where are you from?
A : Born and raised in northern Utah.
Q: How long have you been writing?
A: My first book was published two years ago (2016), although I’ve been writing for about 4 years.
Q: What were your goals prior to writing? How did you becoming an author happen?
A: I get this question a lot actually. I spent plenty of time working in the childcare industry when I was younger. I would make up stories to tell the kids I cared for, that was just something I liked to do for fun. Then I started using my stories to teach valuable lessons to the kids such as sharing, doing homework, eating veggies, etc. Family and friends told me I should write a book, so one day I picked up my laptop and started researching all things book related. I’ve learned so much in the last two years.
Q: What genre(s) do you write? Why?
A: Childrens fiction, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love working with kids. I have a child of my own and I feel like I can relate to other parents. And lastly, I’m a visual person, I love the way illustrations bring my stories to life.
Q: Did/do you self publish or traditionally publish? What was attractive about this option?
A: I have self published my books so far. While I do occasionally submit manuscripts to traditional publishers, I love the freedom self publishing has given me. I love having most of the control on how the book will turn out in the end. And it’s really fun being so involved in the illustrating process.
Q: Are you a full-time author?
A: My main job is to raise my daughter. While marketing my work may be considered a second full time job, it only brings in part time income while I work on building as an author.
Q: How many books have you published?
A: Four so far, and I hope for that number to keep growing.
Q: What is one thing you wish you had done differently during the process of publishing your first book?
A: There are so many things I would have done differently. But I guess a big one would be starting to market my book a few months before release. It was silly of me to think I wouldn’t need to market my book until after it was published. I fell way behind, and wasn’t able to give it a proper release when release day came. I think it really hurt the books potential exposure.
Q: Who are some of your favorite authors?
A: I read a lot of picture books with my daughter. We enjoy Eric Carle, Maurice Sendak and Mo Willems to name a few.
Q What book or books have influenced you as an author?
A: There’s not just one. Bookstores are my happy place. Particularly Barnes & Noble. Whenever I’m having writers block, I can almost always cure it by reading a few (or 20) books. Then I get all these ideas that pop into my head, and my writers block is cured!
Q: What is your writing process?
A: I write the same basic story three times, and each one goes in a different direction, changing the outcome. Then I choose my favorite story out of those three and start the editing process. After editing is complete, I find an illustrator (assuming I plan to self-publish) and when illustrations are finished, I format the book. This all might sound easy, but there is a lot that goes into it, and it typically takes me 6 months to a year to publish a book.
Q: Do you write each day?
A: I don’t write every day, because most days I’m working on a story I’ve already written. But rest assured, I put a little time aside to do something for my books every day. Whether that be editing, formatting, marketing or something else.
Q: How do you set your writing mood? Is there a routine you follow?
A: Not really, I can write almost anywhere with a little peace and quiet. And sometimes when I get writers block, I even enjoy the noise of a cafe to get things going in my head.
Q: Do you prefer paperback, hardcover, or eBooks? Why?
A: I always prefer a physical copy of a book. In fact, I rarely ever read eBooks. I much prefer a copy to hold in my hand, and I often get headaches when looking at a screen too long. I tend to buy hardcovers more than paperbacks, because my daughter likes to tug, and it gives me that little extra protection. As far as the books I purchase for my daughter, I always try to find a board edition so she can turn the pages herself.
Q: What will be your next book release?
A: As of now, Little Bear and His Chair is my next scheduled release. Although I’m working on a few manuscripts now, nothing has an official release date yet.
Q: What are some of your goals outside of writing?
A: I would like to get into public speaking. I’d start by speaking to children at schools about the writing process. I’m not sure if I would make a great public speaker, but that certainly won’t stop me from trying!
Q: Do you have any advice for new authors?
A: Grow some tough skin. There is going to be a lot of people that love your book and a lot of people that don’t. But don’t let that stop you from writing. Also, if you plan to submit your manuscript to a publisher, be prepared to receive a lot of rejection letters and just keep trying. I don’t know an author who has never received a rejection letter.
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