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Interview with Children’s Book Author Barbara Techel
Barbara Techel’s first children’s picture book is touching and inspiring. It’s the true story of a miniature dachshund who falls ill with a paralyzing disease, and how she overcomes all obstacles to remain as sweet and gentle as ever. The book carries a powerful and important message for children and adults. Thanks for being here today, Barbara, and sharing your thoughts with us.
Do you consider yourself a born writer?
No, I guess I wouldn’t consider myself a born writer. Although I have always enjoyed writing sentimental letters to my family and friends.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I can’t say it was a lifelong dream of mine until I found something inspiring to write about, which is animals. I too came to a crossroads in my life when I was about 41 years old. My chocolate lab Cassie had been diagnosed with terminal bone cancer. It really made me stop and reflect on life. I then decided to do some deep research to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Combining my love for animals and writing about them has brought me immense joy.
Tell us about your latest release. What was your inspiration for it?
Frankie, the Walk ‘N Roll Dog is a true, non-fiction children’s book. My dog, Frankie, a miniature dachshund, inspired me to write her story. She became paralyzed at the age of six and now rolls around in a dog cart. Her energy for life is amazing! She has taught me a lot about making positive choices when faced with challenges. People were so compassionate towards her and wanted to know her story that I felt called to share her story.
Tell us about your children’s books.
This is my first children’s book. I want to write a series of Frankie books that teach children not to judge others and to look for the best in all situations they face in life.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
I’m not so sure there is such a thing as writer’s block. For me, if I don’t write, I’m procrastinating.
Some writers take long walks, others keep a journal, write in a coffee shop or listen to music. What do you do to inspire and unleash your creativity?
Walking is something that inspires me. I have my “learn and grow” walks as I call them and listen to motivational and inspirational speakers. I also enjoy reading books for writing, which always inspires me. Music, especially piano music, brings out the writing in me too.
Describe your work environment.
Although I wrote Frankie, Walk ‘N Roll Dog at my kitchen table, I realized during that time how much I love nature and need quiet. I wanted a room/space to call my own to write and reflect. So, I sold my red sports car to pay for a 10 x 12 room my husband built for me off our deck. It has 6 windows and a fantastic view! My husband calls it, “MySpace.calm”, and it is just that!
Are you a disciplined writer? What is your work style?
No, I’m not a disciplined writer unless I’m held accountable or on deadline. However, once I have an idea of what to write, I can run with it and follow through, along with all the editing. I learned to love the editing process.
Do you have a website/blog where readers can learn more about you and your works?
Yes, I have both. My website is Joyfulpaws.com and my blog is http://www.joyfulpaws.typepad.com/.
What are you working on now?
Another children’s book about Frankie. I also do a quarterly newsletter for Frank and I’m just starting a monthly E-zine called Joyful Paws which will be short stories about animals. Anyone can sign up for these for free on my website
Where are your books available?
My website and Amazon. If you order from my website I sign every book plus Frankie “pawtographs” every book.
What was your experience looking for a publisher?
I decided to self-publish for many reasons. I’ve grown in leaps and bounds and learned so much going the self-publishing route.
What kind of book promotion works for you? Any special strategies you’d like to share?
I think being open to all possibilities is what every writer should do. Especially with the internet, there are so many great ways to promote. It takes a lot of work, but I’m enjoying the marketing process. One of my biggest promotion strategies is marketing to schools and libraries in our area and making presentations.
Who are your favorite authors?
Sarah Ban Breathnach, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Natalie Goldberg.
What was your favorite book as a child?
Charlotte’s Web and three little horses in the Kings Palace.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
To always write from the heart…and to begin! And also giving yourself permission to write and not worry about spelling, grammar, etc.
We hear over and over that picture books are incredibly difficult to write. Why is that so? I think because you have to remember what it was like to be a kid. You have to say so much in less words. And you need to be descriptive with your words and sentences to keep young readers’ attention.
Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?
Thanks for taking the time to read about me and Frankie, the Walk ‘N Roll Dog.
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