We’re so honored to be interviewing Deanie Humphrys-Dunne who is a Mom’s Choice Gold medal awardee and a children’s book author with six published books. Deanie believes the message that “perseverance” is the key to accomplishing amazing things.
Hi! Deanie. Please tell our readers something about yourself and your latest book.
“Hello Elen, thank you for interviewing me today. I’m excited to be with you. I’ve been a children’s author since 2009 when my first book, Tails of Sweetbrier, was published. It’s no longer in print because it’s been replaced by an expanded, revised book called My Life at Sweetbrier. In addition to that book, I’ve written; Charlie the Horse, Charlene the Star, Charlene the Star and Bentley Bulldog, and Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes. My Life at Sweetbrier is my most recent book. It’s a true story of my early life growing up on our family’s riding school called Sweetbrier.
Why did you write your latest book?
My objective in writing My Life at Sweetbrier is to inspire children to accept challenges and to work toward their goals. My Life at Sweetbrier details overcoming several challenges. I want to be a role model so readers and their families see that you can succeed expectations and realize your dreams, against the odds.
Tell us, how did you start with writing children’s books?
I searched for a new career and felt unsure about the future, but one day I had a strong intuition to write a story about my childhood. I think it’s important to listen to your inner feelings so I asked my sister, Holly Humphrys-Bajaj, to illustrate our first book. Since then, she has illustrated all of my fictional books. We have a great time together. She’s an extraordinary talent.
Where were you and how did you feel when you received your first book award?
I was home when I received an email saying Tails of Sweetbrier won the silver medal in the Feathered Quill Book Awards contest. Naturally, I felt ecstatic. Winning the award boosted my confidence in my abilities as an author.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
In my opinion, that depends on how things are progressing at the time. If I’m struggling with a character or plot, it’s tiring. But if a mystery was solved, or a solution was found, I feel exhilarated. It’s something that could go in either direction.
Have you ever gotten reader’s block? What did you do?
Fortunately, I don’t have that happen often, but I usually take a break and do something relaxing like reading or listening to music. It seems to refresh my mind and help me look at things from a new perspective.
Do you try more to be original or do you research and tend to deliver to readers what they want?
Most of the time research isn’t needed because I’m familiar with the subject, but when I’m uncertain, I research to verify the information.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
I might remind myself to accept a challenge each day so I’m constantly expanding my capabilities. It’s a good feeling each time you accomplish something you didn’t expect.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I’ve learned a lot about writing, publishing, and marketing since the first book was released. Now I realize marketing must start well before the book comes out. Also, it’s important to keep revising before publishing so you’re confident you’ve discovered the weak areas and typing errors. Finally, have other people read your work and be open to their suggestions.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
As a horse lover, I’d chose a picture of me and my favorite horse, Peach.
What is the marketing technique that has worked for your books?
In my opinion, it takes several different aspects of marketing to succeed over time. I use Facebook, Twitter, along with interviews, podcasts and book signings.
How long were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one?
I’ve been writing full-time since 2009. Before that, I studied with the Institute of Children’s Literature.
How many hours a day do you write?
As many as possible, depending on the schedule. Along with writing children’s books, I also write reviews for other authors and edit for writers.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Sometimes I choose names on the basis of the character’s personality, such as Hattie the chicken. She’s a cute red chicken who loves to wear hats so that name seemed perfect for her. Sometimes my family helps. For example, my husband thought of the name Wooliam, for the sheep in our Charlene the Star series of books.
If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
I have no idea. As you know, I listen to my intuitions and I have the feeling I’m on the right track.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
When I receive a negative comment, I try to remember it’s only one person’s opinion. I think it’s important to look at the comment objectively and see if the writer of the review has a valid complaint.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
No, my books have valuable life lessons for young readers, because I like giving them something to consider after they finish the books. In addition, there are questions at the back to help the readers see how well they understood the story.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
I think marketing is always a challenge. But I’m constantly trying to improve my skills in that area.
Where can we find more about your books?
Here are the links:
Thanks, Deanie. It’s been a pleasure having you here at Author Spotlight.
Grab a copy of Deanie’s latest book here: goo.gl/n1HEHE