Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Carol Casey's Dear Baby Books

The “Dear Baby Book” series are charming, unique and a must have for your child’s book collection. I love the “yearbook feature” that each Dear Baby book comes with. This section is designed for the autographs of family and friends who read the book to your child; a precious keepsake, especially when older loved ones pass on.

I caught up with Carol Casey, author of these wonderful books. Here’s what she had to say;

Tell us a bit about your self
I have two kids and live in the Atlanta area with my husband. I love to write, dance, cook, and play tennis. I love being with my family. We have so much fun together!

When did you first start to write?
I've been a writer most of my adult life. I started out as a news writer, reporter, and editor in Chicago.

How many books do you have published?
Three

Tell us a bit about your books - where do you get the ideas?
The first book was created because I couldn't find a book that put into words just how smitten we all were with our first grandchild Ava, who was one year old. It's amazing to me how early children show their personalities, and their sense of fairness and kindness. So I wrote Dear Baby, What I love about you! and hired an illustrator. Before going to print I started showing it to a few libraries and bookstore managers to get feedback. I got a very positive reaction so my husband and I formed a boutique publishing company and Dear Baby Books was born just a little over a year ago. There are 12 books in the series, and as for where I get my ideas, it really varies.

Dear Baby, Let's Dance! embodies the warm family dynamic I grew up with and tried to create for our own children. My mom and dad have been married for over 60 years and are still very romantically in love. One Christmas Eve, when everyone had to show a "talent" to get a gift from Santa, they did a tango. That was the starting point for me in writing that book. Dear Baby, It's a Colorful World started with a request from my daughter-in-law to write a book about learning colors. While googling around one day I found an article on how families inadvertently send wrong messages about diversity by saying things like "We don't talk about that because it doesn't matter." A good intention but it leaves the child feeling like something is wrong. It gave me the idea to write a book combining learning about colors with learning to celebrate "the colors of ME." Jason Oransky, our illustrator, really knocked it out of the park on the pictures.

Is it difficult juggling family and career? Any tips on doing that?
Ha! As I am writing this, I am babysitting 3 year-old Ava who is trying to climb on my lap to play "Choo Choo Train" on the computer. One week when our son and daughter were out of state on a vacation I got a real taste of what it would be like to try and work fulltime with a child at home. It's hard! My hat is off to Moms who do it EVERY week. Actually, my hat is off to stay-at-home Moms too. It takes a lot of patience, planning, and loving discipline. What works best for me is to carve out times when I am fully present and in the moment for both work and for play with Ava. Otherwise, the day passes and I don't feel...oh my gosh. Ava is back in the office waving my magic wand I use for book signings. How can I resist those shining eyes and that impish smile? Forget what I just said. I'm stopping for some snuggles.

Any tips to other writers on marketing their work?
Yes. Make sure you are marketing what your book DOES and not what it is. How is it adding value to the person who purchases the book? A resource that has been very helpful is the IBPA, the Independent Book Publishers Association – http://www.ibpa-online.org/.

There is a conference in New York later this month. If it is in your budget, attend. It will open your eyes to the business side of books and it is a great place to network and find a distributor, etc. At the very least, join it. You won't be sorry!

Anything else you'd like to add?
Yes. If you are an aspiring writer...WRITE! The story always looks better in your head. Just write it down and do the hard work of re-writes to make it live up to the story you imagined. Again, get some industry education. Start reading Publishers Weekly. Join the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) http://www.scbwi.org/. It was electric for me when I attended the national summer conference a few years ago. There are other organizations for adult fiction and non-fiction writers.

Check out Carol’s web site at; http://www.dearbabybooks.com/

Have a question about Carol's books or writing? Leave your question in this blog spot and I'll pass them along to Carol - be sure to check back for the answers :)

4 comments:

Betsy said...

Very nice interview Sandie Lee! I agree with Carol about just WRITE! You can always change everything later. Just getting something down on paper is a great start.

Sandie Lee said...

Thanks and thanks for stopping by :)

Jessica said...

I have got to check out those books- how totally cute! Thanks for the follow, I am following you as well!

Carol Casey said...

Thanks Sandie, Jessica, and Betsy. For any aspiring writers or publishers out, the IBPA that I talked about in the interview is having a conference in a few weeks in New York. I went last year and it was inspiring and informative and included opportunities for one-on-one ask the expert sessions. Info is on the IBPA website www.ibpa-online.org
Happy reading and writing to all of Sandie's followers! : ) Carol Casey

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