Most of my children’s book author sightings have been online, save the rare occurrence of attending a children’s book festival. I met Gina Anaya online even though she was just about 40 miles from me at the time. The power of Google searches! She is the author of the children’s book; The Quiet Lion and was gracious enough to give robust answers to my interview questions. Read on.
1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
It wasn’t until I did a 12 week course in a book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron that I discovered my interest in writing. That was about 8 years ago and I’ve done the process 3 times since. I always come out of it with an interest in a new creative adventure.
2. How long does it take you to write a book?
It depends on the type of story I am interested in sharing. Usually about a month just to get all the ideas down on paper. Then much longer for the editing, reorganizing and rewriting process. Truthfully, I don’t think I am ever completely satisfied with the final product. But at some point you have to accept the beauty of your creative efforts even with the flaws!
3. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
That is an interesting question. Mostly the stories form during my morning ritual of journaling. There were two requirements when I did The Artist’s Way process. One was to journal three pages every morning in a stream-of-consciousness manner and the other was to take yourself on a date, alone, for a minimum of two hours once per week. I have never stopped doing these things. It allows me to explore my interests and sow the creative seeds that may be forming while protecting them from any premature criticism. We all know that if the timing is wrong, well intentioned but critical feedback can stop our whole creative process! However, I will admit that The Quiet Lion was a story inspired by my nephew Jake. His insights and questions about language always amaze me so creating a story about a misunderstanding of word meanings was practically inevitable.
4. When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I published my first book in 2009 at age 36. But that story had been written a couple years before and hidden until I gained enough confidence to share it!
5. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love dancing, snowboarding and paddle boarding. I’ve developed an interest in cooking recently too. And reading and watching a good movie never get old for me.
6. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have 12 stories in my documents file on my computer. Do they count as a books?!! My favorite is The Quiet Lion because it’s the only one so far that is a finished product I can hold in my hands. It’s like a first born baby to me! But I am in the editing process for a second story we want to publish as an e-book. It’s called The Magic Rose and is more for readers ages 11-13.
7. What is your perspective on the present and the future of publishing industry from the view of a published author?
Personally, I feel that self-publishing and e-books are the direction of the industry. It is expensive to manufacture books and difficult to market an unknown author and if you want to break into the industry you will have to do much of the marketing yourself anyway. With a little investment of your own time and money, there are outlets that provide a new author with more control and more revenue. Anyone with internet can access Amazon and you can sell both hard copy and e-books there for a nominal fee.
8. What advice do you have for aspiring children’s book authors?
I think of all the ups and downs I went through and my advice would be to do one thing a day so you are not overwhelmed. And don’t be afraid to not know what to do next. People will let you know. Just keep asking, researching, contacting anyone who may be able to point you in the right direction. If you are shy, email is a great way to get information. Most people will help you when you ask them. That was my experience. We made plenty of mistakes but still made it out alive with a beautiful finished product. Next time it will be even better.