Topic: Author Interview
Here's the blog for Dotty:
1. What three words do you think describe you as a human being?
Spiritual, Faithful, Honest.
2. How do you think others would describe you?
Well, I really didn’t know so I asked some friends! I liked this answer the best: Mega-creative, Musically-gifted, Super-funny. (I have sweet friends.)
3. Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.
In the past few years, I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone and began speaking at conferences, churches, and meetings. If I’m speaking in a church setting, I begin by singing, which actually puts me more at ease. I’m loving this new venture!
4. Do you have any pets? If so, introduce us to them.
Do we ever! We never have fewer than three dogs running around. We have Angel, a toy poodle (who thinks she’s boss even if she is the smallest!), Ariel, a Boston Terrier (who snores as loud as any 200 lb. man!) and Sadie, my gigantic Labradoodle who’s the sweetest of them all.
5. What is your most precious memory?
My most precious memories are the births of my children. I have to smile every time I think of my tiny girl followed two years later by my big, red-headed boy. What fun times we had when they were toddlers, and we still delight in each other’s company to this day.
6. What is your most embarrassing memory?
That’s a difficult one. I’ve had many. One that comes to mind is the time I wore two different shoes to church. Not just different colors, but different styles, too!
7. If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing with your life?
When I was younger (much!), I thought I’d travel and sing gospel music. I ended up marrying someone who wanted to be a pastor. So now, I sing and play the piano at our church.
8. In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.
Hmm…not so sure I like answering this one! Let’s see. Donna was a vibrant, creative woman who’s now dancing on the streets of heaven, and singing around God’s throne.
Donna Shepherd the writer:
9. Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a “real” writer?
I felt like the ‘real children’s writer’ when I received a note from a parent telling me that his two children had fought over my book, “Topsy Turvy Land,” and that the youngest one slept with it under his pillow.
10. What is going on with your writing these days?
Many days I feel torn between two worlds – writing for grownups and writing for children. On the children’s front, I have another children’s book coming out soon, and one being illustrated now. Two others are ‘out there’ in the wide world of submissions, and I’m putting the finishing touches on another one now. In the grownup world, I am a columnist for The Dabbling Mum, NABBW, and write children’s devotionals for CWAHM. On top of all this, I’m teaching “Greater Harvest Workshops” for writers and speakers. Can you tell I like to stay busy?
11. What are your future goals for your writing?
I’m compiling a collection of children’s poetry I’d like to see in print one day, and have several picture books in varying stages of completion. My dream is to see a book of devotionals on the bookshelves, either for grownups or children.
12. Can you describe a typical writing day for you?
I work at home doing data input for a real estate appraisal company so I’m at the computer daily. It’s convenient because I can keep a file open and type ideas throughout the day. When I have a deadline, I shut my email down (I’m too obsessed with checking it!) so I can focus. I have a journal someone bought for me that I bought tabs for with labels for the different areas in which I write. When I’m away from the computer, I jot things down in my notebook. I’m afraid I’m on an endless and futile quest to get organized, so every day is different.
13. Why do you write?
There are few times as joyful as when I complete a devotional, article, or poem, and then know that someone else receives encouragement, enjoyment, or instruction from my work. It’s during those times that I feel God, the Creator, is pleased that I’m taking after my Father, in being creative.
14. What writer most inspires you? Why?
As a young girl, I read a biography about Joni, a girl who had become a quadriplegic after a diving accident. Today Joni Eareckson Tada is an best-selling author, speaker, radio host (with over a million listeners), and disability advocate. She has spent long months learning how to paint with a brush between her teeth. Her highly detailed fine art paintings and prints are sought after and collected. When I think of all Joni has accomplished, I’m inspired.
15. How do you define your writing?
When I asked people to describe me in three words, passionate and compassionate were used often. I write with enthusiasm and as a service, hoping that my words will serve a purpose, bringing joy and hope to readers.
16. In one sentence—what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?
Like every other writer I know, I’d like it said that I made a difference in some way, that my writing encouraged, entertained and brought laughter to grownups and children.
Donna Shepherd the details:
17. Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website? Blog?
My website: http://www.donnajshepherd.com
I have several blogs, but the ‘official’ blog for Topsy Tales is: http://www.topsyturvyland.com
18. Is there a place where readers can reach you?
On my blog, I have a ‘contact me’ page. Feel free to write.
19. Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?
My three books for children in print are:Topsy Turvy Land (Hidden Pictures Publishing)
No More Gunk & OUCH! Sunburn (Guardian Angel Publishing)
Dotty’s Topsy Tale (Living Waters Publishing)
No More Gunk! is available as an ebook by itself as is Ouch! Sunburn. Another one, The Lonely Lightning Bug, is available in ebook form as well – all through Guardian Angel Publishing’s website or Fictionwise.com.
20. For new readers—what can they expect when they read your book(s)?
In Topsy Turvy Land, you’ll visit a place of peace and whimsy where green monkeys and singing snakes live. Children have fun searching for the hidden hearts and exploring the "what ifs" of creation. What if colors were different? What if snakes could sing?
In No More Gunk & OUCH! Sunburn, you get a Double Doozie - two books in one! Short, playful rhymes and Kevin Scott Collier's humorous illustrations help children learn in a fun way the importance of proper dental hygiene. Tooth Tips encourage children to take care of their teeth. In the bonus book, Ouch! Sunburn!, snappy rhymes, along with the 15 colorful and fun illustrations by Kevin Scott Collier, help children see the need to protect their skin in the sun. Sun Safety Tips in the back of the book reinforce the book's theme. This book is the first for a new imprint of Guardian Angel Publishing. The Health & Hygiene line will feature books teaching children about taking care of their bodies.
In Dotty’s Topsy Tale, the main character, a hot pink hippo, deals with the issue of discrimination and the angst of feeling ‘different.’ This story encourages children to look beyond the color of a person's (or a hippo's!) skin. Kevin Scott Collier brings pure genius to the book with his vibrant illustrations, especially with the final one which sums up the message in a unique and wonderful way.In conclusion:
21. Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers—what would you like them to know about you and your writing?
As writers, we are blessed to be able to create. And as a children's writer, sometimes I'm really blessed, and the words I write are illustrated with pictures. It's so much fun to see my words come to life.
I thank God every day for the joy of writing, and for allowing me the pleasure of seeing my words in print. If you are an aspiring children’s writer, visit your local library or bookstore and read a variety of books for your target age group. Ask the children's librarian for recommendations. They know children’s interests and current trends in children's books.
And no matter which genre you’re interested in, write. Set your mind on a target audience, and then write for ezines or magazines. Write articles, poetry, or a novel. Just write. Then submit. It won’t get published as a file on your computer or a notepad tucked away in a drawer. Writing is fun, but hard work. But did I mention how I feel about it? It’s fun!