9 in ’09 with Laurie Dean

Laurie is the author of the children’s book Baron Thinks Dogs are People Too (reviewed here).  Visit Baron’s fun website for interactive games and a special offer –  order the book before April 30th and it will be shipped FREE.  http://www.baronthinks.com/  You can also follow Laurie on Twitter (handyauthor).

1. Baron is adorable!  Is there a real Baron?

Baron is a fictional character.  His disposition is a composite from my recollections of behaviors and ‘personalities’ that various dogs from my childhood exhibited.  We lived on a dead end street in an unincorporated part of town.  At the very end of the street, past the last house, was a large woodland area.  Back then, in the 1960’s and 70’s, it was common for people to drive to the woods and drop off unwanted litters of puppies and kittens.  Sadly, they would be abandoned there to fend for themselves.  My siblings and I often played among the trees, whereupon, we would discover the baby animals and take them home with us.  We fostered many dogs and cats over the years.  I grew up in a large family with a lot of pets!

2. How long did it take you to write Baron Thinks Dogs are People Too! ?

For me, the process of writing children’s stories is like having ‘puffy clouds’ of ideas constantly floating around in my mind.  Then when I focus my awareness with the intention to bring a story to life in the form of a book, it’s like the puffy clouds form into a funnel cloud that ‘touches down’ through me.  This rumination process is a perpetual part of my sub conscience.

 Word selection and cadence is very important to me, so I start with a draft of the story, and then ponder the words and movement carefully as I rewrite.  Sometimes, rewrites can take months.  Several kindergarten and preschool teachers, and their students previewed the story text for Baron, even before it was submitted to an editor.  Their feedback helped me write the best story.  This book took me about two weeks to write.

3. When and why did you decide you wanted to write a children’s book?

The exact moment I decided on making my dream of creating this book come true was when I held my newborn grandson for the first time.  I felt an incredible sense of legacy, like a spiritual connection from my ancestors was beaming through me.  I wanted to create a book my own grandchildren would revisit again and again.  A combination of life experiences and time spent pondering my heart’s desire gave rise to my urge, and sense of calling, to publish children’s books.

4. Can you tell us a bit about your road to publication?

So far, I have not had any major challenges in my career as a writer.  Nowadays, it’s much easier for a first time author to publish good quality children’s books.  Since there are so many wonderful books in circulation, the challenge is to get your book noticed by all of the people who would enjoy reading it!

For me, the entire process of having my book published came about through the use of the Internet.  It has totally helped me in my writing career.  I found the website of DragonPencil/Big Tent Books publishing services online, and used them for the entire process.  Now that my book is in print, I use the Internet for marketing and networking with other professionals in the book publishing industry.

5. What was your favorite childhood book?

My favorite book that I read as a kid was Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh, published in 1964.  Harriet loves to eat tomato sandwiches, and I do too!

6. I love quotes.  Do you have a favorite?

The only way to have a friend is to be one.  -Ralph Waldo Emerson

7. What are you reading right now?

Currently, I enjoy reading New Age books about affirming and manifesting my heart’s desires.

8. If you were trapped in the life of one fictional character, whom would you choose?

Tinker Bell.  It would be fun to fly around sprinkling magic pixie dust!

9. Are you working on another children’s book?  A follow-up to Baron?

I’ve written a series of stories about two imaginary friends I had when I was preschool age.  As for Baron’s future…his family may get a cat.  Baron thinks cats are cool!