Please give a warm welcome to a different breed of author this week on the blog… a childrens author! Please welcome Gail Traux!!
Which writers inspire you?
The book that had the most influence on me was Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. Louisa Mae Alcott’s Little Women, Jo’s Boys, and Little Men were my first serial books. Agatha Christie, Max Lucado, J.R.R. Tolkien, Emily Bronte, Charlotte Bronte, Amy Lowell, William Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis, and Edgar Allan Poe were favorites, also. Edward Lear’s nonsense rhyme The Owl and the Pussycat is one of the few poems I remember from childhood. I still remember the pictures in the music book. This poem and the color plates in Louisa Alcott’s Little Women had a great influence on me regarding the illustrations in the Greymalkin books.
So, what have you written?
I write children’s books. The stories are about Greymalkin, a British Blue courtier-cat who is the beloved companion to his princess. Ginger-Kitty is a playful, fun-loving, mischievous cat who is the companion to the younger princess.
What are you working on at the minute?
The current WIP is the compilation of the many Greymalkin stories that have accumulated over the last seven years. While the stories were not told chronologically, for this book the stories will be in order.
What draws you to this genre?
The versatility the three of us (myself and two granddaughters) have to make the stories our own. We interact with each other, we interact with the story. Greymalkin and Ginger-Kitty each have their own strengths. The girls act out those strengths and the stories are tailored to them. For example, in the third book, which will be coming out in 2016, they are lost in the forest. Greymalkin climbs a tree to look for the castle flags while Ginger-Kitty uses her strong sense of smell to ensure they are staying on the right path. The fun part is that the girls had watched a nature show on television and assigned their “strength” according to what they knew was a cat trait and what they envisioned their character doing. The girls each wanted to do something unique to them.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
My husband told me that when he was little his grandfather would tell him and his siblings stories, which none of them could remember today. “If you don’t write the stories down, the girls will forget them,” he said. My response was, “But, they tell me the stories now.” Later, while visiting with my in-laws, I asked them about the stories their grandfather told them and NONE of them remembered more than just the bare bones of the stories. That is what motivated me to write the stories down. My plan was to write only one story, but changed my mind when family and friends asked for more stories.
Where do your ideas come from?
I have always told stories; I think of myself as a story teller more than a story writer. Ideas pop up at some of the strangest times and for no apparent reason. A phrase will pass through my mind, and the next thing I know it is an event in a story. The girls and I both simply go with whatever comes into our minds on that particular day. These stories are then converted to written form. When I was young, my nephew and I would take the ViewMaster into the attic and play “movies.” We were both too young to read, so we made stories up from the pictures. The nice thing about that was the freedom we had to change the story as we often as we wanted. This is the same way the girls and I tell stories today. It’s pretty much a “where ever the story goes” style. Now that the girls are older, I barely get the story started before they take over the telling. Sometimes the “bones” of the story are left intact and the girls add their ideas and twists; sometimes the only content that is remotely similar to the original story are the names of the cats.
Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.
I have discovered several new authors in the last six months that I really enjoy. Each one has his own distinctive writing style: Michael Williams and his “The Trouble with Wyrms” series, Bill Noel’s “Folly Beach” series, and Steve Harrison’s “Time Storm.” I read a lot, but these three come immediately to mind. I have all of these on my Kindle, but prefer traditional paper/hard back books.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I prefer traditional paper/hard back books. However, I love my Kindle and the fact that I can carry around hundreds of books and they weigh less than a pound. My husband appreciates that since the vacation we took and carried around a suitcase full of books.
Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
The first two books were edited by myself, friends, and family members. The third book, I found an editor, Lisa Binion, in one of the writing groups to which I belong. I cannot say often enough how much her hard work is appreciated. Editing. I could edit a book for forever. With the last one I hired an editor, to get me out of the “edit ‘til I drop” loop.
How are you publishing this book and why?
I self-publish through Create Space. With the first book, I did not plan to do another book and so did not even consider traditional publishing. Now, I am beginning to rethink that decision. I like being involved in every step of the book, bringing to life the stories the girls and I have told. The biggest disadvantage to self-publishing is that you also need to be able to self-market….a strength in which I am sadly lacking.
What do you think of “trailers” for books?
I actually have one! My very talented niece put together a trailer for Greymalkin and the Birthday Surprise. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHxDIq-TtbU
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Life is a learning experience and you don’t learn if you never make a mistake.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don’t be afraid of what other people might or might not think of your work. Write for yourself; you will be a better person for it.
Thanks so much for joining us Gail! Please be sure to follow her and check out her work!