AUTHOR: Kathy Sattem Rygg
BOOK TITLE: Animal Andy
PUBLISHER: Muse It Up Publishing
BUY LINK: http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=455&category_id=10&keyword=animal+andy&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1&vmcchk=1&Itemid=1
Please tell me how long you've been writing, and why you decided to become a writer.
I’ve been writing stories my entire life. I made my first “book” when I was 8-years-old, complete with illustrations and a cardboard cover held together with yarn. But it wasn’t until after I had kids that I decided to write children’s books. As soon as I tried it, I was hooked!
Are you a full-time writer or a part-time writer, and how do you organize your writing time?
I work on my writing career full-time through marketing, promotion, conducting school author visits, etc. However, I spend about an hour a day actually writing. I aim for a chapter a week, which equates to at least one page a day. I’m also the Editor-in-Chief for the children’s publication knowonder!, (www.knowonder.com) so I spend a lot of time editing children’s short stories as well.
What influences your writing?
Reading influences my writing quite a bit. When I come across a book with a great voice or writing style, I try to pinpoint what it is and see how I can incorporate that into my own writing. My kids also influence my writing—paying attention to what they say, how they say it, and how they view the world. It helps me greatly with character development.
Is this your first published work? What other types of writing have you done?
“Animal Andy” is my first novel through an independent publisher. I also have a self-published children’s chapter book called “Tall Tales with Mr. K,” which is about a magical third grade teacher who takes his students on adventures in the teacher’s lounge.
Why did you choose to write a children's story?
Several years ago my son asked me to write him a chapter book. I thought, I can do that, and was amazed at how much I enjoyed it. I ended up writing a series of six books for him and then decided to try writing something that I could extend to a broader market. I tried writing a YA novel but found it really difficult. I’m extremely comfortable with the middle grade level and plan to stay in it.
What was the process of creating this book from the first idea to the final published book?
My son loved Mary Pope Osborn’s “Magic Treehouse” series, and I wanted to write a book that would transport kids to another world—the world of animals! We have an amazing city zoo with a beautiful menagerie carousel, and it was during a visit to the zoo with my kids that I decided to use a carousel in my story as a magical device.
What are your thoughts on traditional versus self-publishing?
I think the publishing industry has and continues to undergo major changes, which is good. I’m delighted that we are seeing more independent publishers, such as Muse It Up, who are bridging the gap between traditional and self-published books. They provide the editorial and graphic support of traditional publishers, but they also provide more options for ebook and print rights to authors, so I think it’s the best of both worlds.
What is your marketing strategy?
I do as much online as I can (Twitter, blog interviews, Facebook, etc.) however, local marketing has been the biggest success. I was able to get my book into our local independent book store, and I am conducting author visits at local schools on a regular basis. I am much more successful with book orders through the schools than through online outlets.
What are your thoughts about children's writers needing an agent or not needing one?
Unless you want to hold out for a traditional publishing contract, you don’t need an agent. No matter how you are published, you need to do a majority of the work yourself.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
The best place is on my blog at htt://ksrwriter.blogspot.com. From there you can link to my twitter, facebook and goodreads pages.
Do you have any tips for writers who are new to children's literature?
Read as many books in your genre as possible and find a local critique group to join. Every major city has a local SCBWI chapter who can help put you in contact with critique groups.
Please give us a brief synopsis or excerpt from your current book and when and where it will be available.
Andy’s knees wobbled and buckled as he stumbled off the carousel’s platform. He thrust forward, collapsing into a heap on the ground. Shaking his head a few times, he flinched when a snort escaped his mouth.
A flash of turquoise caught his eye. He scrambled up as a skinny-necked bird with short legs and a long, plump body strutted over. It stopped a few inches away and let out an ear-splitting squawk. Only a peacock could make that sound.
“What are you doing over here?” the bird asked. “Are you out of your mind? Don’t you know this is the kind of thing that gets all of us into trouble?”
Andy froze. He was sure the peacock had just spoken to him.
“Well, don’t just sit there, zebra, we need to get you back to the pen,” the bird snapped.
Andy whipped his head from side to side. Nobody was around, and he didn’t see a zebra.
“Did you just talk?”
"Don't get all high and mighty on me," the peacock said. "It's socially acceptable for a peacock to speak to a zebra."
"Why do you keep calling me a zebra?" Andy narrowed his eyes at the bird.
“Well, I don’t see any other escaped animal standing in front of me,” the peacock said. Andy lowered his gaze and saw four black and white striped legs beneath him. He craned his neck and saw a thin, black tail swishing behind him. Puzzled, he glanced at the carousel and saw an empty brass pole where the zebra had been.
He stumbled backward. "No, no, no,” he said, shaking his head. "How…it can’t be,” he breathed.
“There’s just no way. I…I…I’m a zebra!”