Monday, August 26, 2013

Shannon Cascarini, The Perfect Birdhouse

AUTHOR:  Shannon Cascarini           
BOOK TITLE:  The Perfect Birdhouse
GENRE:  Children’s
PUBLISHER:  Pink Blossom Publishing

Please tell us about yourself.   My heart is full being a wife and a mother of two busy boys.  I have been teaching elementary school for 15 years, and my latest endeavor of becoming an author.  I grew up in the beautiful mountain town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado and directly from graduating from college, I accepted a job in Southern California, where I still reside.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?   I am happily kept busy with my husband and two young sons, and being a full-time elementary teacher.  But, there is always time to write.  I like to get up early when everything is quiet except for the story in my head.  My family knows how writing is important to me, and they let me sneak away every now and again to write.  I couldn’t have written my book without their love and support!

What inspired you to write your first book? After years of telling this story to my students, I finally decided to follow through with the notion that “someday” I’ll write this as a children’s book.  When that day arrived, the words came from my heart, and my memories, of how a simple birdhouse helped shape the person I would become.  The message of The Perfect Birdhouse is for anyone who sets out on a journey, and lands at an unexpected destination.  There is beauty in all of life’s experiences, even if it’s not what you were hoping it would be.

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?   We are a big baseball family. Both boys play baseball, my husband coaches, and I’m their biggest fan!  We go to the mountains as much as possible, and we can all agree that fishing is a great way to spend time together. 

Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?  For me, writer’s block seems to creep in when I start self-doubting my work.  I’ve found the best way to break through is to just start writing…anything!  I can always go back and revisit and revise. 

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?, Pink Blossom Publishing (Facebook)

What gave you the idea for this particular book? The events that inspired The Perfect Birdhouse taught me a valuable lesson that I’ve carried with me my entire life.  My hope was that others could appreciate the message and it could help them when things don’t always go as planned.  I wrote this book for children and adults, as we all face adversity.  There is value in all of life’s experiences.

What do you hope readers will take away from your book? I had always dreamed of holding my story in my hands.  I found a wonderful illustrator, worked hard, and learned a lot about self-publishing to make that dream a reality.  I want readers to know that they have the power to make their dream, whatever it may be, come true.  Do not give up, learn what steps you need to take, and then do it!  I sign all my books,  “May you always follow your dreams.”

What about your book makes it special?  My book is a true story that took place when I was eight years old.  But what is very special, is that the story continued 30 years later, when something happened that I thought was impossible.  I had to add to my book to rewrite the ending, and added a photograph to show that what I thought was impossible, was indeed possible!

Are the characters in your story based on real people?  Yes!  All the characters are actual people~my little brother, parents, and of course, my little birds, George and Ann.

What has been the most challenging part of writing?  There have been a lot of challenges~but good ones that have taught me a lot.  There is so much more that goes into a writing a book than I ever imagined.  But one of the biggest challenges is being patient.  It's hard to do when there are so many steps in the process, but I've tried not to get over anxious and do everything the best I can, and not rush through it. 

What has surprised you about writing?  The most unexpected surprise for me was the friendship that I formed with my illustrator, Vicky Bowes.  She and I did not know each other when this started, and to this day, we've never met.  But, one of the greatest gifts I have received is gaining a new friend and knowing someone as extraordinary as Vicky.

Do you have plans for other books in the future?  That's the beautiful thing about writing!  It seems like a new idea comes almost every day for a new book! I do have another children's book in mind, but I'll have to wait until summer vacation until I can start it.  For now, I'm enjoying the ride of The Perfect Birdhouse!

Where can your book be purchased?  It's available at Amazon, and right now, it's on sale at a discounted price!

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