Author Interview with Aileen Stewart

Okay, so let’s meet Aileen the author of Fern Valley – a Collection of short stories
Author Photo

When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?
I was brought up in a home where reading and writing were prevalent, and I had an interest in all things literary from a very young age. When I was in fourth grade, my teacher entered my class in a poetry contest. I won an honourable mention and that was the start of my writing career.

My father was a freelance writer for hunting and fishing magazines and both he and my mother were great verbal story tellers. I spent my childhood writing little poems and reading huge stacks of books from the local library. I even remember telling a friend’s mother that I wanted to be a writer one day.

I spent many years writing poems and short stories which I used in Christmas cards I made and which I read to my nieces. But it was not until my daughter was about three that I gave serious thought to writing books for children. We were watching cartoons and I began to notice that most of them were based on books. The more I noticed this the more I thought to myself, I could write children’s books good enough to be made into cartoons.

I mentioned this to my husband one day and he looked at me with all seriousness and simply said, “Why don’t you then.” So I sat down to try. I ended up choosing farm animals for characters because some of my fondest childhood memories took place at the home of a friend who happened to live on a farm. When I became published, I gained an even deeper respect for authors and the amount of work that goes into writing a book, getting published, and marketing.

In the two years that my book has been available, I have met many other fabulous writers, I have travelled to interesting places, and I have had children tell me that my book was wonderful to read. The most moving of these items are the comments from the children. I consider myself just your average mom, so it totally amazes me that children enjoy what I have written and look up to me as some sort of semi-celebrity

Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:

My latest published work is Fern Valley – A Collection of Short Stories which as I mentioned above has farm animal characters inspired by time spent on my friend’s farm. The characters live in the fictional community of Fern Valley and have adventures like normal children. They go fishing, camping, have parties, and get into scrapes. Many of the characters are loosely modelled after people I knew growing up and many of the adventures are modelled after adventures my brother and I had as children.

My latest unpublished work in progress is a mystery series for children eight to twelve. It is about an eleven year old girl, Fannie Rothbottom, and her best friend, Todd McGuire. They are very smart children who solve local mysteries which are baffling the authorities and adults around them. I decided to try my hand at mysteries for children because that was one of my favourite genres growing up. I remember reading Phyllis A Whitney who wrote mysteries for both children and adults. To this very day I still love a good mystery.

What are your future aspirations as an author?

My hope as an author is to continue to write material that touches children and encourages them to read. I can’t stress enough the importance of children being able to read well. My motto, “Kids Who Read Can Do Anything”, pretty much sums up my passion about the subject

It is a proven fact that children whose parents read to them and who learn to read well themselves are more successful in school and life. Studies also suggest that children who have been subjected to reading in their own homes are more likely to go on to higher education.

Another aspiration of mine is to break into the children’s picture book market. I have several projects I am working on right now. I am also working at increasing my speaking engagements and the children’s writing workshops which I offer.

Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?

My ideas come from almost anywhere and usually at the strangest times and places. Sometimes I think of ideas on the drive to my daughter’s school or when I’m lying in bed. Things I see or read often inspire me, and even listening to music has led to story ideas. I have learned to keep small notebooks in my purse for when ideas strike, so I don’t have to write on gum wrappers and napkins.

My husband and my daughter are the two biggest influences on my writing. They encourage me to keep at it and are my greatest fans. And of course, they are required to listen to all of my ideas and stories repeatedly as I edit. My husband has turned out to be a great proof reader as well.

What do you do to improve yourself and as a writer?

The key to improving as a writer, or anything in life as far as that goes, is to practise. I write once a week on my personal blog Aileen’s Thoughts where I write about reading, writing, and life in general. I also post a Kid’s Korner every Monday on a collective Christian blog. I continue to write books and work at building my platform as a writer.

I do something everyday, no matter how large or small, to promote reading, to promote fellow authors, and to get the word out about my book Fern Valley. Although authors would rather spend all their time writing, marketing themselves and their books is just as vital to their success. After all, if no one has heard of you they certainly aren’t going to be reading what you have written.

That’s great Aileen, it’s so important for authors to realise there is more to our books than the writing. We look forward to seeing the Stitch Says review of Fern Valley tomorrow and wish you all the best!
cover sample

Until then keep writing, keep reading!!!

Blog something or other #tomuchtodo

My next character - Stitch!
My next character – Stitch!

Well my hashtag of mum never sleeps may have been right. I completely skipped blog 24 and went straight for 25. What can I say??? Far too much going on at the moment. Clearly I am off with the fairies. Which actually gives me an idea for another book. Don;t you just love how all the ideas come together. I have so much going on and yep there it is another idea. I’m off to jot down some thing so I don’t forget. Tomorrow is the last day before my month of madness. I’m sure I’ll have something more profound to blog about then…. Well okay probably not, but I am at work tomorrow so there could be some special moments! Until tomorrow – have fun!

Blog 25: Getting things done #mumneversleeps

So today was a day off – or so my husband would say…. Yep mum duties. Actually got a lot done today. I booked our annual tickets to Disney on ice (for us as much as the kids). It’s our little taste of Disney each year and we love it! I also organised for Obi the Super Puppy and the Mystery of the Red Mist to go to two international book fairs. Did another revision of The Homework Goblin and found some things I need to fix. Funnily enough this makes me feel better! Made name tags, thankyou notes and treasure flags for the party. Even made sunken treasure jellys for the kids – fruit jelly with a hidden chocolate coin…. Put together the party treasure chests for the kids coming to the party. Made sure I had enough to make jelly slice ships tomorrow and printed the lucky tokens for our lucky dip. I think I am organised for the party, just need to make the slice, cup cakes and the crocodile cake. Let me see I also swept the floor, made dinner for tomorrow night, helped with the homework, got the kids to bed and am finally sitting down to do some work. So much for my day off. Also forgot to add the taxi service and went to the gym. Still I feel great, I know I did what I needed too. Which should make tomorrow easier…. hahahahahahaha never easy when you have kids. Still for now I have five beautiful Labradors in my back yard, so I might have a drink and sit and watch them for a while!!!
My team

Until tomorrow – havve fun!

Introducing Aileen Stewart

Today on Stitch Says we are introducing children’s Author Aileen Stewart:

Author Photo

Aileen Stewart is the award winning author of the children’s books Fern Valley- A Collection of Short stories, a public speaker, amateur photographer, and a blogger. In addition, she hosts writing workshops for children and holds a degree in Business Administration and a certificate in Sales and Marketing. She resides in lovely Shelby, Ohio with her beautiful daughter, wonderful husband, and crazy cat Max. Besides writing, she loves to cook, quilt, craft, garden, travel, bird-watch, assemble puzzles, go Geocaching, and volunteer at her daughter’s school and her local library.

E-mail: astewart27@neo.rr.com
Website: http://www.funwithaileen.com
Blog (Aileen’s Thoughts): http://www.aileenwstewart.blogspot.com
Amazon Link: http://amzn.com/1617395277

So let’s have a look at her book – Fern Valley – A Collection of Short Stories.

ISBN: 9781617395277
Genre: Children’s Fiction – Ages 8-12
Fern Valley is home to a group of wonderful animals who have fun and face some of the same problems children everywhere do. Roberta and Mildred Cornstalk are creative chickens dealing with the loss of their beloved granny, and they’re looking for something to do to cheer them up. Want to know what adventures they find? Want to know what happens to Roberta and Mildred’s brother, Edward, when he goes fishing, what birthday surprise is in store for Betsy Woolrich, or what lesson Kimmy Curlytail learns when she keeps something that isn’t hers? Then follow this endearing cast of characters as they enjoy their time together and learn important lessons.

Visit Stitch says later in the week to read the interview from Aileen and then to see the Stitch Says review of Fern Valley.

Until then keep writing, keep reading!

Blog 23: Chapter Book Challenge #ChaBooCha

My next character - Stitch!
My next character – Stitch!

It is almost march, which means chaos is getting close. The first of March means no more summer – yeah some cooler weather would be nice, but not so cold it’s winter. I love the heat, but hate it when it’s really stinking hot then really freezing. So hopefully we get something in the middle. Anyway it also means the chapter book challenge is about to begin. So am I ready??? Not really. I have a skeleton draft of Obi the Super Puppy and the Quest for the Last Laugh. So I guess that is an outline for now. I have re read my first book in the sequel – Obi the Super Puppy and the Mystery of the Red Mist so hopefully I can avoid any inconsistencies. I guess the thing with any challenge is to have a draft ready for editing. Rather than a completed book, so I guess I am as ready as can be. However that is not all march brings. There is an author blog challenge I want to do, my daughter turns 6 (Neverland party is this weekend), there’s cakes to make, food to prepare and a yard to decorate, a baby shower to attend, a long weekend (yes – trip to the zoo!!!!), volleyball finals, work of course and as each week goes by we get closer to the end of term. We’re almost half way there now, so that means assessments to make and reports to write. March should be renamed madness!!!! Still lots of fun in all of that and if I focus my spare time (hahahahahahahahaha) on getting Obi ready for editing I may even have another book ready to go soon. Oh yeah I also forgot March will hopefully see the completion of The Homework Goblin!!! That could mean I will have my third book by the end of the month – or very nearly. So yep lots to get done and lots of excitement.
Until tomorrow – have fun!

Review: Angel No More #bookreviews

Penn books small

Angel No More By M. A. McRae
Characters are pivotal to any good book. In Angel No More there is certainly no limit to interesting, deep and even dark characters. It is a story from a boy’s home, where the pasts are mysterious and often delve into the more evil side of life. However M. A. McRae brings a story of intrigue and suspense from such horrors. There are patches of humour that goes with the young boys and it is certainly an interesting read. I’m sure there are more stories to tell.

Stitch Says gives Angel No More 4 woofs.
To check it out for yourself go to: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/251258

It’s going to be a big week on Stitch Says! So until next time keep reading, keep writing!!!!!

Blog 22: Revision One! #editing

Ashley Howland

So excited!!!! Last night I was emailed the first revision of my new book – The Homework Goblin!!! It’s funny, when you first look at your work in book layout how much that changes everything!!! It’s really happening, my third book is really getting published. Of course now the hard work begins. The bit where you have to make sure everything is absolutely perfect. So I have been through the revision and much to my delight I have found nothing to correct. It all looks excellent. Of course I really hope that is true and I haven’t missed something. So I will go through it again tomorrow and my husband will go through it too. It pays to be careful at this stage. If I find anything then I can correct it before it’s too late! It is also hard to be patient here because my book is sooooooo close. Once the text is perfected then comes the good bit – the front cover. While I illustrated the actual book (a bit scary, although I’m really happy with how they came up), I have left the front cover up to my publishers. I can’t wait to see it. Yes people do judge a book by its cover, so I’m looking forward to that stage. Still either way it won’t be long now. You can pre-order your copy at: http://sbpra.com/presaleashleyhowland/

Obi The Supper PuppyGhostnapped

You can also check out the links to my other two books there as well – Ghostnapped and Obi the Super Puppy and the Mystery of the Red Mist! Check out a copy today! Until tomorrow – have fun!

Blog 21: Friday funnies #dogjokes

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Always fun to finish the week with a laugh!!!

Did you ever walk into a room and forget why you walked in?
That’s how dogs spend their lives.

My Little Man!!!
My Little Man!!!
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• Q: Why was the hungry dog holding his tail?
• A: He was trying to make both ends meet!

• Q: What is the favourite destination of a dog?
• A: New Yorkie!

• Q: Why don't dogs make good dancers?
• A: Because they have two left feet!

Rigger and Obi

Until tomorrow – have fun!

Blog 20: So proud #goodkids

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Today was my first day back at one of my schools for Labs ‘n Life. I have been working at this school for the past four years and have had some great students. These are often students who don’t think about others. However today we started a new program. My old students have now become mentors. Which is fantastic. Some did it last year too, but this year I am challenging them once again. The final session is one on one work for them. They are working with the students from the special class. It was amazing to watch. The mentors were beautiful and the dogs were also fantastic. I was so proud of them!!! What was even better was the Principal was there to see it too. She now understands exactly what Labs ‘n Life can do. It takes kids who only think about themselves and turns them into caring and productive members of the community. It doesn’t happen over night and sometimes the road is bumpy. It does happen though. Simply because the dogs are the vehicle. The dogs give them all a focus that is not on themselves and what’s more the dogs never give up on a kid!!!! It was a great start and I know the students saw how much their work meant to the mentees. So much fun!!! Exhausting though, working with dogs and kids is certainly that. Worth every bit of energy, but you sleep well. Until tomorrow – fun!