Today, I am joined by Carol Thomas – a successful author of women’s fiction/romance, who also writes for children. Her new book Being a A Friend at Christmas is now available and is absolutely delightful. A book that I will be putting in all the Christmas presents for the little ones in our family this year.
The book is beautifully illustrated, by Carol, and I am delighted to chat to this very talented author about her writing life.
Make sure you grab a copy of Being A Friend At Christmas for all the youngsters you know…
What inspired a successful writer of romance to create a children’s book?
I didn’t set out to write a children’s book, but my first, Finding a Friend, came to me almost fully formed. It was one of those moments, as a writer, you know you should note down. I had been reading my son a bedtime story, looked at a picture of him and our dog on his wall, and just started saying it. It then took just over a year to complete and publish the book, with the illustrations being done by the very talented Drew Bristow, an illustrator living in Brighton.
Being a Friend at Christmas, is the second in the Little Pup series, though each can be read as a standalone story. In this story, Little Pup is looking forward to his first Christmas in his new home, but he remembers the dogs he left behind in the shelter. He has a plan, but he needs Father Christmas’ help to make his wish come true. I can’t resist happy endings, maybe it’s the romance writer in me, but I knew I wanted to write this book soon after the first came out. It became a labour of love during lockdown, especially as I illustrated it too.
The illustrations are delightful – have you had any formal training?
That’s very kind of you. No, though for some time I doodled and kept sketchbooks, partly because I like drawing and find it relaxing, but also because it was encouraged as part of my teacher training. I must admit that having the illustrations in Finding a Friend as a guide helped and lockdown gave me the time I needed to practice and create the pictures.
What age group is the book marketed to?
It is written for under 7s. As a teacher, I wanted to write books that could be shared and enjoyed again and again. The text is purposefully rhythmic and rhyming to engage early readers, while little ones can join in and anticipate words and phrases. The illustrations are colourful and each story can inspire a conversation about the puppy’s thoughts and feelings.
The story and verse are charming, did it take long to put together?
For Being a Friend, I was writing to an idea and wanted to ensure I followed the same rhythm and rhyme scheme as Finding a Friend, and so it did take a little longer to complete. For a long time, I had most of it written but couldn’t make a couple of verses fit. I stepped away for a couple of months and returned to it afresh. I am thrilled with it now.
Going forward: Children v Adult writing – what do you prefer?
I enjoy both. Ruby Fiction, an imprint of Choc Lit, publishes my romance books, and so I have to prioritise time for them, but I also love creating children’s books, that I self publish. The process is different for each but ultimately rewarding.
Did you find the self-publishing process difficult?
I’d say challenging rather than difficult. There are still things to do with the process I’d like to be better at and to know more about but I am proud of what I’ve achieved. Being traditionally published too, I think it’s good to have the insight into both routes to publishing.
What can we expect from you next?
I am marketing Being a Friend at Christmas. I have a novel currently with my publisher, Choc Lit (fingers crossed they like it) and I am writing a Christmas novel that I hope will come out in 2021. I am crazily busy as I have also recently taken on a new teaching role working in year six, and, of course, must ensure I have quality time with my family and dog too – especially as they keep me sane!
About Being a Friend at Christmas (Little Pup book #2):
Little Pup’s looking forward to Christmas
and he knows just how lucky he’s been
because some dogs are still in shelters,
a warm home and best friend yet a dream.
Hoping a small gift of kindness,
will help them feel loved, not alone,
Little Pup has a wish that might come true,
when Father Christmas visits his home!
“A lovingly illustrated, and beautifully written, Christmas story you’ll want to share again and again!”
View the book trailer: https://youtu.be/q8Yhj7AfwPE
Purchase link: http://getbook.at/BAFAmazon
Finding a Friend (Little Pup book #1).
When Little Pup finds himself at the shelter,
he doesn’t know quite what to do.
Big dogs all around, feeling lost and alone,
Little Pup needs a friend… but who?
“A delightfully written and wonderfully illustrated picture book, with a heartwarming ‘tail’ of friendship.”
View the book trailer: https://youtu.be/66ypEpoNTd8
Purchase link: http://getbook.at/FAFAmazon
Carol Thomas writes for both adults and children: Her contemporary romance novels, have relatable heroines whose stories are layered with emotion, sprinkled with laughter and topped with irresistible male leads; while her children’s books have irresistibly cute, generally furry characters young children can relate to.
Its been an absolute pleasure to chat to Carol and don’t forget that you can purchase Being a Friend At Christmas now, I think it is a perfect book for children and not just at Christmas.
Happy reading everyone xx