Did you always want to be a writer?
I think I was born with a pen in my hands. I grew up in west Ukraine, which was then part of the Soviet Union, and I lived on a farm in a small village nestled in the beautiful Carpathian Mountains until I was sixteen. Growing up without TV or toys, I learned to read by the age of four, but I had no children’s books to read.
My parents were peasants, preoccupied with one thought—how to feed their children. Buying books was not on their list of things to do. Left without books, I read my father’s newspapers and wrote on cartons, cardboard boxes, stable walls, old magazines, or just in my head, until one day I discovered a tiny village library. Then books became a huge part of my life.
The village library had a few worn-out children’s books, most of them without illustrations. To satisfy my hunger for reading, I reread these books many times. Soon there were no children’s books in the library that I had not read. Annoying the librarian, I asked for thick books meant for serious readers. She did not mind, and I started reading everything I could carry home. Memorizing words, phrases, and pages, I felt as if I were living in a different world, one that was free, brighter, and kinder.
At six, I wrote my first poem. I loved how words made me feel. Beautifully swirling in my head, looking for freedom, they created amazing pictures, providing comfort and escape. Writing, I learned to block out the harsh reality of the life I was born into. My fantasies took me to the heights, where no one could reach me, and to places which belonged only to me. My imagination made me forget about the unfair world around me, the toys I never had, and food I did not know existed.
In high school, I showed my writing to my father, hoping he would support my dream of becoming a journalist. He looked at my notebooks and said, “Forget about writing. You cannot feed yourself with books. Go where the food is.” It was harsh but fair advice. As a farmer’s daughter, I had a slim chance of following my dream and becoming a writer. The Soviet Union was very corrupt, run by one party. Without connections and money, there was no way I could enter a prestigious college and find decent work.
I entered Lviv Business College and tried to make it on my own in the big city. After I finished college, I worked in the food industry, but I never lost my passion for reading and writing. I wrote many poems and short stories in both Ukrainian and Russian, hoping that one day I could publish them. Sadly, that day never arrived.
After the Soviet Union crumbled, I left Ukraine with my two little daughters and immigrated to the USA. Allowed to bring two bags each, I packed family pictures and some clothing for the children, and left behind my thick notebooks with endless notes written over the years.
When we arrived in New Jersey, I stopped writing and concentrated on my new language and life. Once in a while, nostalgia for writing overwhelmed me and I wrote sad poems, sending them to my mother. Reading her letters, I could see spots where her tears had fallen. Struggling to make it in a new country, I buried my desire for writing and wrote only in my head or made up stories for my children.
For many years, my need for writing would not let me sleep. One beautiful morning, I pulled out my daughter’s old computer and with two fingers started typing my first story, “The Little Girl Praying on the Hill.” This story has many emotional ties to my early childhood. It reminded me of how happy I was when I wrote my first poem on a piece of old newspaper. It rekindled the fire inside me. Luckily, I never suffered from writer’s block, and I kept writing as often as I could. My imagination never betrayed me either. In my heart, I am still the same little girl with a huge hunger for fantasies. As long as I can look at the world through the eyes of a child, I will write children’s books.
Wow! That is quite the journey your life has taken. I am glad you found your way back to writing. What inspires you to write?
I often think of what inspires authors to write good books. Countless little things can inspire a writer to write a great story or poem. Inspiration is amazing, and a good writer knows how to convey it to readers. For some writers the inspiration lasts for a split second, and for others it can last a lifetime. When I read well-written phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or stories, I relive the author’s inspiration. Each of us carries an untold story, waiting for its time. Life itself provides beautiful inspiration; we just have to look around us.
You have written quite a few books, how do you find the time. Do you have a daily writing routine/schedule?
I do not write just to write. I do not write to create a few thousand words each day. I write when I feel, when emotions slowly transform themselves into words and then quickly overload my mind, forming sentences and paragraphs, until I let them out. I write when I am in a happy, sad, angry, or melancholy mood, or just have something to say or share with the reader. I do not like to write under pressure. I write because writing has been a part of me for so long that I feel as if we have become inseparable friends who cannot live without each other. For me, writing is rewarding, almost therapeutic. It consumes all my bad energy, making me feel alive and vibrant. It is as if I escape to a beautiful oasis, where I can reconnect with my soul.
Any tips for new authors?
When a story is told, it is not forgotten. I strongly believe that the best stories live inside each of us. Look around and write! Let your stories see the world! Use your imagination and make your story uniquely yours. Write what you know, write what you feel, write what you love, write because you want to.
When you are ready to publish your book, do your homework and make sure your book is professionally edited. Create a professional-looking book, one which will not get lost among the millions of poorly published books. Make your book one that you would want to buy for yourself or for your child. If you are a children’s writer, forget your age and envision your book as children would. Get involved in each illustration. Nobody knows and feels your book better than you do.
Writing is an easy task; publishing and marketing is a business. These days, an author must also be a smart businessperson. To be a self-publishing author, you will have to learn every aspect of publishing. Lastly, when you publish your book, you will wish that the day had 48 hours, because there will be no time left for writing. Writers today must be very business oriented and be devoted to social media to promote their books. So do not quit your day job yet. Wait until you become famous.
What is the current book(s) you are promoting?
Currently, I’m working on many projects, including several new children’s books and short stories. I love to write children’s stories, but I also love to write in different styles. I just finished my first short story, The Little Girl Praying on the Hill. Now I am working on a new book, A Taste of Bread. I have also written many children’s stories, which are awaiting their turn to be published. English is a second language for me, and it takes me much longer to correct my writings before I submit them to the editor.
I am very happy to announce that I just received the first printed copy of my new book The City Kittens and the Old House Cat, a beautifully illustrated, heartwarming Christmas book about sharing and giving.
This year I am publishing four new children’s books:
Good Morning, World! A happy and uplifting story about Baby Thomas and his grandpa. Baby Thomas wants to hug and embrace a beautiful world full of amazing things, but Grandpa takes the world very seriously. They see the same picture, but each takes a different approach. In this book, young readers will easily connect to the wonders of nature and unforgettable characters, playfully interacting with each other.
Too Many Rules for One Little Mouse is the first in a series of books on the adventures of Carlo the mouse. Clever, curious, and very impatient, Carlo dreams of the world outside the hospital. His parents teach him how to follow the rules and how to survive on his own, but Carlo’s insatiable desire for adventure constantly gets him in trouble.
Now We’re Talking is the second book in the series on Carlo’s adventures. This nosy little mouse leaves home for the first time to explore life inside the hospital. Before he knows what’s up, the kitchen staff are on his tail.
What’s Going On? is the third installment of the adventures of Carlo the mouse. Carlo knew he was not supposed to go near the manager’s office, but when the kitchen staff were chasing him, he made a choice that started a war.
WORKS IN PROGRESS
Carlo the Mouse—A full series of new books. This series of enchanting books is an entertaining look into the life of a little mouse born inside a hospital’s walls. His insatiable desire for adventure gets him in constant trouble with the exterminator, the head cook, Fidel the cat, and the hospital manager, who becomes his worst nightmare.
Who Is Most Important in the Fridge? These fun rhyming stories introduce young readers to delightful food characters with goofy personalities, real feelings, passions and fears, who always disagree with each other about who will feed a hungry little girl first.
The Mysterious Life Inside a Closet. A humorous story about the mysterious life inside the closet and a curious little kitten, which sneaks inside the closet and causes mayhem.
The Royal Palm. A teaching story about a snobby silver palm, which learns a valuable lesson and the meaning of real friendship.
Runaway Clothes. An instructional story about a little girl who didn’t like to take care of her clothes and toys. In the end, she learns how easy it is to lose something you love.
The Autumn Wind. A moving story about the powerful wind and the peaceful garden, and how things change quickly when the callous autumn wind unleashes its power.
That Is How Things Are. A beautiful story about friendship between a kitten and a sparrow, and how the little kitten learns about the power of nature.
To order paperback or hardcover copies of my published books, please visit Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, or my website, www.mrsdbooks.net. E-book versions are also available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Apple.
Can you describe your main character(s) for us?
One of my children’s books, The Trees Have Hearts, occupies a special place in my heart. This is an entrancing story of a young girl who was friendless because she could not speak a new language. She lived in an old house with a small garden, where three trees and the mysterious wind became her first imaginary friends.
The garden friends developed a wonderful friendship with the lonely girl, and they helped her overcome her fears and worries. Through the story, they taught her how to make real friends and helped her cope with difficult moments while adapting to new surroundings.
The unforgettable characters here open a beautiful imaginary world to young readers, inviting them to share the fears, tears and joys of a little girl. The story teaches the true meaning of friendship while showing readers the beauty of nature. This book opens an unknown imaginary world through the eyes of a child.
Ok, now to my favorite part... a quick glimpse into you and your favorites. :)
Favorite Book? Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak.
Favorite Author? Romain Rolland.
Favorite Food? Bread.
Favorite Sport? Figure skating.
Favorite Quote? “We were born to succeed, not to fail.” ~Henry David Thoreau
Favorite Car/Truck? Any car that gets me to my destination is my favorite.
Card Game or Board Game? Monopoly.
Beach or Mountains? Both! I grew up in the mountains, dreaming about the ocean. Now I live by the ocean and dream about the mountains.
Hot or Cold? Hot!
Book or Kindle? Definitely a book!
Shoes or Sandals? Crazy about shoes!
Walk or Ride? I enjoy walking.
Early Bird or Night Owl? Night is purer than day; it is better for thinking, loving, and dreaming. I am a night owl.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Stop your busy life for a moment and take time with your child. Close your eyes and go to a special place, where everything is simple and pure. Cuddle with your child on the green grass or golden sand … stare at the beautiful blue sky … listen to the splashing waves … spin around in a blooming garden or talk to the whispering wind. Look around you and see what is important in life and to your child.
Stop and breathe. Be a child for a moment. Dive into the imaginary world of children, where you can hide in the shadows of blossoming trees. Do not lose this precious time together. Our children grow up so fast, and I believe these special moments are given to us for a reason. Hug your children every chance you get; reassure them that they are loved. They have their worries and fears, ideas and solutions, just as we do. Right or wrong, our children need us to understand their imaginary world and to be present in their dreams. Try to listen and hear what they are hearing and see what they are seeing. Love simple things with an open heart, and you will receive unconditional love. Teach your children, lead them through their life, but let them run free in their imaginary kingdom.
Where can people find you? Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, please list all links
Mrs. D. Facebook pages
Carlo the Mouse FB page
Twitter:@MRSDBOOKS and @CARLOTHEMOUSE
Where can people buy your books? Please list links
Amazon Author’s page
Thank you so much for talking with me today. I feel like I know so much more about you, and am looking forward to your upcoming books.