Friday, October 22, 2010

Interview Friday with Connie Arnold


Connie Arnold is an author and poet residing in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with her husband, has two married children and three young grandsons. She is the author of three inspirational poetry books. Animal Sound Mix-up is her first published children’s book. Her writing appears in several anthologies, magazines and newsletters.


VS: Connie, I want to thank you for being my guest here on The Writing Mama today. I know being a parent and writer can be hard. I find myself asking if I am giving my three children enough attention throughout the day. So to start my first question is . . . what is a typical writing day like for you?

Connie: Since my children and grandchildren live far away, I don’t have the distraction of them needing my attention through the day, although I’d love to have much more of that! On a writing day, I usually begin first thing in the morning while I’m sitting at the dining room table with a banana and juice. That’s my most creative time. Sometimes I have notes that I’ve jotted on a note pad as they have come to me, and that helps get my thoughts focused on what I want to write. I will continue writing as long as it keeps flowing, then put it away and come back to it later in the day to see if I can add to or improve it. When I have something that I know I want to keep, I go to the computer, type and save it.

VS: That sounds like a smart idea. Is your family supportive of your writing?

Connie: They are very supportive. My husband encourages me to write and is great for bouncing ideas off him and providing input about what I’ve written, seeing things from a different perspective. My children encourage me through emails, phone calls, and when we are together. My grandchildren just love to have something read to them that Nana wrote!

VS: That’s great they support in every way that they can. What inspired you to write?

Connie: Moving to North Carolina was a big inspiration for my writing. Leaving my children and friends behind and coming to a new area where I didn’t know anyone left me with a hole that needed filling. My health wasn’t good enough to get a job, and the quiet time at home alone was a perfect time to let the creativity flow.

VS: Sounds kind of, like how I started writing. Expect it was because I become a stay at home mom. Now you just published your first children’s book, what made you decide to start writing for children?

Connie: Having grandchildren and reading books to them got me thinking about what sort of things they enjoy the most, and when I had some ideas, I started writing them. Thinking of the joy on their little faces when listening to a good book being read was a huge incentive to me!

VS: I think it’s great you found another genre you enjoy writing. You’re also a poet. Can you share a little about your poems?

Connie: The beauty surrounding me in this wonderful state inspired a growing love of writing poetry, sharing that beauty through my writing. As a musician, it was a good background for the type of lyrical, rhythmic and rhyming poetry I write. The poems are uplifting and positive, offering encouragement to the reader.

VS: I will have to check them out. I am not a very good poet myself, but I enjoy reading it. Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? If yes, how did you ‘cure’ it?

Connie: Yes, I think it happens to all writers sometimes! I just don’t try to write during those times because I’ve learned that when I try to force it, the writing is lacking. Instead, I try to do things that are inspiring and read things that keep my mind actively thinking along the lines of what I want to write. When the time is right and the inspiration is there, I write.

VS: I will have to try that next time I get stuck when writing. What was the first thing you ever had published?

Connie: Some of my early poetry was published in newsletters and a magazine called The Secret Place. My first book was a collection of poetry, Beautiful Moments of Joy and Peace, published in 2007.

VS: Can you share with us a little about your current book, “Animal Sound Mix-up”?

Connie: Can you imagine what it would be like if animals made totally unexpected sounds instead of the ones you expect them to make? That’s the crazy fun you can find in my new book! The illustrations by Kit Grady are bright, colorful and engaging. Guardian Angel Publishing is a wonderful publisher, and Animal Sound Mix-up fits nicely in their line of quality books for children.

VS: I really enjoyed your book when Stories for Children hosted you on your blog tour. It is a fun and very cute book. What type of book promotion works for you? Any special strategies you would like to share?

Connie: What works best for me is sharing some of my poetry online so people can read it and those who enjoy it are more likely to want my books. I have blogs for my poetry and for Animal Sound Mix-up, as well as websites for each. Sharing on Twitter and Facebook reaches many people. Doing readings and events where I can share from my books works very well. Guardian Angel Publishing, the publisher of Animal Sound Mix-up, had events last month in St. Louis where we shared our books with home school families at a children’s museum. I shared my book recently at a Fall Festival with a large group of preschoolers and their families. Being with people where they can see the books and experience what’s in them helps them to sell themselves.

VS: Some great advice for marketing. What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?

Connie: Thoughts float around in my mind for a while before they start taking shape and the right words come to me. I keep pencil and notepad handy, especially by the bed, since those middle of the night and early morning thoughts are often the best! Once I get the right beginning, I need to get it written down quickly and the rest can continue to pour out.

VS: I tend to use my voice recorder on my phone. It is always good to have something handy to get those ideas down. Do you have any other works in progress? Can you share a little about them?

Connie: I have two other poetry collections that I’m working on. One of them is almost finished and is mostly about the seasons. I have a couple of manuscripts that are hoping to become picture books, and another children’s book that I am in the process of signing a contract for with a different publisher. Hopefully, there will be good news to share in the near future!

VS: You will have to keep us posted. What would we be surprised to learn about you?

Connie: I received a music contract for a song I composed for my son’s wedding.

VS: Wow . . . and such a great surprise to learn about. What do you recommend my readers and I do with all those things we wrote years ago, but have never been able to bring ourselves to show anyone?

Connie: Get them out and read them again. Time can change your perspective, and you probably know much more about writing than you did then. Look for ways to improve what you’ve written, read it aloud to really get a feel for it, then find someone you trust to give an honest opinion about it and share. You may be pleasantly surprised and encouraged to keep working on it and submit it somewhere!

VS: I am going to print that and keep it next to my computer. Great words of advice. Is there anything else you would like to share with us about being a “Writing Mama”?

Connie: Pay attention to what your children say and do, and make notes about things they especially enjoy or that inspire you. If you’re like me, your memory will fail you when you had something perfect to write about if you don’t jot it down soon after it happens!

VS: Connie, thank you so much for taking the time to share with my readers about being a writing mama.

If you would like to learn more about Connie Arnold and her books, you can visit her websites.

Author website - http://www.conniearnold.webs.com
Children website - http://www.childrenbooks.webs.com
Inspirational poetry blog - http://conniearnold.blogspot.com
Children's author blog - http://childrensauthorconniearnold.blogspot.com

Links to purchase books:
Amazon (page showing all 4 of my books) - http://tinyurl.com/2fhjf2j
Guardian Angel Publishing (Animal Sound Mix-up) - http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/mix-up.htm
RPJ & Company (Abundant Comfort and Grace) -                 http://www.store.rpjandco.com

7 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing the interview, Virginia! If anyone has any questions for me, I'd be happy to answer them.

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  2. It's been great having you on my different blogs.

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  3. Hi Connie and Virginia,
    Great advice! Good luck with the new book, Connie.
    Sincerely
    Jan

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  4. Thanks so much for the great interview with Connie. Always love reading about my sweet friend.

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  5. nice work Connie, such great stuff-
    Kit

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