Friday, February 17, 2012

Interview Friday with author Kasey Crawford Kellem

Kasey Crawford Kellem, a School Counselor and former Special Education Teacher, has devoted her life to helping children facing adversity be resilient. Kasey created Mind Over Matter (M.O.M.) books to teach children skills to overcome life’s challenges. She has earned a Bachelor’s Degree and Masters Degree in Special Education and an Educational Specialist Degree in Counseling. She is a devoted wife, stepmother, sister, daughter and counselor.

Kellem is touring her first book in the Mind Over Matter (M.O.M) Books, BELIEVE, which just released and is the first of five books emphasizing the important factors for resiliency. In this book, children will learn to BELIEVE in their possibilities.

You can get a sneak peek of the book BELIEVE and listen to an interview with Kasey Crawford Kellem at http://youtu.be/L_PPnSHXzzY.  The additional M.O.M Books are due to release soon later in 2012: LOVE; LAUGH; RELAX and DREAM.

VS: Kasey, it is wonderful to have you here with us today. Can you share what do you do to help balance your writing life with your family life?

Kasey: I usually work on my book and marketing for an average of 4 hours a day after work. My husband and I are pretty much empty nesters with college age kids, so I gratefully have a lot of time. I am very good with balancing time and making sure I work out each day, have down time with my husband and make time for my books after working all day.

VS: That is wonderful you have time each day to devote to your writing and marketing of your books. Many authors don’t have that. Now you’ve been working with kids for a long time, but how long have you been writing?

Kasey: Not long. I worked with my niece about 5 years ago in brainstorming for these books and then revisited them last March. I spent most of my summer writing the books.  I had Believe in print in about 8 months.

VS: I know you have wanted to teach resiliency to children and work with children as a counselor, I can see why. However, what inspired you to write?
                       
Kasey: I have been intrigued by resiliency since I began teaching. I even went back to college for another degree beyond my masters to study resiliency. I wanted to further my studies at the doctorate level to learn HOW to teach kids resiliency, but ran into some contractual roadblocks. I was still determined somehow to teach kids how to be resilient, so I later came up with the book idea.

VS: Having a writer in the home can be hard for a family since we keep strange hours and a lot of the time, it doesn’t really look like we are work. Is your family supportive of your writing?

Kasey: My husband is very supportive and often reminds me of how proud he is of me. I don’t think my father realized I was really going through with this until the books came out. I think he was quite surprised and proud. My sisters were great supporters throughout the entire process. My nieces and nephews were especially supportive and often asked to see my progress. I think the family was most impressed when they each received a framed illustration of the page I made for each of them. Each family member and close friend is in one of the five books. This really helped connect each of them with the purpose and mission of my books!

 VS: Can you share with us a little about your current book, BELIEVE?
           
Kasey: My book, BELIEVE, is not only a children’s book, but also a decoration. It has a unique shape and size, which allows it to stand up on its own and be utilized as a decoration on a shelf, desk or nightstand. It gives children ideas of what/who to believe. It also gives parents advice on how to help children to BELIEVE.

VS: What do you enjoy most about writing?

Kasey: It is very relaxing and allows me to use my brain and my creative side. Sometimes when I am at work, the paperwork stifles my thinking and creativity, so this is a nice outlet. Also, I feel like I am doing something good for others, which is my goal in life.

VS: Do you find it hard to balance your personal writing time with your other job as a counselor?

Kasey: Not at all. I am a school counselor and am home by 4 most days of the week. I have 6 hours to work on my books, work out and spend time with my family. I am blessed with time, which many people do not have. I am also fortunate to have summers and holidays off. Most of the books were completed in the summer. I worked daily on the books while making time to run my golf league, entertain at our pool and travel.

VS: Kasey, you have any other works in progress for the Mind Over Matter Books. Can you share a little about them?

Kasey: Yes, I wrote 5 books for this series. They are all a part of my Mind Over Matter (MOM) book collection. They all have the same format, whimsical illustrations and ability to serve as a decoration. The other resiliency books are entitled: Love, Laugh, Relax, and Dream. They are all pretty much completed. I just need to go into print with the next book.

VS: Kasey, what do you think are the basic ingredients of a good book?

Kasey: I personally feel the book should have a purpose or a message to make it meaningful. I think a person should be able to walk away from a book with more knowledge or a better understanding of themselves or others. A children’s book needs to have whimsical and vibrant illustrations and easy to read wording.

VS: Is there anything else you would like to share with us about being a “Writing Mama”?

Kasey: Follow your dreams! If you have had aspirations to write a book, do it! Start with writing blogs if you want to start smaller. Writing can be a nice stress reliever and outlet. Parents need to take care of themselves so they can take care of their children. Don’t make excuses like time, children, or household chores. Instead, make TIME! If you need to go to the library once a week to just get away and write, make those arrangements and just do it!


You can find out more about Kasey Crawford Kellem’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour schedule at http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com/KaseyKellem.aspx. There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more. Make sure to stop by and interact with Kellem and the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions. You will be entered into the main the Book Giveaway each time.

In addition, come listen on February 20, 2012 to Blog Talk Radio’s World of Ink Network show: Stories for Children at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/worldofinknetwork. The hosts VS Grenier and Irene Roth will be chatting with Kasey Crawford Kellem about her M.O.M Books, writing, helping children to be resilient and her experiences. The show airs live February 20, 2012 at 2pm EST. You can listen/call in at (714) 242-5259. (Note: if you can’t make the show, you can listen on demand at the same link.)

To learn more about the World of Ink Tours visit: http://worldofinknetwork.blogspot.com  

To purchase any of Kasey Crawford Kellem’s books, visit Halo Publishing: www.halopublishing.com

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