Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Special Interview with Author Linda Valderrama

Stories for Children Publishing has been touring Author Linda Valderrama R.D.H. and her book “BRUSH BARRY BRUSH” all month long in July 2011.

Linda Valderrama R.D.H. has over 25 years experience as a dental hygienist. She has treated patients from ages two to one hundred years old and has successfully developed preventative oral hygiene programs tailored to individual needs. Linda is a strong believer that good oral hygiene habits lead to good overall health and that these daily habits must be acquired early in life. She is working towards developing programs for schools, assisted living facilities and healthcare institutions to enable them to offer more effective oral hygiene programs.

Linda is a member of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, the California Dental Hygienists’ Association and the San Diego Dental Hygienists’ Society. Her book “Brush Barry Brush” is to help parents and young children work together to achieve the simple but very important goal that every time you eat, you should brush your teeth. 

VS: Linda, I want to thank you for being my guest here on The Writing Mama today. To start things off, what do you do to help balance your writing life with your family life?

Linda: It is not always easy. I am trying to set aside specific time either in the morning or the afternoon to work on my books.    

VS: I understand that answer. I still don't always get to my personal writing everyday. How long have you been writing?    

Linda: This is my first book. 

VS: You did a great job and you should be proud. What inspired you to write? 

Linda:Early child hood caries (cavities) is at a crisis level. 50% of young children have cavities before they reach second grade. It is one of the most prevalent chronic childhood diseases, yet it is mostly preventable! Since this is my area of expertise, I wanted to write a book that would get across the very simple idea that tooth brushing after eating is important and can be a key factor in preventing decay. Also, the book made sense because my patients are always asking me for tips to get their young children to brush their teeth. 

VS: Is your family supportive of your writing?  

Linda: Yes, both my son and daughter have encouraged me all along. 

VS: Can you share with us a little about your debut book? 

Linda: Every parent knows that brushing after eating prevents tooth decay. This book will         make teaching your child this basic yet very essential lesson a fun and enjoyable experience. All of Barry’s friends brush their teeth after they eat. Barry forgets to brush. That is when he encounters a problem.  His friends come to the rescue and Barry finally does end up with a sensational smile!

VS: What do you enjoy most about writing?

Linda: The positive effect it can have on children. 

VS: What is the most difficult part of writing? 

Linda: Getting started.  Coming up with the basic idea in the first place can be a challenge.

VS: What is the best writing advice you ever received?

Linda: Good things happen when you least expect them.

VS: Do you find it hard to balance your personal writing time with your other job(s)?

Linda: Sometimes, yes. There are only so many hours in a day.

VS: Do you have any other works in progress? Can you share a little about them?

Linda: Ready or not, I am working on a sequel to “Brush Barry Brush”. Since Barry still has more to learn, it will be a flossing adventure with the same group of friends.  Also I am working on a Spanish version of “Brush Barry Brush.”

VS: The world of children’s book publishing is extremely competitive, with many authors hesitating between trying their luck with a traditional publisher or self publishing. What advice would you offer writers who are oscillating between these two publishing venues?

Linda: I would say to check into everything. I would talk to as many authors who have already published as possible and then see what works better for your book and financial situation.

VS: What tips can you give writing parents with children at home to help them you’re your publication?

Linda: Even though your day is full and it is hard to find any free time for yourself, it is important to find that time, no matter what.  It sets a good example for your children, too.  As a role model, they see you set goals and continue to work towards those goals and “go for it!”

VS: What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?

Linda: For a read-aloud picture book like “Brush Barry Brush.” I worked toward something that would draw the reader in and stimulate their imagination. I think simplicity is also the best for young children. I have had no traditional training. I tried the story and characters out with children before I published. I changed the things that did not work.

VS: What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?

Linda: I patterned them after some of my children’s friends they had growing up. I made characters that deal with “real life” food. My whole point is that you do not have to deny yourself candy once in awhile or a jam sandwich on a camping trip. The key is moderation and of course to brush your teeth after eating whenever possible.

VS: Have you received any awards?

Linda: Yes, recently we won an award as a finalist in an International Book Awards competition. Also I was chosen to be a “spotlighted” author on review website, Midwest Book Review featured our book and  I was informed that our review has been made available to Wisconsin’s public school systems and public libraries and we are now in the “Book Review Index “that is published four times yearly for academic, corporate, and public library systems.
VS: Congrats Linda! Is there anything else you would like to share with us about being a “Writing Mama”?

Linda: I raised 2 children. I met my partner who illustrated the book, Sudi Memarzadeh at a bookstore one day.  She was there with her 3-year-old daughter and overheard me discussing the idea for “Brush Barry Brush” with my own kids. Although it is definitely more difficult time wise to juggle job, children and writing, still it gives you a treasure trove of experiences to draw upon! 

VS: I thank you for taking the time to share with my readers about being a writing mama.

Book Giveaway Rules:
One entry for each comment left per author virtual blog tour stop. (Must leave a real comment about the author, tour or book. Saying “this is cool” or “I love your book” will not count.) 
Make sure to include your safe email so we can contact you if you are the winner. 
Example: vsgrenier AT storiesforchildrenpublishing DOT com.

    Ask a question – get a bonus entry per author virtual blog tour stop.

Book Giveaway ends July 31, 2011


  1. Thank you for interesting questions, a great interview, and for hosting me today on your blog. Timewise it is certainly a challenge to raise children and maintain a career at the same time. Now my kids are grown. In retrospect it was definitely worth it!

  2. My pleasure Linda to have you here as a guest interview. I've enjoyed getting to know you and sharing your book 'Brush Barry Brush' with others.

  3. Enjoyed the interview. As I said at one of the other stops, I think this book should be in every dentist's waiting room.