Jan Britland is an author and artist. She lives in Punta Gorda, Florida with her husband Bill. They have a bulldog named Madison, a parrot named Lola, three red-eared slider turtles named Sparky, Luigi and hale. And last but not least Goldie a pond fish. All of whom are portrayed in her stories. When she is not writing Children's books, she teaches oil painting to adults.
VS: I want to thank you for being my guest here on The Writing Mama today, Jan. To get things started, what do you do to help balance your writing life with your family life?
Jan: When my children were young, I was a single parent. When I wrote, I wrote my notes and ideas down and put them in the drawer. Then I needed an even bigger drawer. I never had time to even think of getting published. Now there are so many ways to get published. None of those early stories have been published.
VS: How long have you been writing?
Jan: I have been writing stories down all my life. But I never took it seriously or had the time to even think of getting published.
Jan: I am very creative and have always had a vivid imagination I supposed it was inevitable the two would come together.
VS: What is a typical writing day like for you?
Jan: I don’t write like other people. I get the idea in my head and the rhyme starts rolling. I either have to write it down or tape it on a recorder for later. Because I write children’s picture books, age pre-school through first grade, it usually doesn’t take too long.
VS: Is your family supportive of your writing?
Jan: My granddaughter and her new husband came to help me film a Rodger Dodger Dog YouTube video at Best Friends at Walt Disney World while on their honeymoon. It is truly a family affair at this point. When I do school appearances, my daughter gets in the Rodger Dodger costume and plays the part as I read.
VS: What was the first thing you ever had published?
Jan: The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog, a three story picture book. It follows the adorable Rodger Dodger Dog as he meets a new friend up a tree, saves a stranded fish at the beach and as he battles the dreaded flea. Written in rhyme with colorful action-packed illustrations children love it.
Jan: I am always coming up with new stories for The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog. There are 20 stories written with six in print in 4 books. I also have other stories with other characters that have not yet been published.
VS: What do you enjoy most about writing?
Jan: When I write the stories play like colorful cartoons in my head. I just start writing what I see. Sometimes the end is a surprise even to me. It is very entertaining.
VS: What is the most difficult part of writing?
Jan: For me because of how my stories just pop into my head and I have to run with them, it’s the time factor. I don’t want to stop mid-stream for fear I will lose the connection.
VS: What is the best writing advice you ever received?
Jan: Never give up! Never listen to people who say you can’t do it. Just follow your heart and believe in your work.
VS: Do you find it hard to balance your personal writing time with your other job?
Jan: I teach Bob Ross oil painting to adults so I don’t have a nine-to-five job. I can usually take the time to write something down when I have to.
Jan: On my way home from a recent trip to N.J. for school appearances and book signings, while on the plane I started thinking about Rodger and his pals on an airplane taking their first trip. I have it written down but not typed yet. I also have several other stories that haven’t been published.
VS: What tips can you give writing parents with children at home to help them see publication?
Jan: Write what you can when you can. When you are through get a good editor and have it edited. When you are finished get a book consultant. They are the people who will review your work and tell you what you need to do next. They may be the down-sized editors of the publishers you may want to submit your manuscript to. They know the market and will be able to advise you what to do next.
VS: What do you think are the basic ingredients of a good book? What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours? (answer only if your book is fiction)
Jan: You need a beginning, middle and an end. I know this sounds funny, but I have read several children’s books that are just illustrations and words on a page. It makes it very confusing to the children. The story must continue to move forward. Your characters need to be well defined.
VS: Is there anything else you would like to share with us about being a “Writing Mama or Dad”?
Jan: Just keep writing. Don’t ever give up! You can also contact me at www.rodgerdodgerdog.com
There is also the “Help Rodger Find His Friend Game” on the site. The children can click on the hiding friend and an animal fact will pop up about that particular friend.
Rodger Dodger also has a Facebook fan page where children can see where the Traveling Rodger’s are. They have been to China, Costa Rica, across the United States. One of them is traveling to Lochelly, Scotland as we speak.
The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog, 1st. Book Trailer
You can find out more about Jan Britland’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour schedule at http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com/RodgerDodger.aspx. There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more. Make sure to stop by and interact with Britland and the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions.
In addition, come listen to Blog Talk Radio’s World of Ink Network show: Stories for Children at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/worldofinknetwork. The hosts VS Grenier, Kris Quinn Chirstopherson and Irene Roth will be chatting with Jan Britland about her books, writing, the publishing industry and experiences with virtual tours. Britland will also be sharing writing tips and trials, and tribulations of the writer’s life. The show will be live November 28, 2011 at 2pm EST.