Meet author Annika Perry and her love of writing on “A Better World of Books” #authorinterview

annika-perryAnnika Perry is an award-winning author, blogger and book reviewer. She has two books in print and is working on a third. I asked Annika to be a guest for A Better World of Booksafter I learned about the release of her childrens book, Oskars Quest. Bette Stevens, a reviewer of the book, had this to say about it, In this beautifully illustrated childrens book, author Annika Perry captures the importance of caring for others, overcoming fears and making new friends.

 

Annika, thank you for being a guest for A Better World of Books.Can you tell our readers how you came up with the idea for Oskars Quest?

Alethea, I am delighted to be here and thank you so much for inviting me on to your blog. I’m loving your insightful questions and I have enjoyed reflecting over my books, writing and characters.

Initially, Oskar’s Quest was a story I told my son at bedtime many years ago. The story developed over several nights and it became one of his (and my) favourites. For a couple of years, I would tell him the story, embellishing certain elements, removing others. As my son started to read books himself at nighttime, Oskar’s Quest was nearly, but not quite forgotten. Upon the advice of my mother (eternal thanks for everything!), I wrote down the story to save it.

Last year I revisited Oskar’s Quest and after much rewriting and editing I crafted the book as it is today!

What a wonderful gift for your son. Can you tell us who Oskar is and how his questbegins?

Initially swept away by the thought of adventures, Oskar joins the other birds to look for dragons but he is overcome by fear and turns for home. In a tumultuous storm, he finds himself on a mysterious island in need of help. Much to his surprise, he volunteers to rescue Maya the golden songbird from the formidable clouds. So, his quest begins …

Sounds like he has quite the adventure ahead! Is Oskar, or any of your other fictional characters, inspired by someone you know? If so, can you tell us what drew you to use real-life characters as models for your fiction? Or, are they all completely made up?

Oskar is all of us! Within each of us resides fear and doubt. That voice, whether quiet and niggling, or loud and controlling! I wanted to portray these emotions through an animal and came up with the idea of Oskar. As Oskar finds his courage, I wanted to empower children to look within themselves to find their inner strength. I always believe we are much stronger than we ever imagine.

In my collection of short stories, The Storyteller Speaks, a couple of stories are loosely based on my grandparent’s lives. Their strength, honesty and love influenced me tremendously and I hope to do them proud in my own life and through my writings. Although both have passed away I feel their love and care around me, at times almost hearing their chuckles, as they comment upon our lives.

The majority of the characters in my writings are made-up, sometimes based around real-life events but the protagonists are creations of my imagination and it is pure magic to bring ‘life’ to these fictional beings.

I love that you aim to empower children through your words. I’m curious why you chose Oskar to be a bird, and not a human or mammal, or even a fishWhy a bird?

I have always been drawn to birds, their sense of freedom in their flight. Birds also symbolise so much which I hold dear; not only freedom, peace, and harmony, but also empowerment, purity, and elegance. These are all qualities I hoped to convey with Oskar whilst reflecting upon his indomitable spirit. We all need to remember we can rise above our adversities in life, in whatever form they may take.

Such wonderful symbolism! In your childrens book animals talk as well as plants. It makes for a delightful read while opening a childs mind to wonderment. As a child, did you ever find yourself imaging that nature was talking to you? Or perhaps it did

Alethea, my childhood books made a huge impact on me and I have always enjoyed ones with talking animals and plants. To me, it seemed normal and I absorbed the stories wholeheartedly! Alas, at no stage has any animal or plant talked to me … yet! Or perhaps they have, and I just failed to understand their language! I often had long ‘conversations’ with my guinea pigs and from their noisy squeaks, I imagined their exciting adventures!

That rather sounds like your guinea pigs were doing their best to converse with you. I wonder, what is your favorite character you have ever created, and why?

Oh, this is a tricky one, Alethea! Obviously, Oskar is one of my favourite characters and he will always have a special place in my heart.

In The Storyteller Speaks there are so many varied and wonderful characters, and for me one in particular stands out.

Karin in “The Whiteout Years” is portrayed through the eyes of her husband Carl. She is a person who lived life to the fullest, her spirit at times too large for this world. Outwardly tough, she was vulnerable, and Carl could see through her being to her inner core. Even in death, her love knows no bounds as she reaches out to save the life of Carl

It sounds like Karin is a force of great strength. If you, yourself, could change anything about the world, what would it be?

I would strive for the elimination of hatred through kindness and understanding. The force of hatred from so many in society feels overwhelming at times. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels as if they’re drowning in all the negativity and anger. The world is the most astonishing place, its very existence miraculous. What a damming indictment upon humankind that so much energy is directed towards evil instead of goodness, warmth, and love towards each other.

Unfortunately, I have begun to despair that much will change. However, I strongly believe in the ‘butterfly’ effect and that every positive action will ripple out into the world and have some significance even if in the minutest of forms.

I too believe that small, positive actions can change the world in unknown ways. Can you give us a hint at future writing projects? What can your readers expect next from you?

I never stop writing and I have a couple of bigger writing projects on the go which I hope to bring to publication this year! One is finishing my novel, Island Girl, which has been delayed as I worked on my other books. I look forward to returning full-time to the book, editing, rewriting, and polishing before it is fully ready.

Meanwhile, my love for short stories is unfettered and I’m currently working on a short story idea which intrigued me as it is based entirely on dialogue. It’s challenging and hugely enjoyable creating a fictional world through speech alone.

My notebooks, both paper and digital ones, are crammed full of ideas for stories, novels and children’s books … I can’t see myself ever stopping this writing lark!

That’s good news for your readers! If you wish to learn more about Annika and her writing, you can find her at: 

 

Annika’s Blog

Twitter

Annika-Perry-Author.com

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads

Linkedin

 

 

Are you an author with a vision for a better world? Do you have a published book of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction that uplifts and empowers readers to create a more positive inner and outer environment? If so, I’d love to hear more about it. On a “Better World of Books,” I interview authors and review books of all genres that offer a vision for a better world. If you think your work is a part of this vision, please contact Alethea

Meet Author Sarah Woodard on a Better World of Books #AuthorInterview

74453234_399629280711774_2903981337633357824_n.pngSarah Woodard is an author, podcaster, animal lover & communicator, vegan, Reiki Master Teacher, Certified Shamanic Practitioner, and woman on a mission. Her mission is to create a world in which all beings are respected and honored. To accomplish this, she writes books for kids and adults that encourage connection to self, soul, and the environment, lives an eco-friendly, vegan lifestyle & encourages others to do the same. She offers healing for pets and their people along with book coaching services.

Hi Sarah, thank you for being a guest on a Better World of Books! Can you begin by telling us how and why you became an author with a mission?

Hi Alethea! Thanks for having me. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to write. In fourth grade, I wrote an essay about why I want to be a writer and got to interview a local children’s author, Dorothy Marshall-Noke.

Like most of us, my life took a lot of twists and turns while I honed in on my path. Over time, it became clear that I have a unique perspective, one which made shamanism my spiritual path. With that, my connection to spirit became deeper and I realized that my path to creating change in the world is with words. I write for kids and adults based on what spirit gives me.

You have written, I believe, five books for children so far. Is there a common theme that unites them all?

That number keeps growing. I think there’s currently 5 or 6 on the market. I’ve got one with my illustrator, and about 8 or 9 “on deck” for him. And I plan to keep going. Richard Scarry, who was one of my childhood favorites, wrote 300 books. I’d like to match him in quantity, quality, and importance.

That being said, a common theme is change, and accepting it. Another one that will be more prevalent in the near future is being aware of one’s decisions and how they impact the world. Also upcoming, animal rights and the environment. I’m taking on some big stuff!

Your children’s books are what one might call picture books. Are they written for a particular audience, and if so why?

Although they’re picture books suitable for children, I believe adults can and do learn a lot from them as well. Therefore, my audience is anyone who’s interested in becoming their best selves and creating a beautiful world.

If you could choose one of your characters that is most like yourself. Which one would it be and why?

I love this question! Thus far, I’d say definitely Amber from Amber’s Sick Day. And I think my illustrator knew it (though I didn’t tell him) because she even looks like me, I think. Her story is about using change in a positive way, and I feel like transformation and change have been key elements in my life. I didn’t always love them, but I’ve learned to embrace them as an opportunity, just like Amber does in the book.

What are some of your inspirations for your stories and characters?

In a word, life. I know that maybe sounds simplistic, so I’ll explain. My writing process looks like this: something grabs me; be it a story in the news, a post on social media, whatever. I then say to the Universe, “hey, if it’s in my path, I’d love to write a book about this.” Most of the time, the book shows up in ways I didn’t expect. Sometimes it starts with a character name (like Molly Meow in a not-yet-released book about Trap-Neuter-Return). Other times, I get the story and no name (like the upcoming Carlos Makes a Discovery). In both cases, once I get the “nudge” I sit down, open (we call it the hollow bone in shamanism), and allow Spirit to use me as a vessel.

After the initial “dump,” I edit it, ask for missing info (like a name if it didn’t come through at first), and send it to my proofreader for her thoughts. Based on her feedback, I may change, add, remove, etc. as necessary. Once that’s done, it sits on deck until my illustrator is ready.

You’re also an author of books for adults. Can you tell us how your books serve to guide your adult audience as they navigate the challenges of life?

I am! Right now, my adult books cover two genres: spiritual self-help and poetry. The spiritual self-help books focus on mindful living and connecting with spirit guides. They’re workbooks, so readers can easily go through the process in their own time. My poetry book (more in process) was easily the most emotionally difficult thing I’ve ever written, but in a good way. My hope is that it touches people in their core; makes them think, and hopefully change for the better.

If there was one thing you could change about the world we live in, what would it be?

Gosh! This one is tough. There’s so much I’d like to see changed, but when it comes down to it, I think ALL the stuff that bugs me boils down to one thing: as a whole we don’t view all beings as worthy of respect and love. When I say beings, I mean humans, animals, insects, plants, rocks, etc. Everything we share the planet with.

So, if I could change one thing, it would be that – that everyone would view all beings as worthy of respect and love.

I think Sarah’s vision for the world sounds quite wonderful. If you’d like to connect with Sarah and her books, you can find her on:

Facebook
YouTube
Instagram
Amazon

 

Are you an author with a vision for a better world? Do you have a published book of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction that uplifts and empowers readers to create a more positive inner and outer environment? If so, I’d love to hear more about it. On a “Better World of Books,” I interview authors and review books of all genres that offer a vision for a better world. If you think your work is a part of this vision, please contact Alethea