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

Author Interview: Meet Darlene Foster on A Better World of Books #kidlit #childrensauthor #authorinterview

thDarlene Foster is a writer of children’s stories, a retired employment counsellor, an ESL tutor, a wife, mother and grandmother. Her grandson once gave her the nickname “super-mega-woman-supreme.” Darlene was brought up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where she dreamt of traveling the world and meeting interesting people. Her book series for children follows the heroine Amanda Ross as she travels throughout the world and learns the history and culture of faraway places.

 Darlene, thank you so much for being a guest on “A Better World of Books!” Please tells us a little about the inspiration for your character Amanda Ross.

Amanda Ross is the twelve-year-old I would have liked to be. I had a wonderful rural upbringing but my world was limited and I was bored. My grade three teacher taught us about faraway places which sparked my interest in traveling the world and experiencing these places myself. Much later, as an adult, I took a trip to the United Arab Emirates and was fascinated by the culture, the people, the landscape and the food. I thought about how I would have felt if I had visited such an amazing place as a young person and began to write a story from the point of view of a twelve-year-old. Children view the world from a different perspective. Everything is fresh, new, and exciting. They are not yet jaded. Oh, to be a child again! For me, writing books for children, and the young at heart, is the next best thing.

You shared with me your “hope that children will read [your] books and become more tolerant of our differences.” Can you provide one or two moments from your books when your character Amanda learns about tolerance and unity through diversity?

By traveling to other places in the world, Amanda embraces the cultural differences and learns that basically people are all the same. She befriends local people wherever she goes and is always eager to help, often putting herself in danger. In England, she makes friends with a couple of tough street kids, in Germany a homeless musician, and in the UAE a princess avoiding an arranged marriage. In New Mexico, she shares a room with a classmate with mental health issues. Amanda learns through her travels that outward appearances can be deceiving.

In Holland, Amanda visits the Anne Frank house and is moved to tears as she becomes aware of the devastating effects of intolerance. Even her friend, Leah, who on the surface appears to be less caring than Amanda, is affected and shares a story of standing up against racial prejudice in her school in England. I think it is important that these atrocities are not forgotten by the younger generations.

One reviewer of Amanda in England: The Missing Novel stated, “In this story, Amanda makes some new and interesting friends and there is a subtle message about not judging a person by how they look and speak, which I liked.” – Robbie Cheadle

It sounds like Amanda is learning valuable lessons on being a compassionate person during her travels. On your website, you write, “I believe everyone has a right to dream and everyone has the capability to make their dreams come true.” What is Amanda’s dream and has it come true?

Amanda’s dream was to travel. In the first book, Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask, she wished for travel and adventure before she blew out the candles on her twelfth birthday cake. The next day, she received a ticket in the mail to visit her aunt and uncle in the United Arab Emirates. That dream did come true and inspired her to do more traveling. She saved up her babysitting money and weekly allowance in order to visit Leah in Spain and England. She invites Leah to visit her in Canada and both families take a trip down the Danube. Her dreams of visiting other countries have certainly come true, but sometimes they become nightmares as she attempts to help other people and gets herself into dangerous situations. However, that doesn’t stop her from helping people, or animals, in trouble.

How wonderful that Amanda never gives up trying to make the world a better place. What is your own dream for a “Better World?”

My dream for a better world is for everyone to get along in spite of cultural, religious, and political differences, enabling all children to feel safe and cared for. I know I am not alone in this dream.

You are definitely not alone. I believe you’ve written seven Amanda Ross adventures so far! Is there a fan favorite among the series? If so, what do you think makes that adventure stand out among the others?

I seem to have sold more of Amanda in Spain: The Girl in the Painting. I’m not sure why that is. There is a lot of action in the book and Spain is a diverse and intriguing country. A young girl, who looks a lot like a girl in a famous painting, needs help to rescue her precious pony from nasty horse kidnappers. Amanda, an animal lover, is only too eager to help her. One reviewer stated, “Amanda in Spain is a book for the young and the young-at-heart. Vivid descriptions of the country and its customs, humorous details, and enough tension that keeps you turning the page, make this a very enjoyable reading.” – Christa Polkinhorn

That certainly does sound like an exciting adventure! Can you give us a hint as to where Amanda will go next and what she might encounter along the way?

Amanda will be going to Malta next where she will encounter a fascinating land with a colourful history, ancient temples, prehistoric artifacts and unpleasant people shooting endangered birds. Leah is in trouble and Amanda is desperate to help her best friend.

Oh, if I could choose one place in the world that I could go to, aside from Egypt, it would be Malta! I’m looking forward to Amanda’s adventure there. I wonder, if  there was one “superpower” that you could endow upon each child at birth, what would it be?

My first response was to grant them the inability to hate. But, children already have that at birth. It’s the influence of others that give them the ability to hate. Perhaps the “superpower” would be to be able to eradicate hate and evil without the use of violence. By the next generation, hate would be gone and all children would be safe from harm. What a wonderful world that would be.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to be interviewed on your wonderful blog.

And thank you, Darlene! I couldn’t agree more with your vision for the world. 

If you would like to learn more about Darlene and her heroine Amanda, please visit her social media pages below:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Website

Blog

Goodreads

Amazon author page

“It’s never the differences between people that surprise us. It’s the things that, against all odds, we have in common.” – from the book Short, by Holly Goldberg Sloan

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