I am pleased to welcome author, Erica Graham as my guest this week. She is a speech-language pathologist, and author of a book series titled "Talking Tales." These books are designed to help with speech development, and each one centers on one core sound in the English language.
What inspired you to write your first book?
When children are learning to speak, they first observe how words sound. This helps them develop an understanding of speech sounds as they learn to talk. Many times when we are working on encouraging speech development or correcting speech sounds, speech-language pathologists will use word lists. However, many parents report difficulty finding time or difficulty getting their children to attend to word lists at home. I wanted to combine my knowledge as a speech-language pathologist with my love for writing to create a fun way for children and their caregivers to work on speech development and promote literacy. I also wanted to ensure that these books contained fun story lines that could be enjoyed by children who are not working on their speech. Each book targets a specific speech sound in the English language.
Were there any special challenges in writing for children? Is there a specific age group that your books are intended for?
The greatest challenge is creating a story with a purpose that is also
engaging. Each of my books is geared toward a specific sound in the English language. Since different sounds develop at various ages, I have written each book to be appropriate for the ages in which that sound typically develops. Therefore, my books range from birth-8 years.
What books have most influenced your life?
Wow, this is a challenging question. I cannot pick just one or even a couple of books that have influenced my life. There were many books, especially during my high school and college years that allowed me to escape reality at some very needed times.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
There have been quite a few independent authors that I have enjoyed reading books from recently. Once again, this is a difficult question to narrow down since there have been so many. Since I am a children’s author, I try to feature new and interesting children’s books on my Facebook author page.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Sometimes I come up with a story idea that I believe will excite young readers. Before proceeding with publishing a book, I always refer my books to a test audience of children and adults. I sometimes find that ideas I liked are not as entertaining to my readers and have learned the importance of beta readers in the publishing process.
Where do you get ideas for your books?
The ideas for my books often come at the least expected times. A book can be inspired by anything from a conversation, to playing with my children, to a random thought at a random time. I always carry a notebook and pen with me because I never know when a new idea will pop in my head.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I always start writing and illustrating sessions with a cup of hot tea which often serves as more of a prop. Especially when the stars align and my creative juices are flowing.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
The biggest fear that many new authors have is the fear of how others will respond to their books, or even worse, not respond at all. I can completely relate to this fear. In fact, this was the biggest hurdle that I had to overcome when releasing my books. My advice to new authors is this. It is scary to not have a firm knowledge of how your books will be received, but it is even scarier to never discover what they could be and who they could reach. Keep writing!
What book are you introducing to us today? How did you come up with the title?
My most recent release is Talking Tales: Puppy’s Bubble. This story was inspired while my children and I were outside coloring with sidewalk chalk. One of them asked me to draw a puppy and as I finished the last lines, the idea for Puppy’s Bubble was born. Unlike my other books, Puppy’s Bubble focuses on multiple sounds. These are the earliest occurring sounds in the English language and promote babbling and early words.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Do not leave your illustrations sitting out when a toddler is nearby; especially when that toddler has access to crayons.
Please share an excerpt from the book.
This is the intro for the book. This book targets ages 0-3 and children who are learning early words and sounds.
“When Puppy woke up from a nap, he saw a bubble.
Puppy hopped up. The bubble was gone. Where did the bubble go?”
Talking Tales: Puppy’s Bubble Blurb:
When Puppy wakes up from a nap, he sees a bubble. When it disappears, Puppy begins his long journey to find the missing bubble. Will Puppy find the bubble, or has it vanished forever? This engaging story is a fun way to read to little ones while promoting babbling, early words and language skills. It provides over 90 examples of some of the earliest developing sounds in their most common word positions including "p", "b", "m", "n", "d" and "h". This book also includes tips for encouraging speech development.
An excellent way of helping children improve on their speech development, and the manner in which it is done is fun, interactive, and refreshingly original. -Readers' Favorite