1) Tell us how you became an author? Describe your journey.
Well, I wish I could say I was one of those writers who always dreamed of becoming a published author, but I can’t. When I was young I did love making up stories and remember the first story I wrote was about a land made up of peanut butter. Also, my siblings and I used to make up plays and put on skits for our parents all the time. However, it wasn’t until about 4 years ago that I really ever thought about writing children’s stories and actually getting myself published. I had written other things throughout my career like procedures manuals, newsletters, and other business things like that so I knew I could write fairly well. The day I decided to write children’s stories was almost like magic to me.
I was reading my brother’s blog one day and he was telling a story about some game he plays online. It sounded magical. As I read it I thought to myself how fun it would be to write a fantasy story like that. So I sat down, started typing a story and haven’t stopped since. Making up a story and putting it down on paper was my magic and I know now that it is also my destiny.
2) Do you prefer any particular literary genre?
I prefer fantasy for children but I also like to write realistic stories that could actually happen. However, in the near future, I hope to grow and venture out into other genres.
3) Who or what inspires you?
Children inspire me. They are the reason that I enjoy writing so much. Nothing makes me happier than to see a child laughing, smiling, or just having fun. That’s what I want them to do when they read my stories. I just want to make them happy and give children a chance to dream and use their imaginations.
4) Tell us about The Pea in Peanut Butter. What inspired you to write it?
The Pea in Peanut Butter is about a little girl named Kailee who loves, yes you guessed it… peanut butter! She would eat it on just about anything if her mom would let her. One night while getting a snack from the kitchen pantry, the cans of vegetables and fruits come to life and they have a magical dance with Kailee. They try to convince her to try one of them for a change! Kailee thinks she doesn’t like the taste of green foods so the peas try to teach her that the color green has no taste. It’s the food, whether green, red, yellow, or purple that has a different flavor.
Two things inspired me to write this story.
1. My love for peanut butter and my memory of the story I wrote as a child about the land of peanut butter. So my inspiration started there.
2. I have met so many people in my life who won’t eat anything green. So I wanted to bring that lesson into the story as well.
5) Describe your path to publication.
My path to publication started with researching myself to death. I researched for a good year everything I could find about getting a children’s picture book written and published. I also enrolled and graduated from the Institute of Children’s Literature and that helped me tremendously. Without that course and the resources I have gained from the school, I don’t believe I would be published today.
As far as actually getting published, I have been one of the lucky writers and didn’t have to suffer too long with rejections before I found a publisher. I had been sending in submissions for about 10 months before a publisher bought my manuscript. In the meantime, I was published in several children’s magazines. That helped me to gain confidence as well.
6) What else have you written and where can readers find your work?
I have written several short stories for children’s magazines. I have the links to those publications that are still available for viewing on my blog at www.allynstotz.blogspot. If you click on the “Other Publications” tab, they are listed there.
7) How do you promote your work? What methods have worked best for you?
I promote my work on my blog, Facebook, and am also a member of several online organizations like Bookblogs, Goodreads, and Linked In. Those sites help authors and other professions promote their work. I also have had several book signings at various places and attend writer’s workshops and conferences.
8) What advice would you offer to aspiring authors?
Do your research. Don’t think that you can just write a story, send it in and “wa la” you become published. You need to know the guidelines for success or your manuscript can be thrown in the slush pile as quickly as it arrived. Even if your story is the best story ever written, if it’s filled with grammatical or spelling errors everywhere, or you’ve broken all the publisher's guidelines, then chances of a publisher even reading it are slim to none. If you believe in your story, then take the time and effort that’s needed to polish it up and make it the best you can. Make sure you have it edited; sending it into a critique group is one of the wisest decisions you can make. You may think your story is wonderful the way it is, but having someone else look at it can make all the difference in the world. They may find something you hadn’t even thought of.
But my best advice to aspiring authors is to never give up. You can do it!!
9) What is your definition of success as an author?
Someone who has fulfilled their dream of what they wanted to accomplish as an author. If you only get one book published, but it was your dream and you feel satisfied by that, then to me that is a successful author. But most authors I know will never feel complete with just one book. Most want another, and another, and another!
I also feel that even if someone never gets a book published, but they are happy with their writing and what they’ve accomplished, then to me, they are also a successful author. It’s really what’s in your heart that makes you a success.
10) What do you plan to accomplish in 2012?
I want to accomplish a better and broader marketing plan for my book such as setting up school visits and possibly doing other events. My goal is to get my book out there and noticed so as many children as possible can read it! I am also constantly working on that 2nd picture book so if it happens in 2012, that would be wonderful!
Allyn came from a family of writers. Her father wrote and owned the town newspaper in Edgerton, OH and her mother wrote a weekly column. Watching Allyn’s journey to publication convinced her mother and freelance editor/writer sister to team up and write a novel of their own, which will be published in the near future.
Allyn’s first children’s picture book, en titled The Pea in Peanut Butter, was published by FutureWord Publishing in June 2011. She has also been published in various children’s magazines as well as an adult magazine. Allyn graduated from the Institute of Children’s Literature and is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Allyn lives in Baton Rouge, La with her husband, two crazy dogs and one fat cat.
The Pea in Peanut Butter is available in paperback, kindle, and coloring book format on amazon http://www.amazon.com/Pea-Peanut-Butter-Allyn-Stotz/dp/0984589058/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317747926&sr=8-1
The Pea in Peanut Butter is also available at Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs, LA and on www.barnesandnoble.com as well as other online retailers.
You can contact Allyn at firstname.lastname@example.org, through her blog www.allynstotz.blogspot.com or on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1543946214