1) Describe your journey to becoming an artist.
I always loved to draw and especially liked to make pretend books when I was a child (“Disco
Cat” was a huge success with my family!). My parents enrolled me in drawing and painting
lessons around age 9 and I eventually studied art in high school and at Westfield State College
in Massachusetts where I received my bachelorʼs with a concentration in art education in 1993.
Most of my early teaching years were spent preparing and planning for my art program and classes. I didnʼt have a lot of energy or time left over for my own art pursuits. It wasnʼt until my husband asked me one day what I would do if I wasnʼt teaching, and I confessed Iʼd always wanted to be a book illustrator. I had my first opportunity to create some illustrations for a local author in 2007 and have been working on childrenʼs books ever since. I self-published the first of my own books in 2009.
2) What inspired you to start writing for children?
I started writing for children because I wanted to illustrate books for children. I started by
writing about the things I like to draw.
3) When did you start teaching art? Where do you teach?
I began my teaching career teaching right out of college in 1993 in my hometown of Acushnet,
Massachusetts. This is my 19th year at the Albert F. Ford Middle School where I teach visual art for every student (about 520 kids) in grades 5 through 8. I am very lucky to teach where my art program has been greatly supported by the community for so many years.
4) How important is it to keep art in public schools?
It is my mission in life! I think children (and adults for that matter) need the arts today more
than ever. The cognitive and emotional development that takes place through arts-based learning has no substitute and benefits the whole person. Creative thinking skills that are nurtured through art are integral to successful problem solving and innovation in any career or subject area. Plus, in a world where ever-increasing technology connects us merely on a surface level, participation in the arts creates a deep connection with other humans that inspires real emotions and empathy. Is there anything more valuable than that for future generations?
5) Tell us about your “Floyd” series.
The “Floyd” series was inspired by my three Welsh Corgis, who are the models for my
characters in the books. My crazy dogs have certainly given me lots of story ideas. Though my stories are fictional, they are based on real things that have happened in our house. In the first book, Floyd and the Irresistible Cookie, Floyd is determined to eat an especially beautiful and delicious cookie which is hanging in the familyʼs Christmas tree. With the help of Tiny and Larue, the three dogs invent some very clever schemes to capture the Irresistible Cookie.
Floyd and the Mysterious Night Time Noise unfolds when Floyd is awakened in the middle of the night by a strange sound. Floyd canʼt sleep until he discovers what is making the Mysterious Noise. Again, he enlists the help of Tiny and Larue in his hunt for the Mysterious Noise. The dogs must become very brave, venturing into dark rooms and even the backyard to solve this mystery.
A third book is in the works titled Floyd and the Sparkling Seashell (to be released in 2013). In this new story, Floyd, Tiny and Larue will be going to one of my favorite places: the beach! There is also a wonderful companion video for Irresistible Cookie produced by the Somerled Charitable Foundation (http://somerledcharitablefoundation.org ). All proceeds from the video download purchase are donated to the MSPCA. A video for Night Noise is also in the works.
6) What other books have you written and/or illustrated? Where can readers buy them?
I recently illustrated a book titled A Halloweʼen Story by Margareta Pothier. The illustrations are traditional black and white pen and ink, different from my work in Floyd. The book is available on Amazon.com.
7) How have you promoted your work? What strategies have been the most effective?
I use Facebook, LinkedIn, my web page and blog networks. For minimal cost, there is so much outreach possible with these online resources. My favorite promotional events are childrenʼs book author fairs since I get to meet both readers and other authors. I have also done many book readings at local stores, schools and fairs. Promo events like these where I have personal interaction with my readers and families have had the biggest impact on my sales.
I belong to SCBWI and I think it is an amazing resource. As a member, just having access to a network of people that can answer questions about the industry has been helpful to me. If people can take advantage of the conferences and workshops offered by these organizations, I think those opportunities can also be very worthwhile.
9) What advice would you give to budding author/illustrators?
Practice your art and writing as often as possible. Educate yourself about the publishing industry and contracts. Sincerely believe in your own work and vision.
10) What is your definition of success as an author/illustrator?
For me, success is seeing a book project through from beginning to end. Itʼs a tremendous amount of work and I always feel a huge sense of accomplishment when a book is done. Success means I can afford to finance my own projects, which gives me total artistic freedom. And if even just one child tells me how much they love my books, that is more than enough to make me feel like a success.
Kristine's independently-published children's books include Floyd and the Irresistible Cookie, (2009, Dog Ear Publishing) and Floyd and the Mysterious Night Time Noise (2011). A companion video based on Floyd and the Irresistible Cookie was produced by the Somerled Charitable Foundation in 2010. Kristine is currently living in Fairhaven, Massachusetts with her husband, jazz musician Matt Richard, and their three Welsh Corgis.
Kristine Daniels Studio web page: http://www.kristinedaniels.net
Kristine Daniels Studio Blog: http://kristinedanielsstudio.blogspot.com/
Kristine Daniels Studio Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/KristineDanielsStudio
Kristineʼs Portfolio on SCBWI: http://www.scbwi.org/Illustrators-Gallery.aspx?i=2918179655362345
Books on Amazon:
Floyd and the Irresistible Cookie:
Floyd and the Mysterious Night Time Noise:
A Halloweʼen Story by Margareta Pothier:
Floyd and the Irresistible Cookie:
Floyd and the Irresistible Cookie
This book teaches children that a little selflessness can go a long way. Floyd decides that as much as he wants the delicious cookie for himself, it would be better to leave it on the tree for everyone to admire.
Floyd and the Irresistible Cookie contains wonderfully creative illustrations. Kristine did a fantastic job at telling her story through pictures. Children will look forward to more adventures with Floyd, Tiny, and Larue!
Floyd and the Mysterious Night Time Noise
In her second installment of the "Floyd" series, author and illustrator Kristine Daniels takes us on a journey to discover what is keeping Floyd, Tiny, and Larue up all night. Floyd and the Mysterious Night Time Noise is a suspenseful story that tests the canine trio's courage while satisfying their curiosity.
Floyd is a very persistent and determined dog whose character traits are certainly apparent in Kristine's sequel. The ending is both ironic and amusing. While Floyd discovers that he may add bravery to his list of desirable qualities, he also finds out that the sometimes solving a mystery can be done simply by following your nose.
As expected, Floyd and the Mysterious Night Time Noise is beautifully illustrated. Kristine created imaginative and whimsical artwork for this book. I cannot wait to see what Floyd is up to next!