1) What inspired you to start writing children’s books?
My son signed up for the USMC and he had completed all of his training for his MOS. The same year our family dog, Darby, was in his senior year of life. Between the worries of my son's pending deployment to Iraq and the knowing Darby would pass away, the two most important treasures of my life were in my heart falling apart. Darby passed away over rainbow bridge and through the grief I composed a celebration of life to capture a young boy and his dog growing up.
2) How important is animal adoption?
Adopting an animal great and small is rewarding to you. When you bring home your new family member there is a deep sense of doing something good. The adopted pet knows you have saved him, and in return there is loyalty beyond anything you can imagine. Adopted animals are grateful.
3) Which came first: a love of animals or a love of writing?
The love of animals. Animals' unconditional love, expressed between a child and a animal, holds a lesson with a child.
4) What books have you written? Where can readers buy them?
I have written two books of a three-part series. Darby's Story and Bangle Bear both received a Silver Medal from the Mom's Choice Awards for Best in Pet and Animal Care. The third book, Finding Your Way Home, is about opening your home to two 2 stray kittens, a little duchy mix, and my son.
5) How did you find your publisher?
I asked several friends, who they thought would help me produce a quality product.
6) How have you promoted your work? What strategies have been the most effective?
There are two intentions I have for the books: inspiring pet adoption and child/adult literacy programs. I have provided the books for reviews, which have been extremely positive. In turn the articles have been blogged and posted on book sale website.
7) What advice would you give to budding author/illustrators?
Editing is very important, so do your level best. Remember, no one else is perfect, so be aware you may find an error or two. Writing styles are individual, no two persons are the same. Be yourself.
8) What is your definition of success?
For me, it's about doing my best in any situation. It is also having my books encourage would-be pet adopters to read and understand that pet adoptions are a benefit to individuals and society as a whole. Lastly, success to me is seeing more families pick up books and rediscover that reading is a joy.
9) What is next for you in 2012?
I will be working on marketing the books and at least finishing the draft of the third book. I will also continue working with literacy programs.
Martha Steward lives in Northern California on the family farm. The animals great and small that live on the farm are adopted. Her life experience inspired to write a series for families on pet adoption, blended family issues, and the courage to be a Marine Mum. Martha's two books, Darby's Story and Bangle Bear inspire pet adoption. Both are Mom's Choice Award Silver Medal recipients for Best Books in Pet and Animal Care. Each book goes through the process of finding the pet best suitable for your family as well as the benefits to spaying and neutering your beloved pets. Each animal sets an example of blended family issues, the different personalities, and their likes and dislikes. The stories are warm and funny, families will laugh at the conversations the pet have and the outrageous ways Bear teaches her human pets. On a special note these books help children with families members serving our country and the concerns for deployment. These are warm and humorous stories for families to read together.
Martha's second passion is supporting literacy groups for children and adults. With “March 2012 Read Across America”, my goal is to discover positive websites and articles to help parents and their children. Reading is a joy. Books are an adventure and they allow the readers to escape and become different people. Writing has helped me overcome my dyslexia, and I know there are children who need encouragement. They, too, can overcome their challenges and find the pleasure to read and write.
Twitter: @marthasteward64 and @darbyandmore