Friday, September 23, 2016

Guest Interview

I am pleased to share a guest interview on Penelope Anne Cole's blog, Penny's Writing Chad and Book Reviews.  Penny is the award-winning author of the Magical Matthew and Mea series.  You can learn more about her at:

Penelope Anne Cole
Multi-Award Winning Author of Magical Matthew, Magical Mea, 
Magical Mea Goes to School, Magical Max and Magical Mickey, and
Magical Max and Magical Mickey’s Big Surprise

New:  In and Out, All ‘Round About – Opposite Friends
What’s for Dinner? and ¿Qué vamos a comer?:
For Halloween: Ten Little Tricksters and
 Diez pequeños bromistas

Without further ado...


I'm pleased to welcome children's author Karin Larson.

Please tell about your background.

When I was younger, my parents owned jewelry and gift stores, so I grew up working in retail from a young age and did so through high school and college (when home on breaks).   I came home after graduating from college to manage the stores and do the books as my mom had made a change in her career path by that point.  After a couple years, I decided to go back to school and got my Master’s Degree in Communication Disorders.  I have worked as a Speech/Language Pathologist in both the medical and school settings since that time except for a few years I was home with my kids when they were younger.

How did you decide to become a children's writer and what steps did you take to make that happen?  

I’ve always loved to write though had never done so for more than my own eyes.  During the period of a few years when I had young children and was a stay-at-home mom, I saw an ad for a writing test with the Institute of Children’s Literature.  It made me start thinking about it in earnest, so I completed the test and was accepted.  That initial course was followed by a few others, and a writing life was born.  That was probably 12 or 13 years ago, so it certainly wasn’t overnight. Initially, I focused on writing for magazines but have now had two children’s picture books published and am drawn more to PB writing. 

Tell us about your book(s), especially about the one you are promoting now. (I will list your books/covers in the blog.)  

My first children’s picture book, Bedtime Kisses, was released in April 2014 by 4RV Publishing. It is a sweet and simple bedtime counting story for little ones illustrated by the talented Ginger Nielson.   

Little Bug, released in August 2015 by Guardian Angel Publishing and illustrated by Eugene Ruble, is a story about persistence which also teaches children about concepts and prepositions.  Both books are available through me, each publisher’s website, or Amazon.

What is a typical writing day like for you?  

I wish there was something typical about my writing day, but there is anything but!  I still work part time as a speech/language pathologist in a private elementary school and have two kids at home with one in college so I spend time chasing them in various school activities and sports.  I am trying to put writing first before any other writing related activity but often find myself tackling email or reading about writing or marketing on various social media sites if I have just a bit of time rather than physically writing.  I am a work in progress on this front but do try to spend some time working on a manuscript before sitting down at my computer on the mornings I don’t have to go to work.  Carving out time to dedicate just to writing is very important, however, and I am getting better at doing so.

What is the most difficult part of writing for children?  

Making the time to actually sit down, butt in chair, and write.  Often I get caught up in the rest of the day to day grind of life and activities and don’t make or take the time to focus on writing as often as I would like.  

What do you enjoy most about writing for children? 

I love the sense of wonder children have about life and the world around them.  Creating books that foster this sense of enjoyment in reading and losing oneself in the pages of a book is so important to me.  I want to make children want to read.  When a child comes to me and says he/she loved my book, it makes my day.  

Do you make school visits? If so, please describe a typical school presentation.  

I have done a few school visits, and they have been a blast.  While I have prepared notes to discuss with the students based on why the school has asked me to speak (Read Across America week, Dr. Suess Day, etc.), ultimately, we always seem to spend the bulk of the time in a marathon question and answer session which I love as would much rather cover what is most important to the kids.  They are the ones reading my books (as well as the parents reading to the younger kids), so it is always fun to hear their questions and see what matters to them.  It is so exciting to look out into a sea of little upturned faces staring at me with arms raised high in the air waiting to ask a question.  They are always a receptive and grateful audience.

Do you have a website? If so, please give the URL. I have both a website,, and a blog,  

Tell us about your marketing process. What do you do to market and sell your books? 

Word of mouth from family and friends have generated a number of book sales as have school visits. I send home a book order form with a spot for parents to indicate to whom they would like the book autographed which has helped get kids excited about my books and upcoming visit.  I have also done book signings at our local bookstore and offered books for sale at our regional SCBWI conference.  I also try to promote on my blog, Facebook, Pinterest and Goodreads and just recently got a Twitter account.  I must admit I am sorely in need of improvements in my marketing/social media life and need to dedicate some major time to it.  It is difficult, however, to justify spending a lot of time on this when I would much rather write and need the written product in order to market it.

What are you working on right now?  

I have three children’s picture books in various stages of editing at the moment and am working on having them all finished and ready to send out by the end of the year.  

What is your best tip for aspiring children's book authors? 

Persistence pays.  Keep working hard and don’t give up.  And read, read and read some more! Submerse yourself in the genre in which you write or want to write.  Creativity breeds creativity—at least, it does for me.

Thank you so much for sharing your writing journey, your process, and tips for aspiring authors!


  1. An interesting review. Thanks, ladies. I have great respect for authors that hold day jobs and have children at home. You're amazing. Three new books sounds good. Have a lovely weekend.