1. When did you start writing and what inspired you to start?
I wrote a little bit when I was a child but I never really thought of becoming a writer until I was an adult. What inspired me was really strange. One day I was reading my brothers blog. He was just playing around and making up a fantasy story. I thought he was really good and thought “Hey, I could do that!” So I sat down, started writing a fantasy story about something we used to play as kids and I haven’t stopped writing since.
2. How do you choose the topics for your books? What’s your age range?
The age range that I find the most enjoyable to write for is 4-8 yrs. old. They are still so imaginative at that age and in love with learning new things. They also say some of the funniest things! As far as how do I choose topics for my book, it’s all up to how I’m feeling on any given day. If something inspires me, then I write about it.
3. What kinds of things inspire you to write?
All sorts of things inspire me. If I hear a child say something funny, I’m inspired. If a co-worker tells me something hysterical or unusual that their child did, I’m inspired. If I see a movie or TV show where something amazing happens, that inspires me as well. Reading other books also inspires me. The world is full of inspiration; you just have to be open to it!
4. Have any of your stories been inspired by real people or events? What inspires you to write?
Yes, A lot of my stories do contain something about a person I knew or an event that happened in my past. I once wrote a story about two little old ladies who lived next door to us when I was growing up. They were very sweet ladies but a little on the unusual side because they had never been married, lived in a little white house, and had hundreds of salt-n-pepper shakers all over the place. They left a great memory in my mind so I just had to include them in my story writing.
I’ve also written quite a few stories about pets I’ve had or currently have.
5. Do you work on more than one book at a time?
Oh yes. I don’t know how smart or good that is, but I’m usually working on at least four or five stories at a time. Sometimes it gets a little overwhelming but I find that I am constantly coming up with new ideas and just have to get them on paper. However, when you are working on so many stories at one time, it tends to prevent you from completing any one item, therefore it slows you down from getting things completed and out the door. I need to work on focusing on one story at a time!
6. Are you signed exclusively with a publisher? Are you self -published and how does that work for you?
I am signed with FutureWord Publishing for my book The Pea In Peanut Butter.
7. Do you write every day and do you have set hours that you work? Where do you write?
Yes, I write or do something with my writing every single day. There is so much involved with writing that it’s nearly impossible not to be involved in it every day. However, sometimes I spend more time marketing, blogging, and doing administrative things that my total time in a week actually writing is probably only four hours. It just depends on what I have going on and what deadlines I have.
I don’t have set hours to write because I also work a full-time job elsewhere. I have to fit my writing time in around that.
I do some of my writing at work in between busy times, and at home on my laptop in the evenings and weekends. I have a designated room to do that.
8 .Has anyone ever written you a fan letter that you’d like to share?
My book has only been published since June 2011 so the word is still getting out about it. However, I once received an email from someone whose children read my book. She said it’s their favorite book at present and they keep trying to memorize the beginning of the book which reads:
I love the super duper, gummy yummy, sticky lickin’, and belly rubbin’ taste of peanut butter. If Mommy would let me, I’d spread it on hot dogs, fish sticks, chips, and pancakes. I’d eat it on bananas, grapes, apples, and frosted flakes.
And to me, that is what it’s all about for me. Knowing that a child smiled and enjoyed my story!
9. Who was the first character you ever created and why?
I don’t remember the first character I ever created because it was back in grade school. However, I do remember the first PLACE I created. It was a land of nothing but peanut butter. And surprisingly, my first published picture book, is about peanut butter as well! Hmmm, guess it’s a no-brainer that I love peanut butter!
10. Is there anything about yourself that you’d like to share – hobbies,where you were born, special talents other than writing/illustrating?
I was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan but was raised in Edgerton, Ohio. When I turned 22 or so, I moved to St. Louis with my husband. From there his job has transferred us to Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and back to Louisiana where we currently reside. I have many other hobbies. I read a lot, dabble around with stained glass, do interior decorating, and at work I do a lot of graphic design type things.
Find out more about The Pea In Peanut Butter on Amazon.com! Or visit Allyn at www.allynstotz.blogspot.com