Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Author Interview with Deborah Blumenthal

Today's author interview is with Deborah Blumenthal. She is a writer of adult, young adult, and children's books.

Ms. Blumenthal's newest children's book is The Blue House Dog.

Deborah Blumenthal's website: www.deborahblumenthal.com

The Blue House Dog book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LloHDqJ3o5g

Click here to purchase The Blue House Dog.

Welcome to my blog, Ms. Blumenthal, and thank you for this interview.

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I started writing over twenty years ago, when I married a journalist.  At the time, I was working in hospitals as a nutritionist, so some of the first stories I wrote involved food and nutrition.    When I became pregnant with my first child, I left full-time hospital work and began freelancing for The New York Times on a steady basis.  My first children’s book, THE CHOCOLATE-COVERED-COOKIE TANTRUM was published in 1996. It was inspired by a terrible tantrum that my daughter had on the way home from a play date.   

2. Your children's book The Blue House Dog recently was published. Can you tell us what The Blue House Dog is about?

It’s the story how of a young boy and a homeless dog come together and the long road to learning how to trust again.  

3. What inspired you to write The Blue House Dog? 

A New York Times story about a homeless dog, “half German Shepherd, half something else,” wandering around Long Island City, and how he captured the hearts of the locals.

4. From watching the book trailer for The Blue House Dog, it seems like such a touching, sweet story. How did you go about writing this children's book? Did you have much say in the illustrations? Also, did you create your own book trailer or did someone else?

After I read the newspaper story, I began to think of it as a possible picture book, so I created the character of the boy, Cody, and imagined him as someone who had lost his own dog, so he’d be drawn to help a dog who was homeless and living on the street with no one to care for him.

I worked closely with my editor at Peachtree to find the right illustrator and we sent names and art samples back and forth.  We were both thrilled with Adam Gustavson’s work when it came in.  As far as the trailer, Peachtree handled that. I didn’t have a part in it, but I was very happy with how it came out. . 

5. Looking through your website, I noticed you have written several other children's books besides The Blue House Dog, as well as adult books and one young adult book. I have to say that Charlie Hits it Big caught my eye of your children's books. Then again, it might be because I have a guinea pig, and it just looks like the cutest story. How different is it to write children's books than adult books and young adult?

For me the hardest part is coming up with the right ideas. Once you do, it’s a matter of telling the stories – whether for children, young adults or adults - in the most pared down, compelling way.  Picture books are particularly hard because of the short length.  But in all three, you have to know your characters, make readers want to spend time with them, and hope things will work out for them in the end.

6. You are also an award-winning journalist and columnist for such prolific newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Vogue, and many others. Do you still write columns or do you mainly focus on children's books and adult novels?

I do occasional newspaper stories, but spend most of my time writing books.  

7. Can you tell us about any other works you are writing? Or do you have any other novels or children's books being released in the near future?  

I’m in the process of sending around a new picture book as well as a new young adult novel.

8. Do you have any advice for writers, particularly aspiring writers?

Just keep writing and reading. It takes time to find your voice and develop your own style.

Thank you once again for telling us about yourself and your books, Ms. Blumenthal. I wish you the most success in the future and congratulations on the release of The Blue House Dog.

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