July 14, 2016

Q&A Interview with British childrens book Author Jessica Snape

Each one of us has a story to tell and everyone we meet is fighting a battle we know nothing about. This section “The Q & A Interview with inspiring people” is dedicated to exceptional personalities, who either have something to educate us or to inspire us.
Today I want you to meet the British children’s book Author Jessica Doe Snape. A mother of four children, who was inspired by her kids to write a series of books.

  "Without my Family, I would never
have started writing my stories."
Jessica Snape

Jessica, you and I we both have two things in common. We’re not only two independent Book Authors, but also have decided to write books for children. I kind of just fell into children’s genre, because I combine my love for art and writing. What about you? When and why did you decide to become a children’s book Author?
I have always enjoyed reading stories to my children and it is actually due to my son Dean, he is autistic (only recently diagnosed) and did not sleep very much.  I would read stories to him each night, until one night, I ran out of stories to read to him.
It was then that I started making up stories of my own and I would tell them to Dean.  My other children heard the stories and said their friends would enjoy reading them too, which is when I started writing them down and even sent a copy to my children’s school to read.  The children loved it that much, they asked me when would they be able to get hold of the book, which was amazing.
I sent my manuscript off to a few publishing companies, but as you can imagine, I wasn’t very successful, because I was a new author although I did start working with Author House and published my book (this did not go well due to errors within the story and the price that it was being sold at, which I had not control over).
I grew up with books such as The Little Prince by the French Author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry or A Little Princess by the British Author Frances Hodgson Burnett. But for me to this date my favourite stories are The Adventures of Pinocchio by Italian Author Carlo Collodi. Which books were your favourite books as a kid and why? 
My favourite stories were by Roald Dahl especially George’s Marvelous Medicine and The Twits.  Both these stories were a lot of fun and the illustrations are fantastic and with George’s Marvelous Medicine, it always made me wonder if I could make medicine like George and if I could, what would I do with it.
Jessica with her husband Michael and their kids: Sheila, Angel, Jenni-Leigh & Dean.

The Italian Author Carlo Collodi did a magnificent job by telling stories/educating children with important lessons of life. He wrote about honesty, trust, loyalty, friendship, family, knowledge and education. That’s what we both are trying to achieve with our books. So my question is how did you come up with the idea for your books “Three Little Monsters & The Ghost of Wisdom Woods” and Three Little Monsters in Gruesome Gets A Toothache?
As strange as it might seem, the three little monsters are based on my children; Sheila, Angel, Dean (and future monster Jenni-Leigh) and like yourself, I wanted to add a message to my stories, so not only fun to read but educational too. 

The first story is about friends and family, sticking together and helping each other when in need.  The second story, explains the importance of listening to the Dentist and looking after your teeth.  I wanted to write something that I thought children would find entertaining and fun to read, the monsters just seem to fit in with what I was trying to achieve.

I read your book Three Little Monsters in Gruesome Gets A Toothache” and my honest review about it on Goodreads was that the story is great. The dialogues on point and the colorful Illustrations by Jasmine Mills make a perfect children’s book. It is actually a perfect gift for children, who are afraid of dentists. Did you ever had any problems with a dentist or were you afraid of them as a kid?  
To be honest, I have always been afraid of going to the Dentist and will only attend when I have to.  I have tried to reassure my children that it is important to listen to the dentist and look after their teeth and make sure they have regular checkups to make sure they are doing a good job.
Why did you decide to create three Monsters as the character of your stories instead of for example cute animals? And where do you get your inspiration for the series of books?
I wanted to do something different, to show that not all monsters are scary really.  Hopefully dispelling children’s fears that monsters are scary and dangerous, mine are definitely not that scary ha ha.

I write my stories and do the Illustrations as well with the support of my talented mom Sima. I realize that you work with an Illustrator. Tell me how is the creative process? Do you do sketches and handle it over to Jasmine Mills or do you give her the freedom to be creative and come up with her own ideas?
I had an idea in my head of what I wanted the monsters to look like and gave Jasmine a description, but left it to her really to design them, as I have with the other illustrations within my books.  She is fantastic and seems to know exactly what it is I am looking for, like she is in my head (if that makes sense).
In the past when successful children’s book Authors were publishing, there were no TV programs, Video game stations, Mobile Apps, Tablets, Laptop, Internet and Social media. So the parents took the time to entertain themselves and their kids with books. What is your opinion about today’s way of parenting where many parents are happy to get rid of their children and allow them to spend hours on the internet instead of bedtime reading?

I do allow my children some time on the internet, generally looking for information for home work.  My children enjoy reading my books as well as others including Horrid Henry (Dean loves him, just hoping he doesn’t follow his lead ha ha) and Jacqueline Wilson books.  My girls love them and often have these as their books from school too.  I do not mind them using social network as long as it does not distract from family time and enjoying each other’s Company.

As an Independent Author it is very hard – if not almost impossible – to get our books into bookstore shelves! Where the chances of being discovered by the kids or their grandparents would actually be much higher. So the question is what can we Indie-Authors do, to make our audience find us and discover our stories? Any suggestions?
Other than what we have done to date i.e. social media, blogs, setting up websites, mailshots via email and leaflet distribution (which I found very useful as I was able to get them message out better, explaining to anyone that was interested in my stories what they were about and what to expect in the future.  I have also run competitions, which I found quite successful and another avenue is to, if possible, arrange a ‘Meet the author’, reading event in local libraries or schools, could be useful too.
What many people don’t realize is that being an Independent Author especially for children’s books is emotionally challenging. Because while we are struggling as adults to manage our life, we still have to write positive and inspirational stories. How do you stay motivated despite the daily obstacles as a mother of four kids? What keeps you continuing your work until the breakthrough?
As you said, I have four children that provide me with many obstacles, but with the help and support of my husband Michael and family, I am able to keep myself, motivated as it is their future I am trying to improve as much as I am trying to become successful myself.  Without them, I would never have started writing my stories.
And last but not least I ask all my Interview partners this question. What is your definition of Love in three words? What is your definition of Love in one sentence?
To describe love it would take more than one sentence but if I had to put it into words…Heart, Mind, Soul…I love my husband with all my HEART, he is my SOULmate and always on my mind along with our children.

Love this answer Jessica. :-) Many thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. I wish you and your lovely family, especially your precious son Dean the best of luck. I look forward to read more of your books. Keep up the good work. My best wishes, Lily x

If you want to connect with Jessica Snape:
Official Website

Source Pictures: Thanks @ Jessica

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