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This was my first year with a booth at the St. Albert Farmer’s Market. I thought booking a table once a month to share my books would be a nice way to get the word out about my books and a great place to have regular book signings in the local area. At the St. Albert Farmer’s it isn’t just about selling and buying, there are connections made there that enrich the experience. These connections can be for moments, or connections you make there can last for years. I met Lorraine Shulba, the lady who illustrated my first three children’s books, at the market last year when I was visiting as a customer for example.

During my June market attendance, booth all set up, weighted down so the wind wouldn’t take away the tent, books displayed on the table, with my “Local Author” banner hung proudly, a man came up to me.

“You know what would be a good book idea,” he said. “I am not sure if you are the right person to write it or not, but this book is really important.”

“Oh, what is your book idea?” I replied.

“A book on love, what love is, and what love isn’t. The world could really use this right now.”

I agreed with him and listened as he went deeper into this topic for a book. As he spoke his arms were moving in full expression, coffee in hand, and drips of coffee were flying off his cup. He was deep into his theories and philosophy on love.

It was beautiful to watch. I dabbed the coffee drops off my booth’s table cloth and realized the value of his inspiration. I had a customer come up and I made a sale, and he summarized his story on the importance of knowing what love is and how this knowledge is needed right now in the world.

Magic, joy, sparking energy and imagination (also known as inspiration) is a major goal of my writing and my story of being an author. Inspiration can come that simply- being prompted by someone who is living speaking, writing, and sharing their words which encourages others to share their words. Inspiration for books comes from regular life events such as swinging and singing with a child, theorizing creative reasons for the silly things that occur in life, or hearing someone’s passion to share wisdom about a topic that matters. Thank you to that man for sharing his passion and wisdom with me. Thank you to all the people who stopped by my booth at the market. Thank you for all who read the words written by others and experience joy and learning with the turning pages. May each of you find inspiration in the moments and events in your lives, and may you express and share that inspiration in the way that is most meaningful for you!

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A writing process can be a very personal thing. There are ways that are taught, and followed for success, and there is also inspiration that drives a story into fruition. My writing process is a mixture of time tested ways of writing a book or story, and of inspiration. Below I will detail the process of some of my children’s books.

Sock Soup (Coming June 2022)

Sock Soup’s plot was partially developed by my daughter when she was 8 years old. I had started to write the book based on an idea of where all the missing socks go on laundry day, and back then when I started a story, I didn’t finish it. (By the way never throw out your writing, no matter how bad you think it might be, you will find that there will be a day that you get inspiration to finish the story, or you can add it into a new story you write). As I wrote my daughter was quite interested, and when I left it, she started to write to fill in the gaps of the plot. I had the story sitting there for 13 years before I picked it up and created it into the story it is today. It was actually 3500 words when I finished my updated draft. I submitted to a publisher, at Red Deer Press, who gave me very encouraging feedback about my writing and advised that children’s books are usually under 1000 words. I then sought assistance from a friend of mine who is a policy writer, and she took my manuscript and cut it back to about 1500 words, and I cut it back the rest down to 992.

The Little Goose That Could (Coming Fall 2022), and I Love My Family (November 2021)

The Little Goose That Could and I Love My Family were both written without any consideration of form. They flowed through me easily, as if they wanted to be born. I followed a similar process when writing these books. First, the books came to me by inspiration. Second, I wrote down the idea soon after being inspired. And Third, when had a moment to sit down, I wrote them out in one sitting! Editing had to be done, however the core stories were done.

The Little Goose That Could was inspired by sitting out in my backyard drinking my morning coffee and hearing geese fly overhead going South for the winter. I wondered, “ What is it like to be a goose, and how hard is it for a new goose to make the journey South?” After asking myself that question, I immediately saw the potential in a story about a young goose taking his first flight South. For this story I did have to research about goose migration before I sat down to write the story out in full, however, the first thing I did after my inspiration was I wrote the idea down on the back of an envelope so I wouldn’t forget.

I Love My Family was inspired by pushing my son on the swing and we were singing “What Does the Fox Say” and testing out different animals, such as “What does the dog say? What does the chicken say?” My son looked at me and asked “What does the house say?”, and I replied “I Love My Family”. I then pictured our house as a character watching us play in the yard. The idea sprung from that thought and I again, went inside and jotted the idea down on the back of an envelope. I actually wrote the book out fully in a Nano writing event where you challenge yourself to write so many words in a month.

The Cat is Sleeping On My Head (Coming in 2023)

I followed a different process for a book I wrote, which is not yet published, titled The Cat is Sleeping On My Head. The idea for this book came from our cat who used to love to sleep on my son’s head. It was quite bothersome really, so we had to keep him out of my son’s room. The idea came to me after annoyingly removing the cat from my sons head one night after he left the door open after a nighttime bathroom visit. The writing process for this book was different than the others I have mentioned. I actually wrote down events that would happen in the story in point form first, like a skeleton or outline for the book. We read a lot of Robert Munsch’s books, and other children’s books in our home, and I figured often characters have to go through things three times before there is a solution to the problem. So I wrote out the outline of the story based on this theory. It is a really cute book and I can’t wait to share it with the world in 2023!

I hope you enjoyed some insight into different writing processes for children’s books. Each writer has what works for them, and there can be multiple ways to write a book. Some stories sit untouched on shelves for years, some are written in 20 minutes, and some are forgotten. I encourage you to keep all your stories, poems, and manuscripts, no matter what you think of them. A neat trick to remember is to jot down the ideas you have before you forget. You never know when you will get the motivation to bring them to life. That one little sentence of an idea, or outline of a book you had inspiration about, is enough to trigger the ability to write down a full story, poem, or manuscript when you are ready, and when it is ready to be born and brought into the world for others to enjoy and learn from.

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Hi there! I want to share why I write children’s books. The children’s book market is definitely a hard one to break into as there are so many out there. Plus there are the classics, such as works by Robert Munsch, Dr Seuss, and The Little Golden Book Series, that have been read to children for generations. I grew up learning to read, reading for fun, then reading to my daughter, and now reading to my son many of the classic children’s books, and newer children’s books –sometimes five or more a night! Reading to children is an experience of pure joy. I realize the value of this time spent with my children, and this time spent with any children. I remember learning to read out loud to a younger class when I was in grade three. I remember the kindergarteners staring up at the pictures while I read (upside down so they could see the pictures), and while I tried not to stumble on the words. They were immersed. I remember travelling in time, and being drawn into a fantasy world with the stories I read.

I write and publish children’s books to keep alive this time spent with our children, and to keep the tradition of giving their imaginations something to consider, without the stimulation of TV or video games. We are very focused on screens these days, and although some of my books will be published into e-books alongside print books, the main purpose of me writing is to share stories that will spark joy and imagination. As a Canadian author, I want my children’s books to become among the classics. In this spirt I am going to talk about some of the classic books I have read over and over and over again, and how my first published children’s book compare to these gems.

Good Night Moon-By Margaret Wise Brown

Good Night Moon is an early reader book that has lulled many a child to sleep. It rhymes, has a gentle rhythm, and when read softly is a magical aid for getting little ones to sleep. Children can look for things such as what are those kitties doing? And how about that mouse? While each scene shows the great green room, and softly goes over details of the critters and items of the room preparing for the night.

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish- By Dr. Seuss

Another great one I find for putting children to sleep is One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish. It is also an early reader book, with repeating words, colourful pictures, and large font. There is an overarching story, “From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere”. The book has details of smaller scenes throughout of what the funny things are doing. It too lulls the child to sleep if read in a calm tone, it has rhyming words as well, and the book ends with a time for bed stanza.

I Love My Family- Cheryl Fountain

I Love My Family is also an early reader book which can be read a bed time. Like Dr Seuss’s book, I Love My Family has large font and repeating words, and details a larger theme of a house witnessing what happens inside a loving family’s home by each page spread being smaller scenes of things a family does together. This book, like both the Dr. Seuss book ends with a time for bed scene, with a family tucking in one of their children. I love the last picture as it reminds me of Good Night Moon, with a big crescent moon showing through the window. I Love My Family is heartwarming similar to Good Night Moon, yet has its own character, just like the house does in the story.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. It is important to share the love of reading with children and other developing readers. Sharing a book is memorable quality time that adds so much value to our lives. Writing heartwarming and joyful books to help children and developing readers learn to read is a sincere pleasure. The bonus of some books being a magical way to help little ones drift off to sleep adds even more value, as the story and time shared with you will be the last thing they did in a day. What a wonderful way to set up the dreams they will have.

Sincerely and with love.

Cheryl Fountain

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