Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Write What You Know: An Interview with Author Michelle Barfield

I’ve been on vacation, but now it is back to work. I finished a bunch of books while on a vacation and I had the opportunity to interview another author, Michelle Barfield. Speaking of interviews, I hope you had a chance to read my recent interview with Meg Walsh, author of "Mama, Won’t You Play With Me?"

Michelle Barfield is a first time author. Her new book, "The Sully Bug," is a paperback picture book published by Tate Publishing. “The Sully Bug,” for children 4 - 8 years old, tells the story of a brother’s joy and excitement for his little sister. The book also reveals that each child is a gift from God. Written in verse the story is easy to read, with cute illustrations and a heart-warming message.

The following is part one of an interview with Michelle Barfield. Enjoy.

MF: What inspired you to write a children's book?
MB: In 2002, my husband and I welcomed our first child. Our son, Riley, brought so much joy and happiness to our lives that 2 1/2 years later we decided to expand our family. It was during this period of time that we experienced 3 years of heartbreaking failure and two devastating losses. In July of 2007, God blessed us with our beautiful daughter, Sullivan ("Sully Bug"). I tell people that the book is my expression of thanksgiving, my "thank you" note to God, for my two wonderful, healthy children.

MF: How long did it take you to write and rewrite before you finished the final draft of “The Sully Bug” we see today?

MB: I believe that God's hand was on the entire process. I was so exhausted from the demands of a new baby that I could not even put two coherent sentences together to speak, much less write a book, but the words just kept flowing. I would put a notebook beside my bed at night, wake up in the middle of the night and just scratch down a thought, phrase, etc. Then, I would pick up on it the next day. It only took me about three days working when I had a few minutes to finish the manuscript… Another reason I believe that God's hand was on me was that I was offered a contract by the very first publisher that looked at it. I was shocked! I know that God opened the doors for me, and He has continued to amaze me!

MF: How long did it take you to go from submission to Tate Publishing to printed product?

MB: It took almost exactly one year from submitting my manuscript to getting the advanced copies in my hand. That was such an exciting day, holding that first copy. I inscribed the first two to my children. Then it was hard not to give them to everyone I saw. My church actually purchased several hundred copies to use as a part of our children's/outreach ministries. We do actually give them away to children in our community. It has been awesome to give a child a book with the message that God is our Creator, and we can make our requests known to Him through prayer.

MF: What was the greatest obstacle you faced in publishing your book?

MB: Probably myself. I didn't send the manuscript in right away. I guess I was afraid of rejection. But then I thought, "So what if they don't like it. What have you lost other than a little time and a stamp? If you don't try, you will never know, and you will probably always regret it."

MF: Are you working on any more books?

MB: As a matter of fact, I have about three others that are ready to go. I have been advised, however, to slow down and concentrate on this one for now. When I reach a certain goal, I will be ready to go ahead with book number two.

Come back tomorrow for the rest of the conversation with Michelle Barfield as we speak about her experience with illustrator Greg White and Tate Publishing.

"The Sully Bug" can be found at, Barnes and Noble and Borders.

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