Friday, April 2, 2010

Part 2: Write What You Know: An Interview with Author, Michelle Barfield

The last time I posted a new entry I presented the first half of an interview with Michelle Barfield, author of “The Sully Bug.” Now that you've had a chance to learn a little about Michelle and her book I’ll continue with part two. Enjoy.

“The Sully Bug,” for children 4 – 8 years old, tells the story of a brother’s joy and excitement for his new baby sister. The book also reveals that each child is a unique and individual gift from God. Written in verse, the story is easy to read with cute illustrations and a heartwarming message.

Part 2: Write What You Know: An Interview with Author, Michelle Barfield.

MF: Were you interested in writing before you decided to write "The Sully Bug?"

MB: I am a former first and second grade teacher. I had always thought it would be fun to write a children's book, but never really imagined that I would actually do it. I guess it makes sense because being an early childhood educator, as well as a parent of small children, I have always loved reading to kids. And children's books are so much fun!

MF: Did you show the book to anyone for input while writing it? Critique groups? Friends? Editors?

MB: I did share the manuscript with my husband, children, several family members, and friends. Everyone was very positive and supportive, but I did hear the same advice over and over. "You will probably have to send it to many different publishers before anyone takes notice. Don't get discouraged. Don't give up." It was good advice, and probably very true, but God sure had other plans this time.

As you may remember from part one, the first publisher to which Michelle submitted “The Sully Bug” decided to publish it.

MF: What kind of publisher is Tate?

MB: Tate Publishing is a Christian publishing company that has been absolutely awesome to work with. They have done everything they said, when they said they would do it ¬– above and beyond what I had even expected. I enjoyed every aspect of publishing and truly enjoyed getting to know the people with whom I was working. It has been a fun and exciting experience.

MF: Did Tate provide Greg White as an illustrator for “The Sully Bug,” or did you find him on your own?

MB: Tate provided Greg as an illustrator. I had a great time working with him. They (Greg) are in Mustang, Oklahoma so we were only able to talk on the phone and send pictures, etc. on the computer. He did such a great job up front, taking the time to understand what I wanted, that I didn't request one single change. He was truly amazing!

MF: Now that you are working on some new books, how has the writing process been different than working on "The Sully Bug?"

MB: Actually, the process has been very similar. I enjoy writing in rhyme. The next two books are also rhyming, but they are a little more "silly" than "The Sully Bug." All three are about completely unrelated topics.

MF: Are you doing any book signings, readings, or appearances to promote your book?

MB: I have done many book signings all over my community. I have also been going into schools and actually going classroom by classroom to read to the students on a more personal level. Then they have the opportunity to ask me questions. I have read to over 50 classrooms – over 1,000 children in my area. One of the funniest experiences I have had was the time I did "Pajama Night" at a local Chic-fil-A. The kids received a free kid's meal if they came in their PJs. I was asked to wear Chic-fil-A PJs as advertisement. It turned out that mine were about two sizes too small!! It is very humbling to stand in front of the town in PJs that are too tight!

MF: Where can interested readers find and purchase "The Sully Bug?"

MB: It is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Borders. I live in Spartanburg, SC, so it is available in Christian Supply (Spartanburg), as well as, Bookstore and More (Boiling Springs).

I will be signing books at the Greer Family Fest in Greer, SC on Friday, April 30 and Saturday May 1. I am very excited about this event. I love doing festivals, or any event, that allows me to meet and talk with people face to face.

I hope you enjoyed this conversation with Michelle Barfield. If you have any suggestions for more author interviews please let me know and I’ll see what I can arrange.

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.