Carpinello's Writing Pages welcomes South Africa's Louise Lintvelt, author of children's and MG books.
First, a bit about Louise:
I am from South Africa and live in Pretoria. I am a Chemical Engineer by day and a children’s book writer by night. I am married to a wonderful man and we have a beautiful two year old daughter called Allegra.
I took up writing again at the start of 2013 as a means of dealing with the stress associated with my job. Writing is a way for me to switch off and think about things other than work.
I have always loved writing. I remember writing stories from a very early age, in fact I have a picture book How Andrew Got His Spots coming out later this year which is a rhyming adaptation of a story I wrote in the third grade.
Why did you pick to write books for children/MG?
I decided to write my middle grade series because I wanted to feel young again. I wanted to write in a fresh young voice that would make readers laugh while helping them understand that you should always see the funny side of things.
I have also written a number of illustrated children's books. I started out by writing a series for my daughter. She loves books, and I love reading them to her so I decided to write a series of books based on her daily life. She is a real live wire and is always getting up to mischief so we gave her the nickname Hooligan Magooligan which has become the title of my picture book series aimed at young readers.
What types of books do you like to read?
I read A LOT! I am a big fan of the classics, I love, love, love Jane Austen. I am also a fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Emily Bronte.
Since having my daughter, I have been reintroduced to all the picture books that I loved as a child.
When it comes to picture books, my favorites include Dr Seuss, Lynley Dodd and Julia Donaldson.
When you are not writing, what do you like to do?
I love spending time with my daughter. We love to read picture books and bake cupcakes.
Tell us about The Secret Ramblings of Harriet Hughes and how the story came to be.
The Secret Ramblings of Harriet Hughes is a middle grade series about Harriet, a typical sixth grader. Her adventures are both funny and something that every girl can relate to.
The first book in the Harriet Hughes series—Diary of a Dancing Drama Queen—is sparked by an aerobics class I took at the gym. During this class I felt a bit like Harriet. I was taking a step to the left while every other person in the room was already two steps ahead swinging their arms to the right. I went home thinking about how ridiculous I had looked and started to imagine what it would be like for a clumsy young girl to have to endure a dance class.
Here's a peek at Diary of a Dancing Drama Queen:
Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.
I have written a number of illustrated children's books.
The Hooligan Magooligan series was inspired by my daughter and is aimed at early readers. The first two books in the series are titled Hooligan Magooligan loves her pets and Spaghetti Bolognese.
After finishing the first two Hooligan Magooligan books, the writing bug had bitten, and I wrote other rhyming picture books.
How Andrew Got His Spots: Poor Andrew is feeling very blue; all the other giraffes are very spotty but he is as white as can be. He does not have any spots, you see! One spot, two spots, three spots, four and many, many, many more. “Where did you get your spots?” he asks. Join Andrew as he discovers how the ladybug, the leopard and the owl came to have spots and discovers that spots often appear when you are least expecting them!
The Witches Garden: A witchling, who loves gardening, has a garden that grows wild and free, filled with wondrous beauty. But all is not what it seems. Her garden grows under a magic spell. A troll on a morning stroll hears cries for help as her garden lets out a mighty yelp. “I want to go home,” cried the gnome. “Set me free,” sang the sugar pea. “Help us, please,” hummed the trees. Can the troll help the creatures trapped in the enchanted garden?
All of my picture books are in the process of being published and should be available in a few weeks.
What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?
I am currently working on the third installment in the Harriet Hughes series called Diary of a Fashion Failure.
I am also working on a new picture book called Amelia the Pink Chameleon: Amelia is not like all the other chameleons in that she cannot change colour to suit the mood that she is in. When she gives it a try, her cheeks flush and begin to blush and quick as a wink she turns bright pink. The wise old owl scratched his head, “You have a case of the pinks” he said. Join Amelia on an adventure to find the rainbow tree, so that she can cure a mysterious case of the pinks with a cup of rosy lee. Where it grows no one knows, but after the rains have come and gone, a rainbow road she must travel on.
What advice do you have for other authors?
It helps to have a very thick skin and learn not to take rejection personally.
Also, write for the correct reasons. You need to write because it is your passion, not because you think it is a path to riches.
Make sure that your book is ready before jumping into the publishing process. Self-published books need to be professionally edited and of very high quality if you wish to compete with the mainstream books on the market. The book market has been flooded with masses of books in recent years and you really need to deliver a good quality product if you hope to achieve commercial success.
Anything else you want readers to know?
Some of the events in my books are based on my own personal experiences, for example Harriet’s mom drives a red 1973 Volkswagen beetle with a black spotty paint job. I have always wanted a red Volkswagen beetle with a black spotty paint job. My husband refuses to let me get one because according to him, he will spend more time fixing it than I will spend driving it.
Where can readers find you and your books?
All of my books are available through Amazon
I am also on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7224770.Louise_Lintvelt