Today we talk about Holly and the Sunflower, a book by Karen Chambers published with our publishing house Europe Books.
Europe Books had the pleasure of interviewing the author, Karen Chambers, to get to know her better, where she found the inspiration to write her book Holly and the Sunflower, as well as how important are illustrations in a children’s book.
Below you can find our interview. Take a seat and enjoy your reading!!!
- Where did you find the inspiration to write Holly’s adventures?
I got the inspiration from my dog, after I had been through a tough time. I realised she was just there every day by my side and didn’t want anything back from me. She gave me a purpose to get out of the house as she needed me to feed her, walk her and any other things required to look after a dog. Each day after the walk I felt better. I recognised that what I was getting from her was pure and unconditional love. As I watched her interactions with people and other dogs when we went out, it was clear she would just shine love on everyone that crossed our path. I have always used the sunflower as a symbol in my life to represent light and sunshine. Holly has a spot on her head which is a trait of some Cavaliers. It is called a”, Blenheim Spot’. I started calling it her love button and the idea of the book was born.
- How important do you think illustrations are in a children’s book?
Illustrations are very important as they draw the child to the page and make the characters relatable. More importantly, they can help the child understand the context of the story. The child and parent can’t interact, while discussing what is in the picture and what they think is happening. The visualisation of a story can also help with a child’s own imagination and make for a fun experience for both the child and parent. Bright colours, especially primary colours, draw the child’s focus to the page. Then they can relate words to pictures, which can make it easier for them to learn to read. The cover of a book should have an engaging colourful picture to draw the reader, (or the parent buying the book) to want to see what the story is about. Colourful characters help with memory retention. Any underlying messages given in the context of the story, can be relayed to real life situations.
- What would you like to hear from your young and adult readers?
I would like to hear that they related to the message of the book about spreading love and kindness. I would also hope that they see the characters as relatable. Then they could put themselves in situations in their own life and connect. As well as the messages of inclusion, love and kindness, the book also relays a message that when you need help in a situation, you can seek advice from an adult. Parents can discuss with their children about times in their own life, when they could ask an adult about helping them in certain situations. I would hope that young and adult readers also thought the characters were fun and enjoyed reading about them. It would be nice to hear that they enjoyed reading the book more than once and that they had quality time with their parents. Also, that they may now feel more comfortable bringing up situations in their life with an adult.
- How was your publishing experience?
I enjoyed the process of seeing the words being put together. Especially how the pictures came to life once printed on the page. It was very exciting to see the cover and layout for the first time. My first interaction with Marialaura over zoom was very informative and enlightening. She had a genuine interest into where I got the idea from and what the context of the book was about. She also asked about any overriding message. I found that in each step, all the staff were very courteous and willing to answer the many questions I had. I am looking forward to marketing and selling the book, and maybe even publishing another one in the near future.
- Are you working on a new writing project that you can tell us about?
I have written a few other books about the Adventures of Holly and Petal: The Adventures of Holly and Petal (Petal finds a Friend) A multi coloured sunflower is mixed up in a delivery of Monstera’s on Holly and Petal’s farm. Petal was so grateful being rescued by Holly, that she wants to help the flower find the space and support she needs. With help and guidance, the colourful Sunflower blossoms into a beautiful show worthy flower and gets adopted by a person from Petal’s past. The Adventures of Holly and Petal (The Healing Songs of TED e BEAR) Holly and Petal discover a lost Teddy bear that cannot sing the songs he used to. Holly supports Ted when he is about to go on a journey to a Teddy hospital to get his body brand new and find his voice one more time to comfort his owner, Joe. The Adventures of Holly and Petal (Monty Gets Sick) **This not finished …Still working on Monty the Monstera gets sick and Holly and Petal help to find his strength to get better. Monstera’s are misunderstood as being scary, but Monty has a kind heart and is very grateful to Holly and Petal. ***I have also written a short story called ”Martin Hughes Hits the Road” about a young girl who has been diagnosed with ADHD.
Europe Books thanks the author, Karen Chambers, once again for taking the time and answering our questions. We are really pleased to have walked alongside her on the editorial path that led to the publication of her book Holly and the Sunflower. We wish her the best of luck for her future works.
To you, my readers, may Holly’s adventurous world bring you a great experience to enjoy. And remember that, no matter how adult you are, books for children have a lot to teach us all! Written in simple and clear concepts, illustrated children’s book have the ability to give us important life lessons or they put us back in touch with our forgotten child side which just needs to be awakened.
So, my dear reader, all I have to say is to enjoy your reading!