Name Kimberly Sentek
Age My mind thinks I’m 20; my body thinks I’m 60. That averages to 40.
Where are you from New Jersey (USA)
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
My dad would have told you I was born talking. I grew up close to family in New Jersey. I graduated from college with a Bachelor of Arts. I was an editor on a pharmaceutical magazine before moving on to working for local government by day and writing books by night.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My second children’s book, Grumble and Tumble: A Nico and Tugger Tale, will be launched in August. (The first, Oh Brother!: A Nico and Tugger Tale, was self-published in 2012. The new version of Oh Brother! was launched in January 2015 by my new publisher.) The third book in the series, Story Time: A Nico and Tugger Tale, will enter production in October.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing? As far as I can remember, I was always doodling some poem or story. If I wasn’t writing them, I sure was telling them. LOL
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I guess that would be in college. I attended a school that is well-known for its teaching program. When people heard I was an English major, they would say, “Oh, you want to be a teacher.” I always said, “No, I want to write.”
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I had always wanted to write, but life got in the way, and I always had the attitude that there is always tomorrow. A friend of mine passed away in 2011 at the age of 37. She was one of the loveliest people you could ever meet. It hit me that if someone who positively impacted the world wasn’t ensured another day here, then someone a bit crankier like me certainly wasn’t.
I had been saying since we brought home our second dog, Tugger, that there was a story with the dogs. Watching them fight over toys, the dog beds, which was was going to sit by me, etc., made me think of what my mom must have seen with my sister and me. My friend’s passing definitely was a kick in the pants to get that first story down on paper.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Wordy—I am working on being more concise!
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
So many people around me say “Oh, brother,” when something annoying or bad happens. I thought it was funny to apply that to a book about two dogs becoming brothers. For Grumble and Tumble, I threw out a comment on Facebook that I was having a difficult time coming up with a title. A friend (also an author) suggested Grumbling and Tumbling, and I changed it a little.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Both dogs get to tell his side of the same story in each book. I hope that helps kids understand that there is more than one way to view a situation, and that is OK.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Each book is realistic in that they are based on my dogs. The dialogue and thoughts are fictional, although I’d love to know what my dogs are thinking!
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The story of Oh Brother! is based on my dogs displaying sibling rivalry. Grumble and Tumble, which is about Tugger waking a grumpy Nico to play, was inspired by Nico waking me at 4 a.m., and I was grumpy. Story Time, which is about kids reading to the dogs, was inspired by articles I had read about reading programs where kids read to dogs to help with confidence with reading.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
The Nancy Drew series influenced me in that those are the first books that I remember reading. In terms of a mentor, I was lucky to have a lot of strong women in my life. My parents divorced when I was young, and my mom showed us (my sister and me) how we could be self-reliant. We had a wonderful neighbor, Pat, whom I visited every day after school. My friend Kristen’s family was a tight unit and showed me the same love they showed anyone who walked through the door. My aunt Barb has one of the biggest hearts you’d ever find, and her generosity knows no ends. My sister, Sherry, has a knack for turning ordinary things into something beautiful.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I just finished Go For No and am about to start Necessary Lies.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I like reading books from author friends I have met through social media. Each one has an interesting story to tell.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I just finished writing book three in the Nico and Tugger Tale series. I also would like to start working on a novel.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I am lucky to have supportive friends. I leaned very heavily upon three—Christa, Eileen, and Ellen—when it came to my books. They must have read each version of each book 20-plus times, and they are still speaking to me, so that is a plus!
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes and no. I would love to write full time, but until I become financially secure, that can’t happen.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I would have made the lines tighter in Oh Brother! and Grumble and Tumble. Oh Brother! was a quick write for me, but I can see ways to make it better now that I am a few years removed from it. In terms of Grumble and Tumble, I wasn’t in the best place in my life when I wrote it. My dad passed away a few months before I had the deadline for the book, but my mind could not focus on anything creative. I hope Story Time shows that I am moving out of that funk.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I think it grew from my love of reading and thinking, “I’ve got some stories I can tell.” There is a large cast of characters in my family who could be put into many books!
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
This is the first lines of the Nico’s Tale section of Grumble and Tumble:
When I woke up, the sun was still asleep.
I wanted to shut my eyes and count more sheep,
But I heard Tugger running. He wanted to play.
“Wake up, wake up,” I heard my brother say.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I write my children’s books in rhyme, so sometimes it’s difficult to make a line work. Also, each dog gets to tell his side of the same story, so trying to make the stories match enough and rhyme is a challenge.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I really don’t have a favorite, although I love when books show the flaws of the main characters or can really show the struggle they have. I recently read One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern, and I loved that her main character wasn’t always likeable. She wasn’t a bad person, but you really saw how human she is.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I travel to local fairs, schools, etc.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The publishing company designed the covers, although I stole the idea to make the dogs’ tails in the shape of a heart on the cover of Oh Brother! from my friend Christa and asked the company to do that.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part of writing Oh Brother! was adding Tugger’s Tale to the book. It had to match Nico’s Tale, but with a spin for Tugger’s thoughts, and all while in rhyme. The hardest part of Grumble and Tumble was getting it written. I had a different idea for the book, but I couldn’t make that work. I could write a line or two, and then be stumped. Words were not flowing as naturally as I had expected them to. For Story Time, I struggled with worrying that the two tales in the book are too different from each other, although my trusted friends assured me it’s okay.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I have learned a lot. I now realize how difficult writing a children’s book can be. You need to make sure your storyline is appropriate for kids. You need to consider illustrations for the words on a particular page. You need to realize how much hard work you will be doing after the book is published if you want it to be successful.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Pay attention to grammar. Spell check. Get other sets of eyes to look at your work. Be open to constructive criticism.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I appreciate the support of those who have purchased books, told others about my books, shared my statuses on social media, etc.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I remember reading the Nancy Drew series as a kid, but I was told I was reading before that.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My boyfriend is hysterical. He always makes me laugh, as does my crazy family. I cry when I see people I love upset or see an animal suffer.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
There’s more than one, but I will stick to Jon Bon Jovi. He’s been my boyfriend since I was 9. We’ve probably lasted this long because we’ve never met. Haha
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
“She’s still talking.” People think I never stop talking, so I think that would be funny.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I enjoy reading, shopping, watching and playing tennis, and finding arts and crafts to copy from Pinterest (although mine end up more like a fail!).
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I never really thought I watched a lot of TV until I had to list the shows I watch! I enjoy quirky shows, such as Psych, Monk, and The Closer. I also enjoy more serious shows, such as Criminal Minds, Castle, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Grimm, and Nashville.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I love pretzels and mashed potatoes (just not eaten together). My favorite color is magenta. I listen to all kinds of music, but Bon Jovi is my favorite group. I also find myself listening to stations that play Motown, as it makes me think of my dad.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I would have liked to have seen what kind of nurse I would be.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it? My website is www.KimberlySentek.com.
Children’s books author
Connect with me here:
Where to purchase Oh Brother!: A Nico and Tugger Tale:
Where to purchase Grumble and Tumble: A Nico and Tugger Tale: