Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is DeanieHumphrys-Dunne. I think I’ll just say I’m 39 again, like some of the celebrities do. It seems to work well for them. 😊 Thank you so much for interviewing me today, Fiona.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I specialize in children’s books with positive messages. My books feature horses and other animals. Most of them are fictional, told by the animal characters, but my newest one, My Life at Sweetbrier, is a children’s memoir, emphasizing overcoming obstacles through the power of perseverance. Each of the fictional stories are told by the animal characters. My books have won a number of awards and recognition. All of my fictional stories are beautifully illustrated by my sister, Holly Humphrys-Bajaj.
I have the most amazing husband and sons that anyone could imagine. Naturally, we love making new memories together.
I’m a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature (2 courses). In addition to writing, I enjoy editing for other authors.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Last month I was honored to receive the Mom’s Choice gold medal for my book, MyLife at Sweetbrier.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have always liked to write, but never had the confidence to try publishing until 2009. My goal is always to encourage children to be the best and follow their dreams. I’d like them to remember realizing your goals is possible, even against the odds.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
After publishing my first book.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I was searching for a new career and had a strong intuition to write a children’s book about my personal challenges during childhood. I don’t think most children receive the encouragement they need, especially if they have any type of obstacle to overcome like I did as a child.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I look for a title that fits the characters or the story itself. For example, one of my books is about a young horse who dreams of becoming a famous racehorse. It’s for young readers and it’s simply called Charlie the Horse. The sequel to that book features Charlie’s little sister, Charlene the Star. She has completely different objectives than Charlie because she doesn’t like racing, but she shows young readers it’s okay to be different than your friends.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I have only written children’s chapter books but I hope to have a picture book published soon. As mentioned most are fictional books told by the animal characters, but my newest book, My Life at Sweetbrier, is a true story so the challenge was to write it in a conversational style to engage children and help them relate to it. I wanted to draw them into the story and help them realize they may also realize their dreams.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
In the case of My Life at Sweetbrier, it is based on my personal journey of transforming from a handicapped child to an equestrian champion. Of course, most of the other books are fictional, except for the parts that involve training horses.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
No, it’s not necessary to travel in order to write my books.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My sister, Holly Humphrys-Bajaj, does a fantastic job on not only the covers, but also the illustrations in my fictional stories-Charlie the Horse, Charlene the Star, Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes, and Charlene the Star and Bentley Bulldog. Holly certainly helps the characters come to life by capturing their personalities. Incidentally, the newest book, My Life at Sweetbrier, uses photographs rather than illustrations, because it’s a true story and we felt photos it would be beneficial for readers to see actual photos.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Each of my books shares a valuable message. For example, in Charlie the Horse, it’s the importance of setting goals and working hard to achieve them. In Charlene theStar and Hattie’s Heroes, the message is the value of friendship, kindness, and helping others, while in My Life at Sweetbrier, it’s the power of family support and perseverance.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
It would be extremely hard to choose only one new author that deserves credit. There is great deal of talent displayed in children’s writing. But two new authors I admire are Melissa Johns and Shana Hallowell. Similarly, I have many gifted established author friends including; Sarah Mazor, Janice Spina and Colleen Chesebro, just to mention a few. I’m blessed to know so many amazing authors. Each of these authors write books that are both entertaining and educational. It’s easy to see why children love their books.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
In the beginning, only my family members supported the idea. But now, I have fans and other authors who are extremely supportive.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I think not. My Life at Sweetbrier has been recognized with four awards to date; The Best Book finalist, The silver medal in the Reader’s Favorite contest, the gold or solo medal in the New Apple contest, and the Mom’s Choice gold medal.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Writing My Life at Sweetbrier, reminded me how important it is to edit your book over and over again. It seemed whenever I thought it was ready for publication, another little detail could be improved or revised. My publisher for this book, Gina McKnight, of Monday Creek Publishing, did an excellent job preparing my book for release.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
There would have to be several people do play the part of me in a movie, because I’d need to be portrayed at various ages. In addition, the actresses would need to know how to ride horses. Perhaps either Mary-Kate Olsen or MacKenzie Rosman could play the part when I was a teenager, but I don’t know who would be able to do it when I was very young.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
I would say if writing is your passion, pursue it and remember regardless or how well you write your stories, there will be someone who doesn’t care for them. In that case, keep in mind that person is entitled to an opinion, but don’t dwell on the negative. Surround yourself with people who support your efforts and keep striving toward your goals. Don’t feel discouraged when you have a bad day. We all have them, but try to be a positive about things as possible.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I’d like my readers to be kind to others and always follow their dreams because they may achieve much more than they ever imagined.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’ve just finished reading Clarence Henry the Hermit Crab and Snowman Paul Returns to The Olympics. They are both wonderful books for children.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I’m not sure which one was the very first book I read, but understandably, I loved books about horses.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Sad movies always make me cry, especially if the ending is sad. Everyday life often makes me laugh. My family members have lively senses of humor, so we find funny things to giggle about all the time.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I’d like to meet Mikayla Holmgren because she was the first young lady with Down Syndrome to compete in the Miss America Pageant. She’s an inspiration to everyone.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
As previously mentioned, I enjoy music, and singing. Also, I’m a Yankee fan.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I loved Downton Abbey and Royal Pains, in addition to Blue Bloods and Monk. Most of those are now longer broadcast, but we do watch reruns or an episode we missed.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I love chicken, perhaps because you can prepare it so many different ways. My favoritecolor is blue. I like most any kind of music; jazz, blues, but especially classical.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I’ve never considered that. I’d probably read more and listen to music more often.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I haven’t thought about that either. Hopefully that I’ve been a good wife and mother.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Yes, my website is; www.childrensbookswithlifelessons.com/
Other social media pages: