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?
BB: Hi, my pen name is BB Walsh. BB is short for my “grandmother” name, which is “BonBon,” and Walsh is my maiden name. As far as my age, “grandmother” explains it!
Fiona: Where are you from?
BB: I live in Georgia now and visit family in Florida and Massachusetts as often as I can.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
BB:A few years ago, I retired after 25 years as a physical therapy assistant.I’d say most of my education came from raising our four children who are all out of college, happy in their own spaces and paying their own bills! My four grandchildren (with another due in September) live close by in Georgia which is why my husband, my beloved 15-year-old cockerpoo, and I chose to move here from Fl.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
BB: All ten books in my Nissa the Woodland Fairy Book Series were finally published this past May after many ups and downs. It took me quite a while to find the right illustrator and when I did, Nissa and her adventures were finally in the right hands! Mike Quinones was an angel to work with plus he picked up exactly how I wanted Nissa and her world. We had book events in Florida and Georgia in June and hope to have one soon in Nashville, which is where Mike’s from.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
BB: I find writing a sort of meditation. I can sit at the computer or with pen and paper and write for hours. Time flies by and I feel so relaxed, sometimes I don’t want to stop. Which is why I hardly wrote anything while I raising my family. I began writing poetry in junior high school. In high school I published in the school magazine and always chose to write papers for my humanities projects. I found several of my stories and publications in a bin when I moved to Georgia. That inspired me to take some creative writing classes. I took a poetry class, which led to many others and eventually I wrote a novel, which I am currently querying.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
BB: This is a hard question. Even though I have spent most of my waking hours the last three years writing and taking classes about the craft and the business, I feel like I have so much more to learn. But at my first event this past June when that first little girl asked me to sign my book- that’s when I first had an inkling that I just might be legit!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
BB: My first book was a 77,000 word women’s fiction novel. An editor loved the back story of my main character and asked me to give try my hand at a 3 story children’s series about a fairy. Threestories quickly turned into ten.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
BB: Nissa the Woodland Fairy’s book titles came easily from the stories themselves (with a little help from my then 3-year-old grandson, Jackson.)
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
BB:Some of the stories were sparked by memories of my kid’s childhoods. But most of the Nissa’s stories came from my time spent with my grandson. For example, Bullies Be Gone, came from Jackson being a bit too rough with his little brother. The Perfect Pet came from Jackson wanting pets for the fairies in the fairy gardens I have around my yard. Too Many Talents originated with Jackson trying to mimic the talented kids on a popular TV talent show. (The title itself actually came from my oldest daughter who often told us that if she was good at washing dishes, or cleaning her room, or whatever the chore of the day was, then she’d have way too many talents!)
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
BB: As far as Nissa the Woodland Fairy, she always speaks in verse. So, coming up with rhyming dialogue to fit into the stories was a challenge, but also something I love to do.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
BB: I didn’t have to physically travel for the Nissa series; however, I time travelled to past memories of fairy gardens I created when my girls were young, miniature gardens and scenes I put together beginning in the early eighties and middle school English classes.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
BB: Nissa’s illustrator Mike Quinones came up with the cover design. I wanted simple, whimsical, child-friendly as well as consistency with the ten stories.
Fiona: Is there a message in your book series that you want readers to grasp?
BB: Each of the ten books have their own message; if you hang around with bullies, that makes you bully; don’t judge something by the way it looks; little friends can be great and helpful friends; be careful what you wish for; patience is a virtue; just because you find it, doesn’t make it yours; honesty is the best policy; kindness is never wasted; jealousy isn’t a good look; and of course the golden rule- do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
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?
BB: I am an avid reader and I love so many authors for so many different reasons. I am a fan of historical fiction and women’s fiction. I love a good story for the sake of the story.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
BB: As far as Nissa the Woodland series, once I found the right illustrator, the sky was the limit. Mike Quinones believed in me and Nissa. He’s a professional graphic artist as well as a film director and story-board creator. He wanted to make my vision possible. He encouraged me to even go beyond the 10 stories so now we have children’s journals called Sketch and Story for early elementary, beginning writers and journals with sketch areas and wide-rulepaper. We are also working on an activity book.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
BB: Luckily, I don’t have to worry about it. I give much credit to all those who write as they are working and raising children. I could never had done it. In saying that, I do plan on writing for the rest of my days.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
BB: Hmmmm, I wish I knew now what I didn’t know before I began self-publishing children’s illustrated books. We did make a few changes after we published- the beautly of self-publishing! I self-published because I wanted to be part of the development of Nissa and her world. Once I was happy with that, I let Mike take the reins and run with the illustrations. We learned the hard way about just about everything from editing to formatting to marketing.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
BB: I have re-learned things I’m sure I learned before, such as grammar and craft. I’ve learned the joy of just one sentence, and how impactful words can be. Nothing profound, but there’s a sense of fulfilment when you write a good sentence occasionally! There is so much joy in writing and sharing stories with children. I was fortunate to be able to read my stories to my grandson’s and incorporate changes from his point of view. I changed the ending in The Perfect Pet, and that we needed to make the bird scarier in Nissa to the Rescue.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
BB: If I could give one piece of advice it would be to enjoy the process. Any writing can be cathartic, earn you a sense of accomplishment, and ease your view of the world.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
BB: Nissa isn’t perfect. She manages to eventually learn from her mistakes and make good choices. Same as you!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
BB: I am reading Every Single Secret by Emily Carpenter
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
BB: I don’t remember the exact book, but I’m pretty sure it was Dr. Seuss. The first books I remember readingand collecting- I still have the spread sheet I made in elementary school- was Nancy Drew. I LOVED Nancy Drew!
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
BB: I love to laugh. My family- immediate and extended- is very close. From 2 years old to 80 years old- on a daily basis they are the ones to make me laugh and cry.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
BB: I would love to have met Queen Victoria. She was so young when she became queen, yet went through times of world changes while managing a family. There’s something quite pragmatic about her reign.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
BB: My husband would say writing is my hobby! And there’s something to say to that since I write in so many different genre’s. When I get stuck in my children’s books (I’m working on another series with a different illustrator), I work on my new novel, or a poetry book I am creating with my daughter who is a photographer, or work on one of the many classes I have cued up, or even write a short story for my blogs. When not writing, I enjoy creating miniature scenes and gardens, and of course, my most favorite hobby- being with the grandkids.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
BB: I love watching anything on History Channel, the Discovery Channel, and BBC. I like to binge watch series (like the Crown, Handmaid’s Tale, GOT, recently, The Staircase)
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
BB: Fun stuff! Favorite food: Pizza! I love diet coke and cabernet! My favoritecolors are teal and yellow. And I love, love, love music from the 70’s though, when I write, I listen to simply piano music.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
BB: Gosh, I stated early I was going to write forever, never thought about not. But, if I couldn’t write then I would sink into the world of yoga and fitness, which is the world that got me through raising my kids!
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
BB: Eating pizza with my family!
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
BB: This one’s easy: “Best Mom ever”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I do! BBWalsh.com You can find all of the Nissa series and Journals for purchase through amazon, read my recent blog posts and peek at some of the miniature villages I have created. Sign up for future emails and we’ll send you PDFs of Nissa sketches you can print off for your little one tocolor or paint.
Amazon Author’s pg: https://amzn.to/2KYK7ub