I’m lucky to have the chance to interview a brand new author this month. Read on to learn about how Angie and her husband, Matt, decided to go into the world of book publishing. I was particularly interested, as publishing my own book is kind of a dream of mine (shh… don’t tell!). 🙂
I grew up in Rochester, MN. Thanks to my parents, who value travel, I have been fortunate enough to visit six countries and hope someday to be able to venture out and see more of the world. I received my bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire in Secondary Education in the area of Social Studies. I went on to get my graduate degree in Education with an emphasis on technology from Grand Canyon University in Arizona. I met my husband, Matt, while working on my teaching degree in Wisconsin. I was his waitress and he left his information on a napkin (yep, that stuff really happens). I have been teaching middle school for ten years and have a beautiful three-year-old, Ellianna, who keeps me on my toes, as we all know three-year-olds do!
What is your current business?
Besides teaching I have, in the last four months, started to pursue a new adventure – writing and publishing my own book! Our website and business name is Halama Llama Creations. The name came, affectionately, from many students and even friends who love to use llama references for us due to our last name. We published our first book November 10, 2016 and hope to do more creative work.
What inspired you to start writing children’s books? Have you always had an interest in writing?
My husband is the original dreamer on starting down the author path. We have had many conversations about fun ideas for children’s books over the years. However, the first idea that we ran with came from me one night when I could not sleep. I literally scratched some ideas into a journal on my night stand and the next day wrote the first draft. I have not always been interested in writing – in fact, I am the queen of typos, spelling errors, and run-on sentences. I have always been creative but always thought “you have to be a perfect writer to be an author”- not the case my friends – that is what editors are for!
What is your biggest challenge as you work to establish and grow your business?
We love our book, our daughter loves our book; but how do we get this darling bedtime adventure out there when we don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on marketing? This has been our biggest challenge. We would love to see this book become part of other families’ bedtime traditions!
With a small child at home, how do you make time for your business?
That is the trick – I couldn’t do it without a husband who is willing to take on a lot of the childcare and play responsibilities. Matt is an amazing father who takes on more than his fair share when it comes to household duties and taking care of Ellianna. Without him this would have been a late night, every night, undertaking – and I simply do not function well without some sleep. Of course, there is a sacrifice in all of this – Ellianna is totally a daddy’s girl.
What has been the most surprising thing you have learned through the process of writing this book?
Writing is fun! Working with a fabulous illustrator who can make your words into beautiful, colorful images is magical! Self-publishing, on the other hand, is stressful, tedious, and might cause you to need therapy. There is always something that delays the publishing process and it can be maddening.
Many spouses assume they would never be able to work with their significant other. Do you enjoy working with your husband?
I won’t sugar-coat this one – it was hard some days. Some days I may have said something to the tune of “I am never doing another project with you again.” When you have ownership over creative work and your partner criticizes that, it can be hard not to take that personally. We also work at very different speeds – and I know I got on his nerves about getting things done. In the end, the joy we get seeing Ellianna enjoy the book was worth it. And yes, we will do it again.
Do you have plans to write more children’s books?
Yes – absolutely. There is one more bedtime story I want to tell, and Matt has a desire to do books for older audiences (upper elementary/middle school).
Anything else you want to tell us?
It is our intention to help others with what we have learned in the process – by no means are we experts, but if anyone is interested in self-publishing, we are available and willing to help. Contact us through our website: www.halamallamacreations.com. “Door within a Door” is now available on Amazon.
Angie and her husband welcomed a second daughter in July 2017. They have been happily distracted by their new roles as parents of two, but there may be more books on the horizon! I’ll let you know when that happens.
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