Barbara Techel's first children's picture book is touching and inspirational. It is the true story of a miniature dachshund that falls ill to a paralyzing disease, and how she overcomes all the obstacles while remaining as sweet and gentle as before. The book carries a powerful and important message for children and adults alike. Thanks for being here today, Barbara, and for sharing your thoughts with us.
Do you consider yourself to be a born writer?
No, I guess I wouldn’t consider myself a born writer. Though I have always loved to write sentimental letters to my family and friends.
Did you always want to be a writer?
I can’t say it was a life time dream of mine until I found something inspiring to write about, which is animals. I also came to a crossroads in my life when I was about 41 years old. My chocolate lab Cassie had been diagnosed with terminal bone cancer. It really made me pause and reflect on life. I then decided to do some deep soul searching to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Combining my love of animals and writing about them has brought me immense joy.
Tell us about your recent release. What was your inspiration for it?
“Frankie, the Walk ‘N Roll Dog” is a true, non-fiction children’s book. My dog, Frankie, a miniature dachshund, inspired me to write her story. She became paralyzed at the age of six and now rolls around in a dog cart. Her zest for life is amazing! She has taught me so much about making positive choices when we have challenges. People were so compassionate towards her and wanted to know her story that I felt the calling to share her story.
Tell us about your children's books.
This is my first children’s book. I want to write a series of Frankie’s books teaching children not to judge others and to look for the best in all situations they face in life.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? If yes, how did you ‘cure’ it?
I’m not so sure there is such a thing as writer’s block. For me, if I don’t write it is because I am procrastinating.
Some writers go on long walks, others keep a journal, write at a café, or listen to music. What do you do for inspiration and unleashing your creativity?
Going for walks is something that inspires me. I have my “learn and grow” walks as I call them, and I listen to motivational and inspirational speakers. I also love to read books on writing, which always inspires me. Music, especially piano music, brings writing out in me too.
Describe your working environment.
Though I wrote Frankie, the Walk ‘N Roll Dog at my kitchen table, I realized during that time how I love nature and need quiet. I wanted a room/space to call my own for writing and reflection. So, I sold my red sports car to pay for a 10 x 12 room my husband built for me off of our deck. It has 6 windows and a great view! My husband calls it, “MySpace.calm,” and it is exactly that!
Are you a disciplined writer? What is your working style?
No, I am not a disciplined writer, unless I am being held accountable or am on deadline. Once I have an idea of what to write though, I can really run with it and continue through to the end, along with all the editing. I learned to love the editing process.
Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your works?
What are you working on now?
Another children’s book about Frankie. I also do a quarterly newsletter about Frankie and am just starting a monthly E-magazine called Joyful Paws which will be short stories about animals. Anyone can sign up for these free at my Web site.
Where are your books available?
My Web site and Amazon. If you order from my website I sign each book plus Frankie “pawtographs” each book.
What was your experience in looking for a publisher?
I decided to self-publish for many reasons. I have grown by leaps and bounds and have learned so much by going the route of self-publishing.
What type of book promotion works for you? Any special strategies you’d like to share?
I think being open to all opportunities is what every writer needs to do. Especially with the internet, there are so many wonderful ways to promote. It does take a lot of work, but I am enjoying the marketing process. One of my bigger promotion strategies is marketing to our area schools and libraries and doing presentations.
Who are your favorite authors?
Sarah Ban Breathnach, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Natalie Goldberg.
What was your favorite book as a child?
Charlotte’s Web and Three Little Horses at the Kings Palace.
What is the best advice on writing you've ever received?
To always write from the heart…and to just begin! And also to give yourself permission to write and not worry about spelling, grammar, etc.
We hear again and again that picture books are incredibly difficult to write. Why is that?
I think because you have to remember what it was like to be a child. You have to say so much in fewer words. And you have to be descriptive with your words and sentences to keep the young readers attention.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
Thank you for taking the time to read about me and “Frankie, the Walk ‘N Roll Dog.”