Today I had the pleasure of interviewing writers couple Cheri & Peter Lucking about their books and writing :)
Books & Writing: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself.
Cheri & Peter Lucking: We've worked hard to become Amazon Best Selling Authors and Illustrators and in the process we've been blessed to win 3 book awards. Indie Excellence Award for Best Holiday Book, and finalist for Best Children's Book Cover Design. Most recently we were awarded the Children's Literary Classic Seal of Approval.
We love to develop our books as a team from conception to final implementation. We truly enjoy working together and our goal is to bring joy and laughter through our writing and illustrations.
Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?
Cheri, I wrote my first piece when I was 10. Inspired by my Science teacher who also taught a creative writing course on Friday's. My first poem went like this:
I like the way the birds sing,
the way they always do their thing
Sometimes when they're sitting in a tree,
I can hear them say, let's go sit on her knee
Of course this is all in my head,
For always think of this in bed
I go to sleep and dream all night,
About all the birds who are curled up tight.
Peter, the first story I wrote was the original story of Santa & the Little Teddy Bear. As a young boy at school at school everyone regarded my written English as being absolutely atrocious. Diagnosed later in years with dyslexia I embarked on a journey to overcome my writing challenges.
Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?
Cheri, I have always loved the written word, reading, looking up words in the dictionary, practicing new words in sentences. I also love the texture of different types of paper and enjoy writing with different colored markers to form my letters. I love to write in my journals.
Santa & the Little Teddy Bear was not completed until 2009.
Peter, On a cold wintery English night in 2008, we were singing carols at the family reunion when one of our nieces asked if I could tell the story of Christ's birth. I sang a medley of songs. That night Mum had left my old tattered manuscript of Santa & the Little Teddy Bear- by the bedside. The combinations of events inspired me to rewrite the tale into a chapter book.
Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your children’s books.
Cheri & Peter Lucking: They're fun and whimsical and are taking on a life of their own. Each story we write has a number of hidden messages or morals. Each story is an action packed adventure that endears you to our characters. Our new series of Bilbo's Adventures books are designed for the young reader to read on their own. The images tell the story. A quick glance at the images will give the reader an idea of what the written words say.
Books & Writing: Do you write on the stories together?
Cheri & Peter Lucking: Yes. We start with the basic idea, and develop the concepts together. Both in the story layouts and the images.
Books & Writing: How did you come up with the idea for the books?
Cheri & Peter Lucking: We are inspired by our own childhood. As we observe children around us it reminds us of the child within. From Bilbo's Adventures: A Christmas Wish, to our upcoming book Bilbo's Adventures: Crazy Fun we find inspiration in everything. We start with a simple idea, the broad concept of the book and weave it into magical adventures.
Books & Writing: What attracts you in Children’s stories?
Cheri & Peter Lucking: Great character development, a good plot line, surprise, fun, colorful illustrations and a great twist.
Books & Writing: Are you planning to write for a mature audience in time?
Cheri & Peter Lucking: Yes. Actually our first book Santa & the Little Teddy Bear was aimed at a mature audience. It was written for the adult to read and interact with their children in the way that a Hans Christian Anderson or Charles Dickens' story is delivered.. Perhaps later we will write a great novel.
Books & Writing: What made you decide to donate 10% of net proceeds to children's charities?
Cheri & Peter Lucking: Our whole platform is supporting children; the future adults of tomorrow. We are not just limited to an individual charity. Our ultimate goal is to share many proceeds with qualified multiple children's organizations. The joy we personally experienced this past holiday season when we were invited to visit Children's Hospital with our costumed Bilbo the Little Teddy Bear. We presented books to as many children as we could who were sick in the hospital and wouldn't be home for Christmas. The smiles on their little faces was priceless.
Books & Writing: Where do you see yourself in a couple of years in relation to writing?
Cheri & Peter Lucking: We strive to win the Caldecott Award and would love to win the Hans Christian Anderson Award. Whatever happens we see ourselves being extremely successful and being able to share that success with children.
Books & Writing: Are you working on something new at the moment?
Cheri & Peter Lucking: Yes, our literary agent Pauline Vilain has submitted five new titles to top children's publishers in New York. Presently we are working independently on them waiting anxiously for a deal. We believe for us to take the next step for the future we need to be working with a whole experienced team to take us to the next level.
Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Cheri & Peter Lucking: Being independent authors and illustrators we have personally tried everything. We wrote and illustrated our books. We've taken many courses on marketing to Amazon optimization. We printed and published our books in hard cover, soft cover and digital formats, bank rolling each one ourselves.
Here is our advice and tips for any aspiring author; keep it simple, put your first book out in a digital format like Kindle which will keep your overhead down. Maximize your potential on Amazon while you test the market your material. Look for a good agent to represent you because that is the only way you will get your foot in the door of a notable publishing house.
Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?
Cheri & Peter Lucking: Inspired by children's authors including Dr. Seuss, Hans Christian Anderson, Dean Morrissey, Beatrice Potter, J.K. Rawlings.
Adult authors -Dr. Wayne Dyer, Anthony Robbins, Barbara Taylor Bradford, John Grisham, Kathleen Tassaro, Napoleon Hill.
Books & Writing: What is the last book you read?
Cheri & Peter Lucking: The Bible, On Being God - Carl Boseman,The Wisdom of Wallace D. Wattles.
Books & Writing: Favorite Children's Movies?
Cheri & Peter Lucking: Rio, Kung Fu Panda,
Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?
Cheri & Peter Lucking: Amazon World Wide, Barnes and Noble
Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?
Cheri & Peter Lucking: Amazon World Wide, Barnes and Noble, our webpage: http://www.BilbosAdventures.com
Books & Writing: Is there anything else you want to share with the readers?
Cheri & Peter Lucking: It is very important in this day and age that we continue the tradition of reading books to our children. We can get to lost on the computer, the TV and all the electronic gadgets that can take up our time. One on one time with your child is a memory that your child will never forget. Making old fashioned memories.
Below is an excerpt from the book Bilbo's Adventures: A Christmas Wish!
Back at the Castle at the top of the world
More presents were being wrapped and the candy swirled
The Elves were excited and ready to cheer
They had just said goodbye to the last reindeer