My latest interview is with writer Sharon Crocilla who is a retired art teacher from Boynton Beach, Florida. She was originally from the south side of Chicago, Illinois and graduated from Northern Illinois University. She has been married for forty years. They have two grown children and two young grandchildren. She loves drawing, painting, reading and writing.
Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?
Sharon Crocilla: Not specifically, but as a child I went through a story writing phase. I really enjoyed writing and illustrating the story. As an adult, I became interested in writing children’s books when my own children were young. I was constantly reading books to them and thinking, “I could do this!” I wasn’t teaching at the time, so I started writing and doing some sketches for illustrations. These were all put aside when I went back to teaching as I just didn’t have the time to pursue it.
Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?
Sharon Crocilla: As far as children’s books I was most inspired by William Steig who wrote and illustrated “Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.” I loved the story and the style of the illustrations. The actual inspiration for my book, “ABC’s in Action”, was from an illustration assignment I used in teaching.
Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?
Sharon Crocilla: I guess I could say the same thing I love about reading a story; the idea that language can draw you in and make you feel involved in what is happening. Of course, as a writer/illustrator you have the advantage of being able to make your words come to life with your images.
Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your children’s book, “ABC’s In Action?”
Sharon Crocilla: In “ABC’s In Action” the illustrations combine with the verses to weave nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs with each alphabet letter. All of the action revolves around the letters of the alphabet which are shown in a landscape setting, unifying the whole book. “ABC’s in Action” can be enjoyed as a picture book, an interesting “read and find” for a parent and child together, or as independent reading.
Books & Writing: How did you come up with the idea for the book?
Sharon Crocilla: As I mentioned before, as an art teacher, I had used an assignment in which the students had to illustrate a letter of the alphabet and ten things that started with that letter. They were encouraged to involve the items with the letter if possible. To help them understand the assignment, I created the letters A and B. I was very pleased with the outcome and at the time I realized it would make a great children’s book.
Books & Writing: What made you decide to write a children’s book?
Sharon Crocilla: When I retired, I finally had the time to pursue my dream of writing and illustrating a book so I decided to give it a try. After the first few letters, there was no turning back. Each one I completed inspired me to get started on the next. I soon realized the possibilities of combining the various words with images that would entertain the reader; such as, “toad in a tutu playing a tambourine while jumping on a trampoline.” The book ended up being much more than just a book of nouns like most alphabet books. In my book nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs all have a part in the action. Writing the descriptive verse was a new experience for me, but I enjoyed doing it so much and I think it fits well with the fun and humor of the pictures.
Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Sharon Crocilla: It’s like any other thing in life. The first step is always hardest. You just have to take that step and encourage yourself to continue. You never know what you are capable of until you try. And from my experience you are never too old to begin something new.
Books & Writing: Where can people find you on the internet?
Sharon Crocilla: I can be found on Facebook and Twitter @SharonCrocilla.