e: What inspired you to start writing?
Beryl: Remembering when I was young and how my grandfather told me stories in an old, rocking chair by the fireplace, I began writing stories for my own grandchildren. My granddaughter, Zoe, was afraid of a dinosaur in her closet and I decided to write her a story about a friendly dinosaur, entitled The Blue Dinosaur. This was to be a once-in-a- lifetime adventure. I soon found I enjoyed writing this kind of story and had many more story ideas. Soon I began to write for the general market.
Me: Tell me a little bit about yourself, in brief.
Beryl: I have been an artist for many years. In the past six years, I also have been writing and illustrating children's books. My stories are picture books for young children, ages two through eight. I have produced over 35 titles, illustrated with my drawings and photographs. A traditional publisher, Oak Tree Press, has published five of my books and the rest are published by Blurb.com and CreateSpace.com.
I hold a Master's Degree from UCLA and taught high school English and Social Studies in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. I have lived most of my life in California. I am a member of the SLO County NightWriters, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and the National Storytelling Network. I am on Facebook, Wordpress.com, Google Plus, Amazon Central Author's page and Linkedin. All of my books are listed on Amazon.com or Blurb.com. My Oak Tree Press books are also listed on www.oaktreebooks.com and Ingram.
Me: Tell me about your latest book.
Beryl: "When Caterpillars Dream" is a book that introduces children to the life cycle and migration patterns of Monarch butterflies in a fantasy format. It follows a Monarch caterpillar in her chrysalis as she dreams of the incredible journey she will take, flying south for the winter once she emerges as a butterfly. As she emerges, she meets other Monarch butterflies and takes that journey.
Me: Tell me more about the hand made baskets and books that are found on your website.
Beryl: I started my art career in ceramics but found that not satisfactory because of difficulties with glazing and finding a kiln. I turned to paper as a medium but still continued my interest in three-dimensional shapes, in the form of paper baskets and Book Arts. Now, I am producing silk baskets as well.
Me: Is there a particular book that you enjoyed writing the most and if so, what is that book about?
Beryl: I think I enjoyed writing the first book for my granddaughter. It was exciting to be learning something new, and there was a definite learning curve. Most of all, it brought me closer to my grandchildren and to my memories of my grandfather.
Me: Is there anything else you would like me to mention?
Beryl: I am an avid reader both of children's book and adult books. One of my first books as a child was Now we are Six, a poetry book with Christopher Robin. I still have my copy. Now I have a collection of children’s books from the U.S. and other countries. I try to buy books whenever I travel, both picture books and folk tales.
My adult reading covers a range of fiction and non-fiction, depending on my mood: sometimes mysteries, spy or historical novels; histories or novels about China, Japan or places I’ve visited; or biographies about famous historical characters. There is always a book on my bedside table.
Thank you Beryl for speaking with me! I wish you the best of luck with your books. Make sure to look for Beryl's books to see those awesome pictures! I know I will!
About this Blog
Author Vickianne Caswell interviews other children's authors.