Carol Zelaya was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, where she became a registered nurse after college. She met her husband at a local hospital and they had two children, who they raised in the midwestern town of Valparaiso, Indiana. They lived there for sixteen years before moving to Ashland, Oregon in 1996. It was in Oregon where she discovered her love of nature, as deer and birds were daily visitors. She lived amidst mountains and streams for the first time and moved up to the Portland, Oregon area in 1999. It was at her home in Portland where the behavior of a tiny chickadee nesting right outside her window got her attention and inspired her to write her three Emily the Chickadee books for children. She is currently relocating from Portland to San Diego, California, to live near her grown daughter and son.
Welcome to The Writer's Life, Carol . Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I started writing this true story seven years ago, starting with the first book in the series, Emily Waits for Her Family. This three-book series was written from the perspective of a little girl telling Emily’s story in simple rhyme.
Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
This is a true story about a little chickadee who made her nest outside my window. I was so inspired by her, that I wanted to share what I was observing with children everywhere. I watched in awe as she built her nest in my flowers and cared for her young baby birds until they could fly on their own. The second book, Caring for Emily’s Family actually teaches children how to take care of the birds in their yards. The third book, Emily’s New Home, completes the three book series, which started in spring and ends in spring the following year.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?
I didn’t know the first thing about book publishing, but hired people to help me get all three books into book form and published in 2008.
Do you have a press kit and what do you include in it? Does this press kit appear online and, if so, can you provide a link to where we can see it?
There is a Press Room section on my website. It includes press releases, sales sheets, high resolution photographs, and a link to watch a video of a television interview.
Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV? What are your upcoming plans for doing so?
Yes, I have done many live radio interviews in the past and also a live TV news interview on one of Chicago’s news stations this year. My favorite thing, however, is going to schools and speaking to children in their classrooms. Kids ask the most interesting questions!
Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?
I’ve never had an agent, but would certainly be open to the idea in the future if the right opportunity presented itself. It hasn’t been necessary yet.
Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it?
Yes, I hired a media company called PR by the Book, who planned my book signing tour and also scheduled my radio and TV interviews. Also, The Cadence Marketing Group is in charge of my October blog tour.
Do you plan subsequent books?
Yes, I always have ideas for writing more books, but I would like to do all I can to promote these three first.
Thank you for your interview, Carol. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?
Please visit my website http://www.emilythechickadee.com/. My books are available on amazon.com and may be ordered into any book store.