Friday, January 02, 2015

Interview with Lisa Cohn, author of 'Bash and Lucy Fetch Jealousy'



Lisa Cohn and Michael Cohn, age 6, are an award-winning mom-son team. They have appeared on the Today Show, on SiriusXM Radio, in Disney’s Babble, in the Oregonian, on AM Northwest, and in many other media. Their first book, Bash and Lucy Fetch Confidence, won a Mom’s Choice Silver Award and was named finalist, USA Best Book Awards. Lisa’s articles have appeared in national publications, including the Christian Science Monitor, Mothering, Mamalode, Parenting and Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers. Michael reviews children’s books on the authors’ YouTube channel. His video reviews are filmed in taxis, libraries, ski lodges, bookstores, parks and gyms! Lisa and Michael visit schools in person and via Skype.

Their latest book is the children’s book, Bash and Lucy Fetch Jealousy.

For More Information
About the Book:

Title: Bash and Lucy Fetch Jealousy
Author: Lisa and Michael Cohn
Publisher: Canines and Kids Publishing
Pages: 40
Genre: Children’s/Pets
Format: Paperback

From an award-winning Mom-Son team featured on the Today Show, Bash and Lucy Fetch Jealousy is a contemporary boy-and-dog book. Bash's dog, Lucy, helps coach his soccer team, and Lucy leads the team to the championships by kissing the players and making them laugh. But Bash is overcome with jealousy when Lucy enchants a team of Special Olympics kids who say they want her to coach their team. Can Bash overcome his jealousy and learn to share Lucy with kids who say they need her? This is Book Two in the Bash and Lucy series, following Bash and Lucy Fetch Confidence, a Mom's Choice Silver Award winner and finalist, USA Best Book Awards. 

For More Information

  • Bash and Lucy Fetch Jealousy is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

I started writing the first book in the Bash and Lucy children’s book series two years ago after my dog, Lucy, died suddenly of cancer. I was in such pain I couldn’t eat, sleep or work, so I started writing a kids’ book that starred her as a wise but mischievous soccer-loving dog. Writing about her was the only thing that made me feel better. In my sleepless, grieving state, however, I got stuck, and asked my book lover, Michael, who was 4 at the time, to help me.  He jumped right in, helped me finish the book, and soon became my co-author, chief spokesman and marketing guru. When we created our blog, called “Michael’s Dog Blog,” we shot YouTube videos of Michael extolling the virtues of heroic dogs. Soon, however, he wanted to add book reviews to the YouTube page, and his first book review was about Clifford the Firehouse Dog. He absolutely loved doing these reviews, and eagerly agreed to review books that independent authors started sending us. (We’ve got a pile of books stacked up now, and don’t manage to get to them all).

I tell this whole story to let you know that for us, writing our first book, “Bash and Lucy Fetch Confidence,” was just the beginning of a journey that changed our lives. We started visiting with school children across the globe via Skype in the classroom, and Michael loved talking to these kids of all ages from all over the world. That’s because he loves to talk about books! We continue the Skype visits, as well as in-person visits to schools, sharing our love of books and dogs. Nearly every day, I field requests from authors, teachers and homeschooling parents. They want Michael to review their books or visit their schools and students.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

It wasn’t hard to write Bash and Lucy Fetch Confidence and Bash and Lucy Fetch Jealousy.  In fact, it was super fun. We asked the kids we worked with for ideas for our second book, and the kids loved brainstorming. They came up with great suggestions and really gave us a feel for what kids like to read. Suggestions for writers: Write about something you care about. Write with feeling and detail. Join a writer’s group. Share your work with everyone you can, but understand that if feedback feels wrong to you, don’t include it in your re-write. Be sure to share your work with your audience!

It’s important to have readers, or a writing group. I rely heavily on two readers—my 16-year-old daughter, Ally, and my best friend, Elisa. Their opinion is really important to me. After they’ve read a draft, I give it to everyone and anyone who wants to read it—especially people who may not like it. If someone makes a negative comment that really nags at me or that occurred to me earlier, I know I need to listen and make a change to the draft.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish? 

While I’ve had other books published through traditional publishers (The Step-Tween Survival Guide is one), I wanted to self-publish so we could get our books out as quickly as possible. Michael won’t always want to be my co-author, so I want to write as many books with him as possible while he’s young and excited about our project.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published? 

After my first book was published many years ago, I was surprised about how hard it is to get people to buy it—even though I got tons of press in national publications. I still feel the same way. We give our books away to schools because it’s more important to get them out there than to make money on them. We also donate a portion of sales to benefit the Oregon Humane Society.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published? 

We just published Book Two in our series; our plan is to write another one in the fall.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online? 

I prefer NOT to hang out online, but when I do, I suppose it’s Facebook. I like to see what my friends and family are up to and take part in the discussion.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

We want kids to learn all about what amazing things dogs do for people—whether the dogs are service dogs or best buddies. In our second book, Bash and Lucy Fetch Jealousy, readers learn about service dogs and how they help kids with special needs. In our blog, we’ve done many posts about service dogs and how they help kids with diabetes, autism, and other special needs.

This focus was prompted by how our dog Lucy handled her cancer: She never once let on she was sick, up until the week she died. She even happily jogged with me every day. I was so overwhelmed by her bravery and goodness; I wanted to teach kids all about dogs.

On a bigger picture level, with our books and blog, we want to share our love of reading and writing—and encourage kids to get their eyes off their screens and into a book!

Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

What began for me as an attempt to overcome my grief—writing a children’s book—surprised me by morphing into a mission to share 6-year-old Michael’s love of books. Writing books for us is not just about writing; it’s about sharing our enthusiasm for books and hoping Michael’s passion for reading is contagious.