Children's Book Author Anne Kaufmann: 'Keep the hope and keep moving toward your dream' #children #authorinterview #interview

Today's guest is children's book author, Anne Kaufmann. Her new book is That'll Do Pippin! and she is on a virtual book tour this month with Pump Up Your Book. We're very glad to have her here today to talk about her book, writing and what surprised her about getting her book published. 

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?  When did you come up with the idea to write your book?

On That'll Do Farm were seven mischievous puppies that were full of joy and always wanted a game and loving puppies that were full of kisses and always wanted a hug. I noticed that, even at the tender age of five weeks, all the puppies each had their own personalities: small actions and habits that would make them unique individuals. However, all were boisterous, inquisitive, and playful. They were so delightful, charming and into all kinds of antics. They made me laugh. They warmed my heart.   

Then with no worries, they would in a nanosecond, drop to the ground for a sleep and a dream.

Enter Pippin and Nigel. The smallest boy puppy, Pippin gripped his favourite toy bear, shaking it with delight. Then along came Nigel, the largest puppy. He saw the toy and knew that he must have it: it had to be his! He rushed over and grabbed the toy from little Pippin. Pippin was surprised. Ah, but it was Nigel. Nigel would always be his protector and his buddy. After playtime, Pippin and Nigel lay down for a sleep, pressed tightly together. These pups caught my attention and fancy.  

Children, just like puppies, respond and relate to the love of play, adventure and discovery. They accept their friends' own personalities and uniqueness. Through games and exploration, they develop their own self and view of the world. Children and puppies live in the moment: they experience every moment to the fullest, learning lessons of life. At the end of a day of adventure, children sleep with total satisfaction and dream their adventures, reliving the excitement and fun. It is a pure sleep.
I hoped that children would identify with the puppies, be involved in their adventures, and enjoy the journey: discussing the puppies' discoveries, lessons and choices, but most of all realizing the wonders of adventures.

There was a definite contrast between the smallest boy, Pippin and the largest boy, Nigel.
Pippin's brother Nigel is rambunctious and brave and runs head on into any adventure, whereas Pippin is more cautious and introspective.

I decided that the Pippin and Nigel characters would be great for a children's book. Since the puppies had their own and wonderful personalities, I wanted to show children that, just like Pippin and Nigel, each of them has his/her own gifts and strengths. Border Collies excel in sheep herding, but also other dog sports, like agility. They have boundless energy. They are such fun dogs, perfect for a children's book.

The theme for the book just fell into place: Pippin's dream was to be like Nigel, not realizing that he had a wonderful gift of his own. As sometimes happens to us, Pippin is unexpectedly called upon to use and realize his gifts.

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

My publisher is Brownridge Publishing in Canada. I was so fortunate to hear about Brownridge when I was a teacher librarian. Another Librarian told me about Brownridge, so I decided to submit my book for children, Glenn Gould: Sketches of Solitude, about the great Canadian pianist and his unique life. The book was accepted and published. 

Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?

Yes, a cover will attract a reader to your book or not. There is the saying that, you can't judge a book by its cover, but in fact that is exactly what often attracts many people to a book.

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?

Writing a book is never easy, but it can be a rewarding journey with some self-awareness along the path. Even for a children's book, it taps into and helps me express my feelings, experiences and sometimes there is a small revelation. Therefore, my characters' journey is part of my own personal journey. The ideas in my book changed as I went along. Sometimes, quite unexpectedly, an idea or a turn of a sentence flashed across my mind and it taught me not to be hesitant, but just try it out. I learned that it was okay to be flexible and follow my intuition and the sparks of ideas that seem to come out of nowhere. I always have a paper and pen at hand, no matter where I am, because if I don't write down my thoughts, there is a good chance that they will vanish. It is important to keep in mind your audience when presenting vocabulary and situations. I feel children need to relate and enjoy the characters and that the message in the story is always through the characters and their actions. Sometimes, I can sit for ages staring at the page, waiting for some phrase or idea. At that point, I will either just start writing or put the work away for a while. Illustrations were important for a children's book, and I found this challenging. I drew many illustrations that I never used. Illustrations must help tell the story. I found it extremely helpful to share my work with friends. It is difficult to evaluate your own work. Be open to suggestions and constructive criticism, but remember the work is yours. You know your characters better than anyone else does. Re-write, re-write and re-write. I found it beneficial to read aloud in order to catch errors and to judge how the story flows.

What other books are you working on and when will they be published?

I am working on revisions for a historical fiction book (Young Adult fiction) Northern Dancer: A Stable Girl's Journey. It is an amalgam of fact and fiction - a retelling of the life of the great Canadian racehorse, Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner and one of the most inimitable stallions, Northern Dancer (aka The King Maker) as seen through the fictional experiences of a stable girl and her friends. Hoping it will be published in the Fall or Winter of 2019. 

I am also working on the third children's picture book of the That'll Do Pups series featuring Pippin, Nigel and a new friend preparing for a very special event that has many challenges. It will join the other two books, That'll Do Pippin and Pippin and Nigel's Christmas Adventure. Hopefully, this book will be published early 2020. 

I am in the early stages of researching and outlining a historical fiction book (Young Adult Fiction) on the Golden Spruce and the critical state of our environment. 

What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?

Little Pippin is not as helpless or hopeless as he thinks himself to be, and that heroes can sometimes be the ones that we least expect.

Finally, what message are you trying to get across with your book?

Pippin and Nigel are two charming puppy brothers who live on a wonderful farm. They are best buddies and do everything together. They are full of mischief, energy and fun! I hope that children will journey along with the puppies. Just like the puppies, I hope it will encourage children to love their own adventure, new experiences and enjoy nature.  

Pippin is the smaller puppy who wants with all his heart to be like his larger brother puppy, Nigel. Pippin admires Nigel's bravery, strength and skills. Nigel is always there to help and protect Pippin. Then Pippin solves a dangerous problem all by himself and learns that it is okay just to be Pippin. No matter what comes their way, the pup brothers will always support each other and remain the best of friends, even as they grow from puppy hood to adult dogs. Cherish your friendships and childhood adventures.

I hope the puppies' story shows children the importance of believing in themselves and that they each have their own wonderful gifts and abilities.

Most of all, I hope that children enjoy the puppies and their story.

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

I wish all those working on their own books the very best. Keep the hope and keep moving toward your dream.

Thank you.

Anne Kaufmann is both the illustrator and author of the Pippin and Nigel adventure series for young children. She is the also the author of “Glenn Gould: Sketches of Solitude.” Anne is a former teacher librarian. She studied English Literature at Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Toronto. Her passions include music, books, animals and creating nature journals. She has shared her life with dogs, horses, cats and birds.A nature lover, she spends many hours exploring the forests north of her home and walking her dogs, Indy, Maya and Pippin. She loves spending time with her horse, Aria. Some of her favourite childhood memories include summers at her cottage on Lake Simcoe, settling back on the family couch reading while listening to her dad’s weekly String Quartet group, playing with her dogs and wishing for a horse. She is currently working on the third book of the Pippin and Nigel Adventure series and  a historical fiction novel on the great Canadian horse and Kentucky Derby winner, Northern Dancer. She lives in Ontario, Canada.

Author: Anne Kaufman
Publisher: Brownridge Publishing
Pages: 68
Genre: Children’s Picture Book


Pippin and Nigel are two charming puppy brothers who live on a wonderful farm. They are best buddies and do everything together. They are full of mischief, energy and fun! Pippin is the smaller puppy who wants with all his heart to be like his brother Nigel. Nigel is brave. Nigel is strong. Nigel is smart. One day, the puppies escape from their yard into the woods where they experience many adventures. Nigel is always there to help and protect Pippin. Then Pippin solves a dangerous problem all by himself and learns that it is okay just to be Pippin.
This story teaches young children the importance of believing in themselves and that they each have their own wonderful gifts and abilities.



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