I was THRILLED when I saw a comment from a celebrity-to-me on my blog post about our favorite books a few weeks ago, and was even more thrilled when she agreed to do an e-interview for my blog. Dianne Ochiltree has written a number of children’s books, including our very favorite, Lull-a-bye Little One, and has a brand-new book coming out in the next few weeks (which I will review when it is released!)
Name: Dianne Ochiltree
Occupation: Children’s Book Author
How old were your children when you decided to write a children’s book?
I was over forty before I started writing for children. Before that, I was a writer/editor in the field of marketing, advertising and public relations. When our youngest son outgrew picture books, I didn’t like the idea that these wonderful books would be out of my life, too, so I thought, “why not write one?” From the beginning, I was hooked on writing for kids…it’s creatively challenging and incredibly rewarding.
What inspired you to write your first book (and what was the title)?
I was inspired to write my first book, CATS ADD UP! (Scholastic/Cartwheel 1998) because I’ve always had cats as pets, and am a devoted cat-lover. All the silly things the cats did in the book actually happened to me or another cat owner, including the scene with the cats eating a frosted birthday cake. My cat, Toby, did that when l was hosting a PTA meeting one morning years ago!
What was the process of getting your first book published?
The process was not to give up too easily, to keep submitting stories to editors and to keep honing my writing skills until my work was publishable. That is it in a nutshell.
Fill in the blank: Reading to children is important because….you will help them grow into livelong book lovers and skilled readers. Being a good reader will help a child achieve their goals in life.
Tell us what you love most about writing children’s books.
Besides the creative process, I love the idea of connecting with children, parents and teachers in a positive and fun way through the books I write. I love hearing from my readers!
We received our copy of Lull-a-bye Little One through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, tell us how and why you got involved with this wonderful organization.
My involvement with the organization was initiated by the selection of my book as a title in the Imagination Library by the Dollywood Foundation’s committee of literacy experts. It is quite an honor to be involved in an organization that helps young families encourage childhood literacy by reading these Imagination Library books received to their kids.
What advice do you have for moms to encourage language and reading development in our children?
On my website, www.ochiltreebooks.com, I have a section on ‘bedtime’ reading, a compilation of tips from real childhood literacy experts. There are a lot of great websites devoted to helping parents encourage the development of these vital skills, and the advice found there would be more on-target than anything I might offer.
Tell us about your new book!
My new book is, MOLLY BY GOLLY!, the legend of Molly Williams, America’s First Female Firefighter. It’s fabulously-illustrated by Kathleen Kemly, and published by Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills Press. My hope is that young readers will enjoy this spirited re-telling of this unique heroine’s legendary adventure, drawn from firefighting lore…while learning how fires were fought in early America.
Thank you, Dianne!! Dianne Ochiltree’s Books on Amazon >