I don’t know about you, but I love learning the back story to why a book was written or published. I always feel the story behind the story is just as important as the book itself. I’ve been lucky enough to work with many authors and learn these stories and this month, I was inspired by an author team. What makes this author partnership so unique is the fact it is a father and daughter who wrote the book together. However, the story doesn’t just stop there and it’s one that I hope inspires other parents with young or older children.
The Back Story to Monkey Made Dream. What Inspired The Book.
When my daughter was around 7 or 8 years old, we decided to make up a song one afternoon. I picked up my guitar and together we wrote a song entitled Monkey Made Dream.
Monkey Made Dream is a children’s song I have sang at coffee houses for years. I knew the words to this song would work for a children’s book and we had talked about turning it into a book for a long time. Last year, I found an illustrator and we spent a year working together on making this story come to life in book form.
One of the reasons I decided to turn the song into a book was because my daughter Heather got married this summer. It seemed like a good time to work on the project. So last Christmas, I surprised her with the first copy of the book Monkey Made Dream that she helped me write years ago.
I want to thank you Tom and Heather for being my guest and sharing the back story to your debut children’s book, Monkey Made Dream. Can you also share with us what inspired you both to start writing?
Tom: I started writing just as an outlet to express myself through story telling. Song writing is the same way for me. I enjoy telling a story that takes a person somewhere that they can relate to.
Heather: I enjoy writing as a way to escape to a different place and look at ideas in different ways. It is fun to see where a story can go.
Can you share with us a little about your current book, Monkey Made Dream?
Tom: This is a story about a little girl who wakes up for school one morning and finds that her little brother has been replaced by a monkey in his bed. The story takes you through their day as the little girl tries to explain to everyone about the monkey wearing her brother’s clothes. There is a twist at the end of the story when the truth of the story is revealed.
We are a book marketing group here at VBT. Can you share with us what type of book promotion has worked for you and any special strategies you’d like to share?
Tom & Heather: Well, this is our first children’s book that we have written, so we are just enjoying the whole process. We self published this book ourselves and our publishing company has been helpful. The book is on several web sites – Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Book World and others. We are looking into a marketing plan that will feature this book in many avenues. On the local side, we are having a book signing day in two local communities near us. We will also use Facebook to get our children’s book out to the public.
How do you see the future of book publishing, both traditional, electronic, and print on demand?
Heather: It seems that self-publishing will grow, because there is an outlet for new writers through the Internet. Electronic books seem to be growing if looking around at an airport is any indication.
Tom: But there is still something about holding a hard cover book and a cup of coffee.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Tom: Just keep writing every day.
Heather: Enjoy the process!
I thank you for taking the time to share with us the back story of Monkey Made Dream and answering a few questions. We wish you much success.
About the Authors:
Tom Listul wrote Monkey Made Dream with his daughter, Heather Listul Hewitt, when she was eight years old. A farmer from southwest Minnesota, he is also a singer/songwriter. Listul made Monkey Made Dream into a children’s song and has sang it at numerous coffee houses and children’s classrooms. Hewitt is now a speech-language pathologist, who works for a school district with students of all ages. She enjoys helping children develop literacy skills and a love for reading.