Author of the Month
Author of the Cooper Book Series:
A Walk with Cooper
A Game with Cooper
A Visit with Cooper
This week we interview Debbie Gonzalez about her books and what she has coming up!
Please read on to find out more about our Author of the Month!
Question & Answers
Tell us a little about yourself, where do you live, family, hobbies!
I am the proud mama of my fur baby Cooper. My husband, Andy, and I live in North Jersey but we are forever Lower East Siders of New York City. My favorite things to do are gardening, arts & crafts, taking pictures in nature and a bit of singing. Family is important to me and I like making an event of gatherings I host. I believe in being in the moment and making memories that will last.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
While I’d wanted to write a children’s book for years, I hesitated getting started. When I let go of perfectionism, I started to write snippets of stories on any piece of paper as ideas came to me. Those snippets came together as I sat on a park bench writing my first book. I finished writing my book the summer of 2018. Then came the search for the illustrator.
Who is the worst villain you’ve ever written, and why?
My books do not have villains. As a person who specializes in crisis management, I wanted a story with no drama. For my second book, the tension is found in the search for treats.
What’s the main thing you love and hate about writing?
I love creating a story that takes the reader on a journey that hopefully makes them smile. With fiction, I get to pretend and allow my imagination to explore possibilities. With children’s books, illustrations are very important. I’ve been blessed to work with Kate Fallahee who, in addition to being talented, is a pleasure to collaborate. She gets my ideas and brings them to life. When the story is finished, I’m a bit sad because there isn’t any more to do. As an indie author, the business end kicks into gear and that is less fun than writing.
What is next on your list to write/publish?
A Game with Cooper releases April 1, 2020 and will be available for preorders soon. This story continues Cooper’s adventure and introduces a new character.
Who encouraged you the most to write?
My husband encourages me. When I’m stuck or question what I’m doing, he is quick to cheer me on. He believed I could publish my book when I doubted it.
Who is your favorite author, and why??
My favorite author changes based on the genre. I’ve read lots of Agatha Christie, Mary Higgins Clark, Isabelle Allende and Julia Alvarez. However, Doreen Cronin, author of the Click Clack Moo Series stands out because Click Clack Moo Cows that Type is the first picture book that I incorporated into more than a read. I’ve used it to teach adults about leadership skills. I’ve read aloud to little ones. On days that I felt overwhelmed at work, it brought me a smile. For me, a good book inspires emotion.
What’s your favorite genre to read?
Children’s picture books are my favorite. I find them entertaining. I love reading them aloud with a dramatic flair. Making animal sounds cracks me up especially when my audience joins. Since I also use the books to teach leadership skills, I keep an eye out for stories that lend themselves to those lessons. I also enjoy historical fiction and fantasy.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
During my work as a senior manager overseeing child welfare and social services for an organization, I had the opportunity to volunteer for a monthly book club. Each month we were assigned a book with a featured character trait. We grew from being assigned a couple of students to a whole classroom. For years, I had the pleasure of reading to upper elementary aged children. It became my favorite activity. Each time, I walked away from book club filled with joy. I came to appreciate children’s books differently. I decided I wanted to share stories that brought me joy as a paying forward of the joy I received from the children. I say all the time that the children inspired me to become an author.
Describe your writing/creative space. Do you listen to music as you write? Do you drink tea, wine or something else when writing?
I do my best writing connected to nature whether it’s on the trails near my home or simply in the backyard. I practice mindfulness and concentrate on the sounds and colors around me. When it’s too cold to be outside, I sit by the window. Sometimes, I need more help to settle down. Instrumental music playing softly in the background soothes me.
If you could interview any famous author who would it be and why?
I’ve never thought of it. However, I attended an event in the fall for Hispanic Heritage and had the pleasure of meeting a few authors. Best advice: write about what you know and read, read, read. Chanel Cleeton, New York Times Best Selling Author, still tears up when she tells her story. I appreciated how lovely she engaged in conversation. Authors are people with experiences trying to connect to people with a need to hear them.
Tell me a secret that none of your fans know! Do you like to write in your pajamas or perhaps write in a café instead of at home!
I am old fashioned. I love writing with a medium ball point pen on crisp pages. Since I can remember, I get really excited about brand new notebooks. Back to school sales are like a party.
Is there anything in your book(s) based on your own experiences or is it all solely from your imagination?
My books are based on real experiences with my fur baby Cooper. Observing him often brings on giggles. I can sit for hours with him on my lap. Thank goodness for tablets or I’d get little done. Cooper is a creature of habit and he lets us know when he wants to play. This next book is a lot of fun imagining his thoughts to the excited play we witness at home.
What surprised you about your authorship journey?
Holding a book with my name on the cover is cool. However, hearing from a child or their parent that I inspired them, a bigger thrill. During an event, I had a parent ask about my ethnicity because of my last name. When she learned of my Puerto Rican descent, she beamed. I’ve worked hard to get where I am today and I think of myself as me. I forget that my personal story represents a rise from humble beginnings and a cultural background not represented in the publishing industry. Becoming an author meant more than simply my book. It became a doable pathway for the next author.
Finally, any words of advice for aspiring authors?
It can seem daunting at first, especially if you are thinking about the whole book. My advice is to write whenever inspiration hits. Whether you write a little or a lot, write. Research your genre. Read many books of varying styles and identify the things you like most. We are always learning and in this community of writers we have the opportunity to learn from each other. Most of all, before publishing, invest in an editor. Nothing stops a story like a poorly written sentence. We have only one go at our readers to impress them.
I would like to thank Debbie Gonzalez for allowing me to
interview her and for answering my questions.
If you want to learn more about Debbie Gonzalez, please visit her website.
You can also follow Debbie on her social media.
Disclaimer. The opinions and views expressed in the article are the interviewees and may differ from the interviewer/general public.
The works and images published here may be subject to the Authors copyright, please do not copy the images or claim them as your own.