Thursday, August 23, 2012

"I think food is a wonderful thing" - Author #interview with @GloriaRepp

Tell us about you.
In one of my earliest memories, I am sitting on my father’s lap listening to a bedtime story. His stories were always original, always exciting, and they took me out of my small space into larger worlds of adventure, intrigue, and wild creatures. He enjoyed the outdoors, so I did too, and when I was old enough, he took me with him on “adventures.” 

The gifts of my early childhood, a love for story and for nature,stood me in good stead during the lonely teen years that followed. My mother died, our family disintegrated, and I was sent away to school. In the books I read and the stories I began to write for myself, I found companionship and a challenge: to learn, to grow, to improve my craft.  

Tell us about your book.
PIBBIN THE SMALL is the first in the Tales of Friendship Bog series, which follow the adventures of a tiny but courageous treefrog named Pibbin. It is written expressly for young readers (ages 6 and up) and for reluctant readers, who can enjoy the story without facing difficult words or long sentences.

In this book, Pibbin is desperate to get help for his injured turtle friend. The other frogs warn him that it’s a dangerous journey: “You'll run into snakes and that giant bullfrog,” they say. “Black Snapping Crabs might eat you!” . . . Pibbin wonders: is he too small to be brave?

Book 2, THE STORY SHELL is available now, and Book 3, THE COOKIE BOX is on my artist’s desk

What inspired you to write this particular story?
The past four years have added a new dimension to my work as I’ve made numerous trips to explore the thousand-acre wilderness of New Jersey’s Pine Barrens. I found inspiration for story settings in the pine forests and the abandoned cranberry bogs near the ruins of a town named Friendship. One April, I listened to a chorus of frogs singing, and I knew I had to share these marvelous creatures with children.

I would tell them about the adventures of Pibbin, a Pine Barrens Treefrog, beautifully colored in green, lavender, orange, and white. Although tiny, no bigger than my thumb, he would be brave, a frog who dared anything on behalf of his friends. I’d write Pibbin’s stories with simple words and sentences so children who were entering the world of reading could enjoy them. The series would be called Tales of Friendship Bog.

Who are your favorite authors?
I read in many genres, from mystery to biography to historical fiction. My favorite authors at the moment are C.S. Lewis for his imaginative, instructive fiction and non-fiction; Tolkien for his marvelous worlds, intricately woven with courage, honor, and triumph over evil; and Solzhenitsyn for a sobering reminder of the cruel environment still suffered by many human beings and the wonderful resilience of men and women in bondage.

What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
For me, accomplishment is an ongoing process. I write with a Christian world view, and I want my stories for children to be empowering, rather than to deliver a lesson in morality or provide a trivial experience. As a child, I lived with fears that towered over me like dragons, and children today face dragons even larger and more frightening. But courage and honor and love still conquer dragons, and my goal is to reflect this truth.

My greatest reward is to hear that a young reader has taken something for himself from one of my stories: “I felt braver after I read about Mik-shrok.” Or “I want to be a good friend, like Pibbin.”

Tell us 5 random things about you the person, not the author
1. : I like to make things grow -- from blueberries to parsley to roses.
2. : I’m a loner and don’t thrive in crowds; I don’t do much socializing except with family and close friends.
3. : I enjoy traveling (somehow that coexists with #2) and delight in exploring out-of-the way places.
4. : I think food is a wonderful thing, and I’m eager to try out most kinds of ethnic food.
5. : I love to cook and bake but must confess I can’t seem to follow a recipe without personalizing it

Where to connect online
Twitter : @GloriaRepp

What format does your book(s) come in?
Paperback and digital formats.

Where to buy your book