Author Interview: Carli Valentine
Hi Carli. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule for an interview.
Your book Extra Special Heart made a book list on bravery from the website National Be Bravery Day. I did not know National Be Brave Day existed. Congratulations! Was this something you had to submit your book for, or was this a complete surprise? Thank you! I actually saw that the website was looking for books on bravery so I submitted mine and was super excited to have them accept it and add my book to their list. 🙂
The main character in Extra Special Heart has a Congenital Heart Defect. Why did you choose CHD over some other health issue? My son, Finn (age 9) was born with a heart defect and has undergone 2 cardiac surgeries. During our journey we have come across so many heart warriors and their families. All these children we have come across have hearts that are built differently and operate differently but they are so very EXTRA SPECIAL in other ways and that is where the idea for my book came from. These kids and their families, including my own amazing heart warrior, have so many amazing gifts they can offer the world and I just wanted to showcase their amazing qualities so they can be proud of all that they are and will one day become!!
I am not sure what the statistics are for the number of children with Congenital Heart Defects. Does this book explain what CHD is for children that have it or what does it do? CHDs are the number one diagnosed birth defect, occurring 1 in every 100 births. This book has a page with a brief explanation about CHDs as well as explaining my son’s specific heart defect, which is a vascular ring. Most of my books story is filled with empowering messages about how special children with heart defects are and how proud of themselves they should be for what they have accomplished and overcome!
Your newest book, The Fun Thieves is all about teaching kids to deal with frustrating situations and keeping a positive attitude. This is a hard thing to teach kids. Not all adults are always successful at this. How did you go about tackling the topic? To tackle this subject I give examples of frustrating situations that all kids face at some point like getting their kite stuck in a tree, a party canceled due to illness, swimming cancelled due to lightning, etc! I show them how each of these acts of nature can also bring good to us- to help them learn to look for the “bright side” of situations.
Positive thinking is such a tricky subject to get used to, even as adults! However the sooner we give our kids tools to work on this, the better the outcome! I hope my book can open up conversations about this topic with their family members and provide them with a basic framework to positive thinking.
What has been the reception of your books? When I released Extra Special Heart it was a passion project. i didn’t do it for sales. I wanted to put something out in the world that came straight from my heart. I am very passionate about disability awareness and inclusion and even though this book is in a pretty niche category, it has been received very well and in a very supportive manner. So have all my other books so far! I have wonderful support from family, friends, my community and other indie authors! I am very fortunate!
Are you publishing your books yourself or going through a traditional publishing company? I am an indie author 🙂
You do all of your own illustrations. When you are planning out what you are going to write, do you think about the illustrations at the same time, or is that something you do after the story itself is done? It depends on each story. Sometimes I come up with the illustrations after writing it, but sometimes I develop the story and the illustrations together as I work.
When and why did you decide to become a children’s author? I did hair and esthetics for about 15 years. Then, Covid hit and I care for 2 people with medical issues so I became concerned for their health and I quit my job and fell back into something I enjoyed a long time ago, writing! I had many books written and saved and contine to add many more. I have really enjoyed it! I love sharing the magic of reading with kids. I love helping them with issues they face and promoting inclusion and disability awareness at the same time.
Where do you get the ideas for your books? Most of the ideas I get from being a mom to my kids. I try to use challenges we face together to come up with book ideas that will help solve problems and give guidance on how to work through things. Some of my books are based on experiences I have with them too. They are definitely my little muses.
Which do you enjoy more, writing the books or illustrating them? I enjoy both for different reasons! Writing seems to come more naturally. I love to be artistic though and illustrating fulfills a whole other need that I have deep down in my soul. I would say illustrating is definitely more of a challenge and I feel like I am learning and working on improving my illustrating skills with each book that I write.
Are you working on anything right now? Can you tell us a little about the next project? Besides my new release coming, The Fun Thieves, launching June 22, I am working on a construction themed potty training book and a book about procrastination with an alligator. I also have various projects i am working on with different disabilities and challenges being faced by each. 🙂
Again, thank you so much for your time. Thank YOU for the opportunity to tell part of my story!
Carli’s books are available on Amazon.