Monday, January 28, 2013

Spotlight on Mom -- Brenda A. Ferber, Author of The Yuckiest, Stinkiest, Best Valentine Ever

The Yuckiest, Stinkiest, Best Valentine Ever

This week I wanted to share a children's/young adult author with you, who recently released a Valentine's Day book, which would make a great book to share with your children for the upcoming holiday.

Here is more about Brenda's book:

"Leon has a crush. A secret crush. A dreamy crush. A let-her-cut-in-line-at-the-water-fountain-crush. And he's made the perfect valentine. But the valentine has other ideas. "Love is yucky, kid! Valentine's Day is all about candy!" the card yells before leaping out the window and running away, leaving Leon to chase it across town, collecting interested kids along the way. 

Saying "I love you" has never been so yucky or so sweet."
  Read a Q & A
  Download an activity kit


I had the opportunity to interview Brenda as a Spotlight Mom, and wanted to share her responses with you in this week's Spotlight on Mom feature.  When you are done reading this post, make sure you head on over to her website and download the free Valentine's Day activity kit, as well as to learn more about Brenda and her other books.  You can also purchase her book at Amazon right now for only $11.55 -

Name: Brenda A. Ferber
Company Name/Product/Service: Author of The Yuckiest, Stinkiest, Best Valentine Ever
Company Website:
Favorite Inspirational Quotes: "Think about the person you'd like to become. Believe in yourself based on the thinking you've done. Dream big dreams based on your belief in yourself. Dare to make your dreams come true. Think... believe... dream... dare... Become the person you know you can be." Walt Disney. "I'd rather be nine peoples favorite thing than a hundred peoples ninth favorite thing." Title of Show
Favorite Book: Are You There God, It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.

I have three teenagers, boy-girl twins who are seniors in high school, and another son one year behind them. I'm married to my college sweetheart, and when I'm not writing or figuring out what's for dinner, I enjoy exercising, seeing movies, watching TV, reading books, and eating at great restaurants. 
Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about? 

I've been writing for children for about ten years now. I started out getting stories published in Ladybug magazine. Then my first novel for kids, Julia's Kitchen, was published in 2006. My second novel, Jemma Hartman, Camper Extraordinaire, came three years later. The Yuckiest, Stinkiest, Best Valentine Ever is my first picture book. I'm currently at work on a young adult novel.
What is a typical work day like? 

I don't have many "typical" days, but I can tell you about my ideal day: I get my kids off to school. Then I walk my dog and run to a Pilates or yoga class. I take a shower, grab a bite to eat, and spend three solid hours writing before my kids come home. Then I hang up my writing hat and become chef, psychologist, teacher, laundress, house cleaner, chauffeur, nurse (in other words... a mom!). Then a lovely family dinner and a relaxing night laughing with my husband in front of the TV or reading a great book. 
What has been a struggle while starting up your company? 

The biggest struggle with being an author is staying positive. I spend years writing and revising with no guarantee of getting published or having my books widely read. Luckily, I'm a naturally optimistic person. I focus on the journey... just imagining a story and crafting the words to tell it in the best way possible... that's what being an author really is. Getting published is icing on the cake, but it's not the reason I wake up and go to work each day.
What did you do in your past work life? 

After college I worked at the Leo Burnett Advertising Agency. I've also worked at an ice cream shop and a french fry store. 
What have been some of your major successes? 

My first novel, Julia's Kitchen, won the Sydney Taylor Book Award, which is bestowed upon the best book of the year which has Jewish content and universal appeal. I've also been thrilled to get great reviews for all three of my books, but nothing compares to fan letters I receive from kids who have read my books. I can't tell you how amazing it feels to hear that I've written someone's favorite book. Pretty incredible. 
What have been some of your major challenges? 

Every day is a challenge. Writing is really hard. But I love it. 
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going? 

I consider quitting pretty much every time I finish a book. I think well, that's it. I'll never come up with another idea. I'll never be able to do this again. But then I start trying to imagine what else I would possibly want to do with my life, and there is absolutely nothing that challenges and inspires me like writing. So inevitably, I find another idea and keep on going. 
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family? 

I don't know that I always get this one right, but I try to write a couple hours every day. That way, I give to myself and I don't get too cranky, but I'm also dedicating most of my life to my family. I know that in a couple short years, my kids will be in college, and I'll have the rest of my life to write, so I try to really enjoy my time with them now.
What is next for your business? 

My agent is trying to sell a tween romance I've written, and I'm working on a young adult novel set in the future. 
Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business? 

If you want to be an author, I advise reading a ton in the genre you'd like to write in before actually writing in it. Then be sure to find a critique group, other writers who will give you helpful feedback about your writing. Also, consider taking a writing class and attending some conferences. Then make up your mind to do it, and follow through.

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