My special guests today are co-authors Peggy Bechko & Charlene Brash Sorensen. They’re talking to me about a fun series of children’s stories they’ve written called Planet of the Eggs. The newest book is #6 in the series. It’s titled Eruption 2, Saving Dot.
Peggy Bechko, frequently published multiple- genre author and screenwriter teamed up with long-time friend and former health insurance industry denizen, Charlene Brash Sorensen to bring the world a new world...Eggland.
Stretching creative wings, they created the new Planet of the Eggs comic book series. The first in this 'eggciting' adventure across time, space and who-knows-what, Cracked Open, introduced the Six Eggs of Legend, followed by the second, Grimoire: Book of Spells, and the third, Mummified Egg.
The writing/illustrating team live in the foothills of the high mountains just five minutes apart, and one can read the other's mind. Even artistic disagreements are arrived at simultaneously. They spend two to three days a week together, creating jointly and time apart creating and pondering what might come next for the well-armed eggs.
What do you enjoy most about writing the children’s comic series?
First creating the storyline that we believe will be attractive to our audience along with offering a positive life-learning experience.
Secondly, it’s great fun for us to design illustrations that tell the story and delight the reader.
Can you give us a little insight into a few of your children’s comic stories? – perhaps some of your favorites?
Currently our favorite story was the fourth in the series, Eruption, Dawn of Dinosaurs and Dragons. We both very much enjoyed introducing the human characters into the world of the Egglanders and revealing the diamond egg’s true identity – all of this is a long past land of the dinosaurs.
We’ve discovered that when you write a continuing series – in our case we’re up to five with a sixth in the works – that you get very attached to your main characters (whether good or bad) and emotionally attached to their evolution. In our recently published book, Eruption2, Saving Dot, Cyrus, one of the twins may have been mortally wounded and it made us both very sad to contemplate his loss.
What genre are you inspired to write in the most? Why?
We love what we’re doing with the graphic novel/comic format, but along the way, we got inspired to add to that some Read To Me Picture Books utilizing the same characters for very young children. Both of us have nieces and nephews, but no kids of our own. The idea of writing children’s books was just a lot of fun and we believed our characters have great messages for kids.
What exciting story are you working on next?
The next in our series is called Worlds Collide. It’s the culmination of the previous five adventures with an exciting climax and we’re equally excited to write it. We’ve blocked out the story line and are now working on the creation process. Additionally, we had so much fun writing the picture book, Look At Me Look At You (available as a Kindle Edition and paperback on Amazon) that we’re already quickly collecting ideas for more in that vein. Got any ideas you’d like to share with us? All of this is under the umbrella of The Egg Chronicles family of books.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Peggy Bechko started writing when she was only about thirteen and dove right into novels. She was first published by Doubleday when she was 23.
Charlene Brash Sorensen is only about 1 ½ years old as a writer. Peggy twisted her arm (gently) to get her to come along on the “Eggventure” and both of us are loving every minute.
How do you research markets for your work, perhaps as some advice for writers?
Finding a market is difficult and something we haven’t completely mastered as yet. That said, we first write stories that we love and know others will too, filling them with quirky characters and colorful illustrations of fantastic adventures. We have learned that the burden of marketing falls on our shoulders exclusively and we’re tackling it with as much energy and enthusiasm as we do writing our books. We’re pretty much everywhere on every social media.
Just for fun, we opened a GearBubble Shop with our characters adorning mugs & T-shirts.
We’ve initiated a newsletter as well! You can sign up at our Facebook page, or go to http://bitly.com/EggsSignUp.
Our advice is it’s up to the writer to take control of his or her marketing and public relations completely when you Independently publish. No one loves your work as much as you do and it’s up to you to get the news of your writing out to the public. All the time we work we keep an eye out for blogs, social media connections and other methods of getting the word out. Marketing is continuous. Carry your business cards with you (we created our own), slap an eye-catching promotional magnet on the side of your car (we did!). It all counts.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
It’s great fun to have a writing partner and we find we read each other’s minds. Along the way we’ve had to learn a number of new software programs (such as Paint.net Rip Studio, Spektrel Art, Comic Life and Photoshop Elements) and have had a lot of laughs doing it and expanding our knowledge of things we used previously like PowerPoint.
Generally graphic novels/comics/illustrated children’s books use the services of a writer and an illustrator. Charlene and Peggy both do both. And the illustrations aren’t drawn by hand, but rather created electronically from pictures they take for backgrounds and of eggs they’ve created, and via illustrations procured from photo stock sites which we then manipulate to our needs.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Charlene originally wanted to work with animals which dovetails perfectly with work on this children’s comic series.
Peggy wanted to be a writer for forever.
The illustrating was something very new and exciting which our computerized world now allows us to do.
Thank you both for being here today. All the best with more great egg-ventures!