Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Interview with children's author Rene Cournoyer

Children’s author Rene Cournoyer joins me today and we’re chatting about The Fantastic Adventures of Sticky.

Welcome, Rene. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am blessed to have two wonderful children and five beautiful grandchildren. They have kept me young at heart.

Writing a book has been a lifelong dream. Science fiction and fantasy are what I love to read and wanted to write about. However, I could never get the book out of my head and onto paper. My grandchildren have always told me I’m a big kid at heart and suggested I write a children’s book. It resonated at once, the children’s genre is where my book belonged. The next day I started typing and never stopped. As a result, Sticky was born and grows in time.

You’re all invited to come take this journey with Sticky and his friends.

What do you enjoy most about writing short stories?
Each of my characters are a part of me and I feel like I am living the adventure with them. If there’s comedy, suspense or even pain from injury, I feel it all when I write. Even though my characters are a part of me. I feel a stronger connection with each one of them. I find writing to be very therapeutic. When I find myself laughing out loud while writing, I know something is going right, because it feels so right.

Can you give us a little insight into a few of your short stories – perhaps some of your favorites?
This is my first book. I do have more planned after this 4-book series. I have another 3-book series that continues where this one leaves off. There’s an ongoing story built into all the adventures that happen throughout the series. Sticky has a way of finding trouble and trouble almost always finds him. He can go from total klutz to hero of the day.

One of my favorites is when Sticky cracked the Liberty Bell with his head and another is when he saved a little girl from a fire in the barn. Klutz to hero, that’s my Sticky.

What genre are you inspired to write in the most? Why?
Children’s fiction. There is not a doubt in my mind that I belong in this Genre. I am a kid at heart and I have so much fun creating adventures, suspense and comedy.

Because my book has Sticky going from the fantasy world and into the real world in Philadelphia – 1776. I get to teach kids some of our history and they can have fun while they learn it. To be honest, I learned a few things myself. I have Sticky reliving the events and then I put footnotes that teach the real history. The second series, ‘Sticky and the Magical Portals’ is a trip to Boston in 1777. They make a trip from Springfield to Boston and have many adventures along the way.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I have 10 other books in their 1st stage of writing. They are all adding to Sticky’s adventures for Sticky. These 10 books create 3 more series You get to read about how these characters grow in many ways. There are also many life lessons for the kids as Sticky does a good deed and is commended for it. He is also told when he is doing something wrong and is corrected by Robyn, the leader of the group.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have always wanted to write a Science Fiction novel like Enders Game or Lord of the Rings. I wanted to create different worlds and have continuing stories about them. I always wanted a continuing series. I have that kind of imagination.

The problem was getting the book out of my head. I started many novels and stopped after a few chapters. It just didn’t click. Back in 2011, I was sharing this story with my grandkids. They suggested that I write a children’s book. Because I am a kid at heart, I should be writing for kids. That was all I needed to hear. It hit me like a brick.

The next day when I was driving to work, I had to pull over and take notes. A massive volume got downloaded into my head. The ideas were floating around in my head and needed to come out. And come out they did. I typed for months, morning, noon and night. When it stopped and I went back to see what I wrote. I couldn’t believe it. Hundreds of pages, mostly in 1 paragraph. I had my work cut out for me. So, I divided and conquered the manuscript. I knew nothing of how to properly format a children’s’ book. I had so much to learn. It was overwhelming and thoroughly exciting at the same time. I loved the whole journey and continue to love it today.

How do you research markets for your work, perhaps as some advice for writers?
Google is everyone’s best friend, no matter what you’re doing. I go from one writers site to another. I don’t leave a site until I have learned something new. When you write, you must keep reading. It’s probably your best teacher. I read books at home and listen to audio tapes when I’m driving. I don’t listen to music or news stations on the radio. It’s all about the books.

Believe it or not, writing your book is the easy part. It gets difficult after that. There is so much to learn. Never give up your dream.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I would have to say that the character flaws of my characters, are my own. They are truly a part of me.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an astronaut. Soaring to the stars on an endless adventure. I do get to enjoy the endless adventure. It’s here on earth and not in the stars. However, you never know what the future may bring for Sticky. Anything is possible with this crazy little elf.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I have found that my books are good for all ages. I read them weekly to my grandchildren when they couldn’t read. They couldn’t wait for the next part of the ongoing story. My brother and sister read them and loved every bit of them. My father, who is 90, read the series. When he finished, he came up to me and hugged me. He thanked me for letting him feel young again for a brief moment in time.

Thanks for being here today, Rene.

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