Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Jeanette Windle is Karen K.! Please email my assistant Amy with your mailing address. (amy@litfusegroup.com)

This week children’s author Celeste Butrym is in the Spotlight! To win a copy of Celeste’s latest book, Counting with Ranger, leave a comment on this post!

Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

I am married and have one daughter 8 years old. I work full time and travel a lot so I squeeze in writing when ever I can. I usually keep a notebook with me, so I can jot down my ideas for later.

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…

I like to write for children of all ages. Initially, I thought I would only like to write picture books, but I was bitten by the writing bug and just can’t stop itching (I mean writing).

How did you get started writing?

When I was in Elementary and middle school I wrote, and I especially liked to write poems.

Did you have a dream of being a published author?

Oh Yes, it was a huge dream, something I hoped to do. I would read a children’s book and say “I could have done that”. I had no idea how to go about getting published. When I finally decided I was going to try, I read a lot of books about it. If I saw someone doing a book signing I would buy their book just so I could have a moment to ask a question to two.

After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?

Counting with Ranger was submitted to a contest (I think Women’s Day) several years ago. I felt this little book was great and thought for sure it had a chance to win. It was not accepted and I put it away for another year or so. Thinking “one day I will get this book published”. I was just about to self publish when I reconnected with you (Suzanne). We spoke for a few moments about how to get published, which rekindled my desire to try again. You were so kind and encouraging. I followed your advice and sent in my manuscript to Vinspire Publishing right away. I was not going to put this off again. I remember you telling me that it takes a long time to get published but to keep trying. I heard back from Vinspire in less than a month. I will NEVER forget that day.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well?

I am a night owl and write when the world is sleeping. I also have time to think creatively when I am driving. When I get home from a trip I tell the stories to my daughter, she listens and laughs and gives an opinion. Recently, I started telling her a story, she thought it was a story already published and when I was done she asked when we could go to the bookstore to buy it. I can’t wait to finish this one. It is going to be a good.

Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write?

I need quiet to concentrate so I wait until the household is alseep (aside from my trustworthy dog). If I had the time and money I would be in the Sierra’s overlooking a beautiful mountian lake. I would write to my hearts content.

How many hours a day do you spend writing? 

 I try to spend a few hours a week writing. I would love to write daily or spend an hour a day writing but I am not able to do that.

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication?

Suzanne, you have been my biggest help. I appreciate you more than words.

Writers’ conferences?

I haven’t been to a writer’s conference yet but plan to do so in the future.

Your mom as your first draft reader?

My daughter is my first draft reader and listener. I usually tell the story to her, and if she likes it then I know I’m on the right track.

Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?

The day after I was notified that my submission was accepted I went to the local bookstore. I looked at all of the books and wondered how in the world I could be part of this. I took a big gulp but at the same time I was thrilled. I thought “my book will be here one day”. I had no idea how competitive the world of writing would be. It has its own culture and rules. I think it is easy to make a mistake without realizing it. It is important to be professional in every way. I found the internet daunting but realized early on that the internet can also be your friend.

What are your biggest distractions?

My biggest distraction is finding time to do everything. I suppose it is that way for everyone. It can be difficult to juggle family, and work.

What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?

The biggest moment has been seeing my work published. Holding the book, flipping throught the pages and reading it to children.

I haven’t had a “worst moment” yet.

What do you least like about being a writer?

I can’t think of a thing I dislike about being a writer but I’ve just begun.

Most like?

I enjoy the ability to be creative, and I also enjoy sharing my ideas with my daughter. It is truly a bonding experience, one that the two of us will always remember. Working with Vinspire Publishing has been a pleasure.

What is the role and importance of an agent?

I do not have an agent at the moment but will soon be looking for one.

What advice would you give to new writers?

Network, and don’t give up. Don’t wait for years to get your work out there.

Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.

This book is so adorable, just take a look at the illustrations. The author really did own a Search and Rescue Dog named Ranger, who saved many lives. In this book, Ranger’s mission is to find ten numbers using his search skills and take them back home safely. The story takes the child on rescues ending up with Ranger saving the day by finding all ten numbers. The book rhymes, which helps children remember the numbers. This is a great “read it to me again” book and a perfect gift for pre school through first grade.

What’s on the book horizon for you?

I’m working on two books for older children.

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

Counting with Ranger is sold through Amazon.com or vinspirepublishing.com. Please also take a moment to check out my website at www.sierrakidswriter.com

Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)

Thank you Suzanne, I appreciate the invitation.

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