This Week’s Feature Author Interview with
Hi Timi Bliss, welcome to the Indie Publishing Group website. Introduce yourself to us. Tell everyone who you are, where you’re from, what do you enjoy doing, hobbies and interests.
When I think back on my childhood growing up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, it brings comforting memories of my mom and grandma and the time we spent with books, drawing, arts and crafts, dolls, cooking, sewing, and music. Their nurturing highlighted the importance of creativity and informs my imagination to this day.
All my life I’ve been told how creative I am, and it seems to just come naturally. I’m pretty fearless in trying new things, and get a kick out of exploring new ways of expressing my creativity.
My career is in nonprofit development, and I currently work for a children’s museum focused on STEM where I am a grant writer and support membership. Grant writing appeals to me because of the challenge to tell a compelling story in a limited amount of space.
When did you start writing and why?
I’ve enjoyed writing for as long as I can remember, and English, Creative Writing, Poetry, and Speech were favorite courses in school.
Which is your favorite book you have written and what gave you the idea for it?
Well, “In Search of the Sandman” is my first book, and is a story I made up and would tell my daughter at bedtime because she never wanted to go to sleep. I entered it in a contest and it placed as a semi-finalist. Over a decade later, I decided to illustrate and publish it.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
The story focuses on visualizing, kind of searching in your mind, for things that come with the night to see the Sandman. It’s much like the repetitive mental visualization of counting sheep to fall asleep.
Who helped you with the cover? Or did your design it yourself? What was your inspiration for your cover design?
Initially, I pursued other illustrators whose work matched the artistic vision I had for the book, but decided to do it myself when the illustrator I wanted, sadly, said she couldn’t take on the project at the time. I’m glad I illustrated the cover and story because it feels good to have complete ownership of the project.
Actually, the final cover design was my first draft. As a first draft, I started to second guess its effectiveness for fear it was over-simplified and maybe I hadn’t put enough thought or work into. The more I looked at it, the more I began to “feel” the message of longing the image conveyed, so I kept it as is.
What are some of the themes of your story?
Discovery is the prominent theme in my story as Charlie discovers the wonders of the night with things like the stars, the moon, crickets, and owls.
What’s your process when you sit down and decide to start writing a book? What is your process and do you have a system?
I can be so linear with my thinking that I’m compelled to start at the beginning and work sequentially to the end, but this book has given me a much-needed exercise in fluidity. Although I started at the beginning and attempted to illustrate it page-by-page in numerical order, I allowed inspiration to move me around the book wherever it needed to. The story was originally told orally, so writing it was done much differently than one I would start from on outline of a book idea. And again, I’ve learned to let the book create itself and not stay rigid to my outline.
Who are some of your favorite characters and why?
I love all the characters created by Richard Scarry because there are so many unconventional ones rarely seen in books, like Lowly Worm, Hilda Hippo, Mr. Gronkle the Warthog; and Bananas Gorilla; and they’re featured together in the same story.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
My favorite children’s book author and illustrator is Ezra Jack Keats. I grew up with his books, and have shared my of love of them with my daughter and granddaughter. I love the creativity of a newer story “Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett, which is illustrated by another of my favorite illustrators, Christian Robinson. Of course, I love the rhyming of Dr. Seuss’s stories.
Have you got anything you’re working on now?
As a matter of fact, I do! I’m working on writing the second book in the “In Search of” series and its title is “In Search of the Boogieman.” Don’t worry kiddos – it’s scary fun! The orange cat featured on several pages of “In Search of the Sandman” will have a prominent role in this upcoming book.
If you could have any super powers what would they be?
Being able to play an instrument or sing because of the transcendent power of music.
If you could travel to any location in the world where would you go?
The world’s a pretty big place, so that’s an impossible question to answer. How about anywhere and everywhere! I’d love to have the luxury to travel all around the world. I’d visit secluded tropical beaches for some serious R&R, visit places with architecture thousands of years old, and experience an African safari.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years’ time?
Five years from now, I’d like to have five books published!
Thanks so much for taking the time to do an author interview. Take a minute and check Timi Bliss out on the links below. Timi Bliss’s book, In Search Of The Sandman, is available now on Amazon! And Barnes & Noble!