Interview – Brandy Lay, author of Night-Night, Yellow Sun!
Self-Publisher’s Showcase: Today we are joined by Brandy Lay, author of Night -Night, Yellow Sun! Welcome to the Showcase Lounge, Brandy.
Brandy Lay: Thank you so much for having me!
SPS: For any of our readers that haven’t come across your work previously, can you take a moment to tell us all a little about yourself?
BL: I’d love to! I live in Ohio and I majored in English at The Ohio State University. I always wanted to become a writer, although I thought I’d be writing in a different genre, and actually started writing stories for my two children after I became a stay-at-home mom. My husband and parents actually gave me the push I needed to self-publish my works.
SPS: What are your perfect writing conditions, and how often do you write?
BL: I’m not sure there actually is a ‘perfect’ writing condition, but if there were, it would be anytime I can sit down and just start typing with no interruptions. A lot of times my works come together in pieces. Being a SAHM, my writing comes in spurts, but when my husband is home, I’ll usually try to take more time to put everything together and edit.
SPS: Can you put your finger on the moment where you decided that you wanted to publish your work?
BL: After much thought and support from my family, I finally decided to publish my first children’s book. I knew if I didn’t, I’d always wish that I had.
SPS: Why do you think it is that you have found yourself writing in the style/genres that you do?
BL: Being around two kids all day and night, I rediscovered that magic of childhood: the questions, the lessons, the beauty in the simplest things.
SPS: What can you tell us about Night-Night, Yellow Sun! And, where the idea came from?
BL: Night-Night, Yellow Sun! is a bedtime story to help children get ready for the night and to recount their days. It actually started as a story I told to my daughter about everything having to go to bed at night. She is afraid of the dark, but it seemed to help her get ready and she had fun naming everything we did and anything that needed to go to sleep. I just put it into rhyming form and the book was born.
SPS: What do you think are the main ingredients for a children’s book?
BL: I’m really into children’s books that teach new things. Whether it be an idea, a definition, a moral, it’s always great to see a child learning something new and even greater when you see them applying it.
SPS: What age group in particular would you say that the book is best suited for?
BL: NNYS is suited for 3-5 year olds.
SPS: How did you set about structuring the book?
BL: We knew that we wanted to make it kid-friendly and kid-oriented. From the style of the font, to the size of the font, the colors used, we wanted it to be playful and bright.
SPS: How important do you feel it is in Children’s literature to deliver a message?
BL: I believe it is extremely important. These may be stories that your child reads over and over again, so it’s important that they learn something along the way. (And don’t get me wrong, I love the humorous books too, which I hope to dabble in some day!) Laughter can be just as an important message in today’s world.
SPS: Which came first, the text or the illustrations?
BL: The text came first. My talented sister-in-law does the illustrations. I give her notes on some of the pages, and she truly does bring my visions to life. But I always want her to be able to express her own ideas, which she is extremely gifted at doing! She is absolutely wonderful.
SPS: What kind of responses have you received from people who have read Night-Night, Yellow Sun!?
BL: The responses have been great! People have told me or commented that they love the fact that we taught their child a definition, in rhyming form. One person told me that the book reminded them of their own childhood books, which was just the most humbling compliment. Also, everyone has gushed about the pictures and the colors.
SPS: What’s next on the self-publishing horizon for Brandy Lay?
BL: Helen, my illustrator, is actually beginning on the artwork for WishPuffs, which will be ready to go once she’s all finished. WishPuffs is a story about a little girl who finds a flower (which is actually a dandelion) that is not as colorful or pretty as all the others surrounding it. Her friend dismisses the ‘weed’ as unimportant, but the little girl is intrigued by it. Later, she will have to call upon the WishPuff as she encounters an alarming situation and will learn a very valuable lesson along the way about why one should never judge anything based on its appearance.
SPS: Was the Self-Published/Indie-Published route always your preferred route for your work?
BL: Honestly, I’d never put much thought into self-publishing. Not because I didn’t like it, I just wasn’t informed about it. Once I starting researching it, I loved the freedom it gave to make your books appear just as you envisioned them. With children’s books, there’s the extra element of artwork. And as a writer, I visualize the scenes as I write them, and I knew I didn’t want just anyone doing the artwork. I wanted to converse with the artist and have them know my ideas and incorporate them into their own visions. Self-publishing has given my sister-in-law and me a chance to be a team, which has been a blast.
SPS: Has the experience so far been all that you thought it would be?
BL: Absolutely. We’ve had book signings and readings. Our book is getting out there and I’ve had people tell me that their child asks them to read it over and over. That’s the greatest feeling for me. It’s why I wanted to become a writer. The only aspect that has been a tad difficult is marketing. I’m not one to push things on people and I’m very timid, but I have to say, the marketing aspect has gotten me out of my comfort zone and out of my shell some.
SPS: If you could give one piece of advice for someone looking to get into writing, what would it be?
BL: Do it. You never want to look back and think, “I wonder if it really could’ve been something.” Just keep writing and pushing forward.
SPS: Before we bring this interview to a close, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word…
BL: Sadly, I actually do not get that much time to read anything else. The last book I finished was The Hunger Games trilogy, which needs no name-dropping. I do want to begin to read indie fiction and non-fiction soon though.
SPS: Thank you for joining us today, Brandy, and all the best for the future.
BL: Thank you so much. It’s been my pleasure!
SPS: For more information on Brandy Lay and her work, please do visit her Showcase Author page here.