Geetanjali Mukherjee

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

How I Write: Authors on Their Writing Process - Thomai Dion

Today's interview is my first one with a children's author, Thomai Dion




1.      When did you first start writing?
I first began writing when I was very young; say around 12-years-old. I found so much excitement in the anticipation of creating a character and I really enjoyed watching a plot come together. I carried this creative drive with me to where I am now: A pharmacist by trade and a mom to a very curious budding scientist. I both write and illustrate my educational science books for babies, toddlers and kids. I plan to eventually go back to creating lengthier works, but I have to say watching my child learn and grow from my currently available books has been the most exciting, enjoyable and rewarding thing of all.

2.      What are your books about? Are you self / traditionally published or hybrid?
I write children’s books on various topics of science, the first of which I have engagingly tackled being biology. I self-publish, acting as both author and illustrator (and editor if you want to count that as well!). It is a lot of work but also a lot of fun.

3.      What led to your love for literature? Any favorite books / teachers / writing mentors?
Before I fell in love with science, I always loved art. I loved all types of mediums and styles. I began drawing before I could ever write, and the creativity I found in crafting tangible replicas of my imagination was a thrill. This love eventually expanded to encompass the art of writing as well, and then oddly enough, science too!

4.      What's your writing process like? Do you outline? Do you write by hand / type / dictate?
I outline my stories first, typing them in a manuscript format and then laying it all out on the future pages of my anticipated children’s book. I am admittedly overly visual, so it is only until the words are on their intended pages do I then determine their exact flow and the ultimate placement of their illustrations. I then of course show my little guy mommy’s new book, and if he approves then it’s a win!

5.      What's your editing process?
Write, read, review. Write, read, review. Revise, then revise again. Write read review. Even though my books are not lengthy novels and are purposely simplified as they are intended for children, there is no less effort that goes into their creation. I am very proud of my work and strive to make them as engaging and educational as possible!

6.      Who or what inspires you? Where / how do you get your book ideas?
My little guy is my inspiration and the reason why I started this all. It is fascinating what kids can learn regardless of their age, and my toddler is curious about exploring just about anything. I love teaching him all about the world and make special note of his current interests and questions. I find that a child who constantly asks “why” is a wealth of ideas!

7.      Do you have a writing routine / schedule? Any specific rituals?
Right now my son is pretty young and I am fortunate to be able to spend my days with him. In light of that, I have a rule that I do not work on my books while he is awake. Our time during the day is 100% focused on him, playing and learning. As a result, I am able to work on my books only after I tuck him in bed and he is fast asleep. It admittedly makes for a long day, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

8.      Describe your desk / writing corner / favorite writing spot.
My desk is tucked away in the corner of our living room surrounded by brightly colored blocks, various makes and models of miniature vehicles, and the occasional pile of crayons. My little guy influences all things I do, so having my desk here is perfect. A little chaotic. A little messy. But perfect nonetheless.

9.      Do you now, or did you ever have any day jobs? Did they add to or detract from your writing?
I am a pharmacist by trade and provided care for many before becoming a mom and staying home with my son. While working, my day-to-day was primarily educating others, which I both enjoyed very much and found myself missing. Once I had my son, I found myself bubbling over with the urge to teach; and so began the eventual creation of my educational books.

10.   How do you make the time to write?
I take as much as I can find! I love what I do, so utilizing the time when available is easy. Since my rule is to reserve my writing and illustrating to the end of the day, I’d say I end up dedicating around 3 hours a day to my books.

11.   How much marketing do you do? Which platforms are you most active on?
Being a new indie author, I am feeling the learning curve when it comes to marketing. I have much to catch up on, but I’d say right now GoodReads.com has been my biggest resource when it comes to learning what others have done or are currently trying.

12.   What's the most fun aspect of marketing? The most challenging?
The most fun has to be networking! I’ve met such great people, both readers and authors alike, who are experiencing at least some part (if not all!) of the process I am going through with getting my passion for these books out there. The most challenging has to be the fact I am new at this, so with all great things comes a whole lot of work. Little by little, I’m getting there!


13.   What project are you working on now?
I’m proud to say that my fourth book is nearly ready to become available. It falls in line with two others that I have already self-published (“Think-A-Lot-Tots: The Animal Cell”, and “Think-A-Lot-Tots: The Neuron”), so I am very excited. I also have a third book out currently that is in the form of a notebook and crafted to mirror what is used in research labs. This is a more hands-on educational tool for kids a little older (primary school age). It’s been fun to create and I am already drafting subsequent learning notebooks to follow in this one’s footsteps!




Bio:


Thomai Dion is a pharmacist and mother to a very inquisitive, energetic, and hands-on analytical thinker. She believes it is never too early to start learning, so much that she has created her own educational children's books that focus on various scientific topics. These books cover seemingly complicated concepts that are typically thought of as being taught to "older kids" in school; however, they are purposefully geared towards babies, toddlers, and young children.




Think-A-Lot-Tots: The Neuron

How does our body move? How do we smile, wave hello, or stomp in puddles? It is all thanks to the brain's special helper: The Neuron. Dive into this educational picture book with your baby, toddler, or young child and discover the answers to their science and biology questions about moving and how we do it. This colorful and educational picture book will help build your child's vocabulary and kick-start early learning. Curious kids, budding scientists, and future doctors, nurses, and medical professionals are sure to become captivated by the neuron as they learn all about its different parts as well as how it helps the brain deliver messages to our body. There is no concept too abstract or advanced for tots that think a lot!


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