Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Yvonne Blackwood is an author, award-winning short story writer, columnist, blogger, world traveller, and a retired banker. Her published adult books include: Into Africa a Personal Journey; the hilarious Will That Be Cash or Cuffs? and Into Africa: The Return. In addition, she has published children’s books in the Nosey Charlie Adventure series: Nosey Charlie Comes To Town; Nosey Charlie Chokes On A Wiener; (Amazon Bestsellers) Nosey Charlie Goes To Court and Nosey Charlie Chokes On A Wiener Colouring Book.
Yvonne is also a contributor to the fabulous anthology Canadian Voices. She has written numerous articles for several newspapers including Canada's largest newspaper, the Toronto Star.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is Nosey Charlie Chokes On a Wiener!
It is the third book in the Nosey Charlie Adventure Series―picture books for children ages 3-8. There is a fascinating story about how this came about, but I’ll give you a brief version of it here: I was walking up a broad street in Toronto on my way to work on a crisp fall morning when I observed a gang of squirrels feasting on hundreds of ripe crab apples that were strewn on the ground in a small park in the heart of the city. Suddenly, an idea came to me! Write a children’s book about a squirrel living in a big city. And as they say, the rest is history. I wrote the first story about Charlie (the main character) coming to live in a big city when he lost his parents. The second story is about how Charlie gets into trouble because he is overly curious. This story is about Charlie enjoying the summer and again getting into trouble because he simply has to taste the hot dog because its tantalizing aroma is too much!
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I can’t say that I do. I tend to write late at night into the wee hours of the morning. I do not believe this is unusual for authors.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Being an avid reader I read many books. I can't say I have been greatly influenced by any single author. I will say, however, that I love John Grisham, John Le Carre, and more recently, Michael Ondaatje. I adore Maya Angelou for the way she writes her non-fiction stories.
What are you working on now?
I've recently completed a novel that is set in Jamaica in the late 1950s. After it was edited and I did some fine-tuning and I am now sending out queries to try and obtain an agent.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I do not believe there really is a 'best' method. You have to utilize several methods at different stages in a book’s cycle in order to properly promote it. When I published my first book in 2000, social media was not as popular as it is today. I threw a big launch event with speeches and food and sold hundreds of books there. I also gave speeches at many community events and sold hundreds of books that way. Today, we rely a lot on social media in one form or another. Furthermore, promoting children’s books is a tad different from promoting adult books. For me, I think Facebook and LinkedIn are probably the best social media methods. During the summer I read to Kindergarten classes is several schools. I also did book signings in a couple major bookstores. Theses are great methods to get the word out about children's books.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
I would advise new authors to pursue their dreams whatever they may be. If writing is your dream, keep plugging away. Remember, no one becomes famous or wealthy overnight!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
“Perseverance is a great element of success; if you knock long and loud enough at the gate you are sure to wake up somebody.” I live by this creed.
What are you reading now?
I am reading The Call of the Wild by Jack London.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I plan to write more stories in the Nosey Charlie Adventure Seris and another novel.
What is your favorite book of all time?
I can't say that I have a book of all times, however, 3 of my favourite books are Heart of a Woman, Wide Sargasso Sea and Three Day Road.