Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I began writing at an early age. While in elementary school, I was the recipient of two Young Author Awards (1994, 1997). In high school, I became the only freshman member of the yearbook staff where I took my own photographs and wrote stories about the happenings at Freeburg High.
I went on to receive my Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications – Journalism from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. While there, I earned the Outstanding Student in Journalism Award in 2006. I am the former Editor of The Fairview Heights Tribune as well as the Clinton County News in Mascoutah, Illinois.
I have written numerous articles and feature stories that have been included in the above-mentioned papers as well as The Freeburg Tribune and the Mass Communicator magazine for Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
In 2015, I created my own publishing company called Theuerkauf’s Tails, LLC. I am also an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), 12×12 Picture Book Challenge, Independent Book Publisher’s Association (IBPA), the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA), and the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA). I also contribute to and edit articles for the Pets for Patriots Wet Nose blog.
Additionally, I have attended numerous writing conferences and events that include: Picture Book Summit, WriteOnCon, BlogPaws Conference, and the SCBWI-Illinois Chapter Spring Thaw Pitch Perfect 2 event.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is entitled Priceless Penny. This book chronicles the amazing true adoption journey of my tripod Chiweenie, Penny. My husband actually suggested that I write a children's book about Penny after we witnessed her scaling our three foot pet gate. We were amazed at what Penny could do with only three legs!
Although Penny is differently-abled, nothing keeps her from living her best life. I hope to inspire others with Penny's story and show the world that different is beautiful!
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
If I am truly stumped for inspiration…I talk to my dogs! They always look at me as though they are listening. I know that they are really just hoping that I will give them a treat, but it is still nice to be able to voice my ideas out loud to an attentive audience.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
The author that has most influenced me is Brian Jacques. He was the author of the amazing Redwall series. My favorite book of all time is Martin the Warrior. Jacques was able to create complex worlds that you could actually visualize in your mind as you read his books. His characters were always unique and Jacques went into great depth so that his heroes and heroines were not one dimensional.
What are you working on now?
I am currently working on a series of children's book that will all involve Penny. The second installment in the series is entitled Penny Meets Miracle. This story introduces Penny to Miracle, a two-week-old kitten that we rescued from the middle of main street in our home town.
The third installment in the series is entitled Penny Discovers Hope. This story introduces Penny to our newest fur baby, Hope. The product of a backyard breeder, Hope was born without eyes and is completely deaf. Penny soon learns to experience life through Hope's perspective.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
The best website that I use is Goodreads.com. Authors can create their own profile page and link it to their books. There is also a group dedicated just to authors. Authors can host giveaways as well. Goodreads even authors paid advertisement options.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
If you have a story in your heart, share it. Never give up on your dreams!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
The best advice that I have ever heard is: "Be yourself. No one can ever tell you that you're doing it wrong."
What are you reading now?
I am currently reading the Dog Man series by Dav Pilkey. I absolutely love the graphic novel style. His illustrations are hilarious! I love how Dog Man seems to always outwit Petey the Cat. This definitely reminds me of the rivalry at my house between our rescue dogs and cats!
What’s next for you as a writer?
I plan to continue working on the Priceless Penny series. I have also written two stories that are more geared for readers ages 14 and up. The first is a story about my therapy dog, Adriel. This book will chronicle her journey from training to become a certified therapy dog and include excerpts from the numerous places she has visited.
The second book I am working on is about my double dapple Dachshund, Hope. The product of a backyard breeder, Hope was born without eyes and is completely deaf. This story will show how Hope has changed my life and taught me to view the world differently. I intention is to shed light on the importance of adopting differently-abled animals.
What is your favorite book of all time?
My favorite book of all time is Martin the Warrior by Brian Jacques. I actually did a book report/presentation about the book in sixth grade! I fell in love with the character of Martin and the theme that anyone can be a hero. Jacques created such a rich and colorful world that I was totally immersed from start to finish. Having read all of the books in the Redwall series, Martin the Warrior still remains my favorite.
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