Congratulations to Naomi Burman-Shine, author of children’s book, Stonely’s Pet Dinosaur, which has recently been the silver medal-winner in the pre-school picture book category of The 2014 Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards.
We are excited to let you know that Naomi’s book is being showcased in the children’s category of the 2015 summer collection of The People’s Book Prize. This national competition is voted for exclusively by the general public. To vote for Stonely’s Pet Dinosaur and help Naomi and Rowanvale Books reach the finals, please click on the logo below. The general public can cast their votes from 1st June to 31st August 2015. Thank you!
Naomi is visiting our blog today to answer a few questions about Stonely’s Pet Dinosaur and her writing. Thank you, Naomi!
How did your book come about? Where does the inspiration behind the book lie?
Naomi: I wanted to write about a theme that young children could relate to. When I was thinking up ideas, my young sons were interested in all things dinosaur, and they were also constantly asking me to buy them a pet. I combined the two subjects and came up with an idea for a story about a young cave boy who wanted to own a roaring red dinosaur.
Young children love bold colours, and I therefore decided to make the dinosaur red, which is a popular colour. Along with the word ‘roar’, it makes a great alliterative phrase! ‘Please can I have a pet that is red and roars?’
Who will your book appeal to?
Naomi: My target audience is children aged three to seven, but my book is being enjoyed by younger and older children, and adults, as my amazing Amazon reviews indicate.
Who is the main character in the book?
Naomi: The main character is a young cave boy called Stonely. Many picture books have animals and adults as their protagonists, but I wanted my central character to be a child so that young readers could more easily relate to him and empathise with him.
How would you sum up your book in under 40 words?
Naomi: The Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards summed up Stonely’s Pet Dinosaur perfectly. Judges said it is ‘Colourful, exciting … fabulous fun for kids’!
Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
Naomi: The basic message of the book is that applying determination and perseverance help you to achieve your goals, which are great values to instil in young children.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Naomi: Stonely’s Pet Dinosaur and the next two books in the series are written in rhyme. Many of the picture books I shared with my sons were written in rhyme – rhyming books are always fun to read aloud.
Particular favourites of the boys included Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae (illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees), Dragon Stew by Steve Smallman and Aliens Love Underpants by Claire Freedman (illustrated by Ben Cort).
The boys were always engaged in reading these books, and loved guessing the rhyming words at the end of each stanza, which helped build their listening skills and language skills. Rhyming text makes a story lively, captivating and memorable. As a musician, I love the intrinsic rhythm of the text, which enhances the mood and pace of the story.
What is unique about your book?
Naomi: I can’t think of any other rhyming picture books series set in prehistoric times where the central character is a child…
What was the hardest part of writing your current book?
Naomi: Writing picture books in rhyme is certainly a challenge for a novice writer. I had to make sure that the story wasn’t sacrificed because of the need to use rhyming words. Online rhyming dictionaries and thesauruses thus became my best friends!
Finding the correct metre to allow the words to fall off the tongue naturally was the hardest part, and having a great editing team was essential to produce a smooth-flowing final text. I would like to thank my fabulous editing team: Australian story-writer Robyn Opie Parnell, copy-editor and proofreader Jane Hammett, and the lovely Sarah Scotcher at Rowanvale Books.
Is your book part of a series? Are there any more sequels lined up?
Naomi: Yes, Stonely’s Pet Dinosaur is the first book in a series. I have written two more Stonely books, Snore’s Roar and Snore’s Stinky Feet, which I hope will be published in the near future.
When and why did you begin writing?
Naomi: I believe that books can change our lives, and I have always tried to instil a love of reading in my kids, starting from when they were very young. Sharing books together is very special, and every bedtime I read to – or with – my young sons.
I enjoy new challenges and I thought it would be amazing to know that young readers everywhere were tucked up in their beds, just like my own sons, with a book I had written. I therefore set myself the task of writing a fun children’s story
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Naomi: I first felt like a true writer when I saw a copy of Stonely’s Pet Dinosaur in the front window of two local independent bookshops where I was doing my book launch events last September! It suddenly dawned on me that my dream of young children enjoying a book that I had written was going to come true. That was a very proud moment.
Who are your toughest critics?
My children! They are the sounding boards for my story ideas, and if they don’t like something then it is immediately given the chop.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Research, research, research! Read and analyse lots of books in your chosen genre before putting pen to paper.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Naomi: I hope that readers enjoy my books as much as I relish writing them.
For up-to-date Stonely’s Pet Dinosaur news, please visit Naomi’s website at http://www.stonelyspetdinosaurbooks.com.