Ann Morris (English books) Ana Morris (Spanish books)
I am an award-winning bilingual children's picture book author. I write my own stories in Spanish and English. I believe this makes my message available to readers of the native language as well as learners of the other. My mission is to promote interest in reading for children and their parents, positive adult role models, and an opportunity to learn as well as to participate in the learning process.
I am open-minded and culturally fascinated. I'm amazed by how cultures and languages affect and reflect people's beliefs and attitudes. I trust in peaceful resolution. Diplomacy succeeds so many times where quarreling wastes time and energy.
I am an educator and will always wish to assist people to help themselves, no matter their origins. Languages provide us with tools for communication that enable that empathy and work.
I truly believe that we need to concentrate on our commonalities to preserve this treasure we call Earth for our children.
1. Will you tell us about your most recent published work?
My very most recent published work is “G Is for Ghana”. I wrote it pro bono for a mission sponsored by Acts2Collective in Asikuma, Ghana, West Africa. I have long followed my sister’s involvement in supporting this mission from States’ side, but I had never actually visited. This year I had the opportunity to visit and wanted to take something that was part of me that would touch them.
G Is for Ghana is an alphabet book that I did completely by myself. As it is for a mission, there are religious references, which is appropriate for them. I used photos of the people and places there plus clipart, which they have really appreciated. I took enough copies for the school and presented them to the Headmaster. He has told me the students love the book. Any proceeds from book sales will go to educational causes for this specific mission in Ghana.
2. What personal challenges do you face as a writer?
My personal challenges are budget and time. I schedule my own events, do my own promotion and marketing, promote my own books, and work with my hybrid publisher, Mascot Books. I always have ideas!
3. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
For example, the new book I am completing? This one will be about my granddaughters, and I want it to be very special to them as well as to me. I have done so many drafts that I have lost count. I put that project on the back burner and work on another one. Finally, I had the bright idea do write it in rhyme. That way it would be different from my other works, and I’ll provide the illustrator with photos and images for them to be able to present the story correctly.
4. What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
I can’t give up anything! I’m retired and my parents live nearby in Assisted Living. They actually get precedence over everything else. Okay. If I had to give up something, it may be some of the shows. I have been doing less, but that’s where my exposure really lies! Or maybe drop a membership, but those are all important, too! I can’t give up my work for the homeless or my work with Ghana, so those may be the two areas to consider eventually…memberships and fewer shows.
5. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
My first book was the easiest one I’ve written! All of my books are based on real experiences with some tweaking, but that one was about a special day with my youngest son and me when he was at least 30 years younger. He still remembers the actual experience, too. Maybe it taught me that not all stories flow that easily. Some require more thought, time out, and tweaking than others.
6. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Will you tell us about them?
Goodness! That IS a question. I’m finishing “Love, Grandma” now, I have “The Very Particular Puppy” done in English (until the editor gets it). I have another Mommy and Mikel book untitled so far, but written in English and begun in Spanish. It’s about a very eventful day when we went to the Iowa State Fair…in the rain. I have my first chapter book begun, and it might become a series. I am never at a loss of something to write.
7. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I definitely read my book reviews. I love to hear what people thought of my books. So far I’ve been fortunate to have favorable reviews for all of my books. There was one that stands out in my memory about my first book. It was written about an experience over 30 years ago, so I raised my eyebrows and chuckled when the reviewer wondered why we didn’t simply use our smartphones to learn the answer to our question. She apparently didn’t read the dedication. I review a lot of books, too, so I know each reviewer has their own expectations, and I cannot possibly please everyone. If I feel good about the book and hear positive feedback, that’s all I need.
8. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
I don’t intend to hide anything, but I have been told that I write on a multi-level. Children will learn or pick up on some things, and there are things adults will catch. I think that’s important, since many times it is an adult reading to the child. I appreciate when adults notice that.
9. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I belong to many author and writing groups on social media. I’ve even met one. I also interact with authors I meet at events. I belong to a local writers’ group. I had an author friend who was my main mentor and cheerleader, but he recently passed away. There are others that I can discuss issues with, too, but his passing was a loss. I try to help others who come to me with questions.
10. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Listen to the advice and experiences of others, but ultimately, make your own decisions. Research things better than well before making a big decision. Join writers’ groups and learn to review books before you start to write.
11. What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Not listening to others’ experiences that could help them avoid problems. Taking suggestions or criticism too personally. Expecting a publisher to automatically pick them up. Expecting big chain stores to carry their books. Thinking having published the book is the end of the road.
12. What’s the best way to market your books?
I have several social media hosts where I participate and have a decent following. I have a website that I keep updated. I visit schools and teach a class on writing children’s books. I have my books on consignment in several locations, as well as out of town locations. I participate in blogs, interviews, personal interviews (I’ve been interviewed on 2 different Spanish radio stations), and I’m always open to new ideas.
13. What is your favorite childhood book?
Cleo. I cannot find it now, but it was about a basset hound. After that, the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I read a lot of books and loved them.
Facebook professional page: https://www.facebook.com/AnnMorrisChildrensAuthorLanguageConsulting/
LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ann-ana-morris-7313a345/
Google+ profile: https://plus.google.com/u/1/107304045969789474245?tab=mX
Amazon profile: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00C8G2V8S
SCBWI profile: https://www.scbwi.org/members-public/annana-morris
Mom’s Choice Awards page: https://store.momschoiceawards.com/index.php?entry_id=2382
Pinterest page: https://www.pinterest.com/annanamorris/
Gravatar (Word Press ) page: http://en.gravatar.com/2000annmorris
YouTube videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBEqb3flEc9GmjonlIEFYJQ/videos