Please welcome Karen Cioffi.
It is a pleasure to be able to do an interview with you.
Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became a children's book author?
I am a former accountant. In 2000 I was diagnosed with MS and had to give up my profession. I have been writing stories and poems since I was I grade school, but never took it seriously. After going on disability I eventually began thinking of writing as a career. Writing specifically for children came about when my daughter was majoring in Children's Literature.
I have a good friend with MS. My heart goes out to you. You are accomplishing quite a lot in spite of this illness.
How did you come up with the idea for the book "Day's End Lullaby"?
I wrote the lullaby to the story over 30 years ago. My firstborn didn't like sleeping. I sang it to her as I paced the hallway carrying her in my arms to get her to sleep and again when she'd wake in the middle of the night. I did the same thing with my second daughter and it became a family lullaby. Now my family sings it to my grandson and we will also sing it to my grandson due mid November. How it became a book is, after my first grandson came my daughter and co-author, Robyn, thought it would make a great bedtime story and here we are.
Virtual Book Tours is amazing. It is so well organized.
What influenced you to create Virtual Book Tours?
I was fortunate to be able to participate in The Muse Online Conference in October 2008. One of the workshops I took was Denise Cassino's Book Marketing. She suggested the attendees do virtual tours for each other. I decided to create a group that would be organized and include other marketing tools and strategies - a group in which each member helps every other member by participating in those strategies put in place.
What do you enjoy most about writing for children?
Children are such a joy and source of inspiration. My co-author, who happens to be my daughter, and I are both advocates of education and reading. Reading opens new worlds to children. It can enlighten them, it can open their imagination and it can teach them. Being a part of that is just a wonderful feeling.
I can't agree with you more. Reading to children is a wonderful way to give them a love of reading at an early age.
What are you working on now?
I am currently working on two picture books (around 1000 words each). One is about a child's imagination and the other is based on colors.
I am also fine tuning a fantasy chapter book geared for ages 8-12; this is based on an ancient Chinese tale. It is about a 12-year-old boy who wants more than anything to learn magic.
In addition, I am working on another fantasy chapter book geared for ages 8-12. This one is about two boys lost in space.
I am also writing articles for ezines as well as children's and trade magazines.
The fantasy book for boys sounds exciting.
How do you think others would describe you?
For this question I went right to the sources. I asked my husband and he said: sweet, level headed, and a nice person to be around. Then I asked my younger daughter and she said: hardworking, caring, and dedicated
Do you have a personal philosophy about life?
My personal philosophy is based on words from the Bible: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and "Love your neighbor as yourself." These are two simple sentences that if the world adhered to would eliminate all wars, murders, violence and theft.
And, life to a large degree is what we make of it. Try to be content with what you have while striving to achieve your best. I am also a firm believer in positive projection.
That is a wonderful philosophy to have.
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