Thursday, June 12, 2008

Author April Robins - A MESSAGE OF LOVE - Free Book

Another children's book for summer reading. We're talking to April Robins, one of the co-authors. Don't you just love this picture someone drew of her?

Welcome, April. What has drawn you to writing for children?

I decided that I wanted to do something useful once again after retiring and thought of writing. I considered writing a novel for years. I had a number of children’s book ideas in my head so I went that direction instead. I wanted to write with my family and they only wanted to be involved in children’s books. I may work on the novel again in a year or two.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

Oh I have done a lot of them. One that comes to mind today concerns a flood. I was a software consultant for the State of Missouri. I wanted to get home for the weekend. The only way to get to the airport was to cross a long bridge over the river that had flooded. There were sandbags holding the water off the bridge. I wore a lifejacket in the car as I crossed the bridge.

Sounds scary. When did you first discover that you were a writer or illustrator?

In the fifth grade but I ignored the urge since I could only come up with one book idea. My teacher had asked us to write a short fictional story. I wrote about a cat and everyone loved it. So I thought in my mind that I had found my calling.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I have only had time recently to read children’s books, but I enjoy mysteries and romance.

There are a lot of mystery and romance books being published in the Christian market today. What other books have you written, whether published or not?

I have eight published books which include “A Message of Love,” “Lovely Little Lamb,” “Keeper of Happy Faces,” “Where is My Bennie?” (English & Spanish versions), “Zachary Goes Treasure Hunting,” “I’ll Tuck You in, Deer,” and “The Beautiful Princess Without a Face.” Two books are in production; and over fifty stories are at some stage of development, most of which will never see print.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

Recently I haven’t done such a good job of that. I love writing the stories. Just give me a topic, and I will give you a book. However, I never realized the extent of work required to get my books into the hands of readers. I spend all my day at the computer getting the name “April Robins” visible.

How do you work together as a team?

At Robin Falls, I am the author and my family plans the role of writer. I always come up with the story, and they re-write it. You have to not have ownership of your work if you want to write as a team. We take turns editing the manuscript until everyone is satisfied.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of, besides family?

First I would have to say my software consultant career. Then I love the idea of leaving our wonderful little stories behind for my family to pass on.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

A Cat. They get to lie around and sleep all day then prowl all night.

What is your favorite food?

Fried Chicken.

Is it hard to break into the children’s market?

Very difficult, if not impossible. Of the thousands of submissions to a publisher in a year only around 100 become books.

What advice would you give to an author wanting to do that?

If you are over forty, I would get my work reviewed by other writers; get it edited by a professional; find a good artist on; and submit it to AuthorHouse or BookSurge. If you are under forty, I would submit my manuscript to traditional publishers. They say it takes 3 to 10 years for a book to be published traditionally.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

A Message of Love takes readers on a journey back in time with Linda, all the way to 1959. Linda, then 8 years old, cherishes the time she spends with her grandmother as the two of them work on a memory quilt. As Granny pulls scraps of material from a box, Linda fills a notebook with a sample of each piece. While Linda takes careful notes in the special notebook, Granny tells a family story related to the scrap. From pieces of her father’s WWII fatigues, to Granny’s Pink Lady apron, to the angel costume that she wore in a school play, each scrap – and story – fascinates Linda and passes on the things Granny values most in life: God, family and country.

For Linda, memories of a slower and gentler time come flooding back. She recalls singing songs and reciting nursery rhymes with Granny as they washed the selected material on scrub boards in the backyard, and the excitement of the quilting bee when the notebook was finally completed. It was a time when the small things in life were the most important; when people looked forward to their Saturday shopping and attending church on Sunday.

Linda’s mind suddenly returns to the present when she remembers the stories that her grandmother told her about the quilt containing a message. Will Linda find a note? Or were her grandmother’s words just symbolic for the fact that the quilt had its own story to tell? The answer will cause Linda to follow in Granny’s footsteps with her own grandchild, and capture the hearts of readers young and old.

Most families own a quilt. Many of those quilts are family heirlooms with special meanings. This story is about a quieter time in life during the 1950’s. Family values and life before high tech is displayed through beautiful illustrations. The subtle story with a sentimental ending will be a great bedtime story for parents or grandparents to read to children. Simple words and colorful pictures hold a child’s attention and make it ideal for an early reader. This children's picture book is for parents and grandparents with small children ages 2-8 and early readers age 5-10.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Go to my website at From there you can go the “Contact Us” page and see all the forums I belong to or go to the “Writers’ Corner” and see all the Yahoo Groups I am a member of. My latest adventure is with FaceBook, which is a lot of fun. If you join, ask me to be your friend. I love having friends.

Thank you, April, for spending this time with us.

Readers, it sounds as if her web site contains a wealth of inf0rmation for you.

Leave a comment here for a chance to win a copy of A Message of Love.


dolls123 said...

I love "granny" stories.


cathikin said...

This sounds like a charming book. I was 7 in 1959, and I relate to this story, at least what April shared. I have prized quilts that my grandmother made for my mother and me.
chassan2@ at hotmail. com

classcom said...

We own a precious quilt. Not made by us,but by a mother in the USA. She backed it with flour sacks. It contains many scraps of cloth and I tell my son all about the woman who made it for her son.

April Robins, Author said...

Lena, thanks so much for interviewing me. I wanted to tell everyone that this book contains memories of my parents and my husband's grandparents when we were growing up. I would be glad to answer any questions.

April Robins

joyful paws said...

Great interview, April! Good for you for going after your dreams of being a writer. We need more writer's to believe in themselves and share their wonderful stories.

Joanna Keating-Velasco said...

Quilts are still such an important piece of Americana. What a lovely way to "weave" a children's story between a grandma and her granddaughter. That is a cherished relationship and this book sounds wonderful.


I was four in 1959 and in that same year I lost my Granny. Your book sounds wonderful. I would love to read and review it.

Yankysmom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yankysmom said...

oh these books sound really good, and I would love to win a free book. I arrived at this blog from Gather .

Jean Bailey Robor said...

Enjoyed your author interview. It was great getting to know you and to see how involved your family is in your writing.

Tony Eldridge said...

What a wonderful story. Just reading the interview brought back fond memories of both of my grandmothers and the time I spent with them when I was young.

Anonymous said...

Oh my, this sounds like a wonderful book! I just became a Nana 5 months ago and am working on a simple quilt for my beautiful grandangel Isabella! I love when books come into my life that are just perfect for the place I'm at at the time, which this book is for me! I've joined your blog so I can keep up with you.

Karen in Tx

Anonymous said...

Oops, I forgot to include my email address ...

Karen in Tx

stephspenqind said...

i myself will be looking for this book, something I want to show my daughter and will read it to my granddaughter when she is older....

Abi said...

Oh, this sounds like a really fun book to read with my girls. I'd love to win it. We love sewing and are working on first quilt.

Mary Balfanz said...

What a wonderful and informative interview. It's so delighful that your family is involved in the writing process with you. I look forward to reading this book to my grandaughter.

Mary Balfanz said...

What a wonderful and informative interview. It's so delighful that your family is involved in the writing process with you. I look forward to reading this book to my grandaughter.

Angela said...

Thanks for the invite, I liked reading more about you! Best of luck with the book and all of your stories.
PS stay off flooding bridges!!!


Donna J. Shepherd said...

A wonderful interview! I loved reading more about April. Thanks for posting the interview, Lena!

Anonymous said...

April- That sounds like a charming story. I like stories that takes one back to a simplier and more laid-back time.
In the interview I like where you say you want to accomplish something with your writing- maybe help someone along life's way. that is exactly my goal with my writing.
Good luck with your book.
By the way, I was 14 in 1959

windycindy said...

Happy Friday! I adore children's books. My great-niece and great-nephew live in another state. In the summertime, they come to stay for a week or so. I love having a few new books to read with them. I really enjoy this interview. The way she writes with your family is wonderful!
I was born in the fiftie's, my sister was more the age of Linda in her book. Please enter me in your wonderful book drawing. Many thanks,

stampedwithgrace said...

this sounds like a great book for kids!! thanks for sharing :)

Jennifer Bogart said...

This looks awesome! Pictures of ladies wearing modest dresses, and doing handwork together. Right on!

Andrea M. Kulman said...

Thank you so much for leading me to this site. How wonderful...

Kristie Leigh Maguire said...

Great interview! Love the cover art for your book. :)

Kristie Leigh Maguire

Jenni Saake said...

As a "wanna-be" children's author who has my own "quilt story" I hope to someday publish, the book sounds beautiful!

Elena Dorothy Bowman said...

Reading through the interview April reminded me of the time spent with family and friends in the 40's and 50's. You are correct, those were the times when family meant being close and loved. It is unfortunate that today, many children are growing up without that closeness and love. Thanks for sharing.


Beverly Stowe McClure said...

A Message of Love sounds like a wonderful story. The fifties bring back memories for me: school, graduation, marriage. Great times.

Thanks for a super interview.


Cherie J said...

Sounds like a wonderful book to read to my little ones. Enjoyed the interview!

Stephanie Reed said...

Sounds like a sweet book, and my grandma did quilt--my husband's grandma, too. Nice interview, Lena!

Stephanie Reed
stef dot reed at gmail dot com

Kristinia said...

I'd love to win this book for my Mom's birthday coming up, she's a Grandma and she'd love this!

Miss Mae said...

Oh, this is delightful! Wonderful interview!


Lisa W. said...

Sounds like a wonderful story! I love family history and the stories that make us what we are.