“Karen Emma Hall is a creative new children’s author. Her first series of stories for children…combines skills of illustrations and words to draw children into the magic world of stories and reading. Karen discovered her love of writing a long time ago while reading to children as an auxiliary nurse and a nanny. She helped children in the classroom with their art, and soon decided to put the two together – writing stories with illustrations for children.
Eventually she started working with the elderly, and found that they loved art and painting as well, so her stories are not just for the young but everyone, aged one to one hundred. Her first series of children’s stories are a little bit magic. They leave readers with that magic feeling after reading them. If you love owls and you love cats, then you are going to adore her fully illustrated books. All the illustrations in the books are hand drawn and painted.
The very first book in the Teeny Pheeny Tales series is very appealing, as it is the introduction of the main characters, Mrs Phoenix and Teeny Pheeny, (Pheeny coming from the word Phoenix) and the owl folk of Boohoo Village. This series brings you teeny bits of teeny magic. The owls are almost living and breathing as they’re very endearing, funny and even a bit grumpy! It’s all about the owls!
Karen has four daughters and two special cats (who turn up in the stories). She is very active on social media, and is very happy to reply to messages in person on twitter, where she also writes her own quotes. You can follow her on google+ facebook and her blog. Karen’s blog is very popular and very amusing and a must read. Karen is currently illustrating more sketches and starting on her next children’s amusing stories about cats… but I can’t give away too much about that just yet…’Follow’ said the pied piper, and they did follow
Twitter @PeachyEmma https://twitter.com/PeachyEmma
Q: Please tell us where your inspiration for your wonderful illustrations has come from?
A: In a couple of words, children and animals. My children and the children I have worked with, and my pets I have. Children love art in one form or another, and no child is bad at art. It is an expression of themselves, their feelings, their personality.
Even when my daughter said she wanted her room newly decorated to get rid of the mess on the wall, (it was covered in various pictures, drawings, writings, notes, posters, etc.) I told her it has her art, her expression and her creation. It showed us who she was, how she expressed herself, and her personality comes through those pictures and how she placed them on the wall. She did look on it with different eyes, and changed the way she thought about art. But she still wants new wallpaper….
Q: Where can readers find your artwork?
A: Originally I had never thought about showing my artwork, as a lot of it I had done years ago before I even got a computer. I did self-portraits when I was a teenager, which I will never show anyone ha! Then I started painting. Water and oils. I could never get away with oils, but then discovered these amazing pens from a craft shop and I loved how they worked and blended. I never felt I was any better at Art than the next person, they were always pretty, colourful, but because I loved illustrating that was all that mattered. I did not originally set out to show them off, I just loved drawing and found it relaxing and therapeutic. I really must decide which website to use to show them off… when I get a little time.
Q: Which medium do you prefer to work in? What other mediums have you tried?
A: I try everything. I don’t like working with oils as much I found, but I really admire oil paintings. I love water paints, and plain and simple coloured pens and pencils the best.
Q: What can readers discover at your blog here?
A: Silly quirky fun stuff mainly, as I always used to just write whatever comes into my head. I wasn’t writing for anyone else but me. It is always good to get stuff down, so I thought I would start a blog to see how it went and if anyone wanted to read it. These days I blog about the KLA and children’s literature.
My primary concerns are, of course, books and reading, particularly encouraging children to read in a world full of technological distractions, but I talk about anything that catches my eye. It’s intended to be a five minute coffee break – leave whatever’s stressing you out alone for a few minutes, put your feet up, and let’s chat about whatever comes to mind.
Q: Speaking of KLA, you started the popular ‘Kid Literature Authors’ Facebook page—which has already had over 1,000 likes in a little over a month. Why is it such a ‘happening spot’?
A: I think I managed to stumble upon a real gap in the market. There’s a wealth of pages on Facebook dedicated to specific books, authors, series or genres, but nothing that’s a meeting place for bringing together readers, authors and books all in one group. It really started out on Twitter while I was working on Teeny Pheeny. I was looking to build up interest in my own book, of course, but found so many people there with ideas and suggestions and their own needs, and we made a bit of a loose group out there in the ‘Twitterverse’. It soon became clear that we’re all pulling in the same direction – we want our children reading, and we want to get books into their hands. So a Facebook page seemed to be the next logical step. I put the page in the hands of those core people I met on Twitter – after all, it’s intended as a democratic arena for the promotion of reading. With a handful of administrators and editors, we were able to pull together plenty of relevant material and all of our collective contacts, and the page just flourished from there. Ironically, once I started setting the Facebook page up and then organising the website, I had little time left for poor Teeny Pheeny. So now I have to be very strict with my time, as I have so much to do in one day, and I must try to not feel guilty for taking time for myself and my books.
Q: I think that many altruistic personalities will find that entirely relatable. You also founded the wonderful ‘Kid Literature Authors’ site at http://www.Kidliteratureauthors.com where there are book reviews, free books and information for parents and teachers. What else can readers find there?
A: The reviews have just started at the beginning of this month (June), and we’ve had a great batch to start with. We’ve got a ‘free stuff’ page which includes short videos of stories being read aloud, and these are great for parents and children to watch together. We’ll be keeping our news up-to-date on the front page, so any events we think are relevent to our visitors will go there. We also have individual pages for our key collaborators, so you can find out a bit more about our authors and illustrators. The site has only been live a couple of weeks and already we’ve got a lot of content up there – and we will only be adding more and more! In the near future we’ll be looking to add to our reviews, and introducing a guest blog feature.
Q: Now for a fun, random question: Do you see yourself taking a trip ‘across the pond’ to meet many of your fellow children’s picture book enthusiasts here?
A: I couldn’t think of anything better! I’m ridiculously busy at the moment, what with keeping an eye on the Facebook page, getting the website up and running, promoting many people, and of course with my own books, but I’d never rule out a trip ‘across the pond’ It is one of my ambitions. Now I have a reason to go, as I have come to know a few super people since starting the KLA.
Q: Where can readers go to connect with you and your work (social networking sites, etc.)?
A: Lots of places! The website’s at http://www.kidliteratureauthors.com. The KLA is also on Facebook, with a lively community waiting to meet you there. I’m also very active on Twitter, and always pleased to welcome new followers. The first in the Teeny Pheeny series is available at Amazon to download for your Kindle or PC, and it’s a great introduction to my range of characters. Really if you want to know the instant anything happens go to Twitter, as that is where I go to escape—for timeout. If you are on Twitter and you follow me, you will be the first to know what I am up to!
Q: What’s on the horizon for the rest of 2014?
A: Plenty of work will go into the Kid Literature Authors website, adding in additional features, working on reviews and promotions. From the perspective of my own writing, there’s another Teeny Pheeny book on the way with more brand new illustrations, as well as a collaboration on a book for middle grade readers, called ‘Corey in Cold Cliff Castle’. It’s a wild adventure with gruesome characters that will hopefully attract boys to reading. Very fun, Scooby doo meets Hammer Horror. What is more thrilling for me is that Eric Heyman is illustrating some drawings for Cory in Cold Cliff Castle, and they are so good they are spooky-rific! You all must keep checking up to see the goings on from Twitter and the website.