On the heels of a crazy weekend, where I found myself Freshly Pressed and featured on Huffington Post, it is such a delight to write about something that’s fun! That said, thank you so much to the folks at Word Press for the honor of being featured, and to the Huffington Post for sharing my work. If you have the inclination, I’d welcome any kind feedback on the HuffPost piece!
I’ve wanted to be a writer for… all of my life. From an early age, books were my friends and my escape from difficult times. Books seemed to hold all the answers. Ultimately, books are about words and words are what make my world spin. Long before I wrote a novel (still unpublished), or a memoir (still unpublished) or started a blog (alive and well), I wrote a children’s book. I submitted it to publishing houses and then collected the rejections.
Instead, I’ve built a world of words, words, words– that’s what makes my world spin, unless there are really fabulous pictures. Picture books are my first love and a genre I will always find near and dear. As a child it was the wonderful images in books that drew me in; my earliest memories are of the glorious fairy tales that also had intricate, beautiful drawings to enhance the words. Once I had children, picture books became the magic that we shared.
As my children grew up, “painted wings and giant’s rings, made way for other toys.” The picture books were tucked away on bookshelves, and I haven’t gotten any new ones in years… until now! A new children’s book by fellow blogger and children’s book author/illustrator Kelly Suellentrop will be the newest book in my collection. I’ve followed Kelly’s blog, Are You Finished Yet , for a long time now. I knew that she had two children; I knew that she was a kick-tushy (yes, this is a G-rated post) writer, but I didn’t see this one coming– until it was nearly here. Meet Lulu and Milo, the wonderfully real and dynamic duo behind Kelly’s new book Absolute Mayhem. If I thought Kelly Suellentrop was super talented before, getting a first look at this new book just drove that belief outa’ the park!
Lulu and Milo are the kind of kids we all wish we had, and kids we can all recognize. They do their chores and play by grown-up’s rules during the week; they curb their mischievous urges and tow the line. My kids weren’t those kids, but I always admired my friends who got their kids to do all of this. However, on the weekends, things turn to Absolute Mayhem… and that’s when the real fun begins, and where I can really related!
Kelly’s vibrant illustrations bring Lulu and Milo to life, and will pull young readers right in. Children will adore these characters– cheering them on as they have adventures with pirates, princesses, jungles, circuses and caves! Milo and Lulu will pull young children into their wild adventures with giggles and cheers, and parents will recognize all of this fun for the Absolute Mayhem every family has, when the weekend hits and we let our hair down. However, we all need balance, and Lulu and Milo show us all that mayhem and order can coexist, with wonderful results.
Kelly Suelllentrop is a mother, writer and illustrator who lives in the ST. Louis area. Her blog, Are You Finished Yet covers the entire spectrum of parenting, and she does it with humor, compassion and excellent writing. If you haven’t checked it out, you should! She has been featured on Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, BlogHer and on numerous parenting websites. This is her first picture book, and I’m so excited for Kelly, as she begins this exciting venture! Her work is gorgeous, and I was honored when she agreed to let me interview her, and write a post about her new picture book.
It is my honor and thrill to introduce you to my blogging buddy, and the author and illustrator of Absolute Mayhem, Kelly Suelletrop, on the day of her book’s official release:
TFTM: Kelly, thanks for agreeing to this interview! With the release of your book, you must be so excited?
KS: Thanks Dawn! Thank you so much for featuring my book. I’m so excited to finally see out there. It’s been months of hard work!
1) Yes, writing AND illustrating a book is a huge effort! Why this book now? Aren’t you busy enough raising two active kids?
That is exactly why I wanted to publish this book now…because of my kids. I love that they are both still young enough to get lost in children’s books, but old enough to understand that their mom is making one of her dreams a reality. And since I do all my work at home, they have also been able to witness that dreams don’t become reality through good luck. They see all the hard work that has gone into this. I hope that somehow stays with them, to not only help them believe in possibility, but also understand the roles patience, persistence, and elbow grease play.
2) Do you do better with mayhem or calm?
I need a bit of both. For some reason, I seem to be very productive and creative in times of chaos and mayhem, but then I pay for it big time and can crash pretty hard. So I have learned how important it is to find time for calm for my well being. Not only that, but calm helps me stop and appreciate my life, and really enjoy it.
3) How much do Milo and Lulu resemble your own two kids? Were they the inspiration?
They were absolutely the inspiration. I spend a lot of time with Lulu and Milo, so I knew I had to make them in such a way that would make me fall in love with them. The easiest way to do that was to make them resemble my own daughter and son. Also, we have called weekends at our house “Absolute Mayhem” for years! My kids are so funny and so full of life, I would be crazy NOT to use them as my muses.
4) Did you study art? Is this something you’ve done for a long time?
I have drawn for as long as I can remember. I used to sit in my bedroom and sketch celebrities out of my teen magazines. I took art all throughout high school and some in college. I had planned on minoring in Art, but being an English major, I found it hard to keep up on all the time-intensive projects while staying on top of the massive amounts of reading and writing I had to do. I switched my minor to Psychology. So my formal education ended there. But I have always found ways to keep myself creating over the years, whether it was sketching, painting pieces for our house, or cake decorating.
5) What is the one take away message you hope readers will find in Absolute Mayhem?
Life should be full of imagination and fun, but it is important to balance that with reality and responsibility. The existence of that balance is what helps us appreciate and enjoy when life is really good.
Kelly’s book Absolute Mayhem is available now on Amazon and on her website: Kelly Suellentrop. It’s a fabulous book for the children in your life who love big, bold illustration and smart, snappy writing, as well as two characters who will take everyone off for a grand adventure– balanced with a few chores in between. A great gift, just in time for Christmas and Hanukkah!
As a special treat, enjoy this wonderful video from the author and illustrator Kelly Suellentrop; witness the Absolute Mayem:
Are you in love yet? Buy a copy of Absolute Mayhem today! Leave a comment; I love feedback.
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