2014 was met with times of sadness, reality and activism among young and old generations. The only way to change the outcome is to educate and spend time learning not only the judicial system, but the little people under our own roofs. Understanding how they see the world and more importantly, how the world sees them.
We had the pleasure of sitting with Jannie Pilgrim, author of children’s book series, Prince Garrett. Her first book, “The Beautiful Book of Possibilities” takes you to an imaginary world with your little people and provides them with an outlet to explore the possibilities of the world and everything at their fingertips.
Jannie let us into the world of Prince Garrett and we got a chance to understand the inspiration behind the series and a glimpse of what is to come.
Q: Where do you come up with ideas for Prince Garrett and his travels with Zeus?
A: My inspiration for Prince Garrett’s travels comes from my own backyard. As I told my son Garrett stories, I would see how miracles exist in our everyday lives. I just needed to pay attention.
Q: How did you go about building this fantastical world that Prince Garrett lives in?
A: During my walks with Garrett I would tell him tales of a young prince and his dog. Both Garrett and the country setting would inspire me. I wanted nature and all the possibilities that exist to be part of the stories.
Q: What year did you start writing books?
A: I begin writing the concepts in 2013, and had the first book published in 2014. Now, three are three books, The Beautiful Book of Possibilities, Breakfast for a Prince and Prince Garrett’s Journal.
Q: Did you attempt to publish it through traditional avenues?
A: I went into the Prince Garrett Series knowing I would self publish. At the time I did not consider the traditional avenues of a publishing house.
Q: What were some of the initial challenges you faced when you self-published your books?
A: Figuring the self publishing “thing” out, and what companies I should use. It felt like such a big step and I wanted to get it right. I also had to determine if I should find my own illustrator or work with a company that can assist with this process. These decisions can be a huge impact on when your book will be published. I also had to find the best ways to get the word out on marketing my books – this was trial and error. One of the biggest challenges was finding good people to work with and being clear on expectations.
Q: I’m sure you had advice from so many places, but what specific challenges did you face because you were writing for a younger audience?
A: I was told that there are a lot of children book authors out there and it’s difficult to break out from all the noise. My take is, many things seem impossible until it’s done!
Q: Being that the material was very close to you, how did you handle it when people provided feedback that may not have been positive?
A: Honestly, I feel so grateful because the response has been very positive.
Q: Do you ever get writer’s block and if you do, out of all of your books, is there one that you struggled with at all while writing it?
A: I’m an extravert and if I can talk to someone about my concept and idea, I breakthrough the block. Also, sometimes, just walking away and giving yourself a breather is all it takes.
Q: Many writers describe themselves as “character” or “plot” writers. Which are you? What do you find to be the hardest part of writing?
A: Good question! Prince Garrett is always the Protagonist. I have to determine the plot and what I want the readers to walk away with – that would make me a plot writer.
Q: What was the biggest lesson you learned after your first book?
A: I had to take a step back and look at the big picture. My first book took longer to published than I anticipated. My goal was to have it published by October/November 2013. When my time frame was not being met, I decided that I needed to “let go of how it looked” and have it work out so I may have a book published within my time frame. I was already working on the second book and finished it. I decided to publish the second book first. So the lesson was, it may not always turn out the way I have it pictured, but the important thing is to have it ‘turn out’!
Q: Since Prince Garrett is an actual part of your life and not just a fiction character, what lessons do you hope to teach him and other little readers?
A: I sincerely hope that Garrett and other readers learn respect for themselves and others, learn that they matter and that life is full of possibilities.
Q: Does Prince Garrett have any contribution on the writing process?
A: Prince Garrett loves to provide input. I ask his opinion on the illustrations, and he strongly encourages me to keep writing. It’s amazing how he inspires me.
Q: What do you have planned next?
A: In the spring I’ll be releasing a new book, “How the Moth Turned into a Butterfly”. There are two more books in the works and I’m also looking to turn “The Beautiful Book of Possibilities” into a play.
Pick up the Prince Garrett series on Amazon HERE