Monday, November 18, 2013

Interview: MindStir Media author Toni Tuso Faber

Toni Tuso Faber approached MindStir Media in 2012 about her children's book series, The Poodle Tales. Since then, nearly a dozen books in the series have been produced. Toni also launched a fantastic interactive website at; built up an amazing poodle-loving community of over 12,000 people on Facebook; and has attracted hundreds of Poodle Club members (sign up to get free stuff!). She even created other fun stuff like the Catch A Poodle game and an online coloring & activity book, among other things. I'm so honored to be a part of The Poodle Tales and I'm looking forward to continuing to help Toni with children's book publishing and children's book illustrations and more. Without further ado, here's an interview I recently conducted with Toni Tuso Faber:

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Writing a book is like creating a sculpture, when you feel an urge, you pursue it. In my case, I never actually realized I wanted to be a writer. One day I was just inspired!

How long does it take you to write a book? There are no time limits as far as writing a book, as writing a book is a very personal endeavor. The questions are many. Is it a novel, is it poetry, is it simple children's verse, or perhaps a complex review of one’s life issues? Hmm, difficult to answer; however, I believe the answer is, whatever it takes to make it great! It could take a month, a year, or even a lifetime … as long as it is good!

What is your work schedule like when you're writing? My work schedule always revolves around the quantity of jobs I need to accomplish. I am most frequently up and functioning before 3:00 am. This seems to be my personal best creative time. I devote as much time as I can to The Poodle Tales project in these early hours, with consideration to the remaining days activities. Because I write in rhyme, no matter where I am or what I am in the midst of, I always carry a pad and pen to note my thoughts. On a lucky day, I have the luxury of a solid uninterrupted day that can be devoted to my favorite project, The Poodle Tales. It's rare but great when it occurs!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? My quirk is to place a simple positive life lesson in each book using rhyme, while avoiding negativity and violence. Also, I trust that our children of today are much smarter than I was as a child and based on that, I purposely include a few new or difficult words in each book. I think it's great for the child to ask (for example), "Mommy, what is a whim?"

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books? My ideas are based on my experience with Standard Poodles. Their actions, capabilities, and antics are my inspiration. I do, however, fact check all details that I am not totally familiar with. For instance, the proper dance steps in a ballet…

When did you write your first book and how old were you? Unless you include a picture book on birds at 6 years of age, or personal memoirs, my first was written 16 months ago. Prior to that I was always on the publishing side of the game.

What do you like to do when you're not writing? I keep very busy! I build homes, design clothing, and manage our tenant inhabited real estate. I am a gourmet chef, so I enjoy my kitchen time. That being said, my passion is my poodles. I love training them, and interacting with them as well as aiding in the rescue of all dogs that are less fortunate. Last year alone, we were lucky to have been able to assist in the rescue of over 30 endangered dogs. I realize that number is not huge considering the multitude of abused animals, but it's a start!

What does your family think of your writing? My family are my greatest supporters! Everyone knows how I love animals and children, so I think they assume it's a natural.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books? How difficult it is to gain recognition.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? I have written 25 books. My favorite is a story based on fact, but well embellished, about my white standard London. It is titled "London Returns To California". It deals with his heroic early life and a voyage back to the human he loves. It will be available next year!

Do you have any suggestions for other children's book authors? Write from your heart, research all details, when you feel you are at an impasse, take a break and bring your pen! Above all, choose a children's book publisher who is knowledgeable, reliable and supportive in all ways of your project. I selected MindStir Media based on these facts, and I’m so thankful I did.

What do you think makes a good story? So many items can make a good story, but personally I believe in funny, heartwarming, and positive.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? Every girl born in the 50's wanted to be Barbie, and I was no exception! I did, however, manage to become a Miss. California, drive the car of my dreams, own a Standard Poodle, live in my Barbie dream home, have many Barbie business successes, including a Barbie wardrobe to die for … and then, of course, and most importantly, I married my Ken Doll!!!! I do not, however, dress in pink. Hmm, I think I'm a lucky Barbie! Top Self Publishing Company

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