Recently, I had the amazing opportunity to speak with new and rising star, Sheri Fink, author of the endearing children’s book, The Little Rose. If you are a parent with children between the ages of 5 and 10, this book is a ‘must have’ for your personal library. The writing is brilliant and the illustrations are precious and engaging. So, without further ado, grab yourself a cup of coffee and sit back and relax with this incredible new author.
Sheri, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to me. Would you mind telling everyone: What inspired you to write The Little Rose?
“The Little Rose” is a children’s picture book about a rose who grows up in a weedbed and believes that she’s the weed. Teased by the weeds around her because she’s different, the Little Rose almost gives up but then learns to accept and love herself for what she really is, a beautiful rose. The story inspires children ages 5-10 to embrace who they are despite what anyone else thinks or says.
I was inspired to write the story as a result of an experience I had in the workplace where a group was bullying people. As I was driving to the office one morning, I got the idea and I started writing it on the back of an envelope at stoplights. The story just flowed through me and I continued to write and refine it for a few weeks.
The experience taught me how powerful the environment can be and how it can affect people’s perceptions of themselves and the world around them. No one should dim their light so that others feel better about their own dim lights. Everyone deserves to shine in their own special way.
My mission is to inspire people to live their best lives. I want children to know how precious they are and to love themselves no matter what’s going on in their lives and no matter what anyone else says. The Little Rose book teaches this lesson about self-esteem, overcoming bullying, and believing in yourself. I’m delighted to be able to use my negative experiences to bring positivity and hope to the lives of others.
How did you come up with the title?
“The Little Rose” was the perfect title for the book because the story is all about the Little Rose and her transformation in believing in herself. “The Little Rose” was the working title while I was writing the story and I decided to keep it for the book.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The Little Rose’s experiences are based on events in my own life. We’ve all had times in our lives when we’ve been picked on, felt different from everyone else, been bullied, or just felt left out. That’s why the story of The Little Rose is so easy to relate to, because we’ve all been there at some point. The important thing is to realize that we’re so much more than our environments. What other people think or say really doesn’t matter as long as you’re embracing who you are and following your heart. It’s a great message for kids and a nice reminder for adults.
I see on your website it took two years to write The Little Rose. What was the hardest part of writing this endearing book?
The most challenging part of writing the book was letting go of worry about how it would all come together. I knew I wanted to publish a book that would positively impact children and adults, but I had never written or published a children’s book before. There was a steep learning curve and I had to take one step at a time. It’s truly rewarding to see the final product being so well received and spreading its positive message in the world.
Mary Erikson Washam did the illustrations for the book. Why did you choose her?
I interviewed 6 or 7 illustrators for The Little Rose. Mary was wonderful to work with and did a beautiful job. I asked each potential illustrator to provide initial concepts based on the story and the energy of the message. The goal was to get a feel for how they interpreted the story and whether their interpretation was in alignment with my vision for the book.
Mary’s concepts were amazing. I could tell right away that she really understood the book and the message it conveys. And, she was very professional and knew how to do the layout and cover of the book as well. Her illustrations enhance the story and I’m already looking forward to our next project together!
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Fortunately, I had a lot of support and encouragement for The Little Rose. My family was extremely supportive, especially my wonderful husband. In addition to their love and support, I had the care and enthusiasm from my Accountability Partner, my Mastermind Group, my coach, my mentor, and numerous friends. I am truly grateful for all of the people who encouraged me, helped me, and cheered me on.
You have reached sort of a milestone recently. The Little Rose was released on March 22, 2011 and hit #1 on the Amazon best-seller list on April 6, 2011. How did you feel when you saw you had made it to the #1 spot?
I was happily surprised! My goal is to get the book into the hands of as many children as we can and it’s a lot easier to do that when your book is a best-seller. Honestly, I was shocked that it happened so quickly. I have an amazing network of friends, family members, and business contacts who were talking about the book via social media, which is very powerful.
I feel so much joy and gratitude that people are buying my book and that it’s making a positive difference in the world.
What books have influenced your life the most?
My favorite fiction book is “Watership Down” by Richard Adams. It’s such a beautiful story and I love his writing style. Richard Adams creates an entire world around his characters. He infuses the characters with so much life and, as a reader, you find yourself getting emotionally attached to them. He’s such a great storyteller, it’s difficult to put the book down.
My favorite non-fiction book is “The Power of Focus: How to Hit Your Business, Personal, and Financial Targets with Absolute Certainty” by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Les Hewitt. It was the first personal development book I read that really captured my attention and presented the concepts in a way that I could digest and implement them in my life.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
A friend introduced me to best-selling children’s author Teresa de Grosbois a few months ago. Her books include “Fiona’s Fortitude” and “The Present’s Presents.” She’s my mentor and has provided helpful guidance into the world of children’s books, a whole new and exciting world for me.
I also really admire the writing and career of Stephen Cosgrove, author of “Leo the Lop” and over 300 other children’s books. My mom read his books to me when I was little. Much like The Little Rose, each of his stories has an embedded lesson for kids. I recently received the huge compliment that my writing was reminiscent of his work. I’m so flattered!
What book are you reading now?
I love to read and I’m almost always reading several books at a time. Right now, I’m reading “Manifesting Change” by Mike Dooley and two books by friends of mind, “Golden Vampire” by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom and “The Tale of Juliet” by Jhet Torcelino-van Ruyven.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Many of my friends are voracious readers and we often recommend books to each other. I’m always checking out new books regardless of the longevity of the author. If a book sounds interesting to me, I’ll pick it up and read it.
I have two friends who recently published their first books, Sandra Scott with “In Memory of a Saint,” and Troy Payne with “The Road to Resiliency.” I’m excited to see how their writing careers take off.
What are your current projects?
My focus is really on expanding the reach of The Little Rose right now. I’m planning my Book Tour and doing select speaking engagements. I have an idea for another children’s book that I’m excited about fleshing out.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in The Little Rose?
No, I’m really pleased with the way that it came out. I wouldn’t change anything.
Do you write full-time? If not, what do you do for a ‘second’ career?
I currently write part-time and spend the rest of my time coaching businesses on how to drive traffic to their websites and increase sales. I’ve been in the online marketing/eCommerce industry for 12 years. My passion is helping people transform their businesses and their lives, whether it’s through writing inspirational books or helping people’s businesses thrive online.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? Will you travel out of state?
I love to travel and welcome the opportunity to visit schools, libraries, festivals, etc. throughout North America. I’m planning my Summer Book Tour right now and hope to start with the east coast and work my way back to the west coast. I’d love to do an International Book Tour in 2012.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I have learned so much from the process of writing, publishing, and promoting my book. One of the best things I did was go to conferences where I met people who had already been through the process. The insights from these authors have been so helpful to me and shaped my decision-making.
You wrote another book, Dreams Come True: Your Daily Journal for Maximum Success and Well-Being. Can you tell us a little bit about this book and who you wrote it for and why?
Sure, inspiration for the Dreams Come True Journal came from “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield, co-creator of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series. I created the Journal to incorporate his recommendations into my daily life (including a Gratitude List, examples of the Law of Attraction working in my life, reading, visualizing, etc.). I combined those with weekly goals, action items, and inspirational quotes to create an easy way to set goals and track daily progress all on one page per day.
After creating the Journal, I talked with others about it and they wanted to use it, too. So, I decided to publish it and make it available worldwide on my website. Using my Dreams Come True Journal combined with taking action in the direction of my goals each day over the past 8 months has resulted in many of my dreams coming true including publishing The Little Rose children’s book, hot air ballooning over vineyards in Southern California, becoming a best-selling author, and planning our dream European vacation for this Fall. It’s been truly amazing and I’m so grateful!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes, I have two suggestions:
1. I highly recommend talking to people who’ve accomplished what you want to accomplish. I reached out to people in my network, told them about my book and my mission, and asked if they knew anyone I should talk with. People have been very generous with their time. That’s the best way to learn: from people who have already achieved your goal – they have so many great insights on what works, what doesn’t work, and what they’d do differently next time. It’ll greatly accelerate your learning and your success.
2. Hire a coach. Having a coach who’s successful in the area that you want to succeed in can be invaluable. They can serve as a guide and hold you accountable for stretching outside of your comfort zone in order to achieve your goal. It’s no coincidence that some of the highest achievers and most powerful people in the world have good coaches, they can dramatically improve your results.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I am so grateful to my readers and hope that The Little Rose makes a positive difference in their lives.
Parents and teachers, please let me know if you’d like to schedule a reading/author event at your school or organization. You can contact me at http://www.TheLittleRoseBook.com. Sign up for my newsletter and receive two free coloring pages based on The Little Rose book.
Together, we can make a huge positive difference in the world, one book and one child at a time.
Thank you again, Sheri, for your time. I wish you all the luck in the world with this book and all your future endeavors. Next stop: the New York Times Bestseller list! I look forward to hearing about your next book and hope you will keep me in mind when you are ready to tell the world about it.