Nancy Parkhill is the debut author of Stinky Sheldon Saves the Day, a fun story about how one skunk’s actions can change an entire forest for the better. To celebrate the release, Nancy and I sat down to chat about her first children’s book.
MIRIAM LAUNDRY: Hi Nancy! Congratulations on your first children’s book! Can you tell us who it’s for and how you started writing it?
NANCY PARKHILL: Stinky Sheldon Saves the Day is for children ages four to seven. In 2018, I wrote a speech for a storytelling project for Toastmasters; I kept the speech on my computer, then saw an ad for your free training and took the risk. I decided the speech written in 2018 was what I wanted to use as the base of the story.
ML: What inspired you to become an author?
NP: Seems like forever, but I took it seriously once I retired from teaching. I always enjoyed reading stories to students and wanted one of my books to read to students. I wanted to continue to pass on some lessons to future students.
ML: Why did you decide to join Publishing Mastermind?
NP: I began to seriously contemplate writing a book, but soon started to realize that I probably would not do it as it was going to be a much bigger task than I expected. Then I saw your post for your training and after much “should I or shouldn’t I?” thoughts, I decided that it was going to be now or never. I decided to take the risk and here I sit now with a book that has been published.
ML: What was the biggest challenge you faced when writing this book?
NP: The realization that the scenes do not need to be described in the story, the illustrator will fill that in with the pictures. Trusting that the illustrator will envision the location the same as I did was a worry, but then seeing how the illustrations were spot on was one of the best parts of the process.
ML: What was the biggest lesson you learned?
NP: To trust in myself; I worry too much that I am not capable of doing the task instead of going ahead and working on it; too much time is spent overthinking and not working.
ML: Do you have any memorable moments from the journey?
NP: When I received the email that my manuscript was finished, all the editing was done and it was ready to go, it felt like I was delivering a baby - not knowing where it was going to go from there and hoping that decisions that were to be made were the right ones.
ML: If you could share one piece of advice with an aspiring author, what would it be?
NP: If you have the idea and it is a passion, go ahead and take the risk as it is better to say “I did it”, rather than “what if I had”. If you have the opportunity to work with Miriam and her team, they are very supportive and make the process seamless.
ML: That’s very kind, Nancy, thank you! Lastly, what do you hope parents and children take away from this book?
NP: I hope that the children enjoy the characters, hear the lesson, and want to hear the story more than once. For the parents, I hope that they enjoy the story and that it sparks some conversation.
ML: Thank you, Nancy, and congratulations again on Stinky Sheldon Saves the Day.
You can learn more about Nancy and Stinky Sheldon on Facebook.
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Nancy Parkhill lives in Burlington, Ontario with her dog, Finnegan, and her cat, Lily. She has three adult children and three grandchildren. She taught elementary school in Oakville, Ontario for over 30 years. Her love of reading, especially reading to children, is her inspiration for writing children's books.