Jane Carey is back with another amazing children’s book. Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of publishing Jane’s first book, SHMUG-A-LA TAMES THE SHMOVID MONSTER. Now I have the privilege of announcing the launch of her next book, The Christmas Skunk and the Very Merry, Very Stinky Christmas.
MIRIAM LAUNDRY: Hi again, Jane! It feels like just yesterday we sat down to chat about your first book. Can you tell us a bit about this second children’s book?
JANE CAREY: The Christmas Skunk and the Very Merry, Very Stinky Christmas is for ages four to eight. I started writing this book about one year ago, one month before Christmas. It is inspired by a true account of the prior Christmas experience.
ML: What has your author journey been like so far?
JC: My recent author journey has been truly exciting, full of growth and fulfilled potential. I have loved it. Although I have been writing since age six, actually writing a book and being involved in publishing is an extremely challenging and exhilarating experience! I knew I needed to learn the essentials and structure involved in writing children’s books before I began. So, I took your online courses in writing children’s books and publishing.
When I told my 10 year old grandson that I have so many stories and books swirling around in my head, he said, “Mimi, don’t hold back!” That was all I needed to go forward! I have never looked back.
ML: You mentioned this book was based on a real experience. Can you tell us more about that?
JC: The Christmas Skunk And The Very Merry, Very Stinky Christmas was inspired by a true story that happened two Christmases ago. I always put a large, real, fully decorated Christmas tree on my back patio just outside the sliding glass doors of my small house. One year, a skunk ventured onto my patio, lured by an enticing smell, and accidentally backed into the sharp needles of the Christmas tree. You can probably imagine what happened. The skunk sprayed the tree and my house and yard as well! The spray permeated the house and guest house, triggering a “VERY MERRY, VERY STINKY CHRISTMAS” adventure! I HAD to tell the story!
ML: Wow! That must’ve been quite the Christmas. And why was it important to you to share this story?
JC: I love to tell stories, and this was a good one. It is a very fun story, with some powerful messages that I wanted to share. It began as a Christmas video greeting, sent to friends and family. I had so much fun with it that I decided to turn it into a children’s Christmas book.
Instead of letting the original incident ruin our Christmas, our family decided to have fun with it. As well as being an example of “Choosing Fun'' (as was the theme of my last book, SHMUG-A-LA TAMES THE SHMOVID MONSTER) it was an opportunity to highlight the Christmas messages of kindness, giving and sharing. I love Christmas and was excited to share this story full of fun and meaning.
ML: What was your biggest challenge when writing this book?
JC: The biggest initial challenge of writing this book was to include enough details of the story to make it as real to the reader as it was to me. Many of the details were so familiar to me that I did not initially include them in the book. I thought it would be easy to write a book inspired by a true story, but instead, it proved quite challenging. Then the biggest challenge was to condense the story while including all the necessary details. For instance, how was I to explain how the entire story comfortably transpired outside, at Christmas, in the middle of winter? Adding palm trees to the illustrations revealed my local warm climate, without adding extra words.
ML: What was the biggest lesson you learned during this second go at publishing?
JC: I learned to trust the process. I also learned to trust the publishing team. I have repeatedly seen the Team rise to the occasion in the event of an unforeseen dilemma, and collectively problem solve to find a creative solution. I learned that these events are not “problems” or “crises”, but opportunities to brainstorm and find creative solutions — big lesson.
ML: How was publishing this book different from the first time?
JC: With more experience and knowledge of the process, I was less nervous, and uncertain about the outcome.
ML: What do you think was the biggest value of the MLP Team and Publishing Mastermind Pro?
JC: I never could have solved the mysteries and challenges of publishing another book on my own. I know that the benefits I received from working with Mastermind Pro will stay with me and greatly further my writing career. The help that I both needed and received was very detailed and professional, and I am very grateful for it.
ML: If you could share another piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would you say?
JC: Go for it, be your creative self, and edit, edit, edit. If you have a desire to write, it means that you can write. Take an online course or two, like Miriam’s, and just do it!
ML: Lastly, what do you hope parents and children take away from your second book?
JC: I hope that parents and children come away from reading this book with the idea that it may be possible to choose fun, kindness, giving and sharing, even in the midst of difficult situations … and to choose to live the Christmas spirit.
ML: Thank you, Jane.
Watch the Full Interview:
Jane wrote her first poem at age six, emphatically stating that she liked bees and trees but hated peas! She has been writing and rhyming ever since. Before writing children’s books, Jane was an RN, a School Board Director, an educator, counselor, business woman, a community leader, and an artist.
Her enduring passion is to encourage growth and healing. She is a mother of four and grandmother of two, and currently lives in sunny Carmel Valley, California.
She loves hosting her family, and you will most likely find her enjoying her backyard, playing with her grandchildren, or both.