Thursday, February 27, 2014

Writer's Window Thursday - Annette Burrell

Welcome to Writer's Window Thursday! Today I am excited to introduce you to a fellow children's author. Her name is Annette Burrell and I have to say I am already excited to read her series for kiddos! Hey I am a kid at heart! Let's take a peek into this writer's imagination!

Tiffany: What is the title of your book and what message does it convey to readers?
Annette: I have one book and then a 5 book series. :He Gave Me a Song – the message is one of encouragement. The Adventures of Danny Cricket – is an educational and Christian based 5 book series.

Tiffany: Give a short synopsis of your book.

Annette: He Gave Me a Song  -God woke me up in the wee morning hours with a song in my head (the words and tune). The book is about the story behind the song.  God speaks to us every day. But we have to be willing to listen in order to hear what He tells us to do. Everyone has a story to tell.
The Adventures of Danny Cricket -Danny Cricket is based on the frontiersman Davy Crockett.  He lives at the Alamo (where the story begins and is where Davy Crockett lost his life in the Battle of the Alamo. Danny decides he wants to leave the Alamo and go down to the River Walk where his adventure begins.  There are 5 bugs (including Danny Cricket) in each of the 5 books. All character names are based on historical figures or events, and each bug is common in the book’s setting. Each has some diversity, and presents a spiritual message to the reader.  The next four books are set in Stone Mountain, Georgia; Philadelphia, PA; Washington, DC and St. Augustine, FL.

Tiffany: Why did you write this particular story?

Annette:  My “story” starts with the “song”.  I was getting impatient because the song was not progressing as quickly as I had hoped.  So I began writing a book about the experience. I felt a little like Moses when God told him to go to Pharaoh and tell him to set His people free.  Moses immediately said, “Who am I to do this?”  God pretty much told Moses that he wasn’t about who Moses was, but it was about who He was.  I had never written a song before and didn’t know where to begin to get the song put to music and I questioned why He was using me.  But it wasn’t about me.  It was about Him and the message He wanted to come through in the song.  That’s why I wrote He Gave Me a Song  .
I wrote the children’s books, The Adventures of Danny Cricket, while I was waiting.  I didn’t intend on the books to be Christian.  I thought that I would write something fun and that would help children remember parts of American history.  I wrote the first book and after I read it, there it was in black and white.  So, I knew the rest in the series would also need to have a spiritual message to keep the theme going.

Tiffany: Many writer's like to put real people in their stories. Are there any characters in your books that are modeled from people in your daily life?

Annette: Yes, in my book He Gave Me a Song  all the characters are people in my life because it is a true story. In Danny Cricket , none of the characters are modeled from people in my daily life. They are modeled after events or people from history.  For example:  The 3rd book in the series, “Danny Cricket Visits Independence Hall” has the following characters:  a bumble bee named “Benjamin Buzz (Benjamin Franklin); a lady bug named “Lady B (Betsy Ross); a wolf spider named “Ranger Hal” (represents the tour guides in Philadelphia who are all called “Ranger . . .”; and a firefly named “Mr. Washington (George Washington)

Tiffany: Annette , You seem to have two very diverse stories! How do you come up with your story lines?

Annette: He Gave Me a Song  is a true story so I just wrote what happened and what I felt like prepared me for it. The Adventures of Danny Cricket   came as a result of a trip to San Antonio a few years back; that’s when I got the idea of a Cricket based on Davy Crockett.  When I wrote the first line, the story just flowed out of me.  I can’t really explain it. I decided that the other four books would be based in cities where I had visited to limit the research I had to do.

Tiffany: What was the point you realized that being an author was no longer a dream but a reality?

Annette: The day I opened the mail and saw the proof of the “He Gave Me a Song” book.

Tiffany: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Annette: If you have a desire to write . . . go for it!  And, write something every day.

Tiffany:  What warning(s) would you give them?

Annette: Learn who your cheerleaders are and keep them close.  Be willing to take constructive feedback to make your work better, but make sure the feedback is from reliable sources. The world is filled with critics. 

Tiffany: What do you enjoy the most about the writing process?

Annette: The writing itself!  I’d hire someone to do all the marketing and administrative stuff if had the money to do so.

Tiffany: How did you go about getting your book published?

Annette: After months of research I decided to self-publish.  I know myself and decided that I might get discouraged if I went the traditional route. 

Tiffany: If you were given one day to live, what would you do that day?

Annette: Wow! That’s tough one.  I think I would take my kids and grand kids on a ski trip so that I would watch them learn how to ski (the grand kids that is).  Then sit around the fireplace in the evening drinking hot chocolate and tell each one of them why each one of them are special to me.

Tiffany: If you could meet one of your favorite authors, who would it be and why?

Annette: Frank Peretti.  I love his books “This Present Darkness” and “Piercing the Darkness”.  I love the way he is able to create a story depicting spiritual warfare.

Tiffany: Who inspires you?

Annette: Beth Moore.  I could listen to her talk (preach) for hours.

Tiffany: If you could go back in time, what would you say to your younger self?

Annette: Don’t be afraid to follow your dream; and do what it takes to get there.

Tiffany: What’s next for you?

 Annette: I am currently drafting a novel.  I know that writing is what I need to do.  I just want to solidify what type writing I am best at.  I will also be doing some volunteer work with non-profit organizations in my community.  I’ll also be speaking at various places to promote my children’s books, and encourage others to listen to God.

Thank you for stopping by today Annette! I wish you luck in your future writing endeavors! God Bless!
If you wish to learn more about Annette and her books you can find them here:

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