After the passing of her parents, Kathy J Perry evaluated at what she was doing with her life and her contribution to others. She’s always had a heart for teaching kids. She’s been a classroom teacher, a homeschool mom, a tutor, and a substitute over many years. Now, she’s written the Bandana Acres series of early chapter books with solid moral lessons that fill a genre gap between picture and chapter books. Fellow teachers say, “Great! Keep it up. We need more of these.”
Having grown up in the 50’s and 60’s, Kathy remembers having so much more freedom and safety to move about than most kids have today. So many changes have made BIG impacts on our youth today.
Most moms work now vs. stay at home. Not just because they need two incomes, but many women want a profession. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it does limit quality time spent with the kids. Trusted caregivers take their place during their work hours. Kathy believes that the lack of parental (or other responsible person) supervision can result in dramatic problems when kids become teens and young adults.
Religion might be “studied” as a subject vs. basic Christian morals were taught in school (i.e. the 10 Commandments). Kathy’s stories came to life from key Bible verses about character, although they are not mentioned in the books because she wants to impact ALL youth by not being excluded from public schools and libraries.
TV, (even commercials), video games, smart phones, and computers vs. maybe 3-4 TV stations with mostly wholesome content, playing outside, and reading books. She believes that while kids are developing physically, mentally, and emotionally, the media plays a very big role in kids’ world view today. You are what you eat, or watch, or read, who you hang out with etc.
Because of these changes, Kathy hopes to impact our young readers with clean, moral content while, at the same time, give them a bridge between picture books (or early readers) and more difficult chapter books. Today’s kids are as bright as ever! Like sponges, they absorb everything around them as they mature. Her hope is that through her books, author visits, and blogs, the hearts and minds of parents and their kids will be touched and that future generations might see how they can be leaders and bright lights in the world.
Kathy’s had several long-term careers including administrative assistant, 1st assistant manager of McDonalds, and teacher, stained-glass artist and business owner, and now author, illustrator, and publisher. Though she loves the detail and organizational aspects of the administrative world, she feels teaching was the most meaningful and satisfying job she’s had…so far. But, writing is a close second!
In addition to writing, Kathy has enjoyed working with her character designer, Mark Baral, to create the cute characters in her illustrations. With his line drawings, she composed the images and painting the backgrounds and characters with traditional watercolors. She loves the soft look. She has an artistic side to her. For over 35 years she designed and crafted many architectural stained glass windows. Now, her books have replaced that creative outlet.
Kathy has two weekly blogs on her website: one for ADULTS (parents, grandparents, teachers, and librarians) and an interactive one for KIDS. She also very much enjoys giving local SCHOOL VISITS AND WORKSHOPS.
Her five books can be found in several formats on her website SHOP as well links to other outlets. The shop also has some cute tubular stretchy bandanas (called HOO-RAGS) sporting her artwork. They’re fun, versatile and useful!
She is affiliated with the following professional writing groups: ALLI (Alliance for Independent Authors), ACFW (Association of Christian Fiction Writers), and SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators). She has attended several of these conferences and local chapter meetings. Kathy has been nominated and seconded for the office of Secretary with her local ACFW chapter. (Voting in November, 2018.) Also, she attends the monthly WOODNEATH WRITERS group meetings at the Story Center of Mid-Continent Library’s Woodneath branch. Through some of these relationships, Kathy is currently mentoring two other writers in addition to gaining more knowledge.
Published on Wed, 05/16/2018 - 08:34am
Kathy was excited to be interviewed for a blog by Mid-Continent Library’s Story Center’s Program Manager, Melissa Stan.
Many writers come to The Story Center for help telling their stories through in-person training like the Storytelling Certification courses as well as networking activities such as the Woodneath Writers group. The Story Center offers a wide-ranging book collection, online resources, as well as classes and events to support local writers in pursuing their passion.
One local author who found some inspiration through The Story Center is Kathy Perry, author of the Bandana Acres picture books. The Story Center recently had the opportunity to sit down with Kathy and learn about her process.
Story Center (SC): We're here with local kids' book author Kathy Perry. Thank you for joining us, Kathy. Can you tell us about the books you have coming out?
Kathy Perry (KP): My Bandana Acres series is a leveled-reader series about animals, adventures, and friendship. Each book revolves around things that kids deal with and how to overcome those obstacles. For instance, in Feebs to the Rescue, Feebs the Kitten finds herself lost in the dark, but her new friend, Ollie the dog, needs help. Can she find the courage to lead a night rescue? Other books explore topics such as thinking ahead about consequences for actions, dealing with anger, and learning to trust. Each book guides the reader through conflict and resolution in an encouraging and uplifting way.
SC: How did you first get into writing?
KP: I went to a craft fair and there was a girl selling cute watercolor artwork for preschoolers. As I was looking at it, I thought, “This would be great in a kids book!”— which turned into “I could write kids books!” What finally pushed me into trying my hand at getting my work out there was when my father passed away. He was always telling stories. I took a look at my life at that point and realized that I was tired of the cycle of working and not making a difference. His passing gave me the much-needed push to do something that I enjoyed and where I felt I had purpose.
SC: Tell us about how The Story Center played a role in your writing.
KP: I learned about The Story Center for the first time through the Library's catalog. I heard about the Woodneath Writers group and started attending as a way to get feedback and inspiration. I’m glad to be part of a core group of supportive, intelligent writers that attend every month, but I’m also thrilled that there are new faces each month. The Story Center has also provided great networking opportunities. I attended a writers weekend put on by The Story Center and met the person who is now my publicist! The Story Center is a great way to learn about writing and to connect with others that are on the same path.
SC: What advice do you have for other writers?
KP: I think the most important thing is to write what you love. Do your research about publishing options, but don’t try to do everything by yourself. Find a team of people that can help you make your books successful.
SC: Congratulations on your book launch, and thank you for joining us today. We wish you success in your writing!
Learn more about Kathy's Bandana Acres at chickadeewords.com!
Rascal’s Trip won an Honorable Mention for Best Cover Design, 2018, from KidsShelf Books.
Nibbler & Captain Make Peace won Book of the Year, 2018, FINALIST award from Independent Author Network.
SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Will you tell us about your children’s book series?
Why did you become to be an author, illustrator, publisher?
How did your various writer’s groups help you with your process?
Tell us a little about your team.
Do you have any suggestions for other writers?