Monday, November 28, 2011
Teacher Judi Chesshir Becomes Children's Author
I love children’s stories old or new and was pleasantly surprised when I read Judi Chesshir’s story, My Finny Fin Fin. My Finny Fin Fin is a retelling of The Three Little Pigs with a big bad shark instead of a big bad wolf and three little dolphins instead of three little pigs. I loved this version of an old tale reborn and was even more impressed when I read along with the sensational audio version. Such an interesting story caused me to want to know more about the author. I hope you enjoy finding out more about Judi as well.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself such as where you hail from and how many children’s books you have had published.
I am a mother to two wonderful boys and a wife to a drummer. I teach 2nd graders during the day and market my book at night. I can’t claim one spot as my home while growing up. We moved around a lot every time my dad was promoted in his job. By the time I was 17, I had moved 19 times. I feel like I grew up in California though; I lived there during part of my high school years and most of my close friends are from that time in my life.
What made you decide to write for Children/YA age groups? Are you currently working on anything else?
I wasn’t planning on writing a children’s book. My dream was to write a novel, but God had other plans for me. I needed a compare & contrast lesson for “The Three Little Pigs.” We had studied that story the week before. I didn’t have time to run to the library, so I wrote a story in front of my class. I chose dolphins and a shark as my main characters, since those animals were what my students enjoyed learning about earlier. I let the students decide what happened to the dolphins. They chose to follow the original version of “The Three Little Pigs.” After the story was finished, we compared it to “The Three Little Pigs.” Then I placed it onto an online writing portfolio. The public was able to view the story. People commented that I should get this story published, so I decided I should try. A few months later, I had a contract sitting on my doorstep from the publisher and I was thrilled. I’m not currently working on another book. My goal right now is to learn how to market this book first and then I will work on another one.
What were some of your favorite books as a child?
I enjoyed reading fairy tales. I loved the made up stories and how anything could happen in them.
Do you have any humorous stories to tell about being an author or dealing with the public?
I found myself smiling when my students had finished listening to the audio of my story. Then they read out loud with a partner. I noticed that some of them were using different voices for the shark and dolphins. I thought that was so cute, since I didn’t tell them to do that.
What do you find the most difficult aspect of being an author and what advice would you give perspective authors?
The hardest part about being an author is trying to get my book known. There are so many books out there that it is hard to let the public know it even exists. I have been spending lots of time on the internet to try and tell others about my book and where to get it. I have found that word of mouth, book reviews, and book signings seem to be the best way to get my book known so far. My advice to any new author is to not give up. If you have a dream of publishing a book, then do anything you can to make it come true. There are different options for publishing. You can go the agent route, find a publisher on your own, or even self publish. Just find the one that fits you best.
What accomplishment are you most proud of (literary or otherwise)?
I am proud to say that I have been a teacher for over 20 years. I have had the pleasure of teaching writing to lots of children almost daily. I also get to teach reading as well. Both of those are my favorite things to do, so I hope I inspire the students that I teach.
What do you think causes a book to stand the test of time?
A story that captures a child’s imagination and is well known will be around for a long time.
What hobbies or interests do you have besides writing?
I enjoy hiking, traveling, and reading. All of these activities take me into a different place where I can have adventures.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about such as awards or your website address?
I am happy to say that my book will be featured in the “50 Greatest Authors You Should Be Reading, 2011-2012 edition,” by the Author’s Show. A contest was held and the public voted on the authors they were interested in and I was thrilled to be included. can find out more about this book at: http://www.theauthorsshow.com/
My book will also be featured in “Taste and See First Chapters Book,” by John 3:16 Marketing Network.
My book is available in paperback & e-book from:
Barnes & Nobel
You can order autograph copies & hard covers from me by contacting me on my website
My Finny Fin Fin, paperback or hard covers also come with a free audio download on the last page, so the books can be put on a phone, computer, iPod, Nook, and Kindle.