I don’t believe I have had the pleasure of interviewing anyone on the blog before, so I’m excited to debut another Sunshine Dad first. I had the privilege of getting to interview children’s author and illustrator Erin Frew. Her book Golden Boy Bailey has been named among the best in family-friendly media, products and services by the Mom’s Choice Awards.
I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of writing a book myself, so I was eager to learn more about Erin and the process of writing a book. So without further ado, let’s get to it!
Tell us a little about yourself. Who is Erin Frew?
I have written about myself a few times and have come to the realization that I really don’t like writing about myself. It makes me shudder and want to crawl under a rock. But just for you, I will give it a go…
My name is Erin and I’m in my early 40’s. I’ve been married to my husband John for 10 years and we have three beautiful children. We live just outside St. Louis, MO., in the wonderful Midwest United States. My greatest joy is being a mother. I’ll be the first to admit that I have struggled with many aspects of parenting but am a firm believer that if you don’t laugh about the challenges you will cry. I learn so much from my children and because of them I strive to be a better version of myself.
I love fashion and design. After graduating from Eastern Illinois University I moved to Santa Monica, California where I began working for an inventing firm designing children’s toys. It was during this time that I wrote the story for Golden Boy Bailey.
After a few years in California I returned to the Midwest to get married. My husband John and I own a large bridal and prom store called Frew’s Bridal, www.frewsbridal.com. Every day I get to help brides find the perfect look for the biggest day of their lives. I love to help women define the style that best suits them – be it vintage, classical, romantic, or contemporary. I love designing products for children and styling woman. It’s a dream come true.
What made you decide one day you wanted to write a children’s book?
I had a close relationship to my grandmother. When I was in high school she cut out an article in the newspaper for me to read. It was about a young girl who had written and illustrated her own children’s book. My grandmother thought that was something I should do. She loved my illustrations and always encouraged my creativity. Here I am 20 plus years later finally accomplishing my grandmothers dream she once had for me.
What was your inspiration for Golden Boy Bailey?
Bailey was my first dog that I adopted my sophomore year in college. He was so much more than just my best friend. He was always up for an adventure, be it going for a hike or a swim in the lake he was always ready and happy to go along. He was constantly there for me. I’ve never had a better friend than Bailey.
Do you plan to write any more children’s books?
I would love to write more children’s books.
Do you have any aspirations to write any books for grown-ups?
I happen to love writing children’s books and enjoy illustrating them even more. I heard once that reading for pleasure in this country peaks in the fifth grade. That would mean there are more kids reading books than adults. Finding a way into a child’s imagination through drawings and words on paper is thrilling to me. I can’t think of anything more satisfying.
I see you authored and illustrated your book. Which part was more challenging?
Writing the book was my biggest challenge. I’m not an author or a writer. My passion was the illustrations and design.
If given the chance which would you choose: to author a book and have someone else illustrate it, or to illustrate another author’s book?
I’d choose to illustrate another author’s book.
If you had to do Golden Boy Bailey all over again, what would you do differently?
I would have started on it sooner. I wanted so much for my grandmother to see my book published. She was 99 years old and died January 13, 2016. My book was published one month later in February. She would have been so proud.
How long did it take you from the moment you decided to create this book to the moment it was a final product?
I’m almost embarrassed to say. I wrote the story about 16 years ago while I was designing toys in California. Life just took off after that. I got married, changed jobs and had three children. It was during my pregnancy with my son Oliver that I made up my mind to finish the book.
What was the most challenging part of the whole process?
The biggest challenge for me was budgeting my time. I work full time running our family owned bridal store and have three young children under the age of 7. That doesn’t leave me with much time to myself. I’m lucky to have such a supportive husband.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about writing a book?
If I can do it so can you. It’s just a matter of priorities and determination.
If someone like myself, who cannot draw, wanted to author a children’s book, how would I go about finding an illustrator?
Just give me a call or contact me through my website, www.erinfrew.com
Who was your biggest critic during this whole process?
My husband and my 7-year-old daughter Vivienne were my biggest critics. They are also my biggest supporters. When Golden Boy Bailey was first published my husband John was first to get online and order his copy of the book.
What do your kids think about your book?
They love it. My daughter was so proud to show it to her classmates and get her own autographed copy.
How many signed copies have you given away to friends and family members?
Everyone in my family has received a copy. I am so lucky to have such a supportive family. I have three siblings who also had dogs. Those dogs are the other three characters in my book. So, as you can imagine my family was very excited to see Golden Boy Bailey book get published.
Are all of your kids’ friends getting a copy of this book for their birthday?
Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Several of their classmates attended the official book launch and received autographed copies of the book. Vivienne just finished first grade and the students in her class created a memory book for the year. Several of students listed Golden Boy Bailey as their favorite book.
What was your favorite kid’s book growing up?
It’s so hard to pick just one. I loved Anne of Green Gables and The Boxcar Children. When I was about 12 I fell in love with the Sweet Valley high novel series by Francine Pascal.
Where can we obtain a copy?
Golden Boy Bailey can be purchased in bookstores nation wide and online.
Barnes and Noble:
Thanks for your time Erin. Maybe next I need to interview you about owning your own business, that’s also something I’d love to do!
Erin has been generous enough to us to offer a free copy of Golden Boy Bailey to one lucky reader. If you would like an opportunity to win a wonderful children’s book, you can enter below. Good Luck!