Exclusive Interview with Author and Illustrator Chrissy Byers

Exclusive Interview with Author and Illustrator Chrissy ByersI am absolutely thrilled to bring you an exclusive interview today with Australian children’s author and illustrator Chrissy Byers. This is a must read for anyone hoping to follow in Chrissy’s footsteps and publish a book for kids, so grab yourself a cuppa (or hide in the loo!) and enjoy…     

“Written, illustrated and self-published by Chrissy Byers, ‘The Magic in Boxes’ is a 52 page children’s book, manufactured using recycled materials, and inspires children to engage in creative play using the humble cardboard box. Written in rhyming couplets, with some repetitive text, this book is bound to become a favourite with your child. Suitable for children 0-7 years. Sample pages of the book can be viewed on the official website. Free international postage available through The book depository.”

Tell us a little about yourself, and what inspired you to the write / illustrate the book

I was born in the small country town of St George in South-West Queensland, Australia where I was fortunate to spend my childhood living on my parents’ cotton farm. As a child I loved stories and would often write and illustrate little books. It has been my life-long dream to be an author and illustrator. As a teenager I was discouraged to pursue this as a career due to the competitive nature of the book industry.

Thoroughly enjoying the idea of working with young children and delighting at the chance to discover first hand from classroom experience, what works well in children’s literature, I embarked on a teaching career spanning a decade and a half. The majority of which was teaching in a North London School in the UK. As a dedicated teacher I did not have time to focus on any writing or illustrating, anything spare went on travelling Europe!

I took a break from teaching after having my boys, and once they started school I was finally presented with the opportunity to write and illustrate my first book ‘The Magic In Boxes’.


How long did it take you from conception of idea to holding the book in your hands for the first time?

The concept of the book and the photos taken for the illustrations occurred three years before publication, but most of the work was done in the last eighteen months. It was all too much of a juggle while the boys were so young.

Why did you decide to go down the self-publishing road?

After submitting mock-up booklets to several Australian publishing houses, and getting rejections, I felt I couldn’t let all my hard work sit on the shelf. I was fortunate to have some talented friends who could help me with the language edits and graphic designer details required to get the book to a professional standard.

It was important to me to keep my 52 pages and use recycled materials in the books entirety – which would never have come to fruition if a publishing house had taken me on. Being self-published provides the opportunity to make decisions based on integrity rather than the dollar sign.

The up-side of self publishing is that you get things done your way; the down-side is that you got things done your way! 

Tell us one thing that you would do the same again next time, and one thing that you would change

I’m really proud of the paper choices. I hope to have achieved a book which the reader is pleasantly surprised to discover is self-published.

I am sticking to the standard 32 page plan for the follow-up book, ‘The Magic in Dress-Ups’. Printing costs for this book were crippling, and the extra weight bumps up postage when sending it out.

What would your top tip for aspiring writers / illustrators be?

Surround yourself with positive and supportive friends! There will be enough knock backs and disappointments along the way, but if this is something that you really, really want then the only thing holding you back is you! If this is your dream, then you will make it happen if you want it desperately enough.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us Chrissy, I can relate to a lot of what you’ve said here. From the juggle of small children, to making decisions based on integrity and surrounding yourself with wonderful friends… 

We love your awesome book in my house and cannot recommend it highly enough. To learn more about this wonderful lady, visit her website Books by Chrissy Byers. You can buy the book directly, or through The Book Depository with free international postage.  

Head over…

…to Dad Blog UK for a guest post.

Happy New Year folks!

Hope its a fab one.

Reneé 😘

Sharing the Blog Love: Potty Mouthed Mummy

Whilst I take a little blog break I thought it would be nice to continue my series sharing the blog love, and have scheduled guest posts for you from some of my favourite bloggers. Hope you enjoy them 🙂

Potty Mouthed Mummy

SianDescribe your blog in a tweet

A moderately technical blogger who loves sharing tips and tricks with others and is always happy to help. “Trying” to keep an honest happy outlook on life and blogging.

Tell us three goals you’d like to tick off your bucket list before your next big birthday

1. Pass my driving tests
2. Drop 2 dress sizes
3. Be more accepting of me

What is your ultimate three course meal?

Scallops with cauliflower purée and crispy pancetta, followed by fillet steak with creamed spinach and goose fat chips, then lemon tart.

Who was your first crush?

Leonardo Dicaprio – I was a young teen around the Romeo and Juliet/Titanic era. Standard.

Tell us about your three favourite posts

Bully – this was a really tough one to write but the response was overwhelming and amazing (truly made me see how amazing the blog world can be)

Surviving Business Travel – I had a bit of a breakdown on a business trip but a week later I was able to see the funny side and how I must have appeared to others around me!! Not my finest hour.

Reasons I want to live in Peppa Pigs town – I think a big part of parenting a toddler is spending too much time over thinking their TV shows, hence how this post was born!!

About Potty Mouthed Mummy

I’m Sian, 30 something living in Berkshire. Mummy to a toddler (H) and wife to the hub. My blog is my creative outlet, something beyond being a mummy, something beyond earning pennies and something that let me feels like me. I adore stationery, nautical things, Harry Potter and cooking. Oh and red wine. Um and gin.

Pop over and say hi

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Sharing the Blog Love: Spirited Puddle Jumper

Whilst I take a little blog break I thought it would be nice to continue my series sharing the blog love, and have scheduled guest posts for you from some of my favourite bloggers. Hope you enjoy them 🙂

The Spirited Puddle Jumper

beckyDescribe your blog in a tweet

I’m a vintage homeware store owner, blogging about interiors, crafts and family life in South East London.

Tell us three goals you’d like to tick off your bucket list by your next big birthday

Travel to Thailand with the children, write a book and get married. Doing the latter end of June, eek!

What’s your ultimate three course meal?

Parma Ham and goats cheese with figs to start, a really good Thai Green chicken curry for main, followed by Lemon Meringue Pie. Oh, and with a really good, chilled, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc on the side!

Who was your first crush?

Mark Owen from Take That- I was 9 and had his posters on the wall by my bunk bed. I used to flick through the Argos catalogue and plan what furniture we’d buy together for our house. What a saddo (but maybe shows my love for interiors started early)!

Tell us about your three favourite posts

When Breastfeeding goes, ahem, tits up

Sasha’s bedroom tour (my most popular one on Pintrest)

10 Ways to gain Confidence Blogging

About The Spirited Puddle Jumper

Hi! I’m Becky, lover of one, mother of Freddie (4) and Sasha (3), blogger, vintage homeware owner, social media manager, coffee convert and general life enthusiast, living in South-East London. Expect to find lots about parenting, interiors, crafts, food, family life, fashion, photo projects, reviews, travel with children…I like to talk about stuff I love! I was a broadcast journalist in a former life, and now I’m a freelance social media manager who blogs on the side. I also own ‘What Would Irene Do?’ an Etsy store focusing on mid-century homeware. Best thing I’ve ever done (aside from my children!).



The What Would Irene Do? – Open for business since 19th May 2014! Visit www.whatwouldirenedo.com to find out more
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Pop over and say hi

Sharing the Blog Love: Nikki Young Writes

 Whilst I take a little blog break I thought it would be nice to continue my series sharing the blog love, and have scheduled guest posts for you from some of my favourite bloggers. Hope you enjoy them 🙂

Nikki Young Writes

nikki youngThank you so much, Reneé, for inviting me to appear as a guest on your blog. Not only do I admire and respect the lady herself, the Mummy Tries blog is one of my favourites, so it’s a great honour to be a part of it.

Reneé set some questions for this post. The first one was to describe your blog or brand in under 140 characters. Oh that’s easy, I thought, but nooo. It reminded me of writing Meta descriptions when I work on digital content or constructing tweets, where you have to hook the reader in such a short space. Any way here’s what I came up with:

Nikki Young Writes offers writing tips for aspiring authors, content creation advice for businesses, fiction slots, book reviews & freelance writing services.

Question 2 asked about bucket lists before your next big birthday…

I don’t have an actual bucket list and I hate to admit this, but I am fast approaching my next big birthday. All I can think about is trying to slow down time so that I never reach that milestone age. As you can gather, I’m not going gracefully into the next decade and who knows, I might start having a mid life crisis and start going to festivals and stuff. Anyone fancy Glastonbury next year?

I am lucky to have seen and done so many amazing things in my life already. I’ve been to some of the wonders of the world like Victoria Falls and the Pyramids. I’ve been on safari; I’ve walked the Inca Trail. What I look forward to most is experiencing amazing things with my children. I can’t wait until they’re old enough to take on safari, for example and I have this romantic idea that a road trip across America would be so much fun, although we’d probably end up killing each other half way through.

Anyway, there’s only so much you can do in six months, so I’m afraid I won’t be ticking anything big off my invisible list before then. I am lucky though, in that we are celebrating my birthday/my son’s birthday/our wedding anniversary in Florida, with a bit of Disney magic thrown in.

Number 3 is my ultimate three course meal…

Well, I’ve learned from experience that eating three courses is no good for me and my stomach and I avoid sugar as much as possible so I don’t eat dessert. Whenever I go out for a meal, I always go for a fish starter. I love calamari, for example, or dressed crab.

My main course favourites tend to be something like sea bass, risotto or a rib eye steak and I would finish off with a cappuccino if it’s not too late, or a camomile tea if  not.

Who was my first crush…?

I’m not exactly sure, but I remember thinking that I was going to marry my next door neighbour, who was the same age as me. When we played in the garden, I always made sure I was the mum and he was the dad. Growing up in the eighties, with magazines like Just Seventeen and Girl to read, I had a massive collection of posters on my wall of all the actors and pop stars I was in love with. From what I can remember it included George Michael, River Phoenix, Rob Lowe, Charlie Sheen, Ethan Hawke and definitely NOT Bros.

Can I tell you what my three favourite posts are?

I wrote my 200th post on Friday, so it’s difficult to choose three favourites from them all, but I chose this first post based on the fun I had after writing it:

Writing Exercises – Creating Fiction and Exercising the Brain

I found some interesting exercises and when I decided to do a post about them was delighted that a number of my readers had a go at doing them as well. It was fun to have that interaction and the feeling that I’d challenged other writer’s alongside me, hopefully inspiring their own creativity.

I chose this next post based on the support I had for making the (brave) decision to move my health and food posts to a separate blog because I felt that they no longer had a home on Nikki Young Writes.

A ‘Free-From Life’ – New Beginnings

Running two blogs isn’t easy, but I am passionate about health and nutrition, having studied nutrition at University and having worked in the food industry once upon a time. It sits side by side with my love of writing and since developing my own health problems and having a gluten and dairy intolerant son, I feel as though I’ve had to put my nutrition knowledge to good use over the last few years.

I am a fiddler of recipes, adapting them to suit our needs. That means finding replacements for a number of ingredients, but I enjoy the challenge and guess what? I enjoy writing about it too. Would you ever have believed that?

My final choice is a fiction post I wrote that is very personal to me and reflects upon a particular difficult situation that was happening in my life at the time. Many writers say they find writing cathartic and I can honestly say that it’s true of me too. If I have any kind of inner turmoil I’m working through, I won’t shout and rave about it in the streets. Instead, I will sit down and pour my heart and soul in to either a blog post or a piece of fiction.

Friday Fiction – The Girl on the Outside

Thanks for reading. I’m Nikki and I blog at Nikki Young Writes and A ‘Free-From’ Life. I am a freelance writer and digital content creator and I am currently working on my first manuscript for young adults. I am a Yorkshire lass, who migrated to Kent 17 years ago, set up roots and never went back. My three fab kids drive me nuts at times, but they make me always strive to be a better person. Find me on Facebook, Twitter, Google plus and Pinterest.

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