Friday, March 30, 2012

Interview with Kathy Stemke, author of Trouble on Earth Day

As a freelance writer and ghostwriter, Kathy Stemke has published over one hundred articles in directories, magazines and websites. She is a reviewer for Sylvan Dell Publishing and a former editor for The National Writing for Children Center. As a retired teacher, Kathy has several activities published with Gryphon House Publishing. Stemke is also part of the team at DKV Writing 4 U, a writing services company that includes ghostwriting, copywriting, editing, proofreading, critiquing, and resumes.

Award winning author, Kathy Stemke’s first children’s picture book, Moving Through All Seven Days, was published on Lulu. Her next two picture books, Sh, Sh, Sh Let the Baby Sleep, and Trouble on Earth Day were released in 2011. Both of these books have been awarded the Literary Classics Seal of Approval. Visit her book blog at

Mrs.Stemke offers great teaching tips and children’s book reviews as well as a monthly newsletter titled, MOVEMENT AND RHYTHM, on her blog,


What was your favorite book as a child?

I have fond memories of Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. The brilliant illustrations popped off the pages and made my imagination soar. My favorite poem, which I recited to anyone who would listen, was “My Shadow.” It opened up the fascinating world of science as I pondered where shadows came from and how they change throughout the day. Poems like “The Swing” still bring back memories of flying high into the air for hours at the park with friends. I was recently thrilled when asked to teach these very poems to a kindergarten student I was tutoring.

What is the best advice on writing you've ever received?

The best writing advice that I received or that I could give is to become part of a good critique group. In fact, joining multiple critique groups is even better. You not only learn from the critiques but also from reading the writings of other professionals. You become part of the evolution of a story from first draft to almost finished book. As a writer you’re too close to the work to be totally objective. You need other points of view.

Having said that, however, remember to weigh their advice carefully. Be true to your vision while adjusting the content.

What are you working on now?

My WIP is a historical fiction based on my mother’s life in WWII England titled, Winnie’s War. The research has been fascinating. I now have a better understanding of the experiences, hopes and fears that helped to shape her personality.

Can you tell us about your children’s books?

Since my background is in physical education and primary education my books and activities are fun to experience, educational and foster movement.

Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep takes kids on an adventure with Zachary and his new baby sister as he uses his super powers to keep her asleep. The rhymes in the story and the activities in the supplement feature the consonant blends sh, th, ch, br, and gr.

Trouble on Earth Day is a charming story of friendship and cooperation. Shelby wins an Earth Day poster contest and learns to rethink, reuse and recycle Earth’s precious resources. When she meets a homeless bluebird, she uses her new knowledge to rescue him and bring singing back to the forest. The twenty-three pages of activities include comprehension and discussion questions, action songs and games, worksheets, recycling crafts, and the history of Earth Day. Both books were recently awarded the Children’s Literary Seal of Approval.

Where are your books available?

Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep is available through the publisher, and through Amazon, B&N, and other online stores.

Trouble on Earth Day is available at a discounted price on my blog: and through Amazon, B&N, and other online stores.

How do you see the future of children’s picture books?

Interactive ebooks are the future. I see kids choosing different pathways and endings in a book. Maybe they could change the characteristics of the characters which would change the story or they might change the color scheme of the illustrations. As a former teacher, I can imagine worksheets, games and puzzles which reinforce educational concepts as well. The possibilities are endless. Kids are computer savvy and eager to experiment.

Throughout the book tour visitors will be asked to send their best EARTH photo to to be displayed on the last day of the tour. A winner will be selected and awarded a $10 gift card.

Sign up for Kathy's FREE monthly newsletter, Movement and Rhythm:


Morgan Mandel said...

I agree that critique groups are extremely important, as long as you belong to a good one. Chicago-North RWA, my group, is great, as evidenced by the many successful authors in our group.

My favorite childhood book was Cinderella. I still love books with makeovers in them.

Morgan Mandel

Karen Cioffi said...

Kathy, Your children's books are wonderful and will be a valuable addition to any home or classroom library.

And, great advice about the critique groups - belonging to one or more is a must for authors.

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

kathy stemke said...

Thanks for hosting me Mayra.

Thanks Morgan for your fine comments.

Thanks Karen for your continued support.

anthony stemke said...

Critique groups in my opinion are very important to writers, particularly new writers.
Thanks Mayra for this interview.