Thursday, February 5, 2015

An interview with award-winning mom-son writing team Lisa & Michael Cohn

Lisa Cohn and Michael Cohn, age 6, are an award-winning mom-son team. They have appeared on the Today Show, on SiriusXM Radio, in Disney’s Babble, in the Oregonian, on AM Northwest, and in many other media. Their first book, Bash and Lucy Fetch Confidence, won a Mom’s Choice Silver Award and was named finalist, USA Best Book Awards. Lisa’s articles have appeared in national publications, including the Christian Science Monitor, Mothering, Mamalode, Parenting and Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers. Michael reviews children’s books on the authors’ YouTube channel. His video reviews are filmed in taxis, libraries, ski lodges, bookstores, parks and gyms! Lisa and Michael visit schools in person and via Skype. Their latest book is the children’s book, Bash and Lucy Fetch Jealousy.

Welcome, Lisa & Michael! Do you consider yourself to be a born writer?

Yes, I started writing when I was in third grade. I wrote poems for my mother. She sent me to a school where I wrote every day, and my teachers always encouraged me to be a writer.

Tell us about your recent release. What was your inspiration for it? 

When my dog, Lucy, died suddenly of cancer at the age of 6, I was devastated. I couldn’t sleep, eat or work. In an effort to recover from my grief, I started a children’s book that starred my dog, Lucy, as a wise but mischievous golden retriever who instills confidence in the kids on a sports team. I got stuck, and invited my book-loving 4-year-old, Michael, to help me finish the story. He jumped in, helped me finish the book, and soon became my co-author and chief vlogger. He began doing dog book reviews on YouTube, and authors started asking him to review their books. He was then featured on the Today Show as a book-loving budding book critic.

It’s been an adventure, to say the least. Our first book, “Bash and Lucy Fetch Confidence,” won a Mom’s Choice Silver Award and was named finalist, USA Best Book Awards. We just released our second book, “Bash and Lucy Fetch Jealousy,” which won a Mom’s Choice Silver Award. We spend a lot of time doing author visits with school children, which is very rewarding. We do this in person and via Skype.

Tell us about your children's books. 

Our aim is to share our love of dogs,writing and reading. I was so touched by my dog’s bravery in the face of cancer; I wanted to teach kids all about the amazing things dogs do for kids. In the first book, the dog, Lucy instills confidence in the kids on a soccer team by kissing them and making them laugh. In the second book, she actually coaches the team. A team of special-needs kids comes along and says they want Lucy to coach their team. 

Both books explore the magical connection between dogs and kids.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? If yes, how did you ‘cure’ it?

As I mentioned above, my son cured my writer’s block when I was writing the first book.

Some writers go on long walks, others keep a journal, write at a café, or listen to      music. What do you do for inspiration and unleashing your creativity? I take walks. I also brainstorm with my son, who is now 6. He’s a Gemini—a big idea generator!

Describe your working environment. 

What surprises people most is my stand-up work station. I work standing up, with an ergonomic key board. I have a wonderful view of a forest and my kids are usually nearby.

Are you a disciplined writer? What is your working style?  

I work in the morning, and always fit in some kind of exercise. I generally run around with my kids in the afternoon, and sometimes squeeze some work in in the evening. Even though I look very disorganized, I’m very disciplined. It feels bad NOT to work.

Do you like to outline and plot ahead, or are you more of a stream-of-consciousness writer? 

I do  both. I do a little planning, and then go with it. I think it’s critical to be open to changing the plan. I almost always find myself with a different ending than the one I planned.

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your works? 

www.BashAndLucy.com

What are you working on now? 

We’re just getting the word out about our second book. I also write nonfiction. And I write for parenting and dog websites to spread the word about our books.

Where are your books available? 

Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, our website and other places!

What was your experience in looking for a publisher? 

I worked with a publisher on one of my first books. But for this series, I wanted to crank out the books quickly while my son, Michael, was still interested in the project. So we self-published, which has been a fun learning experience.

What was your experience in working with an illustrator? 

Our illustrator, Heather Nichols, is amazing. We met her at a market where she did caricatures. When I was looking for an illustrator, I woke up in the middle of the night and realized she was the one. She’s extremely generous. She does caricatures at our book release parties and donates 100 percent of the proceeds to the Oregon Humane Society.

What type of book promotion works for you? 

Working with bloggers is great! Get as many reviews as possible. Use social media. Create a blog and find a topic that’s helpful or unusual to readers.

As a writer, I specialize in PR for writers and artists.  I always tell authors that they should NOT send their books to book editors; they should come up with a human-interest angle and send their pitches to feature editors. And they should plan an event and publicize it. What’s more, it’s also helpful to have more than a book; authors should have a mission. Our mission is sharing with kids our love of dogs, reading and writing.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers? 

Writing a book is a labor of love. For us, it’s not about making money. It’s about sharing our love of dogs, reading and writing. It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience, especially working with school children.  My son, Michael, is so proud of our books (and we also produced an audiobook of our first book, featuring voice-overs by Michael and his friends). He loves to visit schools and talk to kids about our books—and books in general. He’s in heaven if he can find a group of kids enthusiastic about talking about KidLit!

For More Information
About the Book:

Title: Bash and Lucy Fetch Jealousy
Author: Lisa and Michael Cohn
Publisher: Canines and Kids Publishing
Pages: 40
Genre: Children’s/Pets
Format: Paperback
From an award-winning Mom-Son team featured on the Today Show, Bash and Lucy Fetch Jealousy is a contemporary boy-and-dog book. Bash's dog, Lucy, helps coach his soccer team, and Lucy leads the team to the championships by kissing the players and making them laugh. But Bash is overcome with jealousy when Lucy enchants a team of Special Olympics kids who say they want her to coach their team. Can Bash overcome his jealousy and learn to share Lucy with kids who say they need her? This is Book Two in the Bash and Lucy series, following Bash and Lucy Fetch Confidence, a Mom's Choice Silver Award winner and finalist, USA Best Book Awards. 

For More Information

  • Bash and Lucy Fetch Jealousy is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Book Excerpt:
At every game, Bash’s dog, Lucy, trotted around the field in her blue coach's hat and shirt. She led Bash’s team to victory with her four-legged leadership skills.

She smothered the players with kisses, cheered them with happy yaps, snuggled with them when they made mistakes, and offered a friendly paw to every team they beat.
Watch the book trailer!





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1 comment:

Rosi said...

Wonderful interview. I will be checking out the book. Thanks for the post.