FotoBoek Lieve Snellings

Picture books featured with full color photos

Fiona Mcvie interviews Lieve Snellings

and published on her blog.


Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie. Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?

My name is Lieve Snellings and I am 63 years young.


Fiona: Where are you from?

I live in Leuven,  a little university city in Belgium. But 5 months a year I live in Chateau-Richer near Quebec in Canada.


Fiona: A little about your self (ie,  your education, family life, etc.).

I am a graduate social worker. I have worked 38 years as dispatcher at the Emergency Room department of Gasthuisberg in Leuven, one of the biggest European university clinics.  Now I am retired and I have to say that I love it, even I always have loved my job too.

At my 40th I started a professional 5 year training photography and worked for 12 years as a freelance photographer beside my clinic job.

For 10 years I live in a (very) long distance relationship. It is via my partner Monique that I start living 5 months a year in Quebec. And she opened my passion for nature photography (before I was more documental photographer).

I have two sisters and one brother. We are a close family. My godchild’s daughters are the two children who inspired me for my first book ‘Margot gets an unexpected visit’. They also play a main character in the book.


Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

I’m so excited, I just am voted top rated children’s author 2017 at BookGoSocial.


Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing my books about 5 years ago. Since I came to Quebec I had so many, and I think I may say ‘good’ nature photos. I wanted to share them with the world. This idea was planted as a seed in my mind and regular aroused. And so at a certain moment it was clear for me I would write children’s books, in fact photo-pictures book.


Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I don’t know if I can call myself a writer, a photographer-author would maybe more correct.


Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I had two big inspirations sources. The first one is wildlife in our backyard in Quebec. Special Margot the groundhog, different sorts of squirrels (Germaine, Philomene and Eufrazie) and our littlest one Fiston the chipmunk.

At the other hand it were my gotchild’s two daughters that inspired me to write children’s books with my photos, and play a main character in ‘Margot gets an unexpected visit’.


Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Before starting to write about Margot the groundhog, of course I did some research on woodchucks. Then I found out that a groundhog is a solitary animal. So bringing a groundhog in contact with two little girls is a bit an unexpected storyline. The curiosity that Margot at one hand, and Lowieske & Marie at the other hand have for each other, made they connect and we can talk about a visit.


Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?

Yes I can say  have written my both books in a specific writing style. I started from my photos, made a broad selection. Then sat outside with a cup of coffee, watched the animals in the backyard and let my fantasy travel. And so the story is written image by image. When I got a part of the story, I went inside to my computer and worked on the images.


Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

At one hand the book is very realistic in the sense the photos are all real pictures I took myself. And the two girls didn’t have visit Quebec jet, but they are as vivid as the story tells about. The aunts they visit are of course me and my partner, so also the environment you see in the book is real.

But as I told before a wildlife free groundhog will not become friends with humans, even lives on itself, so that storyline is fantasy. I made this fantasy visible by putting a filter on Marie & Lowieske, made them look a bit as in pictures books, to make it obvious the story is a dream.


Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

Oh yes it is thanks to my travelling between Belgium and Quebec that this work was possible. It was good to spent time with the girls. And also needed to spent a lot of time in Quebec’s nature to observe and photograph.


Fiona: Who designed the covers?

I designed the covers myself. I’m a photographer and so a long time user of photoshop. But I have to say that making a cover is different than for instance making a photo-picture page in the book. I put out a question for feedback in the BookGoSocial Auther Group and got so much support. Two professional cover designers, Carolee Samuda and Pamela Grusendorf Workman, offered me a lot of information and supervised me through this proces. I am so thankful to this group and those two generous artists.


Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes, in ‘Margot gets an unexpected visit’ has a subtle message on diversity in all her forms.

‘Groundhog Secrets’ is a celebration of the beauty of nature.


Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?  Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?

In fact I have different authors that interest me. My favorite writer is Griet Op De Beeck. She writes in Dutch and I love as well the content of her books as her writing style. Reading her books enriches you, it is as food for the soul.

In English I adore to read Alice Walker. I really can say that reading her books played an important role to be who I became now.

And let me name one other author I discovered recently since I started to write children’s books myself. While I was reading ‘Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy’ by Maxine Silvester. It was such an exciting reading experience. If I could have give 6 stars to the book, I had.


Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.

My partner supported me very much.


Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I retired last year. So writing as a fulltime career that gives also an income to live from, is not my first thought. But it would be nice if writing could add something to my low pension.


Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

If I had to do it all over again, I think the only thing I would like to change is that the covers of my book in Dutch (original) and French (translation) were the same sort as the English one. For the rest I think I am pleased with ‘Groundhog Secrets’.


Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

Oh yes I learned a lot when I dis research for my recent book ‘Groundhog Secrets’. So many different little tidbits which I could show in word and image in a funny way.


Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

If you asked  me that half a year ago, it was obvious that Margot the groundhog would be the main character. But as Marie turned out to become an amazing musical singer and dancer, maybe I think I would like her to play the lead role now.


Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

My advice would be: there are three things important in life, also in the life of a writer J

  • Keep on going
  • Keep on going
  • Keep on going


Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

When you walk (or sit or) outside, look well, also to every detail, try to open your soul to fauna and flora. Enjoy, it is relaxing, showing the wonders in nature.


Fiona: What book are you reading now?

‘How I met my pet dragon’ by John E. Dorey.


Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Yes I do remember. I was sick and couldn’t go to school. I think it was in my first grade, just was learning to read. My mom gave me a picture book, ‘Het Hemelhuis’ (I would translate it ‘the house of our dreams’) of the series ‘Jommeke’ (a boy’s name). It was time taking to read as I had to spell every letter. But after almost one week I had finished it, read every word, every letter myself. I was so proud of myself.


Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Everything that touches me can make me laugh and cry.


Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

Yes I would love to meet Alice Walker.


Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

My big passion is photographing and I started to make video’s.


Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

The best film I saw this year is ‘Hidden figures’.


Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

It is difficult to tell what food is my favorite because I like almost all. But to name one it defiantly is icecream J.

I love colors yellow and red and orange… the whole rainbow J

And music, in fact I do not listen enough to music. I love worldmusic, but also jazz and choir singing and even country & western J.


Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

I’m sorry to disappoint you but I keep dreaming of writing books with my photos.


Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?

Keep the dream for peace and equal human rights going. To do so you have to see the beauty around you too.


Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?

My Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/snellings

Facebook Author page: http://www.facebook.com/FotoBoekLieveSnellings

Website: https://lievesnellings.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SnellingsLieve

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lievesnellings


BookGoSocial Top Voted Children’s Author 2017

I am very happy to announce you that I became ‘BookGoSocial Top Voted Children’s Author 2017′.

Thank you so much – Dankjewel – Merci beaucoup!

cover voorstel 1 mei

Twee vrouwelijke kolibries: gekwetst of gewoon verschillend?

madame colibri

Sinds vorige week maandag waren de kolibrietjes verdwenen. Ik dacht dat ze al vertrokken waren. Ook de blaren in de bomen hebben zich vergist, zijn al in augustus beginnen te verkleuren, dus waarom zouden die kleine creatuurtjes niet hetzelfde kunnen doen. We hadden hun suikerwater weggehaald, hun voederbakjes netjes opgeborgen tot het volgende jaar. Ik was er niet goed van dat ze een maand vroeger dan normaal vertrokken waren, maar was mij met dat feit aan het verzoenen. En dan ineens zie ik zaterdag, na 6 dagen afwezigheid een kolibrietje komen kijken waar dat suikerwater is. Dat was verschieten, maar ook blij dat er nog eentje was. Snel hen terug hun drankje gemaakt, aan de keukenvenster opgehangen en hopen dat ze zou terug komen. Zaterdag tegen het vallen van de avond zag ik haar terug. Maar drinken deed ze nog niet, even komen piepen, weer weg en terug komen. Maar zondag bleef ze al enkele seconden op haar rode voederbakje.Maar ze zag er anders uit dan ik de mevrouwen kolibri de voorbije 9 jaar hier in Quebec gezien heb. Ik durfde niet te dichtbij komen om haar de kans te laten om te drinken. Dan heb ik mijn verrekijker genomen om haar te kunnen bekijken. Ik zie het verschil met hoe ik ze kende. Is ze gekwetst? Is er iets gebeurd waardoor ik hen zo lang niet meer gezien heb? Ziet ze er anders uit dan de anderen en hebben ze haar daarom achter gelaten? Neen, ondertussen weet ik dat ze nog niet vertrokken zijn, dat de kolibries op andere plaatsen nog volop aanwezig zijn. Vandaag heb ik foto’s genomen. Ik denk dat hierop goed te zien is dat ze blessures opgelopen heeft. Maar eigenlijk ben ik er toch niet zeker van. Is ze gehavend uit een strijd gekomen? In alle geval is ze vandaag veel levendiger dan zaterdag en zelfs gisteren. En ze heeft lang en veel aan haar tafel genoten.

De foto bovenaan heb ik enkele weken geleden genomen. De twee anderen zijn van vandaag. Kolibries zijn maar een paar cm groot, dus echt onderzoeken kan niet, ik kan alleen maar verder gaan op de foto’s. Denken jullie ook dat ze gekwetst is of is dat alleen inbeelding van mij?

madame colibri 2 madame colibri 3

4 september 2017

Les Petits Savoirs sur la marmotte commune – GRATIS le 31/08 et 1/09/2017

Le e-book est GRATIS – gratuit – FREE le 31/08 + 1/09/2017

Pour faire suite à la demande de ses amies, Margot, la marmotte commune, a écrit dans un cahier tous les faits intéressants qu’elle a observés sur la vie de ce mammifère. Ses découvertes sont devenues la base du livre Les Petits Savoirs sur la marmotte commune contenant beaucoup de superbes photos de la marmotte prises dans la nature. Margot dévoile tous ses secrets.

Elle décrit comment les marmottes naissent et comment elles se ressemblent bien qu’il existe 14 types de marmottes dans le monde. Elle parle de leur régime alimentaire, de leur façon de se désaltérer puisqu’elles ne s’abreuvent pas à une source principale comme d’autres animaux. Elle nomme les différents dangers qui les guettent et explique d’où vient leur nom de siffleux. Elle parle également de la grande diversité de sa famille; vous serez surpris de connaître ses cousins et cousines. Aussi, vous comprendrez quel grand architecte est ce mammifère creuseur-fouisseur et vous apprendrez pourquoi les médecins s’intéressent tant à leur phénomène d’hibernation.

Les Petits Savoirs sur la marmotte commune GRATIS - 600 dpi

Pour terminer, Margot vous renseignera sur le fameux Jour de la marmotte. Légende ou réalité, demandera-t-elle? Et ce sera à vous de conclure…

Le livre Les Petits Savoirs sur la marmotte commune se veut une source précieuse de renseignements pour les amateurs de la faune et de la nature, avides d’en connaître plus sur nos amis les animaux.

RRR author badge Lieve Snellings

Your Secret Library – Childrens & YA

In this magazine you will discover great books, amazing articles, our 10 classic children’s books and an Interview with the 2017 Top Voted Children’s Author, Lieve Snellings

Video Margot Gets An Unexpected Visit

Margot Gets An Unexpected Visit

You can get the book here

Weetjesboek Bosmarmot GRATIS op 13+14 juli

De originele ‘Groundhog Secrets’ oftewel ‘Het Grote Weetjesboek over de bosmarmot’ is vandaag en morgen 13 + 14 juli GRATIS als e-book te downloaden!

Geniet van deze kans om alles over de bosmarmot te weten te komen. En als je er van genoten hebt, laat dan een woordje achter. Veel lees- en kijkgenot!

Het Grote Weetjesboek over de bosmarmot
Alles wat je altijd hebt willen vragen over de bosmarmot.

Klik hier om het e-book te downloaden!

An Interview with Lieve Snellings, Our Top Voted Children’s Author 2017 Hannah Jenkins

Tell us something unexpected about yourself!

To answer this question I regret I don’t have a sound tool here to let you hear my witches laugh. In fact that laugh is very empowering when we do it together with more people. It is as getting all the strength deep down into yourself, finding a way to come out. I love my witches laugh because it is fun and because it makes me feel strong. My dream is to end every meeting: if it is a book conference, a peace action or a book reading for children, with a group’s witches laugh. Believe me, everyone would leave that place with tons of good energy.

How did you get into writing?

Well this is a special story. I think most (if not almost all) writers start their books with idea’s, fantasies which they turn into words and afterwards look for illustrations. For me it was the contrary.

I was a documental, social photographer. But once I visited Quebec where I live since 2008 about five months a year, my focus and passion came from nature photography. Nature is so beautiful in Quebec. In Belgium I was/am always busy, but when I am in Quebec, it seems I can take all the time in the world to observe and photograph. Watching all these little (and a bit bigger) creatures that visit our backyard and in parks is so relaxing, feed for imagination, fun and apparently I have a lot of patience for this nature observation.

So it wasn’t a surprise that after a while my photo library was growing and became really huge. And many people told me ‘you have to do something with these photos, you have to publish them.’ Yes I wanted to do that too, but how? The idea was planted as a seed in my mind. Regular it aroused, especially with the squirrels, chipmunks and groundhogs that visited us.

After spending some days with my godchild’s daughters in Belgium, I flew back to Quebec and suddenly it became clear to me. I can make a children’s book with these girls as main characters together with Eufrazie the squirrel. But sitting again in our backyard, I saw Margot the groundhog waking up after her hibernation. At some way she made it all clear, ‘not Eufrazie, it’s about me, Margot, that you have to tell your story. And so, probably totally different than any other writer, my books didn’t start with words. It started with my photos. The books were born page per page, image by image and with the photos came the story.

What are your top 3 books of all time?

– ‘Het meisje met het rode haar’ -The girl with the red hear- by Theun de Vries (1956). I don’t know if this book is translated into English. The story of the book is based on the life of Hannie Schaft. She was member of the armed resistance during WO II. There were not many women in the armed resistance and the book tells the story of how Hannie Schaft and her female comrade took care not to kill innocent people. They have killed some SS chiefs and I had somehow the idea (for however this could be possible) they killed out of love, to protect. But then at a certain moment Hannie Schaft’s lover was killed and as a reader I could feel this was a big shift, a break in her motivation and action. Hannie Schaft continued to do the same thing as she did before her partner died, but it wasn’t anymore out of love. What this book made so visible for me was that the line of using violence to get your goal is so very thin. When you do this for a start, where is the shifting point. It definitely was an important book that convinced me in my support of non violence.

– ‘Possessing the Secret of Joy’ by Alice Walker. It was a difficult choice which book of her to choose. In any case I can say that Alice Walker’s books have played an enormous role in my personal development. I don’t remember in which story she wrote it, but after reading I never forgot. It might that it are not the exact words, but it was about “A theory is fixed and the points are clear, while a fiction story goes on, it is always moving”.
How I would love that more ‘ideological’ people or organizations, could become more open and moving as a novel.

– ‘From where we stand – war, women’s activism & feminist analysis’ by Cynthia Cockburn. This is an enlightening book that shows global perspectives on women’s politics and activism for peace. Analysis build on ‘from where you stand’. And I think this is an important basic attitude, always to look ‘from where we stand’, I think this could help communicating in the world.

How long did it take you to write this book?

Well this took me quite some time, in fact I started my first book about 4 years ago. The book was born after many trials and errors, step by step. Fortunately I had good proofreaders who did not spare me their criticism. The original story was confusing. It was a 10 year old girl who gave me her thoughts “There are two parts in the book, one part is the story with the girls, which is interesting for children a bit younger then me. And then there is that other part, with all those fact on the groundhog, well this part certainly will also interest my sister who is 12.” And this I could understand well and after more than a year, I unraveled it in two different books.

The books are originally written in Dutch.
The English translation of ‘Margot gets an unexpected visit – the fanciful adventures of a groundhog’ was published in 2016.
The English translation of ‘Groundhog Secrets, everything you always wanted to know about woodchucks’ was published on June 1, 2017.

Have you got any writing rituals?

Yes, I started this book on an extraordinary way. As a photographer, I started selecting the photos I thought/felt I could use. Then sitting in the backyard with a cup of coffee and watching the pictures and the fauna around me, the story came image by image. That’s how Margot came up and claimed her role as leading character.

Outside I wrote a first draft of five to seven photos, depending on the story line. Then I went inside to my computer and worked in photoshop on the image pages. The other day, I went outside again with my coffee, and the ritual repeated itself.

I’m sure that being outside and a cup of coffee will be in the ritual for the next book. How the photos and the words will come in, that I am not sure, we’ll see.

How important is marketing and social media for you?

Yes marketing and social media is very important. Once my book is published, of course I want as many children and adults as possible to see and read it. But as a Self Publisher, you have to do all the marketing for your book yourself. If you don’t promote, well people just will not know that it exists.

But I came from far, didn’t know anything about marketing. So I started to read whatever I could find online, followed webinars and workshops on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and marketing. First in my mother tongue Dutch. Then in English. I learned a lot, but there is still so much that I still need to learn.

You have to be active on so many different places that sometimes I just wanted to quit. In the meantime I learned that different authors regularly are dealing with this feeling. It’s important to find ways to take a break and keep going on.
I am so glad to be part of the BookGoSocial Children’s Author Group. To hear others recognize this sentiment but went on anyway too.

Do you read your book reviews?

Yes, I love to read them. Of course I hope to see positive notes. But I try to learn, to pick up these elements in the comments that help me forward, to improve.

What advice would you have for other writers?

I consider myself still as new in the writer’s world. But the advice I want to give is don’t give up! Use difficulties and critics to get better, keep going!

What are you reading now?

Lately I read a lot of children’s books in English. Now I want to read ‘Kom hier dat ik u kus’ by my favorite Belgian writer Griet Op De Beeck. I hope her books will be translated into English and you’ll be able to read her too because she is such a talented author, with such meaningful stories. When I read her, sometimes I put the book aside and hear myself say loud ‘this is so beautiful said’.

What’s your next step?

I dream to start a new book. Of course photos will stay very important in it. I only haven’t decided yet what it will be about. There are those ideas for another story on Margot the groundhog. Will she not be too lonely when she goes into hibernation…

But there also is this project on trees ‘Zij Zeggen Zoveel’ (They Say So Much) that pops up again and urge for my attention. It would be a book about the Spirit, Desire and Trouble, the Beauty and Harshness of Life…


Follow Lieve on Twitter @SnellingsLieve

link to interview:  http://booksgosocial.com/2017/07/04/an-interview-with-lieve-snellings-our-top-voted-childrens-author-2017/?ct=t(Thanks_for_voting_Groundhog_Secrets_to_t7_4_2017)&mc_cid=38b7abeb00&mc_eid=7cda230de4

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