Today we start this new series ‘Meet Your Next Favorite Author’ by
introducing you Ellen L. Buikema, the author of these amazing children’s books about Charlie Chameleon and his friend Frankie the fish, which I enjoyed so much.
After hearing the name Ellen Buikema, many in the Low Countries (Netherlands and Flemish part of Belgium) will think, she must have relatives in the Netherlands. And yes she has, and that makes her, my perfect candidate, to be my first interview guest at FotoBoek Lieve Snellings.
- Can you introduce yourself, what’s your name, where are you from… ?
My name is Ellen Lucey Buikema. I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and raised in Forest Park, Illinois, a village west of Chicago. I’ve lived and taught in several states in the USA.
- Tell us something unexpected about yourself!
I’m sensitive to a lot of medications. Because of this I make my own medicinal teas. Growing up, my children thought that all mommies did the same.
- Give 2 things about yourself that you think matter the most?
Sense of humor and patience. I have a wicked sense of humor, which helps immensely with writing and life in general. Having children has made me a better and more patient person.
- IDENTITY CARD
- Do you remember the first book you read?
The first book I can remember reading by myself was Dick and Jane. The books I enjoyed the most as a child were The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.
- What makes you laugh?
Good stand-up comedy makes me laugh, as do comedic movies and sitcoms.
- In which genre do you write?
I write in multiple genres: children’s fiction, YA historical fiction, and non-fiction for adults.
- What makes your book special, how is it different from other books in your genre?
I include humor in my writing, no matter the genre. The Adventures of Charlie Chameleon series is different from other chapter books as it has fun activities at the end of chapters, and has life lessons woven into the humorous stories.
- How do you feel when you write, do you have a special ritual?
I usually write at our dining room table on my laptop computer. A plush toy dragon, Nom Nom, as in nom nom I just ate another fairy, graces the table while I work. I have learned never to write after watching the news! I do not listen to music while writing, although I know many authors that find it helpful to write to music. I prefer drawing and painting to music. Frequently, our black lab, Bailey, will hang out near me while I write.
- What inspired you to write your first book?
I started writing the Charlie Chameleon stories first, but set them aside to complete the parenting book. I saw a great need in the parenting area, specifically how to understand why children do the things they do. It is my belief that if you understand someone, you will be more patient with him or her.
- How did you come up with the title?
Parenting truly is a work in progress.
- If you could be any famous book character, who would you be and why?
I would be Laura in the book Lightning, as she is brave in the face of many obstacles and finds success as a writer.
- Is there a message in your book that you hope the readers will grasp?
Have faith in yourself and keep moving forward.
- What are your top 3 books of all time?
Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins, The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher (I have been known to binge read these), Lightning by Dean Koontz, and if I may, a fourth book: Bell Canto by Ann Patchett.
- How important is marketing and social media for you?
Marketing and social media are incredibly important for me. I market myself and my work most days. Through social media I have met a plethora of interesting people and am happy to help others in their writing journey as I am able.
- Is it important for you to get book reviews? Do you read them?
Without reviews it is very difficult for customers to make an informed decision about a book. I read book reviews and write reviews for the books I’ve read, as I know how important reviews are for the authors.
- What advice do you have for other writers?
Please join critique groups, use beta readers, and get help with editing. Do not worry about making mistakes, especially in the first drafts. Like I’ve told grade school children during author visits, “Every author of the books in the library made mistakes when they were writing. It is okay to make mistakes, everyone makes them.”
- Can you give your book information: blurb, link, genre (for children’s book, please tell for what age)
Books The Adventures of Charlie Chameleon series (for ages 5 – 9, younger if read to)
Hook: In the series, Charlie the Chameleon and his obnoxious pet fish, Frankie, navigate friendship challenges, cultural differences and the results of their choices. They have many adventures and zany fun while learning how to be respectful and appreciative of their friends and community.
Blurb for New Beginnings: Moving and making new friends is tough! When Charlie Chameleon and his family start their adventures in New Town, Charlie discovers he is braver than he knows. With his bossy pet fish Frankie by his side, he faces many challenges, including standing up to the neighborhood bully.
Asin (Amazon): B01DAX7EBQ
Blurb for School Days: In this second in a series of humorous multicultural books, Charlie Chameleon and his friends are having trouble with Boris Bunny, the class bully. Charlie thinks Boris is putting on an act, but his friends disagree. Follow Charlie’s adventures as he helps Boris learn how to be a friend. Fans of the Arthur the Aardvark series will enjoy the antics of the characters in The Adventures of Charlie Chameleon: School Days. Even bullies can be bullied—who knew!
Blurb for Summertime: Follow the wacky summertime adventures of the Chameleon family and their obnoxious pet fish, as they get lost trying to find an out-of-the way vacation spot. Who needs a map, right?
The family returns home in time for a big soccer event that Charlie and his school friends plan to attend. He hopes his new friends will accept Tamika, his best friend from his old neighborhood, never expecting what actually happens.
Social Media links:
Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/ecellenb
Twitter page: https://twitter.com/ecellenb
- QUICK POP-QUIZ. (You can choose one or both, and please feel free to add a very brief comment)
Snow or Sun: Sun! I spent way too much time shoveling snow.
Soccer or (ice) hockey: Both are fun to watch.
Dogs or cats: I love both.
Ice-cream or fruit: I am a fan of both, but prefer ice cream. I have a weakness for mint chocolate chip.
Fact or fiction: Fiction. Making up stuff is fun!
Music or silence: Music at all times except when writing, then silence or nature sounds.
Sport or reading: Reading! I can dance though. Can we call that a sport?
Sea or mountains: Sea. I find watching the ocean calming and invigorating at the same time.
Groundhogs or squirrels: They are both adorable.
Books or movies: Both, but I prefer to read the book before attending the movie if possible.
E-book or print: E-book for day, print for evening.
- Is there anything more you want to tell your readers?
It is my hope that readers of all ages will find something to enjoy. The Adventures of Charlie Chameleon stories were written to amuse adults as well as children. There are lessons to be learned in the books, but they are subtle.
Thank you so much Ellen!