When “Winston Winks” author Megan Cline and “Baby Squashy Face” author Becky Carlyle first met, they were just two mothers picking their children up from school. But not long after, a friendship developed and Cline and Carlyle soon came to realize that they had yet another unique connection in common; books.
“We started as acquaintances and now we really support each other through the challenges of book writing and promotion. There is so much to learn through this process. It is great to have a friend to talk to that understands first hand the experience,” Cline said.
Since that time, both Cline, of Minburn, and Carlyle, of Adel, have become published children's book authors. Cline submitted her manuscript to FriesenPress, a hybrid publisher. A hybrid publisher provides the same things as a traditional publisher, including an editor, illustrator, design team, but the author pays for the services.
Carlyle submitted her manuscript to Mascot Books, another hybrid publisher, who wanted to publish her book.
For Cline, writing a children's book was not only something influenced by her life experiences but also by interactions with her children.
“I have always loved books and reading. Everywhere I lived I could always find a library. I liked writing too,” Cline said. “I spent grades 5 through 7 in Booragoon Western Australian, hence the Australian wombat connection. I have a seven year old boy. He is fun and curious and full of questions. My stories come from our conversations.”
For Carlyle, on the other hand, writing transformed from a way to gain funding as part of her youth symphony job to a way to bond with her young daughter after facing a series of challenging circumstances.
“I started thinking about the previous year and months and how challenging they were. I wanted to do something special with just my daughter. I thought about writing a little paper book and having my daughter draw the illustrations. Enriching children educationally, creatively and artistically has always been a passion of mine. So, writing children's picture books is a great fit,” Carlyle said.
However, once making the decision to publish their books, as new authors learning the ins and outs of the publishing world can be rather tricky and an overwhelming experience at times. Both Cline and Carlyle noted that having someone to go through that publishing process with is an invaluable asset, whether it is helping with the marketing process of their books or helping balance the responsibilities of being both a mother and an author.
“We talk or text almost every day. We take care of each other so we can still be moms and do our other responsibilities. Megan is the only person in my network of friends that fully understands what it's like to publish a book. We are totally supportive of each other,” Carlyle said.
She also notes that writing is not only a great outlet for family bonding but also for helping get through those tough times of life.
“I learned that writing with your children is a wonderful bonding experience. There is always a lot of laughter and silliness,” Carlyle said, “I have always used creativity to help ground me and get through tough times. I learned that writing is yet another creative outlet that is therapeutic.”
Coming up, both Cline and Carlyle have written manuscripts in order to continue with their series. For Cline, this includes approximately three “Winston Wiggles” books. Carlyle, on the other hand, hopes to expand on diversity within her series along with bringing awareness to other medical conditions.
“'Baby Squashy Face' is supporting the A-T Children's Project. My cousin's three year old was diagnosed with this disease,” Carlyle said, “I'm planning that each book will support a different childhood medical condition or other childhood organization.”
When not writing Cline loves spending time with her family, volunteering, reading and gardening while Carlyle enjoys singing and photography.
Megan's book, “Winston Winks” is available online at FriesenPress Bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Google Play Bookstore. Her website is www.meganclinebooks.com and her Facebook page is Megan Cline Books.
Carlyle's book, “Baby Squashy Face” is available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million and Mascot Books. Locally, it is sold at Adel HealthMart, Adel Quilting and Dry Goods Co., Beaverdale Books in Des Moines and Deal's Orchard in Jefferson. Carlyle's website is www.beckycarlylebooks.com and she is on Facebook at Becky Carlyle Books.