Today’s Spotlight is author/illustrator Caroline Ward. I met Ms. Ward while she was doing a book signing near Yorktown beach.
Her books are available on Amazon:
- The Adventures of Little Bit: Little Bit Goes To England.
- The Adventures of Little Bit: Little Bit Goes To France.
Follow Little Bit’s adventures on Facebook.
- Tell us a little about your journey of becoming an author and illustrator.
I’ve always been an avid reader. When I have free time, you can usually find me curled up with a good book in a chair. Reading led to a love of writing. I am an artist and minored in Painting in college, so I looked forward to illustrating a book for the first time.
- How did you develop your skills as both an author and illustrator?
When figuring out how to begin writing and illustrating The Adventures of Little Bit: Little Bit Goes to England, I decided to start by sketching in a notebook. It was a simple process but really helped. I would draw a 2” x 2” square with a quick sketch of what I imagined for that book page. I’ve traveled to the places I write about, so I usually have an idea of what I want to write. If I need help, I ask friends and family for inspiration. They like to travel, too, and can help me brainstorm.
- What are the pros and cons of illustrating your own stories?
One pro is the freedom to illustrate what I picture in my mind. I can put paint to paper and really achieve what I want the book to look like when it’s finished. Another pro is being able to do something I love — painting! A big con is the amount of time it takes to illustrate. I work a full-time job, so when I am able, I try to work on the next Little Bit book. Unfortunately, there is not enough time in the day to make every deadline I give myself at the start of a Little Bit book production.
- Who is Little Bit?
He is the adorable, seven-pound Morkie dog that makes friends with everyone he meets. He is actually very well known in the downtown Williamsburg, Virginia area!
- What inspired you to write stories about Little Bit?
Inspiration came in the form of a lovely neighbor and her adorable dog. When my family and I moved to Williamsburg, Virginia we had the great fortune of growing close with our neighbor, Louise. About a year or so after we moved in, Louise received a wonderful birthday gift—a Morkie puppy! She named him Little Bit. As you can imagine, everyone fell in love with Little Bit. For Louise’s birthday two years ago, I wanted to make something unique and special for her. Louise and I share a love for world travel and a love of dogs, so I decided to write and illustrate a book about her dog, Little Bit, traveling to her favorite destination: England.
- Where else is Little Bit going to travel in the future?
So far, Little Bit has traveled to England and France. I hinted at a trip to Italy at the end of The Adventures of Little Bit: Little Bit Goes to France. Residents of Virginia have asked about Little Bit doing a tour of Virginia, traveling around the Historic Triangle. Many Yorktown residents have mentioned how much they would love a “Little Bit Goes to Yorktown” book, especially since my book signings happen at the Gallery at York Hall in Yorktown, Virginia.
- Who else will Little Bit possibly meet in the future?
Little Bit has met the Queen of England, a British bobby (police officer), European dogs and more! I hope to explore the idea of Little Bit meeting the Pope in Italy. I have a feeling the Pope would like Little Bit!
- Do you have any plans on branching off Little Bit for a series on a different character?
I’ve considered writing a spin-off series starring my own dog, Harry. He is best friends with Little Bit and was even featured in The Adventures of Little Bit: Little Bit Goes to France.
- What kinds of events and book signings can we expect to see you in this coming year?
I hope to have more book signings later in the year. My first three book signings happened last fall at the Gallery at York Hall. The gallery showcases local artists and features wonderful gifts for family and friends.
- Do you have any advice for authors who self-publish?
My advice would be to take your time. There is a great excitement to publish and to publish as soon as you can, but because you are self-publishing you have to make sure to edit your work. It is a tedious process, but very important. You are your own writer, illustrator, editor, and publisher. During my last book, I was on the final step of publishing — I had ordered a proof of my book and needed to review it one final time. I was just about to officially publish the book through Amazon when I noticed a very small spelling error in the proof. I was disappointed since I hoped to have the book published by a certain date, but that was not going to happen since I had to edit the error, order another proof and review it again. The lesson: review, review some more, and then review again.
- Tell us something fun about yourself!
My favorite dog breed is the Basset Hound. They are just so loveable and tired-looking. I have a special place in my heart for terriers though!