Author Dr. Robert F. DeFinis – I think the feeling of “stuck” comes because you haven’t developed a good plan as well.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania based Dr. Robert F. DeFinis, educator and coach, has come up with a topical book for kids titled, How to Defeat the Icky, Filthy, Creepy, Slimy CORONA MONSTER!
This book is intended to be a fun and engaging tool to assist children and adults with exploring a difficult topic. Adults may be struggling with how to approach the COVID-19 pandemic with children. “How to Defeat the Icky, Filthy, Creepy, Slimy CORONA MONSTER!” creates an opportunity to teach children that sometimes we need to tackle scary things with a plan and determination.
Written primarily for toddlers and preschoolers, the book can be used to teach healthy habits, promote resilient behavior, and introduce contemporary topics for discussion. Over to the author to know more about him and the recent book he has self-published.
How long did it take to get your first novel / book published?
This is my first book. I had been working on two others, but this came about because of the topic and nature of the situation we are all facing with COVID-19. There really wasn’t much time to shop or pitch it. I felt also it was in a good position to self-publish, and allow it to get to readers a bit quicker.
The idea and concept came to me right away. I love reading to my children, and I started to discuss with them the importance of washing their hands or the “Corona Monster” would come and get them. They thought it was funny, so then I started to storyboard it.
What mistakes did you make with the publishing of your first book which you try not to repeat?
There is never enough time to get things exactly the way you want it. This project came fast, so the next one will hopefully have more time embedded to do a true launch and ensure it is promoted correctly. I also would have taken more time with the illustration and drafts. I can now go back and see some small details that were overlooked.
Can you focus on working on two books or stories at the same time?
I actually have two stories that I’m currently working on. They were in the pipeline before this project. I’m fine with bouncing back and forth. I don’t think I would do more than two, but can’t say for sure. If an idea or something fresh comes along, just like the current book, I may have to juggle the work. I write children’s books that have a contemporary theme, so if a topic in the mainstream comes up and I feel it is important for children to discuss or think about, I will tackle the topic.
Is there a modus operandi you follow and formulate before you actually start writing your next book?
I use a simple writing method for everything. Brainstorm, research, plan, write, cool off, revise, edit, and peer review. It has worked well for me over the years.
Does the writer’s block actually exist? Any tips you would give to come out of it.
I don’t personally believe in it. My thought is that you haven’t really engaged in a good writing process like I mentioned, if you start to feel lost or unable to progress. I think the feeling of “stuck” comes because you haven’t developed a good plan as well. I never start writing until I have brainstormed and have a detailed outline to work. I also recognize that every writer is different.
What was the book that most influenced your life, and why? Who is your favorite author?
Shel Silverstein’s, “Where the Sidewalk Ends.” I had difficulty reading in elementary school, but it changed once I got my hands on this book. The words just came naturally to me when I read this. I loved his doodles and drawings as well. I can still recite most of that book still today! And of course he is my favorite author. He was so gifted and creative. Wrote books and songs.