How did the idea for the book come about?

The idea for Blue came about one evening, sitting with dear friends on their patio in Palm Springs, California and reminiscing over our childhood years. My best friend of over 40 years shared that when she was a little girl, she would go outdoors after a storm and collect night crawlers for one dollar a pail. I found this so amazing, that it stayed in my mind and ultimately, became the theme in my book.

You usually write children’s picture books, so why did you decide to write a chapter book for BLUE-Night Crawlers?

Originally, it started as a children’s picture book. However, my details required using an abundance of rich language, along with having several ongoing conflicts within the story. I had no choice but to convert it into a chapter book. By doing so, the paper was endless, and the story had no limits.

At what point during the book project did you want to paint the book jackets yourself? Is this a first for you as the author, to design the art for the book?

I have always loved art. In elementary school, I wanted to become an art teacher. I used the name of my favorite art teacher in middle school, and brought him into my story. For the horse, Blue, I continuously researched horses at art museums, rodeos, even parades, taking as many photos as possible and returning home to draw the frame and physique of the horses. Several art pieces captivated me, and I thought by designing one and making it my own, I would be able to complete the cover art for BLUE-Night Crawlers. It took about 10 days to draw it out on canvas; 10 days to paint it with gouache paints. In the end, it turned out vibrant and I am pleased. It fits this historical fiction story.

Where did you come up with the fury of Mather Nature’s wrath in your historical fiction? Were any of these conflicts in the story experiences of your own?

Yes, a few of them I have lived through, like what happens in the story. I live in Florida, so we have hurricanes. Yes, I have endured a tornado, too. It ripped a path through the backyard, and carried the corrugated roof of the storage shed to the next property, five acres away. So, this part indeed, is replicated in my book. Regarding the “sludgy sinkhole,” this was actually “quicksand” in my life, when my middle sister sunk down into its depths and I had to run and get my father for help. He brought ropes and slid down the sloped bank and rescued my sister. So yes, this is a personal experience for my younger days.

What book project(s) are you currently working on? Are you writing any new books?

Currently, Illustrator, Matt Lumsden and I are finalizing our children’s picture book, JOSIE on Shadowridge Drive. It is the story of a young girl who visits her beloved Wheaton Terrier dog, Josie, on the west coast every summer for a month. Upon Lilly’s arrival to California, it seems that their time is endless. However, as the days slip away, and the end of the month nears, both have to face the separation of their loving hearts, until they meet again.

It’s a delightful story about the love between a girl and a dog. Josie on Shadowridge Drive is scheduled for release in the Spring of 2018.

Presently, Mr. Lumsden and I are already discussing our next project together, “Corky’s Travels,” which would be my first cat book. As we head into another book contract together, I continue to write while the illustrations are being designed and developed. I am working on a spider story, and I plan to write on another bird book, as well.

Where can the public contact you?

I can be reached from my website: dburgg.com, “Contact the Author” link. Additionally, my FACEBOOK page is: Deborah Burggraaf Books, and Instagram: Books4u2. My Publisher is Mr. Steve White, PROTECTIVE HANDS COMMUNICATIONS, Riviera Beach, Florida.

 

How did this story come about?
At the Pig Races began first, with my attraction to pigs. I had always been attracted to pigs--especially when I looked into their eyes, they looked as if they were human eyes. When younger, I had wanted a pig for a pet, but could only enjoy the pigs at the state fair.
When I moved to Florida in 2004, I went to my first pig race at our local fair.I was absolutely captivated and couldn't wait for the next race!

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Where did the idea for this children’s book come from?

This story came from sitting outdoors in the beautiful, warm sunny days here in Florida, and watching these pairs of “bugs” fly so delicately around in  late April and September afternoons.  They captivated me with their soft, airy flight, while attached to each other.  Next, I decided to learn more about them and researched their life cycle.  As I learned, they are actually, “black flies” that swarm the southern-belt states annually; in our case here in Florida, twice a year.

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How did the story for THE NOODLE CLUB come about?
The idea for THE NOODLE CLUB came about when I was visiting my mother in Lake Worth, Florida at her condominium. I really enjoyed going to over to the Olympic size pool where all of the “locals” would gather each day. I watched to see that each of them carried their colorful, Styrofoam noodles into the glistening, blue waters and chat their afternoons away. I thought that this would make a delightful story, for children and adults, alike, and this was the beginning “idea” for THE NOODLE CLUB.

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Where did this ‘dog birthday party theme’ in your story originate from?

I heard about a neighborhood birthday party for dogs in the Acreage (West Palm Beach) while teaching middle school.  I thought it would make a delightful tale for children.  Moreover, I wanted to make it also meaningful, so I brought the theme of “being adopted” into this book for children.Moo-moo is the adopted Bichon-Frise, who at first, does not show up to the soiree.  However, the entire doggie party, adorned with their birthday caps, prance down Key Lime Street to bring her back to the backyard celebration.In the end, Sasha, the main character in the story (Chihuahua) and Moo-moo become close friends and sleep under the, “sweet, summer eve” stars together.

Do you, as the author, have a “special” dog in this story?  

 Yes, Monsoon, the Min-Pin, was my first dog here in Loxahatchee, Florida. She sat by my feet in the dining room while I wrote my first book, CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE.  She was a fighter and a defender, and not the friendliest dog you would want to greet you when there was a knock on the front door.  However, I learned to love her so and placed her in this book for children.  Of course, I made her a "champion.”

 What upcoming books are set to be released soon?

Following SASHA’S BIRTHDAY PARTY, our next book is, THE LOVEBUG CONNECTION.  This book is scheduled for release in December 2015.  It is about those bothersome black “flies” that many people in south Florida do not welcome annually.  They pair up and soar in flight hooked together as one; so delicately they take flight with two swarms each year. While researching these ‘pesty, black flies,' I realized that they sometimes deposit acid on the bumpers of cars and dirty our windows.  However, they do, in fact, deposit needed nutrients into our soils, thus enhancing our beautiful, green fauna along our southern states.

What are you currently writing?

Currently, I am writing a seahorse story.  I am amazed with these tender fish who float, not to mention that it is the male who has the babies!  There is a large market for seahorses for medicinal purposes.  Many seahorses are nearing extinction here in the states, as well as globally. I would like to also bring this information into the story.

 

What was your inspiration for writing Cooka?
Originally, COOKA, THE BIRD WITHOUT WINGS, began as THE THREE MUSKETEERS several years ago. I had rescued three birds from their nest in the backyard lawn. I brought them in and nursed them with eyedroppers, baby food, and cream of rice cereal. The day finally came when I had to set them free. I will always remember this day. As time went on, I had moved to Florida and had not written the story.

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Where did you get the idea to write about a butterfly?

Flutternutter came about by simply observing the beautiful Zebra Longwing butterfly here in south Florida.She absolutely captivated me; I wanted to know more about this beautiful black and yellow striped dancer across our dynamic sky.

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How did the story about RESILIENT RED come about and what is the theme of this story for children?
RESILIENT RED came about during a week we had off from school in West Palm Beach due to Tropical Storm Isaac. I had never seen so much rain fall at once--pounding our Earth; relentless in power, as the water just kept growing and growing covering our lawn and cars. Ultimately, it reached the pad of our home just outside of the sliding glass doors.

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Where did you get the idea for the story, Hot Wheels for Benny?
This story about working hard and saving your money came from Benny Bolek. Early one Saturday morning, Benny shared that when he was a youngster, his father told him that if he wanted a new bike, he would have to earn it. Benny began to do odd jobs for his neighborhood and learned that hard work really does pay off.

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Did you always like writing?
Yes, I have always loved to write. My teachers in elementary school has us write often. One teacher in grade four, Miss Faust, focused on writing as well as memorizing poetry. I remember memorizing, "The Road not Taken", by Frost. We also copied many poems into our poetry books.

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Where did the story for CROW NO MORE come from?
This inspirational journey of friendship came about as I had experienced many losses over the years. Additionally, I had often listened to the children who have also experienced losses, either a family member, a beloved pet, or even a dear friend of the family. I took those losses, and wrote about one specific loss--the loss of a best friend, Paul, the fisherman in CROW NO MORE.

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Is there really a 'Boonie" dog?
First, I now have a Black and Tan Coonhound Dog and his name really is, Boonie! Actually, Boonie was a rescued, hurricane dog that I found out in the Acreage area in Florida. He was roaming around in the heavy rains and high winds of Hurricane Frances. I hopped into the car and drove across the vacant lot. With flashlights and dog biscuits in hand, I attempted to rescue him and coax him into the car.

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