This week I interview author Beth Ann Scullin-Oliphant about her children’s picture book Briton’s Beach Adventures Dolphins Surprise. This is her first book.

Who or what inspired you to write your book?

My oldest son, for whom the book is named, was my inspiration. We visit the shore often every summer. I spent my summers there as a kid, and my parents live there so we are very fortunate. Briton has also had an eagerness to learn, explore and discover which led to this story and the ones to follow.

What challenges did you face when writing it?

Well, writing a children’s book isn’t as easy as it may seem. I’ve heard before that “anyone can write a children’s book.” So why doesn’t everyone write one? There’s almost a science to it. You have to think about rhythm, colors, and so on. What’s the age of your audience? Are you going to capture their attention? I had to do many edits to get a rhythm and flow. Communicating my vision to an illustrator was challenging as well because I’m not an artist.

How did you handle the creative process with your illustrator?

I drew a dummy book to give her an idea of what was in my head and tried my best to communicate my vision with her throughout the process. We had challenging times, but it all worked out. Now we know how to work together better for the next book.

How are you going to spread the word about your book and the eventual book series?

Word of mouth is the best form of advertising, so hopefully my friends and family tell their friends and family, and so on. I also have Facebook and Instagram @britonsbeachadventures and Twitter @BAScuOli. I sent out press releases to pretty much every paper in DE and NJ, and my alumni associations (EHTHS, IUP, DPhiE, WU). As soon as the book launched on Amazon I started to schedule readings and signings in my local area.

This is the first book of a series. Can you give us a sneak peek about what is next for Briton?

On his next adventure, Briton goes hunting for ghost crabs! These mysterious crabs only come out at night.  His little sister Amelia may join him. What will they discover?

How do your kids feel about their mom becoming an author?

Oh my goodness. They make my heart smile by their excitement, especially Briton. He’s eight years old now so he understands it all. He’s so proud of me. He’s been handing out my business cards at school to his teachers and librarian. They will all get their own copy.

Are your other children hoping you’ll write a book about them?

Amelia was excited to see “her bunny” in this first book. Since she wasn’t drawn in the book, she said she already woke up and made her bed. So cute. I feel like I have to include them in the books to come. I have some separate ideas for Judah; we’ll have to see what unfolds.

What suggestions would you give to a picture book author?

Write, edit, rewrite. Let others read it and take their criticism, suggestions. Have a tough skin. Your work is your baby, but it may not be perfect for print. Listen.  Take advice. Have fun and treasure the process because when you FINALLY hold your published work in your hands, the feeling is amazing!

Beth Ann Scullin-Oliphant is a working mom of three. She has been writing since childhood and has always wanted to be a published author. Although she has had news articles in print as well as advertisements, her ultimate goal was to publish a book. Little did she know it would be a children’s book until her oldest son inspired her stories. Accomplishing this dream took years of writing during her husband’s various deployments and between her children’s naps and evening sleeps.  Briton’s Beach Adventures Dolphins Surprise can be purchased on Amazon.

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