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I have Michele Spry doing an interview with me! Last time I mentioned her on here was when I did a review of her book, Tom T’s Hat Rack.
Michelle was very excited about doing this interview and has even offered to giveaway her book to five different winners. Each book with be hardcover and sent to you directly after the winners have been drawn.
So without any further ado…
Interview with Michele Spry:
What are some neat things we should know about you?
I attended Midway Heights Elementary School in Columbia, MO and I am also a Partner in Education at this school. I used this school for the setting of “Tom T’s Hat Rack” including the teachers whom I changed their names. This school was instrumental in my life and I thought it would be awesome to include it in my book.
I married my high school sweetheart and we started dating at age 16. This September we will be married 16 years and together 21 years total. We started our own business in 2001 and he is a great supporter of things I want to do in life. We don’t have any children and we love to travel!
I made a goal to complete one 5k this year then after completing the first one I have made my new goal to complete 13 5k’s in 2013. I started this in April 2013 and have completed 9 of the 13. What an amazing accomplishment it is to cross that finish line no matter where you are in the race!
I love old barns and windmills!
What is your book about?
Tom T’s Hat Rack is a story about a 4th, almost 5th grader Shelby Summers and Mr. T, a neighbor that lives 4 houses away. Shelby’s mom and dad and Mrs. T are very active throughout the book but after Mr. T was sick with cancer he wanted to do something to give back to his community and Shelby would be the perfect person to help him! They begin a project during summer break and although Mr. T doesn’t tell Shelby what they are making but instead explains everything they are doing along the way. Shelby writes an essay about something she did over the summer that changed her life for the better and something that she will never forget. Mr. T and Shelby love their community and “Pay It Forward” to benefit others.
(This book touches very very lightly on cancer)
Do you recall how your interest in writing your book started?
For the past 5-7 years I have wanted to write and publish a children’s book. It wasn’t until a good friend of mine, Tom Trabue, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in May 2012 that I knew what I wanted to write about. I knew I couldn’t physically help him fight his cancer but I could be a great cheerleader and supporter to help him keep a positive attitude. I didn’t want to focus on cancer but rather what we can do to help others that go through treatments like this. I live my life by “Paying It Forward” and want to encourage others to do the same.
When you started writing the Tom T’s Hat Rack, did you know you wanted it to be published, or was it suggested?
I knew I would have to self-publish my book in order for my dream to be a reality. I didn’t have the first clue about presenting my book to a publishing company and didn’t want the momentum to slow down therefore it was easiest for me to self-publish my work.
What were the challenges in bringing your books to life?
My husband and I went to Montrose, Colorado to visit friends from August 28-September 2, 2012. During this visit I knew I would be away from our business and be able to have some “down time” to write. Our friends had a small child that went to bed early and woke up later so each morning I would wake up around 7:00 am and write for about 30 minutes. In the evening we would go back to our hotel room around 8:00 pm and I would write for 2-2 ½ hours. It was really nice being able to pull myself away with a clear head and start getting this story out of my head. Once I began writing it never turned off.
I didn’t do any research as this is how I lived my life. I put a lot of thought into the characters and especially Shelby. I wanted her to stand out a little yet still be somewhat realistic. Mr. T is based a lot on my good friend, Tom Trabue but not 100% the same.
While you were writing, did you ever imagine yourself as the character?
I used some of the qualities I have in Shelby’s character but then I tried to think about what would make her a little different. I really wanted this character to be a realistic person that others could think about in a positive way and I wanted her to be different than your typical blonde hair blue eyed girl so Shelby is a red headed little girl with curly hair. I have one sister and Shelby’s character has no siblings.
What was the hardest part writing your books?
The hardest part of writing this book was where to stop! The story just started flowing as I was writing and you wanted a nice book that didn’t drag on or become boring to the reader.
Do you have a favorite character?
I love all the characters and to pick a favorite is really hard. If I had to pick just one it would be Shelby. Her caring spirit and willingness to help others is amazing and something we can all learn from.
What was the reason behind making the book about Paying It Forward?
I decided to make this book about paying it forward because it takes it back to basics. With all of the amazing books that are out there I thought it would be great to teach others about what it means to pay it forward. It’s something we have all heard a lot about over the past couple of years and yet it’s something we really don’t know that much about. Giving the readers and idea of what someone can do in a positive way that benefit others in a community was something I am passionate about.
How did you come up with your book’s titles?
Prior to getting the idea to write the book Tom Trabue (aka Mr. T) and I had several conversations about coming up with an idea to benefit our own community. One of the ideas was “Tom’s Hat Rack” and after writing the book I went with this idea except added in an extra letter making the title “Tom T’s Hat Rack”.
What are some things that you want your books do to your reader’s life?
I hope that this book inspires readers to “Pay It Forward” to others. It doesn’t have to cost money to do so but rather doing something kind for someone else and not expecting anything in return. There are blueprints to make the hat rack just like Shelby and Mr. T do in the book so that they can make one with their parents/grandparents/or another adult and donate it to a local charity. Maybe this book will inspire enough good behavior that we can stop some of the bullying…. That’s my hope!
Do you have anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Paying it forward doesn’t have to cost money. You can do nice things for others such as sending them a handmade card, picking up the phone to tell someone that they mean a lot to you or even smile! A smile can help not only make you happy but others that are around you happier. I encourage you to find something to do for someone else without expecting anything in return and try to make a goal of doing something to pay it forward once a week! You’ll see that this little gesture of kindness will make your days a little brighter!
If you take time to build a hat rack like Shelby and Mr. T did, please let me know! I would love to show others what you are doing!
Where can people “follow” you?
You must be a U.S citizen and 18 years or older to enter this giveaway.