Erin fell in love with Canada after working on a cruise ship and now lives in Calgary, Alberta.
She has written a kids book based on her daughters questions. Naturally, she named it Mommy, why?
One of her favorite bookstores is Owls Nest Books.
Stephen: Welcome to Discovered Wordsmith. Today I’ve got Aaron Royce. Aaron, how are you doing today?
Erin: I’m doing fantastic. Thank you for having me
Stephen: today. To start off, before we talk about your book, tell everybody a little bit about who you are, where you live, some of the things you like to do besides writing.
Erin: I live in Calgary, Alberta right now, so right in the mountains, which is beautiful. The mountains are the reason I moved here from Ontario and decided to do I did a stint on cruise ships to. S pay off school loans. I thought it was the best way to travel and not be in debt and to pay debt.
So while I did that, I fell in love with the mountains and one of my best friends I met was from here. She said, why don’t you move here? I said, why not? And so I did. And so I’ve been here ever since, probably 14. Years and met my husband and he will never move. So this is where we stay Nice. And,
We like to, we’d like to be outside.
We’re usually fairly active. There’s lots of snow here. So we skate to log. We go for walks, we bike. So whatever the weather is, we try to do something. That’s conducive to that. So we try to keep busy. And with kids you have to, you have no choice.
Stephen: So when you worked on the cruise ship, what did you do?
Erin: I was, I managed the fitness studio. So we had a, we created a week of fitness classes. So we would teach yoga and spinning and I would have little mini Olympics for people, so they’d get medals at the end and we’d go for walks in the. Places that we visited, pretty active. So it was a great job.
It was a lot of fun, and I kept
Stephen: teaching. Yeah, it’s a good, I worked on a cruise ship for a while. Did you? Oh, what did you do? I worked in the band I was one of the musicians. And it was a great job, not that I’d be able to, Yeah. Yeah. Not that I’d wanna be able to do right now. Family, kids, all that.
But at the time it was pretty wonderful.
Erin: It listen, they had a good schedule, so that was, that would’ve been a good one to have.
Stephen: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. The I tell the kids now, it’s every job I’ve had since really hasn’t equaled that because we got paid cash in international waters and the most we worked was Saturday and we worked less than four hours, every other day was about two.
Erin: I know, Hey, listen, we knew them members. We were for the crew staff technically, so we knew all the dancers and. Band members and we all hung out. We, I know you guys had a fantastic schedule. That was great.
Stephen: Yeah. Why did you decide to start writing this book, the latest book that you’ve written?
Erin: I, I used to, when I was younger, I used to, just jot notes and write down things quite a bit and started to write little poems and stories and, As life got busier and was working and then had to go to university. It just it went by the wayside. I almost forgot about it, but I read all the time and my daughter asks 1,001, she’s 11 now.
She could be 11 this month. But she was, when I was thinking to write the book, when she was two and three and four, it was nonstop. I couldn’t find a book. We would go to the library. I couldn’t find a book that would address what she was asking me in such a way that I was looking for, and I just, I sat down and I thought, gosh, I can’t find it, so I’m just gonna write it.
And then I, my next thought was, holy crap, I’m gonna write it. No, I thought, so I sat down and No kidding. I started to write and it felt like coming back home, it felt It was just one of those things that your whole, everything was just felt right. So she was, the reason why I wrote it, it’s based on questions.
Some of the questions she asked me and the answers I gave her, they’re a little different in the book because it’s the book, but essentially it’s the answers that I gave her and I, it was for her originally, and then I thought as I was writing it, this would be great just for. Any families to get together and to talk it.
It’s a, it was the way I, so tell
Stephen: us, tell us the name of the book and some of those questions in there.
Erin: The book is called Mommy y The big question mark. Some of the questions that she asked was, She’d look at her friends, ’cause everybody looked different. So she would say, why is my hair curly?
And her hair is straight. Why are my eyes brown? And this girl’s eyes are blue. Why are you taller than me? Why are your hands bigger than mine? Why does, why is my smile crooked? So those are some of the questions in the book that she would ask and. And then I would have to answer in real life and then in the book as well.
So it, the questions had to do with how she looked, her size, who she was, things like that at three, four, and five, and six and
Stephen: five. So she sounds like a scientist. Oh,
Erin: she could be anything. Just she’s very specific, analytical detailed, wants to know everything and in the right order if possible.
Stephen: Got it. So you wrote this book for parents to read to their kids around the age of three, four.
Erin: Yeah. I would almost even say four to six. Really? That’s okay. Four to six years, even. Three. I know a lot of parents, we read a lot to our children at that age. 2, 3, 4, 5 and more questions come out, but even at five and six, kids are developing, I think and noticing the differences in themselves to other people more.
They’re just going to school and you’re seeing a lot of that. So it, the book really was a way for parents and children to connect and hopefully for kids to know it’s okay to ask questions. It was a way to, as kids listen to it and read it, that they know it’s okay to ask questions. It’s okay to be different, keep asking questions.
Keeping yourself, it, you’re unique and
Stephen: that’s what it was about. Got it. And the drawings pictures in it, did you do those? Oh, no, not at all.
Erin: I wish. No, they were the illustrator is Katie Carlson. She was 14 years old when she did them. They’re based, a lot of the pictures are based on photographs of.
My family and of Morgan herself at different ages. I could not find someone to illustrate that, just what I was looking for. And I thought of Katie, who’s a family friend. She’s an amazing artist. She plays music, she draws, she writes she does everything. And I asked her if she would do it. I asked her parents if they would be involved in it.
She did the first sketches in illustration, so the pictures in the book. I didn’t change. That’s the first thing she did. That’s what I wanted and what I liked. So she did that. I did the
Stephen: writing. Nice. And that’s cool that you’re using a young person to do that. I, that’s another project of mine is helping parents for, to help their kids discover things they can do in the world like that.
I think that’s pretty
Erin: great. Yeah. And that’s what I tried to do with Katie because I knew at the time she was thinking to go to university for Art. That was one of the things she wants to do, and she’s now 18 and now she’s been able to use Mommy y. And her illustrations as part of her portfolio for university.
And did she get in, did you ask? Yes, she did. So she’s,
Stephen: she’s really
Erin: nice. Great. Yeah. Yeah. So I was happy
Stephen: it could help her. Did you traditionally publish this or did you do it independently?
Erin: I did it independently. When I wrote it, I sent it out everywhere I could think of. And of course, either nothing comes back or.
No thank you and realize then you need, a publicist or you need someone, but before you do that, you need to have something published. So it was a very convoluted way to do it, and I just, I thought I typically do things myself, so I’m just gonna try to do this myself and get it done.
And that’s the way I went. So it’s self-published. Oh, a long way.
Stephen: Considering it’s a picture book, what challenges did you face that you had overcome to get it published?
Erin: So the challenge is when you self-publish there, you can just do it, but there’s a lot of steps that you have to follow to get it to fruition.
So that part of it was, I found out along the way. I don’t know if I had known it all before, it would’ve been. I’m not sure that it, I would’ve jumped in quite as quickly but I did
Stephen: got it. So what type of feedback are you getting from other parents who are reading this to their kids? Love it.
Erin: One of my friends, I sent a book to his niece, she’s in the States and they sent me some, I should put them on my Facebook.
She carries it around with her everywhere she goes, she’s four. So it goes in her backpack, it goes to daycare, it, or. They go to half school, her dad has to read it to her at night. So he sent me pictures of her with it in her hand in all these different places. So that was pretty cool. And before Covid, I, right before Covid, it came out and I read to a couple of schools and oh my gosh, like the kids were just hugging me and asking me questions and wanting a copy of the book.
And then some parents were there and they just seemed, they, it seems to resonate with the parents and with the children. They just seem to get it and understand what they’re reading. So it, that to me means
Stephen: everything. And where can you get the book? Where do you have it published that people can find it?
Erin: I have a website, aaron deroy.com, and there’s a Facebook tab there. I have an email too. Everything’s linked to that. And it’s on amazon.ca. Now as well. It’s fairly new on there. It might be a bit hard to find, but if anyone has questions, they can go to my Facebook page or email and ask,
Stephen: it’s been a while since you wrote this.
Do you have plans for another book?
Erin: Originally I had plans to write, let me why? And then, mommy, why not? And then, mommy, are you kidding me? So Morgan is now the age of mommy. Why not? So we’ll see. But I do have two other books. I’ve started to write more of a series that I’m just ticking away at this point, so I have it in my head.
It’s just putting it all down in paper and navigating it around work and family and dogs.
Stephen: Are those kids books also that you have in mind or are they more in adult novels or something like that?
Erin: Yeah, they’re more of a chapter book. So one of, one of them is the title I’m still playing around with, but one of them is about just a girl that goes into this other world, and there’s friends, she finds there and they have all these different adventures and.
The one that I wanna start just has to do with the rainbow and the rainbow’s lost and they have to find all the different colors and they’re found in different places, and then they can put it back together. That’s the premise of that. And then another one my family and I talked about, it’s based on stories we would tell each other when we were on vacation, and it’s about a captain.
It’s Captain Farts Burger and Captain Farts Burger has all these exhibit. Adventures on his ship and his crew have all these crazy names and look different. And so that one I’ve started too. But mommy y with the marketing and publishing and all that part of it takes, I’m still working on that. So the other stories that are just coming as I have time.
Stephen: Got it. And I take it the. The mommy? Are you kidding me? That’s for like maybe the older teen age.
Erin: Yeah. Yeah. So I was thinking so mommy wise, more like four to six, and then mommy, why not, honestly, is probably from six to 11 age right now. And then the third one would be tween. So 12 to 15. I’m just not sure how to put those kind of questions on paper in the right way.
Stephen: There. I’ve heard that line. I’ve heard that line from the kids instead of mommy. It’s more like Mother, are you kidding me? Yeah. That’s how I picture it. Yeah. So
Erin: it’s not a title I’ve come up with, it’s just what I hear. At the different ages.
Stephen: Right. The que the questions. And she’s not even a teen yet.
Erin: No, not yet. But the questions have changed. The content of the questions are different.
Stephen: Okay. Let me ask you this. Do you have any favorite books and authors that you like yourself?
Erin: I, that’s so hard because I have several on the go. Most of the time. I like everything. So horror is the one thing that I.
Don’t read a lot ’cause it simply scares the Jesus outta me. They’re usually written so well. Like I can’t sleep, but I will sometimes read them. So I’ve read, okay, yeah, I read fantasy and crime and romance and so whatever someone might recommend to me or that I see the library, I’ll just pick it up and.
So I have probably a thousand offers in my head. I like everything. Depends on my
Stephen: mood. Nice. There where you live, ’cause you’re a little ways north of me. Do you have a favorite bookstore in the area that you like?
Erin: Owls Nest Books is a community bookstore. It’s been around a long time. It’s in Calgary.
I live, I actually live just outside of Calgary. Probably 15 minutes, but Al’s Nest is a bookstore. That’s where I did my book launch as well. But they’ve been around for quite a long time. They do a lot for authors. They’re very community based, so it’s a. It’s a good one to go to. And if they don’t have what you want, then they can probably find it for
Nice. Okay. Obviously the library is always in the paper, right? I love the library. Always push the library. So before we go one last tough question for you. What would you tell somebody that may be listening to this about why they should get your book?
Erin: Oh, that is hard. Just it is to read Mommy. Why With Your Children is a quick, intimate.
Important time that you can take with your children that allows them to hear you, allows you to hear them, and allows you to talk to them about important things without making a big deal about it. It’s a way you can connect in a very short, quiet time, and I would urge parents to do that because we are so busy.
Take that eight minutes. And connect with them because it does, it will make a difference.
Stephen: Nice. Great. Aaron, I appreciate you taking some time to talk to me about the book. I love hearing about children’s books, especially when they’re inspired in this way. It sounds like a great book and I hope that you’ll actually sit down and write the other ones.
I’d love to see those.
Erin: Thank you very much for having me. I very much appreciate it. Anytime. I will let you know when the next ones
Stephen: come out. That’d be great. Great. Thank you very much. You have a great day.
Erin: You have a great day too. Thank you so much.