Welcome to our Author Spotlight, where we shine a light on writers, authors and literary wonders from all over the world.
Today our spotlight is shining on Sybrina Durant, author of The Learn to Tie with The Rabbit and The Fox series.
1. First, tell us a little about your book/project?
I am the author of The Learn To Tie With The Rabbit and The Fox series. My newest and 6th book in the series is Boo’s Shoes: Learn To Tie Shoelaces, with illustrations by the incredibly talented Pumudi Gardiyawasam. Boo’s Shoes is about a young bunny who doesn’t want to learn to tie his shoelaces. He doesn’t think he needs to know how to tie them because he has lots of shoes, and none have laces. His friend, Farah Fox, shows him that learning to tie is a skill he can use for many things. All of my learn to tie books contain a story with illustrations and a set of instructions featuring a rabbit and a fox who work together to accomplish the goal of tying a necktie, a bow or shoelaces. They all have songs, too.
2. What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning a book?
Sometime around 1985, I experienced a life-altering incident in a menswear store. I asked a charming salesman to show me how to tie a necktie, and the story he told, along with his manner of telling it, stuck in my mind. By 2010, I decided to create a picture book based on that little mnemonic. A few years later, my first tie a bow book came along. It was mainly written from a girly girl’s perspective. Readers asked for a book suitable for both girls and boys about tying shoelaces, so Boo’s Shoes was born from those requests. Time spent researching books is nearly never-ending. Luckily, we live in a world where we can comfortably sit at our desks and find information on any topic.
3. If you could tell your younger writing self one thing, what would it be?
If you want anyone to know your books exist, you must constantly promote and market them. Accept all opportunities that come along that you feel comfortable and excited about aligning yourself with, such as this interview with Novelish Prints. (Thank you Amy!) Promoting yourself and your book(s) is a lot of work. Still, you’ll potentially make new friends and possibly gain a larger readership for your books, too. And when someone helps you, find a way to help them back. Through my blog at Sybrina.com, I post about other authors’ accomplishments and their opportunities.
4. Can you tell us a bit about your writing space? Is there something you need to have when writing a book? For example, a specific pen or notebook, a particular blend of coffee etc.
I have two writing spaces, and they are both very different. The one at my first home is a windowless cave filled with books. At my weekend home, the other is a minimally furnished space with big windows overlooking a scenic lake. I prefer the view of the lake when I’m writing, but I do get easily distracted, so I seem to work better with no beautiful scenes to lose myself in.
Here’s a description of one of my writing rooms as if it were a scene in a book.
She looked up to see shelves full of flashbacks of the past. Two identical little cuties dressed in pink balanced their tiny bodies against a pink roadster with shining chrome stripes. So many photographs, some fading in dusty frames and newer ones, slowly bending to the passage of time, line every surface not already occupied by hundreds of even dustier books. The thought slithers across her mind that maybe she should let them go…the books…not the pictures. But she probably never will. They have been with her since time began. She laughs as a thought occurs, “Maybe I should be buried with them.” That would make for an endlessly interesting afterlife.
5. If you could be a character from any book for 24hours, who would you be?
I would be Silubhra, the Silver Horned unicorn from my illustrated middle-grade chapter book – The Blue Unicorn’s Journey To Osm. I feel a great affinity for her because she has the power to sway emotions with her songs. Musical persuasion is something I have always strived for yet have not quite reached. She and I both love to write and sing songs. Of course, she is much better than I. Possessing a silver tongue, as she does, she can magically persuade anyone within hearing distance with the power of her voice. Silubhra’s beautiful voice and persuasive songs can soothe and inspire others. Her voice makes people feel – to the depths of their souls.