Leela Hope is a writer with over 22 years of experience in writing endearing children's fiction. Her lively characters have entranced and captivated her audience, and she has taken great joy in writing the three series of books, each beautifully illustrated with love and care. As our Author of the Day, Hope tells us about her Jarod Giraffe collection.
Please give us a short introduction to what exactly the Jarod Giraffe collection is.
Jarod Giraffe collection represents a series of bedtime stories for children who are educational and fun at the same time. Followed by amazing illustrations, I am sure that these stories will be a perfect opportunity to spend quality time with your little ones, teach them important things about life and enhance their own creativity.
How did the collection come to be? Did it start with one book, or did you know right from the start there were going to be several?
I knew from the start that I want to write a series of books, and every single step in the production of this series has been a pleasure. The creation of these stories was very fun and enjoyable experience for me, as I hope that the reading will be for parents and their children.
Why is Jarod Giraffe so relatable to children?
Jarod has all of the characteristics of a typical toddler: He is curious, cheerful, a bit clumsy and honest. I am sure that Jarod will soon become every kid`s best friend.
Why did you pick these specific topics - to share, get fit, getting lost and going to the dentist?
For a kid, everything is an adventure: going to the garden, helping your parent, playing with your friend or learning something new. I picked these topics because they are fun and entertaining, but also very educational.
Your stories are told through rhymes - why did you take this approach?
In my opinion, rhymes are much easier to understand and memorize, especially for toddlers. That is the main reason I took this approach in my books, rather than the usual short story format.
Give us three "Good to Know" facts about you
I was born, raised and I still live in San Diego.
By the age of 14, I had already written a small book of short stories for my own entertainment.
I studied English Literature at Berkeley, and I earned my University degree in 1989.
You have been writing children's fiction for over 22 years. What drew you to children's books, specifically?
Like I have said before, I was very young when I started to imagine different bedtime stories for my siblings. Later, I have been exploring other literary genres, but somehow, I always return to my first love, which is the literature for children. I believe that I was destined to be an author and I have always known exactly what genre of fiction I wanted to dedicate my life too.
Tell us more about the illustrations for the books - who created them and how did it come about?
These colorful illustrations complete my stories in such a beautiful manner, and I am very proud of my successful collaboration with the artist who created them. However, the illustrator would like to stay anonymous and I respect that.
Why should every parent be reading bedtime stories to their kids?
I always say that these moments before going to sleep are precious for both parents and their children. My vision always includes a parent sitting on a child's bed, reciting the stories each night, while the little one drifts off to sleep, lulled into a dream world full of fun and adventures.
Do you have any weird or interesting writing habits? Best time of the day to write, favorite writing spot - anything like that?
Not really, my writing starts very spontaneously and the stories just flow easily through my mind until I put them on paper.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in everyday life. I always try to imagine the world seen through the eyes of a child. For example, I enjoy scuba diving and visiting wildlife parks, I love exploring and learning new things. These are the moments where inspiration usually appears.
Any amusing story that happened to you as an author?
I always love getting to know my readers and hearing their visions of the characters found in my books. Children are the best audience in the world and meeting them is always such a joy.
What are you working on right now?
At the moment I am working on my new book, but I still can not talk about the details.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
Anybody who is interested in my work can find all of my books on Amazon, and for those who would like to find out more information about me or contact me, there is my official website: http://www.leelahope.net/