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Here’s a list of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that I typically get during online and in-person events with parents, teachers and students. I hope you find them insightful and inspiring.
How many books have you published?
I’ve published over a dozen books under several pen names in the past. I’m currently re-branding and re-launching all of them plus a NEW SERIES under my new brand – AUNT KARYN. ™ The new series includes an animated series and will be available in December 2023.
How long have you been writing books?
Since the age of 9! I’ve been writing and illustrating children’s stories nearly my entire life. It’s my favorite thing to do.
What is your favorite Children’s book by someone else?
I love everything by Dr. Seuss. I was highly influenced by him as a child because I grew up in Springfield, MA, just a short distance from his house. My 2 favorite books by Dr. Seuss are “If I Ran The Zoo” and “Oh! The Places You’ll Go.”
Which one of your books is most like Dr. Seuss books?
Well, I have over a dozen rhyming books written in the same pentameter as Dr. Seuss books, but the one that was most influenced by him is “What A Tree Wants To Be.” I wrote that story at the age of 14, while visiting Forest Park in Springfield. I was sitting on a wooden park bench at the duck pond, looking at a dedication marker under a grove of trees.  I was thanking the trees for making park benches for people like me and Dr. Seuss to sit on. I was an empathic kid that way. I remember it like yesterday.
What is your favorite thing about writing children’s books?
Getting to read them out loud and acting them out of course! I try my best to make the illustrations represent the action in the story, but I find that acting out the voices of the characters make the stories come to life.
Do ALL your stories have accompanying characters in plush?
No, not all of them, but many of my characters were produced in plush because the kiddos loved them so much. I started selling wall prints for kids’ bedrooms. Then my customers wanted plush, so I added them later.
How did you break into the world of toys and games?
I started a few years ago with a handful of white-label products. When everyone was selling candles, I was selling kids products. It wasn’t long before I started designing and patenting my own.
What is your favorite thing about the toy industry?
Artistic license and unlimited creativity. After 30 years of working for someone else, you appreciate the freedom of Entrepreneurship. Even on your worst days, the freedom of making your own decisions and your own mistakes is priceless.
Have you made mistakes in your business?
Of course! Everybody Makes Mistakes. In fact, I wrote a children’s book about it called Everybody Makes Moostakes (and yes, there is a Moose plush character).
How often do you do school visits?
As often as I can. I prefer to do them in person, but I have also done presentations by Zoom.
How many students do you usually have in a class session?
I can accommodate anywhere from 20-200 students. I have presented to more in a school gym. It depends on the ages and presentation selected.
What is the first toy you ever designed?
I designed a plush toy elephant with an articulating trunk when I was 9 years old. I created it to go with the first story I ever wrote – Stationary Circus – which was loosely based on what used to be the largest Private Zoo in the US – Catskill Game Farm. My parents brought me there every year when I was growing up. It was our favorite road trip destination.
How do you come up with ideas?
I get asked this question all the time and the truth is that IDEAS ARE ALL AROUND US. I’m just one of the people that takes the time to sit down and write about what I see and hear. YOU CAN DO THIS TOO! The trick is to keep yourself from overthinking it. There are stories everywhere you look, if you allow yourself to see them.
How Old Are You?
This is always my #1 question from kids and I think I know why…
When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to grow up. I started working at the age of 15 and I enlisted in the Army at the age of 18. Today, I’m old enough to have retired 2 careers. What I’ve learned along the way is that once you hit a certain age, you will spend the rest of your life trying to be a kid.
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