The Author Spotlight series featured on this blog showcases writers and their work. Writing can be a fulfilling but lonely journey - so why not have some fun and make a few friends along the way? Let’s get to know A.G. Vlahos (bellabluecrab.com):
What inspired you to start writing?
I was inspired to write my debut children's book, "Bella the Blue Crab," by my beloved daughter, Anna Grace, for whom the book was written. As a parent of a toddler, my husband and I have read thousands upon thousands of Children's books to our daughter, and I thought, "wouldn't it be nice to write a story based on our daughter and always have it as a memento." I also thought, "I can do this!" Initially, that may have been a naive thought, but I kept pushing and navigating uncharted waters, by writing and creating the story of "Bella the Blue Crab."
What are common traps/mistakes for aspiring writers?
So far, I would say, the hardest part has been the marketing, advertising and promotion of my book as an Independent Author... basically, letting the world know that my book exists. I have found, it is very challenging for an Independent Author to push the barriers to get into stores, and ultimately become recognized as an Author. It requires a great deal of self-motivation and hustle. I am constantly striving to learn more about social media in order to use it to my advantage, as I understand enough to know that it is key to becoming a successful and recognized author in this digital age.
What is something you loved but had to edit out of this book that was like sawing off a limb (isn’t writing fun)?
There was a funny illustration in "Bella the Blue Crab," where the Sea creatures are playing instruments on the "Old Bay" band stand, and the Octopus playing the drums appears to be pooping where the drum stand was supposed to be. Instead of a clay drum stand as intended, it looked like the Octopus was taking a dump onstage! Once you noticed it, you could not "unsee" it. Although I thought it was quite funny (and liked it), my illustrator recommended removing it, which we ultimately did.
Tell us a little bit about your story and what inspired you to write "Bella the Blue Crab".
"Bella the Blue Crab" is a wonderful story of a brave little she-crab who helps save the Chesapeake Bay. Bella is a positive role model helping others with acts of kindness and bravery. Bella's story comes alive through the beautifully animated pictures of the Chesapeake Bay and coastal towns along the Eastern Shore, where the Maryland blue crab is celebrated and enjoyed. "Bella the Blue Crab" is the debut Children's book by Author, A.G. Vlahos. A.G. Vlahos was born and raised in Maryland with a special fondness for the Eastern Shore. Countless summers were spent visiting the coastal towns along the Chesapeake Bay. "Bella the Blue Crab" is a tribute to the iconic Maryland blue crab. This beautifully illustrated Children's book pays homage to the towns where the Chesapeake Bay blue crab is celebrated and enjoyed. "Bella the Blue Crab" is dedicated to, and inspired by my beloved daughter, Anna Grace.
I am honored to share that "Bella the Blue Crab" recently received the Reader's Favorite 5 Star review in every category it was evaluated in.
If you had to describe the main character in three words, what would those three words be?
Kind, positive and brave (a role model that all children can aspire to).
How can we purchase your book?