Tell me a bit about yourself?
My name is Tara Drouin and I am a teacher, musician, a mom, and a children's book author. I live in Bethpage, NY with my husband and daughter who is 10 years old. I have been playing in a band called Iridesense for about 25 years now. Our music is licensed to Nickelodeon, and we are a family band (my husband and brother are in the band too.) I am also an elementary school teacher; I have been teaching for 12 years. I have taught songwriting workshops and done workshops on my book One Heart.
What genre do you write in? Did you self-publish or traditionally publish?
I write children's books, and those books are based on songs. My love for music and teaching came together when I decided to self-publish my first children's book, One Heart. It started out as a song I wrote, and I had released it for Peace Day. The song is based on all the diversity I saw in my classrooms. I wanted to spread the message that even though we look different, and like different things, we are all connected since we are one race, the human race. I knew that there could be images that went along with the song. So when I met a talented art teacher named Nancy Noskewicz, she agreed to illustrate One Heart; I was so excited!
Did you hire a formatter?
I had a friend format the book, but I didn't use an editor since it was always a song. To publish the book, I used CreateSpace which is now KDP. It was pretty simple to set up, and the day my book went live my dream became a reality. My book is available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/1717065848/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_ZR54FbG1NTAFZ?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
How do you market your work or promote your brand? Do you have a website?
I promoted it through social media and word of mouth. Many of my friends who are teachers and parents loved the message of the book. The colorful and cute illustrations, along with the song, made it a kid's favorite. I also have a YouTube video of the book and song together https://youtu.be/hU9MQCSe3cM
I have a few press releases that have gone out for my books. One Heart got a write up in the NY Post, and The Long Island Herald back in June 2020. I also did an interview last summer August 2019, at the Donna Drake Show, which was a lot of fun since my daughter and brother were there with me https://youtu.be/61eghcJ6vsI
It's definitely been quite the ride so far.
What inspires you the most to write?
My family, my students, nature, and just everyday experiences. I find my inspiration on a beautiful day looking at the trees, or the ocean. I may pick up my journal after a tough day to just write down my thoughts. I think it's like therapy to write, and you never know might turn into a song.
What are you working on at the moment?
I just released a new book called Red Rock Road https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08PJPR2PD/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_0P54Fb9WTT4AM?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
It is based on a song I wrote with my children's band called The Gum Drops
It's all about my parent's home in the Catskill Mountains of NY, and the beauty of nature, and the love of family. The illustrator, Soumya Basnet, did a wonderful job and really captured the magic of the mountains. She even used my family as the inspiration for the characters. They really look adorable! Currently, I am working on promoting it and hope to create a video to go along with the book. My next project is a song I wrote called Starlight. I am hoping to have the book completed by the spring of 2021. I am also considering having it animated.
What is your target audience?
I think my books are great for kids of all ages, and even adults. Since they are songs, it's fun to be able to read and sing along!!
How long does it take you to write a book?
It took time to write and record the songs, and then once I had the illustrator it was about 6 months till the book was formatted and then released. So the whole process took about a year for each song to become a book.
What does your writing schedule look like?
I try to write a little bit each week. I need to work in a quiet space and when I feel inspired. I don't necessarily have a set schedule, but once I'm in the zone, I always come up with a bunch of ideas.
What does your family think of your writing?
My family is really proud of everything I have accomplished so far. My daughter brought my books into her class this year, and her teachers and friends really loved them. My mom has always been an amazing supporter and encouraged us to always follow our dreams. I hope to inspire that same passion in my daughter, who is already playing the drums and writing her own songs.
What do you do when you're not writing?
I really enjoy making jewelry and doing yoga. Both calm me in different ways. I also like to read and spend time outdoors as much as possible. I love playing the bass and playing music of course.
Thank you for the chance to get to know you a bit better, Tara, all the best in your writing journey ahead.
Would you like to be interviewed or write for "The NZdreamblog?" Then drop me an email at email@example.com
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