Bookpleasures.com is excited today to have as our guest, Terry John Barto author of Gollywood Here I Come.
Before writing his debut children's book, Terry directed and choreographed more than 200 regional theater productions and was the creative mind behind numerous television and cruise ship live shows around the world.
As the creative director for Wings of Dreams Productions, Barto collaborated with other artists on a variety of diverse ideas and turned them into screenplays for animated films. He also helped develop popular action figures and dolls for several large retailers.
Norm: Good day Terry and thanks for participating in our interview
Why have you been drawn to writing a children's book and what served as the primary inspiration for Gollywood Here I Come?
Terry: I've always liked working with children in the theater, and have created ideas for animation and toys. Writing children's books seemed to be a good transition and became a passion a few years ago. My primary inspiration for Gollywood, Here I Come! is Shirley Temple.
Norm: What purpose do you believe your story serves and what matters to you about the story?
Terry: That it is an inspiring story. I want people to be inspired to follow their heart and go for their dream, no matter what it is.
Norm: When in the process of writing your book did you begin to look for an illustrator?
Terry: We started doing the illustrations in March 2014.
Norm: How did you collaborate with Mattia Cerato, the illustrator of the book?
Terry: First he read the story and loved it enough to agree to work on the project. We've sent numerous e-mails back and forth from Los Angeles to Italy. I started out by giving him an idea where I'd like the illustrations to be and what should be conveyed in each drawing. Then I sent him a reference book on Southern California in the 1950's because it was the overall feel that I wanted for the story. And I e-mailed him pictures as suggestions for the different characters.
Norm: Did you read any special books on how to write a children's book?
Terry: I studied writing but not specifically for children's books. And it is a specific style. But most of what I've learned is the close working relationship I have with my editor. She's tough on me but very supportive. We've worked on many manuscripts together.
Norm: How has your environment/upbringing/professional career colored your writing?
Terry: I had a creative, inspired childhood. We went to Sea World and Disneyland a lot. My parents always encouraged my creativity and supported me in all the shows I performed in. My professional career as a director/ choreographer colored my writing for this particular piece because it's theatrical.
Norm: What was the most difficult part of writing your book and did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Terry: The most difficult part was keeping in under 1,000 words. And as doing so, giving it everything it needs to be a compelling story. I learned that each and every word counts.
Norm: What would you like to say to writers who are reading this interview and wondering if they can keep creating, if they are good enough, if their voices and visions matter enough to share?
Terry: Keep trying, continue dreaming and follow your heart. Your voice matters and your visions are important.
Norm: How can readers find out more about you and your endeavors?
Norm: What is next for Terry John Barto:
Terry: Nickerbacher, The Funniest Dragon coming out early next year.
Norm: As this interview draws to a close what one question would you have liked me to ask you? Please share your answer.
Terry: I think you covered it just fine. You've asked fantastic questions. But how about... What was the inspiration for the name of the lead character Anamazie? Well, she's amazing in many ways. Besides being an incredible performer, she is humble and works hard. Another aspect is that she gives of herself and inspires her friends. Also, the last part of he name, Mazie, is the name of my beloved dachshund. Who is also amazing too.
Norm: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions and good luck with all of your future endeavors.
Terry: Thank you very much, Norm.