Saturday, April 28, 2012

A 'Little' Dose of SUNshine. . .

It is with great honor that I introduce to you a special author friend of mine, and one of the youngest out of all the authors I know. Please welcome six-year-old Abigail Brand to Mello & June’s, It’s a Book Thang! Book Blog.

Before I delve into the books she’s written and illustrated—that’s right, you read correctly, let me tell you how I came to meet Abigail, who goes by the name of Abbie. On any given day, many may find me hanging on Twitter, one of my favorite places to catch up on news, world events, authors, Twitter parties, etc.—where I’m happy to say my fan base has grown. One day, I happened to be checking my connections, and I saw that Abbie was one of my followers. As my Twitter family knows, if you follow me, I follow back, so I clicked on this adorable picture and right away I’m thinking oh this is probably one of my author friend’s child’s picture as a profile.

Well, let me just say, not only was this the “real” Abigail herself, I went to her Twitter page which is beautifully decorated with pictures of herself standing in a cute dress smiling pretty for the camera. I read her bio which states she’s an Author/Illustrator and Philanthropist of the Hello Little Series books. I clicked on the link and read Abigail’s story and how she donates proceeds from her books to the NICU—which stands for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Within seconds, I was completely sold! This young lady reminded me so much of myself that it was terrifying to me. In fact, if my mom were to ever meet Abbie, she’d say instantly, “My God that child reminds me of you!” 

Abbie and I immediately hit it off and we follow some of the same authors on Twitter and we retweet each other’s tweets for our followers to learn each other. I feel so blessed to know this young lady because she is such an inspiration to me and many others. She also resides on some of the same author networks as I do, and she can hold a conversation like an adult, which is why I thought she was one, but I have to continually remind myself she’s only six-years old. I actually forget that when talking with her—which you’re about to find out for yourself. Miss Brand far exceeds her years in age with maturity that I know some adults do not possess. 

I asked Abbie if I could interview her to appear as a guest on my blog, and she was all too happy to do it and is excited to see how it turns out. So Abbie, this is for you my friend! I hope you and your mom enjoy it as much as I’m sure my fans will.

So. . .Who is Abigail Brand?
“I am six-years-old and I’m the author/illustrator of the Hello Little Series. The series is dedicated to my little sisters, Gabrielle and Natalie. Half of the money from my books goes to NICU hospitals. A NICU takes care of really sick babies and helps make them better. So far, I've donated $415.50!”

“I found out about the NICU because my baby sister pooped in Mommy's tummy before she was born and the NICU had to come make sure she was ok. They did a couple tests and checked her again before she came home. She was fine! And I became really interested in what the NICU does and how the nurses help babies. My Mommy told me about premature births and low-weight babies and how the NICU saves them! I just really want to help!”

“I was reading on a 1st grade level before I started Kindergarten and I've always loved books and making up stories! I really like drawing also. I wanted to know the feeling of writing a book that people would want to buy, so I thought I could help the babies by doing something I really enjoy.”

When did you start writing?
“I wrote my first book when I was four, and another one when I was five. They’re not published. I’m actually still working on the second one. I want to make it a chapter book. I started the Hello Little Series when I was five and published my first book from that series when I was six.”

Who or What inspires you to write?
“I’m really inspired by nature. So far, all my books are about nature. I’m always thinking and talking and writing about so many different things. I go through a lot of paper! And I’m always sharpening pencils! But when I have a bunch of ideas in my head about one thing, I know it’s time to start writing for a book about it!”

Since you're six-years-old, where do you see yourself in the next five to ten years?
“I picture myself doing the same thing as now. I just want to keep writing books about things that are interesting to me. I hope to have lots of my “Hello Little” books out by then. And I hope that I will have made lots of big donations to the NICU!”

Who are your favorite authors?
“I have all of the Shel Silverstein poem books. Right now, they’re my favorite! Of course, I really like Dr. Seuss, too. I think probably most kids do. I’ve also had the chance to meet lots of authors on Twitter. I haven’t read most of their books, but I think they’re really nice people!”

What types of books do you enjoy reading?
“I like mystery books. There’s always something wrong or weird or scary and you have no idea what’s going to happen. The whole time I’m reading and wondering what’s going on, I like thinking about all the clues along the way! I really like funny books. I just really like funny things. I like to be funny. And I like rhymes, too. Sometimes they make up funny words just to make a rhyme.”

What can we expect from Abigail Brand in the future with respect to novels, etc.?“Well, I’ll probably stick with nature topics. I like nature a lot because it’s really pretty and I like being outside the most. There’s a lot of surprising stuff outside sometimes. I love the surprises and they make me feel really excited. All the cool things I experience outside inspire me to write. When I write about nature, it makes me feel good!”

As you can see, Abbbie is very outspoken and knows exactly what she wants out of life--a young lady after my own heart!  And she's a Dr. Seuss fan too--who couldn't love this little lady?  When she filled out my questionnaire, she told me that she’s never answered questions quite like the ones I posed, which intrigued her more to answer them--imagine that!  I can’t help but to smile when I think of her because I see so much of myself. I encourage you to review her books and illustrations, and purchase them so she may continue to donate money to the NICUs. 

I am positive that this will not be the last time we hear from Ms. Brand, and I anxiously wait to see the novels she plans to do in the future. To think my schedule was grueling--Hmmph!  She has school, does speaking engagements, takes time to write to her fans, writes books and illustrates and publishes them, runs her own websites, donates monies to NICU hospitals, has a Twitter fan base, and she took her precious time out to answer my questions and follow-up on them.  She is quite an inspiration and dedicated to her cause--if only some adults were this organized!  For only six-years-old, she is truly an amazing person and we wish her all the continued success now and in the future.

Below you will find the links to her Hello Little Series and contact information. I hope you enjoyed reading about Miss Abigail Brand! I’m so glad she thought enough of me to select me as someone to follow.   She wrote me the other day and said she listened to a radio show that one of our Twitter followers does, as well as the web mistress of Independent Author Index that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, and she stated that Faydra gave me a shout out for being such a giving author and always offering to help others. As I stated in a previous blog post, this is the reason why I do what I do. It’s not just about me, and now you see how my giving and doing for others come back to me in more ways than I could have ever imagined.

If I were just concerned about myself, I would have never met the lovely and talented Abigail Brand (Abbie). She’s the youngest author to reside with me on many of our networks. It just tickles me. Who knew? I love what I do and Abbie shares that same passion and she often compliments me on it, as I do for her. There’s no greater feeling than meeting people who enjoy what I do! The written word is my reason for living! Thank you, Abbie, for being such a great friend!  Giving authors recognize other giving authors, that's why we're so much alike!  Best of luck to you sweetheart!

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet
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