Today Stitch says would like to introduce you to Brandy Herr, the author of The Adventures of Freddie Spaghetti and Meat Ball!

Brandy welcome to Stitch Says;

When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?

I have always had a knack for writing, from school essays to short stories.  My mother has always encouraged me to get more into writing, but I had other interests I wanted to pursue.  I guess I just never really had the right story that would motivate me to stick with it before moving on to something else.  However, when I decided to start working on this story, something changed.  I realized I had a winner with this one, and it made me excited.  I’m not exactly a famous author; my book has only been in print for a few months and I’m still trying to get it in front of as many people as possible.  But just having something I’ve written in print, it’s given me confidence, makes me feel like I’ve really done something, and I FEEL famous, if only to myself.

Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:

This book, The Adventures of Freddie Spaghetti and Meat Ball, is my first published book.  It’s a children’s picture book for around ages 6-9.  It’s the first in a series where a talking noodle and his meatball dog sidekick travel to different locations and meet the food from that area.  All characters are food items and there are plenty of food puns throughout.  In this first book, Freddie and Meat Ball travel to Mexico where they meet Enrique Enchilada and Teresa Taco and help them out with a problem.

My granddaddy is actually what motivated me to write this book.  I can’t take credit for creating the character of Freddie Spaghetti.  When I was a little girl, I was over at my grandparents’ house, sitting on my granddaddy’s knee, when he reached over, grabbed a sticky note pad, did a little doodle, and gave it to me.  The doodle was of a stick figure with a squiggly body, and it said,

“To Brandy,

Freddie Spaghetti

Love, Granddaddy”

It was just a completely random moment.  I still have that doodle in a scrapbook and cherish it to this day.  I lost my granddaddy to cancer in 1991, and not a day goes by that I don’t miss him.  Then one day, it hit me.  My granddaddy’s greatest passion was children.  He loved children more than anything else in the world.  So what better way to commemorate his legacy than to write a children’s book based on the character he created?  Even over 20 years after his passing, he can still make children happy!  So The Adventures of Freddie Spaghetti and Meat Ball was born.

What are your future aspirations as an author?

My greatest desire is to see the Freddie Spaghetti series continue.  I have written three more books in this series, though only the first one is published so far.  I would love to see it grow into a franchise, for Freddie Spaghetti to become a household name for children all over the world.  Of course, I know that’s a long time off after a lifetime of hard effort, and I am prepared to do what it takes to see Freddie and Meat Ball through to the top.

Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?

I really have a very random brain, so usually ideas tend to just “pop” into my head, as I like to say.  They usually come to me at night as I lay in bed trying to sleep.  In fact, that’s how all four of my books have been written.  I’ll lie in bed and practically write the entire thing down in my head.  Then the next morning I’ll get up and scoot on over to the computer and write it all down.  Generally it starts with coming up with a place I want Freddie and Meat Ball to travel to, then the characters they could meet.  I’ll let those brainstorms stew in my head for a while (I currently have several floating around in there already) and then one night something will finally stick and the story will form.  It always seems to start with just one aspect, a name or even a cute joke I think would go well in the book, and then it snowballs into a whole plot.  Current events, either my own or something happening in the world, will also influence me.  One of the books I have finished was inspired by a recent trip I took, and one of the brainstorms I’m working on is inspired by stories I’ve been reading about what some children have to go through.  I don’t want to say too much to give anything away before that story is complete.

What do you do to improve yourself and a writer?

I guess you could say I’m not your typical writer, since I’m not constantly toiling away at writing and perfecting my craft.  I don’t like to get into the technical aspects of it; I just like to keep it natural.  When you get too much into fine-tuning an art form, it becomes so formulaic, and it takes away the heart.  So I just try to keep an open mind to allow the ideas to flow through.  I don’t force it, I don’t worry about writer’s block, I just let it come to me and allow it to form organically.  Because of that, I try to spend more of my time on the marketing side, trying to get my book out there and in front of the eyes of the public.  Writing is only half the battle.  You have to make sure people know about your book and are interested in reading it.  I graduated from Penn State with a degree in public relations, so luckily I’m pretty good at pounding the pavement and getting the word out.  So I’m just constantly looking for outlets to showcase my book and make the public aware of its existence.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog!  I really enjoyed your questions and appreciate the opportunity you are giving to me and other writers.

Thank you for joining us here on Stitch Says. We all look forward to reading The Adventures of Freddie Spaghetti and Meat Ball and many more adventures in the future! To find out more about Brandy or Freddie Spaghetti check out the following links:

Freddie Spaghetti and Meat Ball Facebook Fan Page (we need Likes!)

Freddie Spaghetti’s Twitter Feed or @FreddieMeatBall