Author Spotlight: Claudia Marie Lenart of Wauconda

Hometown: Wauconda

Latest Book: “Seasons of Joy: Every Day is for Outdoor Play

Publisher: Loving Healing Press, Ann Arbor

Release Date: April 2017

Available: Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com

What’s your new book about?
The pure and simple delight of children playing outside is captured in the wool paintings created by Claudia Marie Lenart in “Seasons of Joy: Everyday is for Outdoor Play.” The picture book pairs dreamy images of children, animals, flowers and trees with verse that expresses the joy young children experience in nature’s seasons. Children can see themselves in the diverse characters and can be inspired to spend more time playing outdoors and connecting to nature.

Where did the idea come from?
I am a fiber artist and created a wool painting of children playing throughout the seasons. People throughout the world connected to the painting, and I have sold recreations to Austria, Honk Kong, Croatia and to various locations in the U.S. I decided the painting needed to be a book. I long have been an advocate for outdoor play and nature experiences in childhood. I hope young children will relate to the multi-cultural images of children playing outside and that it will spur them to imitate the actions and spend more time outside joyfully playing.

What genre is your book, and why were you drawn to it?
Picture book. I have always had an attraction to children’s picture books. I illustrated three picture books for the late Jewel Kats, a disability advocate.

Who is the intended audience?
Children ages 2-7.

Why is this story important to you?
Connecting to nature and playing outside is so important for children in our stressful times. Outdoor play is good for a child’s body, brain and spirit.

How long did it take you to write? What was your process?
I wrote and rewrote over the period of several months. The illustrations took about six months.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book? What was the hardest part?
It is written in verse, and I enjoyed describing the joy children experience throughout the seasons. The hardest part was keeping the verse brief.

How are you publishing this book and why (traditional/indie/self-publishing)?
I have a traditional small publishing house, Loving Healing Press in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The books I illustrated also were with this publisher.

What is your education/background?
I am a former journalist and received my Bachelor of Arts from Columbia College in Chicago. I worked as a community journalist for many years and also as a freelance writer.

How/why did you decide to write a book?
It was a perfect way to combine my skills with fiber art and writing.

Who are your favorite authors?
For children’s books, some of my favorites are the fairytales of the Grimm Brothers. I also like Jonathon London and a current author I admire is Emily Winfield Martin. For adult books, I really like historical fiction, especially the work of Kate Forsyth.

Pick one: Ebooks or hard/paperbacks?
Ebooks for adult fiction, hard for children’s books

Have you written anything else?
This is my first book as author.

What’s next for you?
I have other children’s books written or in my head. I just need the time to illustrate them.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Website: www.claudiamariefelt.com Blog: www.http://fantasyfairyfelted.blogspot.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ClaudiaMarieFelt/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/clwords Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Claudia-Marie-Lenart/e/B01E4HTKOQ Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13735039.Claudia_Marie_Lenart

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