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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Exploring the Writing World of Karl Beckstrand Who is a Multi-published Author

      I am a five-time published author with 21 titles on who has lived abroad and is pursuing a master's degree in international relations and conflict resolution (bachelor's in journalism). I regularly speak on writing & publishing, language learning, quality family activities, and the value of preserving and publishing history (personal, family and organizational).
      My activity books, Spanish & bilingual books, ebook mysteries and nonfiction stories feature minority characters and have been lauded by American reviews such as School Library Journal, the Horn Book blog review, Midwest Book Review, and ForeWord Reviews (one title was top ten on Amazon's large print children's books last month. See also My work has appeared in: Border's Books, Barnes & Noble, Costco, Deseret Book, Nook/Kindle/iBooks, Children's Miracle Network, The Congressional Record of the U.S. House of Representatives, BioPhotonics Magazine, Papercrafts Magazine and various broadcasts.
Tell us about the genre of your work. 
I write activity books for families (children’s cookbooks, Mini-Mysteries for Minors, bilingual picture books with text and pronunciation guide in English and Spanish, ebooks). I also write non-fiction stories of children who overcame obstacles to immigrate to the United States.
Why did you choose this genre?
They chose me!
What are some of your books, stories that have been published?
Crumbs on the Stairs – Migas en las escaleras: A Mystery, Sounds in the House! Sonidos en la casa, Bad Bananas: A Story Cookbook for Kids, She Doesn’t Want the Worms! Ella no quiere los gusanos, Anna’s Prayer, It Ain’t Flat: A Memorizable Book of Countries
What ages do you direct your books?
2 years old and up!
Tell us more about your books and where to find them.
Crumbs on the Stairs – Migas en las escaleras: A Mystery ISBN 978-0977606597, Sounds in the House! Sonidos en la casa ISBN 978-0615442303, Bad Bananas: A Story Cookbook for Kids 978-0977606511, She Doesn’t Want the Worms! Ella no quiere los gusanos 978-0977606528, Anna’s Prayer 978-1599921136, It Ain’t Flat: A Memorizable Book of Countries (free ebook).

Titles available via Baker & Taylor, Brodart,,, Ingram, Follett Library Resources,, Kindle/Nook/Kobo/Sony/Smashwords/iBooks (also available in single language versions). See below for what’s coming …

Do your books have a teaching objective?  If so, what is it?

I write mostly to save families from “I’m bored” disease. But yes, my stories teach language, finding/counting, courage, friendship, sharing, faith, cooking, and entomology.

How do you come up with the names of places and characters in your books?

I write mostly from my own experiences and often use people/places I’ve known.

Is there a unique character or a recurring character if you have more than one published or to be published book?

There will be, as I am working on a cookbook series, a non-fiction series on immigrant children, and more Mini-Mysteries for Minors.

What is your favorite thing about your books?

I hope it is that they entertain all ages.

Is your book illustrated?  If so, would you tell us by whom, and if you worked with an illustrator, can you discuss that experience?
Yes. I illustrated Crumbs on the Stairs and It Ain’t Flat, Bad Bananas was illustrated by Jeff Faerber, Sounds in the House by Channing Jones, Anna’s Prayer by Shari Griffiths, and She Doesn’t Want the Worms by David Hollenbach (I am illustrating a couple more: The Christmas House and Arriba Up! Other artists are working on Agnes’s Feet and Muffy & Valor).
How is writing in the genre you write, different than other genres?
In my genre I have to grab the attention of both children and the adults (who buy and read the books)

Are there any problems in getting children’s’ books published? 

Lots of competition, that is why I do unique things, like bilingual, mysteries, cooking, and counting

Why and when did you begin writing?

I began writing by accident (I didn’t used to like to write). Stories just kept coming to me and I would write them down.

What is your writing schedule?

I write every day—though I write more marketing and business correspondence than books (sheesh!).

What projects are you working on now, or plan for the future?

The Christmas House is a non-fiction picture book of my Christmas memories.  Arriba Up! is another bilingual learning book about opposites.  Agnes’s Feet is a non-fiction story of a girl who walked a thousand miles across the plains and into the Rocky Mountains (much of the way without shoes). Muffy & Valor is a true story of doggie courage and friendship as I witnessed it as a child. I’m also working on several cookbooks for kids.

What kind of advice or tips to you have for someone who wants to write and get published?

Write every day. Get an editor. Use the latest technology and services to get your books available POD and in ebook form—also to market them.

Are there any other comments, advice or tips that you would give to beginning writers?

Write from your heart—from what you know first hand. Don’t try to write about something that you think is popular (unless it is what you know).

What do you do when you are not writing?

 Marketing and studying

Anything else you would like to add?

I love to share stories in person (and with groups). I do free 20-minute Skype sessions anywhere.

What “Made It” moments have you experienced in life?

Getting three titles on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Spanish list last year; Having titles in the top ten on Amazon for their genre; Having one of my titles named in ForeWord Reviews Top Ten Books of 2011; selling lots of books!

Find out more about Karl on the links below.

Note from Sylvia: You can visit my other blog at: features a preview to my new book that was just released, Traveling a Rocky Road with Love, Faith and Guts.

1 comment:

Jennifer Gibbs Kambourian said...

Great interview! I love Karl's writing, and he is one of the most creative, principled people I've ever met.