Inside the Literary Mind of Beryl Reichenberg
June 12, 2017
I decided to become a writer when I became a grandmother nine years ago. I remember how my grandfather told me stories by the fireplace in an old rocking chair.
I have been an artist for many years living in California. In the past nine years, I have been writing and illustrating children’s stories for young children up to age eight. Since then, I have written over thirty-five titles, illustrating them with my drawings and photographs, depending on the story line. Some illustrations were prepared by artists Gini Griffin and Babette Girard and a ten year old, Elise Hudson.
Some of these stories are in prose and some in verse; some are fiction and others nonfiction. I now have six commercially published children’s books by a traditional publisher, Oak Tree Press. These books include Clowning Around, Ants on a Log, Camouflage and The Mysterious Case of the Missing Birthday Cake, When Caterpillars Dream and Butterfly Girls. All of these books are available from Amazon.com or from Oak Tree Press.
I have also published several other picture books books including. Backyard Birds, Squiggles, Hopping to the Moon, A Real Dragon, I’m a City Bear, Meerkats in Danger, Dancing with Leaves and Lost in a Dark Forest.
I have a Master’s Degree from UCLA and taught school in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. Currently, I am retired, devoting full time to writing and art. I hope you enjoy my books as much as I enjoy creating them and will join me on my website at www.berylreichenberg.com.
Question: Tell me about your newest book and what was the inspiration behind your writing it?
Beryl: Currently, I am writing a chapter book for children ages six to ten. This story is a departure for me because I usually write and illustrate children’s picture books. The inspiration for this story came from my nine-year-old granddaughter’s recent visit to the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, California. The hotel is rumored to be haunted.
My Secret Kid Sister is a ghost story about an eleven-year-old girl whodiscovers a ghost in an old hotel that is about to be torn down. She sneaks into the hotel and visits the little ghost several times before the hotel is demolished.
No one else sees the ghost and parents dismiss the ghost as the girl’s vivid imagination. Eventually, the hotel clerk and then her parents catch her going back to the hotel, and she is grounded. What will happen to the ghost when the hotel is finally torn down?
Question: Why and when did you decide to become a writer?
Beryl: I decided to become a writer when I became a grandmother nine years ago. I remember how my grandfather told me stories by the fireplace in an old rocking chair.
Question: What book has been the greatest influence on you and your writing and why?
Beryl: My grandfather’s stories were the most influential. I wish I could remember them but sadly his stories were never recorded. But they remain a warm memory of my youth.
Question: Where do you find ideas for your books?
Beryl: My grandchildren provide me with many of my story ideas as well as my reading about nature and animals.
Question: Where do you find ideas for your characters?
Beryl: I usually use animals as surrogates for children.
Question: How would you describe your writing style?
Beryl: Because my stories are for young children ages three to ten years old, my writing style is fairly simple with short sentences and simple themes and story lines. I usually think of how they will be illustrated as I am writing and have running pictures in my head as I compose them.
Question: What do you consider the most difficult part of writing a book?
Beryl: The writing of my stories is not difficult. It is the illustrations that I sometimes find hard. And of course, marketing is time consuming. Part of my marketing strategy is to conduct local paper craft and bookmaking classes for children in my local area.
Question: What are your current projects?
Beryl: I usually have several projects going at once. Including the chapter book mentioned above, My Secret Kid Sister. I also am working on a picture book about a one-of-a kind baseball team with another author. Entitled The Slideville Critters’ Become Champs, the manuscript is finished.
We are in communication with an illustrator. I also have another work in progress, Dancing Critter in the Trees, a picture book about a squirrel that steals a jay’s peanuts. It is in proof form and almost ready to be self-published.
Please click HERE to discover more of Beryl Reichenberg’s books.