Now this is an interview I’m really excited about, although truth be told, I’m a little disappointed that I can’t interview the main character of the book. Nina Puppalina is real and has the best dog name ever, which is perfect because she is a dog. Her owner and the author of the story of Nina Puppalina and her erstwhile human companion Lizzy Lou, is Danielle Wilkinson Steiner.
TPF: Danielle, welcome to The Phil Factor and thank you for taking some time for my readers and dog lovers. Without giving away too much, could you tease my readers with a tantalizing synopsis of your book?
Danielle: The Great Adventures of Nina Puppalina and Lizzy Lou: Nina Finds Her Home is a children’s picture book written and illustrated from the rescue puppy’s perspective about her adoption experience! Will she find the right home? Who will take care of her?
TPF: So how did the name Nina Puppalina come about?
Danielle: When we adopted Nina from our local SPCA, they had given her the name Nina. We loved the name and kept it! Our daughter Elizabeth’s babysitter, Sally coined the name of Nina Puppalina when she met our new pup for the first time and it stuck!
TPF: Your bio says that you worked in the publishing industry before choosing to write your first book. What did you do in the industry and did that experience help you when you decided to publish your own book?
Danielle: I worked for three large publishers; Houghton Mifflin, Pearson and Wiley. I always worked in the College Division doing sales and marketing. College sales are very different from Trade book sales….I can’t really say my career encouraged my desire to self -publish. Writing a book one day was always on my “bucket list” and I did not think it would be a children’s picture book until we adopted Nina. I decided to self-publish because the story is based on my family. I wanted to be able to share my story my way and own copyright. Also, I knew going the traditional publishing route probably would have taken more time…….and I wanted Elizabeth to enjoy working on the process with me….not to mention enjoy the book before she was too old to appreciate it!
TPF: How does your daughter Lizzy Lou feel about being immortalized in literature forever? Any concerns that she’ll grow up with a diva complex?
Danielle: Well it’s funny, since Nina is telling the story, Elizabeth has decided “Nina’s famous”. So far no Diva complex, she’s just happy to be able to share our story and promote pet adoption!
TPF: Your cover art work is gorgeous. Can you tell us a little about the artist?
Danielle: Sarah Ashmun is a local mixed media artist, I met through Linked In. She has a background in landscape architecture and my book is her first children’s picture book to illustrate. She was really keen with understanding my vision and capturing it so beautifully. We both read Alexandra Horowitz’s. NYT best seller, Inside of a Dog…..her current research was used to illustrate and write from the dog’s perspective. Sarah also had her first baby girl, Skylar born in January 2016!
TPF: The reviews for your book on Amazon are outstanding! Will Nina Puppalina readers have a sequel to look forward to in the near future?
Danielle: Yes, stay tuned our next book is Nina Puppalina, Lizzy Lou and the Trainer, full of fun and antics.
TPF: Danielle, thank you again for sharing The Great Adventures of Nina Puppalina and Lizzy Lou with us. We look forward to reading more in the future. You can follow Danielle (and Nina Puppalina and Lizzy Lou) on Facebook and you can order her books here on Amazon.