GENRE: Children's Books

Kathy Barnett Blomquist known as Grandma Krazy her grandchildren are responsible for giving her the name Grandma Krazy. As a teacher, foster parent, Cub Scout leader, and mother of nine. Kathy has always loved story time. She Was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and has lived in several states between California and Massachusetts. She currently lives in Laguna Niguel, California. Has fostered over 100 children and adopted two older children from foster care. She has been a Cub Scout leader for about 25 years and is a Silver Beaver recipient. Grandma Krazy loves watching children have so much fun they don't realize they are actually learning something.

JDBOOKS has the privilege of an interview with author Kathy Blomquist

Where do you live and is that the setting for your book?

The setting for the book is at home, any home where parents and kids live

together, with a big window to view what’s going on outside. It could be

anywhere the child imagines.

I presently live in Laguna Niguel, California. I have enjoyed living in several

different states across the country. Massachusetts was like living in a

history book. Everything really is bigger in Texas! Living in Southern

California is like living in a vacation. I love it here.

How did you come up with the premise for Bears, Bears Everywhere? Was it something that you experienced?

I noticed that like many kids today, my grandkids were reading and

speaking bigger words at very young ages. For example, my four year old

grandson called out to me the other day to be very careful because there

were three of the world’s most venomous spiders in a web.

Thinking of wide reading programs that encourage stretching vocabularies

of young readers, I decided to write a fun story, with fun words for my

grandkids and throw in some new vocabulary. As I thought about it I

decided to include a message to myself and my grown-up kids, or other

adults, that too much screen time is not just an issue for kids. How often

do we as parents or guardians find ourselves locked onto a screen and not

really paying attention to what a child is saying to us?

How did you come up with an amazing title?

The title is actually a line at the end of the book and it is fun to say. After

printing the first edition, I discovered that there were other books with the

same title. I should have checked that out first. I am not sure how you want

to handle this but I am actually in process of retitling and revising the book.

The new title will be The Big Bear Fair. It will include a few other changes

as well.

Your book is a children book. What drew you to the genre?

As a teacher, Cub Scout leader, Mother of nine, Foster mom to over 100,

Grandma to 14 and counting, I have always loved story time. The first place

I go to in a bookstore is the children’s section. I love books that have fun

with words like, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See,” (Bill Martin

Jr./Eric Carle) and “Quick as a Cricket,” (Audrey Wood). I also love books

with sweet messages like, “Joseph Had a Little Overcoat,” (Simms


Do you think writers need to feel strong emotions in order to write a children book?

If you want to write a children’s book with a social issue or message that

you want to convey, then I would think having some strong emotion behind

the message could be very helpful. The trick there would be to put those

emotions into words at a level where children can comprehend the

message and be entertained at the same time. A knowledge of the topic

and an awareness of the age characteristics of your targeted audience

would be very important.

In one of my blog pieces, I discuss how to approach writing a novel, but it is mainly targeted towards those who want to write fantasy novels. What advice would you give someone on how to approach writing a children’s book?

Read a lot of children’s books yourself. Know what works for children in

different age groups. Decide the purpose or message you want to convey

and try to make it fun enough that the kids don’t realize they are actually

learning something

Have any of the parts of the story in “Bears, Bears Everywhere” been influenced by TV or movie figures? If so,which one(s)?

If anything, I think Dr. Suess would be the one who influenced me. I have

always loved reading Dr. Suess books to kids. In fact, it was Doctor Suess

who taught me the word bureau when I was a teenager. I had never heard

or seen that word before. We called them dressers or chest of drawers

where I lived.

If you could give your younger self some advice about the writing process, what would it be?

So, if I had a DeLorean with a flux capacitor, what advice would I go back

and give myself about the writing process?

My situation may be different from most authors. I had written lots of skits

and stories for Cub Scouts and while teaching. But I never thought of

publishing. I wrote Bears, Bears Everywhere for my grandkids. It was

others who encouraged me to publish it. So, I did, without knowing what I

was doing.

My biggest mistake was to not educate myself first on what to do after

writing. After it was published I saw a few things that I wanted to change.

I should have gotten an editor that would help me see those things before


I would also tell myself to learn more about the different methods of

marketing and publishing. Some methods require a lot of learning and a lot

of time. Others you pay someone else for their time and knowledge.

These would have been good things to know beforehand.

So, my advice to myself would be to educate myself first, Publish second.

Then keep my eye out for a DeLorean with a flux capacitor.

What time do you usually start writing and what do you find

the hardest part of the writing process?

I wait for a quiet time. At my house, finding that quiet time is the hardest


How has writing changed you?

I have been a stay at home mom for many years now. That has enabled

me to not only be a mom to my kids but to be a foster mom to over 100

other kids. I am grateful for that. After adopting two daughters from foster

care I decided to stop fostering because I needed to put that time and

energy into those two kids and enjoy my grandkids. So, for the last few

years I didn’t have much of an answer when asked “What do you do?” I

could say I am just a mom, but no one is just a mom. Moms have to be

about everything there is out there. Nurse, therapist, chef, housekeeper,

personal shopper, personal trainer, garbage man, educator, engineer,

etc…. That takes too long. Now I can easily say, I am an author of

children’s books. I also love seeing kids smile as they read a book I wrote.

My hope is to make children smile long after I am gone.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

For fun, I do leather working. Nothing like pounding on leather to relieve

frustration! Then in the end you have created something useful.

I enjoy turning peoples’ photos into a movie about their life.

I am also a Cubmaster and Den leader for Pack 777.

Most of my time is spent being mom and Grandma Krazy because I have 3

kids. 3 grandkids, 1 husband and two young adults who call me mom, all

currently living with me, and I can’t leave out my four cats!