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
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
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
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!