Hello and welcome!
My guest is one of my fave authors, we chatted before and I also chatted with one of her heroine, Ilona from The Ancestors’ Secrets Trilogy. If you missed these chats, you can read them here and here. I invited her to give us an update on what is new.
Please welcome back, Erika M. Szabo!
Thanks for inviting me back for another chat.
For those of you who don’t know my work, I write speculative alternate history fiction, romantic urban fantasy, historical suspense novels as well as fun, educational, and bilingual books for children ages 2-14 about acceptance, friendship, family, and moral values such as accepting people with disabilities, dealing with bullies, and not judging others before getting to know them. I also like to encourage children to use their imagination and daydream about fantasy worlds.
Why children’s books?
As a young child, I truly hated the “And they lived happily ever after” stories. The beautiful, dumb and helpless princess waited for the handsome, brave prince who rescued her, and they lived happily ever after. I asked my mom, “Why can’t the princess kick the dragon’s butt? Why is she laying there waiting for the prince? Isn’t she smart and strong enough to get away?“
My mom shook her head and said, “This is the way it is. The prince rescues the princess, and that’s that.“
Mom loved dressing me up in pretty dresses and kind of parade me in church. Gosh, I hated those bows she put in my hair and I could hardly wait to get home and get out of the itchy, uncomfortable dress and put my faded, ripped jeans on. My dad, maybe because he wanted a boy, encouraged me to get dirty while I helped him to fix the car, hammer nails when we fixed the fence, or dig a hole to plant trees. He also taught me how to defend myself against bullies and stand up for myself and express my opinion. “You’re a person,” he always said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a girl or a boy, you’re a person.”
Later on when I was a teenager, most of the stories written for kids were about brave and smart boys who met and helped pretty girls and puppy love developed between them. I was so happy to find children’s books as an adult that were about smart girls who can stand up for themselves and don’t need a boy’s help when they’re in trouble. I also found some books that were about girls and boys as equally smart, inventive and brave. These stories told children that it’s okay for boys to cry and show compassion. It’s okay for girls to be themselves in ripped and dirty jeans playing soccer, and they don’t always have to look pretty in ruffled dresses and be quiet and submissive as society expects them to be.
Where do you get inspiration from?
From childhood memories such as when the old spinster in my neighborhood tried to drown kittens in the river and my friend and I rescued the kittens.
When a group of kids pointed and laughed at a little girl who was sitting in the wheelchair, struggling to turn onto the ramp at the museum entrance.
When I saw a sister and brother bickering, calling each other names and ready to tear each other’s hair out at the beach. But, when the little girl fell and hit her knee on a rock, all the bickering was forgotten in an instant. The boy hugged his sister and carried her to the blanket where their mother was reading.
Here are a few of my published children’s books that are close to my heart.
Illustrated storybook for children 4-12
When Bianca, Daniel, and Peanut, the St. Bernard, are confronted by Mark and his cronies, the children stand up to the brute bullies with the help of Peanut. Their adventure continues when they see a woman throwing four tiny, meowing kittens into the river. Can the children save the drowning kittens? Find out what happens to the momma cat and her kittens.
This book is precious to me not only because it’s a true story but because little Johnny never found out what happened to the kittens.
As a young nurse, I worked in the pediatric unit for a short while. Johnny was a nine-year-old cute as a button little boy who had leukemia and loved the childhood memory I told him about. I never had a chance to tell him the end of the story. There were only a few minutes left to tell him how Daniel and I dealt with the neighborhood bullies, but when I entered little Johnny’s room the next morning, his bed was empty.
Read the story of little Johnny HERE
I wrote this Heroic fantasy for children 6-14 with my coauthor, Joe Bonadonna.
“Szabo and Bonadonna make a great pair. Their Creepy Hollow Adventures is a perfect starting point for young children making the leap from “kids’ books” to “novels.”
~ S E Lindberg
The ghosts of the Trinity of Wishmothers are trapped. The children offer their help, so the talking skeleton takes them on a journey to the realm of Creepy Hollow. Righteous motivations drive Jack and Nikki: to protect the weak, confront evil, conquer their fears, and gain courage. In the battle against Evila and her minions they grow into the warriors they were destined to become.
I wrote this bilingual book because I know first hand the struggle of learning a new language and the frustration when people don’t know enough to express themselves.
In this bilingual story for ages 4-12, Pico, the parrot, is sad and frustrated. He screeches and squawks all day but because he speaks Spanish, nobody understands him. His story teaches children acceptance, compassion, and helping others.
Sarah, Emma’s mom, promised to bird-sit Pico for two weeks but soon regrets her decision because the noisy parrot keeps screeching and squawking all day, annoying her family and the neighbors. When Pico makes a mess of Emma’s room, Emma gets very angry, but her friends help her. Charlotte notices that Pico seems sad, and Pedro finds out why Pico is shrieking so loudly all the time. The parrot is frustrated because nobody pays attention to him, and nobody understands what he wants.
Find more books on my website
GOLDEN BOX Book Publishing
In addition to writing books, Ms. Szabo does a whole range of author services, including book cover design, formatting of ebooks, editing, illustrations, book promotions and many more.
To contact Ms. Szabo, keep up with her books, or say hello, here are some links:
To start you on your reading journey, Ms. Szabo is giving away ebook copies of Rainbow and Clouds. 5 winners chosen by Sexy Mr. Random will be announced after 3pm EST, on Monday, January 14, 2019. GOOD LUCK!