Monday, October 8, 2012

Interview with Children’s Author Gail Westover

Gail Westover has a little secret. Today the secret will be revealed. Gail is author Tika Newman. For the past seven years, she’s hidden under this name. You see, Gail is an online Backgammon Tourney Director for GammonSite. She’s been hosting tourneys for almost nine years. Everyone knows her as Tika, so writing under that name seemed the logical thing to do. Gail is also the owner and operator of Thistlewood Publishing, since its conception in 2008. She is the author of The Eyes of Innocence series and a historical novel called For the Love of Anne.

Welcome back to my blog, Gail. You are the author of the popular series The Eyes of Innocence, which is about a girl growing up with psychic abilities and the power to heal. I read it and was very impressed with the story. You have now turned to children’s books. Please tell us about your books.

Thank you so much, Linda. I’m happy to be invited back. As grandmother to two large, and five little ones, they’ve reminded me of some things that we tend to forget as we grow older and adult things get in the way. One is to laugh with joy and wild abandon. I’ve also relearned to notice the small things, like a butterfly flitting across my yard and landing on one of my flowers. I appreciate the squeal of laughter as the kids go barreling down a slide or jump into the lake. Basically, they’ve taught me not only how to love them with every fiber of my being, but also to enjoy my life again. Yes, I still work seven days a week, but it’s more fun now.

Mrs. Mouse’s Garden Party in Giggleswick Village is the first book of the Giggleswick Village series. The book teaches children that it’s ok to be themselves and to make the best out of a plan that goes wrong. Each book will teach life’s early lessons. The next book will be about bullying.

If Horses Had Feathers and Pigs Could Fly sounds silly, and that’s a good thing, because the entire book is silly. Kids laugh as they learn to use their imagination, when they read about the horse that has wings, the duck that flies upside down, and the little boy who is on the ground squinting his eyes at them. It’s a wonderful “feel good book” and is perfect for bedtime because it leaves them with happy thoughts that will encourage pleasant dreams.

Compared to novels, I assume Children’s stories are simple. Is this true?

If you write only novels, you would think that statement is correct, but it is not. The stories may be short, but we have at least eighteen months in the first Giggleswick Village book.

What kind of research did you have to do?

As of yet, I have not had a whole lot of research, but that will change with the bullying book. I did search online for a silly name. Giggleswick Village is a real place in North Yorkshire, England. The minute I saw the name, I knew it was perfect. The illustrations were hand drawn by a very talented woman in New Zealand. Coordinating and designing the characters took a very long time because the characters in this first book will probably be in every Giggleswick book to come. We had to keep merchandising in mind, as well as coloring books, puzzles, and some other things. The other difficult thing was that the mouse is modeled after my real life best friend, who really is a nurse, loves the color pink, is incredibly polite, kind to everyone, etc. The animal characters? They’re all my grandchildren. 

Thanks to these two children’s books, Thistlewood Publishing had its best month ever. I couldn’t be more pleased. 

Congratulations! That’s wonderful. And I really love the name Giggleswick. By the way, I love it when authors add real life situations to their stories. Do you ever put real experiences in your books?

I haven’t done it yet in the children’s books, but in The Eyes of Innocence series, yes. The deer in the woods, the snapping turtle, and some other things were true life experiences.

Thank you, Gail, for this fun interview. Your books sound fascinating. To learn more about these books, visit However, if you want Gail’s autograph, you must order your book from her website.


Shirley said...

I will be eager to get the first Giggleswick (what a delightful word!) book for my grown son, about to be a father, whose joy and laughter while growing up was so refreshing to me, a working mother who was often just tired.

Anonymous said...

If Horses had Feathers sounds like one my 4 year old would find very silly!
Melanieinoh2003 at

apple blossom said...

both of these books sound absolutely wonderful. thanks for posting about them and a chance to win a copy. I don't know which on I'd choose hard decision....hum.....Giggleswick maybe

Anonymous said...

Oh to the joy of reading to children. To the blessing of writing for them, you must love that!! I have three and reading is what we do. Bookshelves can be made from many things! Your review or snipit of your two book excited me!!! What a wonderful gift. Thank you for offering it to the public. Thank you linda for Hosting. I would be blessed and honored to win these books - Keep writing. ~Jenn

Donna said...

The Giggleswick Series sounds like a story that all ages can benefit from and enjoy. I look forward to reading them; and the artwork is delightful!

Lisa And Randy said...

Both of these books sound wonderful. I love to collect children's books. Both of my girls have enjoyed my collection, and now I'm looking forward to sharing good books with future grandchildren. Thanks for the contest, Linda. My email is:

chirth7 said...

Hi Linda and Welcome Gail!
I'd be thrilled to win either book.
But Mrs. Mouse’s Garden Party in Giggleswick Village is so fitting for my nephew. He's struggling in kindergarten and has a lot of problems due to ADHD and other things. He's different than his classmates and this book to teach him not to feel bad about who he is and the second book about bully will be really good for him too. Sounds like a wonderful series. I look forward to the rest of the books already.

The Book If Horses had Feathers would be great bedtime reading too. Something to end a rough day with.

I really appreciate the opportunity to win either book. Thanks for writing them. Hugs, Christine

Linda Kish said...

These books look so cute. Either would be terrific.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Shadowwolf said...

I would love to win one of these books for my girls!

Diana Broadhead said...

To notice a butterfly flitting across my yard and landing on one of my flowers is something I've learned from my children. We need to appreciate the wonders around us. These books sound wonderful. I would love to be entered for both books. I have 2 young children, 2 years and 6 years, and I know they would love these books. Thanks.

dianacb98 (at) gmail (dot) com

George A. said...

The squeal of laughter is what I can relate to. I have a couple grandchildren that have a very high squeal. I would love to enter this contest so I could read these books to my grandkids. I will also review these books on Goodreads and Barnes and Noble. These books sounds great.

George -

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Congratulations, Christine! You're the winner of this awesome book.