Monday, March 26, 2012

Mommy Monday: Meet Eric VanRaepenbusch

It's spring break here in the Paul household, which means time with the kiddos, seasonal changes, and new arrivals.

In the spirit of all of these things, my Mommy Monday is following suit.  I spent some time with the kiddos over the weekend checking out two new apps.  Then I decided, with a seasonal change, that today's Mommy Monday will actually be a Daddy day--featuring author Eric VanRaepenbusch, who just welcomed the new arrival of his first two iBooks for kids...AND (drum roll) his lovely new baby, Kate!

About Eric's New Arrivals:  While his new baby girl really takes the cake in terms of cuteness, his digital iPad stories come close.  The first one, Three Ghost Friends - Learn About Colors was an instant hit with my just-turned-three-year-old (who took over the iPad and delayed my games of Words with Friends).  What's really fun about this iBook is the fact that it's got some unexpected surprises, and young children won't instantly understand everything the first it's a book that will get read over and over, and truly has learning potential. The second book, Three Ghost Friends - Learn About Opposites, was just as simple as the first.  But an image of ghosts eating pizza is, apparently, hilarious to kids and keeps attention perfectly!

About Eric VanRaepenbusch (yes, he takes second to his books and babies): Eric is a stay-at-home dad of four children, a blogger (Happy Birthday, Author), and a self-proclaimed read-aloud extraordinaire. 

Miranda:  Thanks for agreeing to interview, Eric.  You're one busy daddy these days with kiddo #5 in tow!  So, let's talk about colors since your first Three Ghost Friends iBook is about colors.  How did you learn about colors?

Eric: Colors were a breeze.  Learning to spell my last name was problematic.

Miranda:  Too funny.  I guess I don't have that problem (and my maiden name was just as easy). It seems pretty interesting that a book about three white ghosts becomes a book about colors.  Where did your idea come from?

Eric: My 1 year old son loves ghosts. He frequently asks me to draw them for him — happy ghosts, sad ghosts, nice ghosts, mean ghosts.  One day I was fumbling into the house after celebrating Kate McMullan’s birthday at my oldest son’s preschool.  I got my 1 year old son into the house.  Then, I was  bringing in all the materials from the lesson when the markers, paper, glue bottles, and scissors spilled all over the floor. He saw the markers and the paper and asked me to draw ghosts.  Instead of getting mad about the mess, I started drawing ghosts using the markers that fell on the floor. This got me thinking about colored ghosts.

Miranda:  So you're not scared of ghosts?

Eric: Ghosts, not so much.  Monsters and aliens... A little bit!  Zombies though, freak me out!

Miranda: You self-published this book for the iBookstore.  I know a lot of Moms and Dads who want to do that.  Can you tell us about the process, and what you wished another author would have told you first? 

Eric: I used iDraw on my Mac to make the illustrations. Then, those illustrations were imported into Book Creator on my iPad.  Book Creator is where the pages were arranged and text is added.  Meanwhile, I set up an account to publish the book with Apple, which was very simple. Then, I needed to purchase an ISBN number for my book, which is required by Apple.  I chose to buy 10 numbers for $250 which was better than paying over $100 for just one number.   Once the book was finished, I sent the .epub file that is generated by Book Creator to Apple for approval.  My first book took over two months to get published, but was hung up with a technical error on my part. 

Miranda:  Sounds like a process!  Now let's pretend that parenting and writing kids' books didn't suck all of your time.  In this ideal world, how would you spend your time (i.e. what else are your hobbies or ventures)?  

Eric: I always have to feel productive.  I also like to try new things.  And being outside is important.  You put all those things together and you get something like beekeeping.  I am trying it for the first time this Spring.  

Miranda:  Oooh!  Send me some honey if you do!  And you are one of the busiest bloggers I know - tell us more about your birthday blog?

Eric: Happy Birthday Author is a blog I started over two years.  My children and I celebrate the birthdays of children’s authors and illustrators.  We read as many books as we can find for an author and then do an activity based on the books together.  I put these experiences, along with a little information about the author, into each post.  We have celebrated over 130 children’s authors and illustrator birthdays.  I have even received over 50 birthday memories from the authors and illustrators too! 
Miranda:  So...when is YOUR birthday? And who gives you shout-outs?
Eric: My birthday is March 29th! This year we will be celebrating my birthday on my blog! My friend Colleen Kessler, a fellow 12 x 12er, has volunteered to guest post on my birthday which should be fun.
Miranda:  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AUTHOR!!! What a timely interview.  Wouldn't it be a nice birthday present if we all bought them?  Where can we get your books?
Eric:  Three Ghost Friends: Learn About Colors is available for iPad, iPhone, iPodTouch at the iBookstore  --

On Wednesday Night, my second book Three Ghost Friends: Learn About Opposites became available --

Miranda:  Great!  And where can we stalk you?

Miranda:  Thank you so much for stopping by!  Congrats on all the new arrivals.  I'm sure this is going to be a great spring for you, Author Dad!
Comments are open!  And don't forget to stop by on Wednesday when Ruth Tenzer-Feldman, author of the newly released YA novel BLUE THREAD is here for Worldly Wednesday on the blog!


Joanna said...

Yay, loved this interview with one of my favorite bloggers!

Dana Carey said...

Good luck with your iBooks and babies and bees, Eric!
Thanks for the interview, Miranda & Eric.

Eric VanRaepenbusch said...

Thank you Miranda for the featuring Three Ghost Friends. It is an amazing feeling have my books featured on your blog. I will remember this for a long time!

Also, Thanks Joanna and Dana! Thanks for reading the interview!

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Wow! You are busy! (as a bee? :)) Congrats on all your new arrivals - so exciting! - and happy birthday a couple days early. I love you blog - such a great idea! Thanks for a great interview, Miranda and Eric!

Renee LaTulippe said...

Yay, it's Eric, one of my favorite bloggers ever! Happy early bday, but I'll be stopping by HBA on the real day, too. I don't have any fancy devices to see these books, but they sound adorable. I'd love to see some screen shots, though - perhaps you can include some on your bday post? :) Thanks for the interview, you two!

Kirsten Larson said...

Congrats again, Eric, on new baby Kate and your first published book. And happy early birthday too.

Penny Parker Klostermann said...

Great interview, Miranda and Eric. It was great hearing about your iPad books. Have a very Happy Birthday!

Tina Cho said...

Wonderful interview, Eric and Miranda! It was interesting to learn about your process of creating these apps, Eric! Congrats again on your new baby and these apps! What a busy daddy you are!

Julie Rowan-Zoch said...

Ooooo, very interesting and inspiring! Eric, I like how your mind works, getting creative is not a task for you - it flows like a river! Best of luck but no early B-day greetings from me - a big no-no where I spent a good chunk of my adult life! Which is probably close to wherever your big last name came from!

Ali B said...

Great interview! Our SCBWI regional chapter just had a wonderful presentation on apps, children's books, and how they are combining with spectacular results.

Unknown said...

Many congrats Eric! Such wonderful news you have to share, becoming a father once again, your two books, and your successful blog!

Thanks for sharing the process it took to get your book published. Very interesting to learn about.

Happy Birthday Eric!!

Eric VanRaepenbusch said...

Thanks everyone for your support! Thank you for the early birthday wishes!

@Renee -- Great idea for screen shots -- I will try to include some.

Cathy Mealey said...

Terrific interview Eric and Miranda!

Really enjoyed learning about the iBook creations and I like the idea of featuring some screenshots on HBA. said...

I knew you had a new one but I didn't know you had four more, yikes you're busy. Your ghosts books sound a hooooot. I have a playbook, a brand new samsung galaxy S2 but none of the i-phones you list. What a shame. Terrific interview and all the best!

Julie Hedlund said...

Another great interview with Eric! :-)

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