A.B. JoAnne, at what point did your son’s imaginary friend, Bur Bur, come alive to you? I know as parents and teachers, stories unfold around us, all the time, yet you capitalized on yours. Please share when that moment came to you, and what advice can you give aspiring authors?
When William came home one day from daycare and started calling his imaginary friend Bur Bur, I loved the way it sounded. I was curious to find out where this name came from so I began asking his teachers, but no one had any answers. After realizing that this had not come from anything he had read or been exposed to at school, my initial thought was, perhaps Bur Bur could be an animal of some kind. I don’t know why, but one of my first thoughts was that perhaps he would be a bullfrog. I told Kakie about this new imaginary friend, and she also loved the words Bur Bur. Next, we started to do research to see if there was a book or product out there called Bur Bur. We didn’t find anything at all on Bur Bur. Shortly after that, I had come to the decision I was going to write a book about Bur Bur and I invited Kakie to join me. Then, one day, William turned around and said to me and said in a very matter of fact way, “I’m Bur Bur mommy.” Suddenly it all came together for, Bur Bur was William.
Advice I would give other authors:
Before giving birth to my son, I completed my masters in international management and worked as a stock broker. Once William was born, I decided to become a stay at home mom. As he grew older, I began to feel the need to do something, in addition to being a mom….something that would allow me to express my creativity. I had worked for a number of years in corporate America and my professional experience was also a part of me. I was use to the hustle and bustle of the business world, but did not know what to do.
I was referred to a life coach. I knew I did not want to go back into the corporate world, so I took some tests recommended by my coach. The results reflected I had an independent, entrepreneurial spirit. Through this experience, I came to the conclusion that although I loved being a mom, I longed for purpose in my life of a different kind
We began brainstorming ideas of where to start. My coach kept saying, “Follow your passion.” I was not sure what that meant. I mentioned to her I had always wanted to write a children’s book and she noticed a spark in my voice that she had not noticed with other businesses we discussed. This is how the concept started and was born. My suggestion to aspiring authors is to follow your passion. When you do that, it is easier to be creative, sell your idea and be happy with what you are doing.
A.B. Kakie, please share with readers what is on the horizon for Bur Bur and friends.
With the creation of our Bur Bur and Friends brand, our goal is to become a household name in the young children’s market. In addition to the book series, we also have a Bur Bur and Friends puzzle, tote bags, baseballs and hats. This fall we will be introducing our Bur Bur and Anna dolls, fun-lovable plush dolls for kids to play with. The fourth book in the series, Anna Goes Hiking™, will also be making its debut during fall 2007. Our long-term vision is to continuously grow the book series and ultimately expand Bur Bur and Friends into an animated series.
A.B. What is unique about the series.
This is the first series of its kind to introduce kids to sports, outdoor exploration and active play using a group of multicultural characters. The educational component at the end of our stories is also a unique addition to a child’s learning experience that allows them to interact with the story. Another interesting fact about the series is that our illustrator, Lindsay VanDeWeghe, is a self taught 20 year old college student who grew up in Minneapolis.