Saturday, December 16, 2017

Author Interview with Laura Ann Smith-McFarland

We're excited to interview Laura Ann Smith-McFarland and find out the story behind Eggbert, the talking egg. Without further ado, take it away, Laura! 
(read our review of the book)
What inspired you to write Eggbert’s Christmas on the Farm?

Eggbert has always had a great local following in the Hudson Valley, New York, since the early 1970’s, but many wondered how did Eggbert come about. What was the story behind Eggbert? When Eggbert came out of retirement in 2011, it was evident that he was sorely missed and visitors still posed this question. Flash forward a few years later, the owners of Devitt’s approach me to write the first book about Eggbert knowing my love of Eggbert and writing. I presented an idea for the story and the rest is history!

In Eggbert’s Christmas on the Farm, Zoe wrote a letter to Santa. What would you like to ask Santa for this year?

My husband, Joe, and I bought our first house this year after a decade of apartment living. Our home was built in 1890 and is super sweet and charming, truly our dream home, but needed a lot more TLC than expected. Though we have accomplished a lot in our fixer upper, we have a ways to go! My wish is for Santa to send his talented elves to help and spread his magic on our new home.

Zoe was excited to meet Eggbert. Do you remember your first time meeting him?

Eggbert played a very big part in my childhood. My parents would often take my brother, Michael, and I to visit him throughout the holiday season. I have to admit for a few years I was quite afraid of him, but realized how silly I was being and grew to love him. After all, he has a direct connection to Santa! :-)

You worked with illustrator, Patty Deyo on Eggbert’s Christmas on the Farm. What was the process like?

Patty is an incredible artist and person. We both grew up with Eggbert, so it was a seamless partnership. I roughly sketched out pages/storyboards along with my words and she sprinkled her magic and talent all over the pages of Eggbert’s Christmas on the Farm! We made a few revisions here and there to get it just right. We are so happy to tell the story of Eggbert!

What are some of your favorite books from childhood? Were there any specific authors who inspired you?

I have always had a love of words - spelling, grammar and synonyms! There wasn’t one specific book or author that I favored, but I loved to read various Golden Books, Disney stories, biographies, poetry, prayers and even encyclopedias! I have always been a dreamer. My father was a big influence for my love of writing. He taught me my ABCs, studied for spelling tests with me, published numerous articles and publications throughout his career and even self-published his own book as well. I definitely caught the writing bug from my Dad!

If you could live anyplace real or fictional, where would it be? Why?

I have two ideal places to live, but they are total opposites! I can easily picture myself living on a beach, leading the perfect island life in the Caribbean, but I am also a true New Yorker. I LOVE NEW YORK CITY! It is the greatest city in the world! I love all the wonderful places, people, museums, restaurants and things to do in NYC! Every season is perfect in New York.

Where do you like to write? Do you listen to music while you are writing?

I enjoy writing at home. Whether it is at my desk feverishly typing in silence or the days where I crank some Taylor Swift, Gwen Stefani, Enrique Iglesias, or 80s music to get me going or even curled up on my couch -- I feel inspired!

Are you currently working on a book? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?

Currently, I do not have a book in the works. I have outlines for a couple specific book ideas, but life and a house has taken over my mind! I am hoping to get back into the swing of things later this winter with a blog about the adventures of our new/fixer upper home. 

Where can we buy your books or learn more about them?

Eggbert’s Christmas on the Farm can be purchased through Devitt’s Nursery & Supply. Please send an email inquiry to: Attention Candace. 

Additionally, I am happy to answer any questions and appreciate any feedback anyone might have. Thank you!

Enter the giveaway for a signed copy of Eggbert's Christmas on the Farm, plus a festive Eggbert ornament. Good luck!

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Friday, December 15, 2017

Margo's Musings: Eggbert's Christmas at the Farm

I just found out where my parents are going to take us this weekend, and it all stems from a book Margo found at pre-school. Eggbert’s Christmas at the Farm by Laura Ann Smith McFarland is a children’s picture book about an attraction at Devitt’s Farm in Hudson Valley, New York. 

This fun holiday story has Zoe visiting the farm for the first time. She has an ornament of Eggbert with her, which her mom got when she was a little girl. After all that Zoe has heard about Eggbert, she's excited and nervous to meet him. Readers go through a tour of Devitt’s Farm and we get to see the animals and d├ęcor that make this a memorable holiday stop. Family traditions are important, and they’re something you can look forward to every year. I think after my family visits and my sister gets to experience the magic of Eggbert, this is a local farm that we’ll be visiting for many years to come!

I enjoyed this book! I had a blast reading it to Margo, and we both loved looking at all the details in the pictures. I'm definitely curious about Eggbert. In the book he talks, and I'm not sure if he talks in real life too- but I am curious to find out. Margo has been walking around, calling out, “Eggbert!” so I think she is ready to meet him. Plus, we both love farm animals, so it't sure to be a highlight of our holiday season.

Have any of you read Eggbert’s Christmas at the Farm? Have you visited Devitt’s Farm in New Windsor, New York and met Eggbert in person? Do you have a special holiday tradition that you make sure to do each year? 

Stop by this Saturday for an interview with the author, Laura Ann Smith. We'll also be hosting a fabulous holiday giveaway for an autographed copy of Eggbert’s Christmas on the Farm, along with a classic Eggbert ornament. ; )

Happy reading!

~ F

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Answer to Monday's Riddle: Farm Fresh!

Excellent guessing, Riddlers! This week, we'll be heading to the farm. Tune in Friday for Margo's Musings, children's book review to find out how the answer ties in to the story! See you all around the book block. ; ) ~ F

A cultivated swath of land, created by mind and hand. From the ground things shall grow, tended by those who know. Wilderness beyond a fence, much was learned by common sense. A country side cloaks the hills; rolling landscapes, barns, and mills. 

What am I referring to? Answer: Farm!

Make time to riddle and rhyme!

62 original riddles and illustrations
Available in all e-book formats

Get wrapped up in the mystery!