Sybrina Durant is the author of Learn To Tie A Tie With The Rabbit And The Fox.
I wrote a book review for her and she was happy to provide me with an interview.
When and why did you begin writing?
I first began thinking of writing before I could actually spell. There was always something in me urging me to make up stories. My first writings were poetry and song lyrics. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s before I started working on my first book.
What inspired you to write your first book?
On a whim, I joined a writer’s club in Pasadena, Texas. I listened to all of the great stories being written by the other participants and decided to try my hand at it.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I don’t really believe I have a specific writing style. My writings cover a pretty broad spectrum from science fiction/fantasy to reality based books.
How did you come up with the title?
The title for “Learn To Tie A Tie With The Rabbit And The Fox” is pretty self-explanatory. I wanted potential readers to know exactly what they were going to get with the book.
How much of the book is realistic?
The book is pretty realistic. Rabbits get chased by foxes through the forest. And people use stories or mnemonics (word associations) to remember directions. The boy in the instructional portion of the book is remembering a story told to him in the past as he goes through the motions of tying a necktie.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I learned this method of tying a tie when I was a very young mother. My children and I were purchasing a tie for my husband, for his first “white collar” job interview. I mentioned to the salesman that he didn’t know how to tie a tie and asked if he would give me a lesson. He whipped the tie around his neck and proceeded to tell us the story of the rabbit and the fox. It was pretty amusing because he was already wearing a suit and tie. The visuals of story were so potent that my children were able to tell it to their dad when they got home. It always stuck with me so 20 years later, I decided it was finally time to put it in storybook form to share with others.
What books have most influenced your life most?
The books that have influenced me most were books by Tolkien and Piers Anthony. Both took place in other worlds, creations of incredible minds. I loved the majesty and adventure. I loved the fact that a person could invent entire civilizations and landscapes. That’s the kind of book I want to finish writing some day.
What are your current projects?
I’m currently working on “Learn To Knot A Neck Scarf With The Rabbit And The Fox”. This book will be more appealing to girls with watercolor shades, rather than the primary colors of the boy’s book. It will feature a clever girl tying her scarf in the “Necktie Knot” as she remembers the mnemonic of the rabbit and the fox.
Do you see writing as a career?
Writing is something I will always do. If it should actually become a career, I’ll be thrilled. If it doesn’t then I’m fine with the knowledge that I live in an age where I can still share my writings with thousands, if not millions of potential readers.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I think my interest in writing originated from my interest in reading. I’ve read thousands of books and a little piece of each one has contributed to my personality and outlook on life. I think it’s natural to want to write after reading so much.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The most challenging aspect of writing a picture book is that I was not born with any talent as an artist. Finding the perfect person to make my vision come to life was not easy.
Who designed the cover?
I designed the cover and all of the pictures in the book but I simply could not draw them. After searching the world wide web and interviewing about 100 artists, I finally found Donna Marie Naval, from the Philippines. I described how I wanted the pictures to look and she breathed life into my initial vision. She illustrated this book for me and is working on “Learn To Knot A Neck Scarf With The Rabbit And The Fox”, too. She is extremely talented and a joy to work with. I am very fortunate to have found her.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that we live in the most amazing time. Anything you want to learn about is available to you on the internet. You just have to spend a little time researching and reading about all your options.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you have a book in you, get it into some kind of printed format. Then, put it out into the world to share with others. There are so many options available to you for publishing and marketing and promoting your book that never were before. Just 10 years ago, the only real options writers had were to try to interest the major publishing companies, agents or bookstores. Now, the world is literally your stage, so jump out there onto it. Don’t wait for the “right time”.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to my readers?
Thank you to all lovers of books. Where would we writers be without you?
I hope my readers enjoyed the interview as much as I enjoyed communicating with Sybrina Durant and reading her book.
Jennifer Andrew, freelance writer and book reviewer