‘Author Showcase’ Featured Genre for June ‘Children’s Books’ Featured author Maretha Botha.

Hello and welcome to Author Showcase! I will be featuring different authors & genres each month. I interview each author, and showcase their featured work.

WHY? Simply because I enjoy supporting other Indie Authors every chance I get.

This Month, “Children’s Books” are being featured.

Please welcome my guest, Maretha Botha.

AUTHOR SHOWCASE CARD MARETHA BOTHA

MEET AUTHOR MARETHA BOTHA.

Maretha Botha 2013

AUTHOR BIO

Proud grandmother, happily married for 37 years, retired librarian who writes and illustrates children’s books most suited to readers between 9-13 years; confirmed bookworm, chocoholic and unapologetic coffee drinker, keen gardener and bird watcher, who occasionally walks on the moors, joints permitting.

INTERVIEW WITH MARETHA BOTHA

1.     What motivated you to write books for children?

This is a difficult question with no quick answer, but I like to see children happy. When I read to them, their imagination often takes flight.  The why’s, how’s and what happens next, make for lively discussions, building more stories. I experienced this with my niece and nephew, and then my own children, as well as at work, having planned reading activities at the school library.

Then too, I carried a lot of stories around in my head, but only after my post as librarian was localised, did I find the time to gather these thoughts together into proper stories.

2.     Most children’s books are written to impart life’s lessons to children. Was this your goal?

No, I seldom consider a specific life’s lesson when writing anything for children, but often the character’s choice or actions highlight an important lesson.  For example, the working-dog hero in “Flame and Hope” forgets his promise to open the red gate for the goats.  He learns a valuable, but painful lesson when a stubborn old goat picks him up with his horns and throws him down on the “WELCOME” rug.  Early the next morning, he apologises for barking rudely at an older animal and remembers that, “A PROMISE IS A PROMISE”, no matter what – restoring peace in Fauna Park.

3.     What life’s lessons does your work contain?

Apart from the one above, Fauna Park Tales is about living in peace – rescued animals and birds who would not normally be together, live up to their promise to protect helpless or vulnerable ones, often doing so at their own risk.  Many of the stories are based on fact – martial eagles’ fledglings removed from their nest, or large birds flying into moving trains at night, how drought effects the lives of everyone living on the savannah – yet both animals, birds and humans learn how to protect the environment, caring for each other – and they always have hope for the next day as their first little motto assures us.

‘HOPE REMAINS ALIVE AND KEEPS OUR FEARS AT BAY.

‘LET’S KEEP OUR HOPE ALIVE FOR MANY A DAY,

‘WHILE IN THE DARKEST NIGHT, OUR HOPE WILL LEAD THE WAY.

4.     What was for you the most challenging part of writing for children?

Writing a “true” story within the imaginative world which I created, doing so in language which is clear and understandable, age appropriate, yet enough to still be a challenge – not talking down to them – think of Beatrice Potter describing Squirrel Nutkin as “impertinent”.  So, I don’t mind occasionally using words like, ‘Are you a pachyderm?” The word has a nice memorable ring to it as does “conspicuous”, but the challenge is to explain it via the text without changing the story into a grammar lesson.

5.     All authors are aware of the need for reviews, yet I imagine an author of books written for children would face an even more challenging time, simply because these are children.  Have you found it challenging?

Yes, it has not been easy to persuade adults to write reviews for children’s books.  Then too, the way an adult looks at a children’s book might be quite different to how children would view the story.  When I review a children’s book, which is more difficult than you might imagine, I always get input from my grandchildren and based on their views, I’ve often changed my review to rather highlight their thoughts and ratings.  However, I mention that I read and discussed the story with them.

6.     Are you currently working on anything new?

Yes and no.  I’m writing the follow-up to book 4 – “Trails and Trials: An African Adventure” which is called, “The Bird Mission”.  This will probably tie up everything for the whole of the series, but I might keep the backdoor open and let the villainous poacher, Tall Leader escape . . .

Then too, I’m involved via my blog, researching and writing short stories about small, often lesser-known, wild animals and birds in Southern Africa – especially those who are on the threatened and/or endangered list.  I intend to compile an anthology of about twelve short stories when everything is written after a year – definitely a long-term project with illustrations.

TRAILS AND TRIALS: An AFRICAN ADVENTURE (book 4) in Fauna Park Tales Series –

Category: Children’s books>Action and Adventure>Survival Stories (ages 9-13 with illustrations). On pre-order till 18th July 2017

 

Book Blurb:

Four trails – one destination – the waterhole closest to the best place to cross the Tukani River into a neighbouring country. This adventure takes Flame and his furry friends on a thrilling, dangerous quest, but they always have hope. Were it not for the help of a meerkat clan, a gripe of sandgrouse and other feathered friends such as Mars, a martial eagle and Vera, an eagle owl, their trail might have had a different outcome. This fast-paced adventure takes place for one week and is told from four different viewpoints, because friends as well as foes race to get to the waterhole, and in striving to do so, experience their own personal adversities and trials.

These illustrated adventure stories will provide endless hours of reading pleasure to better readers who also enjoy seeing some illustrations of the characters, increasing overall reading pleasure. Book Three and Four should ideally be read in sequence and are most suited to readers 9-13 (Middle Grade), but younger listeners will enjoy being read to just as much.

·        Book 3.  The Orphans’ Plight: An African Adventure Purchase ‘The ORPHANS’ PLIGHT’ On Amazon– Category children’s books>Science, Nature & How it works>Nature>Environment and Animals>Birds This book is discounted to 99p to be bought and read before book 4.

BOOK COVER ORPHANS PLIGHT

·

Book Blurb:

Bad humans are disturbing the peace in Molodi valley, and two small orphans are in danger. One of them, Larita, speaks the bush creatures’ language – Faunalang – a rare and wonderful talent that they want to use. Alone in the desert, who will help them? Young and old will enjoy reading about the furry and feathered friends’ latest thrilling adventures, when Molodi’s bush creatures meet friends and foes in their quest to stick to The Promise to protect helpless ones in Fauna Park. Plump-Grump, the stubborn goat, and his harem do their bit, but what will happen at the farm while Flame and his friends are on a dangerous mission? His Handsomeness, King Rat returns, but is he a friend or foe?

REVIEW:Of The Orphans’ Plight.

Furry and Feathered Friends – Delightful!

5.0 out of 5 stars Furry and Feathered Friends – Delightful! 19 Feb. 2017

By Gracie Bradford, Author on February 18, 2017

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

The illustrations are different than you see in most children books but effective and very well done. This story is suitable for all ages but primarily written for elementary school age children. Looking forward to book 4 of the series.
Pets take on humans. A delightful story of furry and feathered animals who listen to the strange conversations of people. Everyone, people as well as the furry and feathered friends, join in the search to find the orphans. I haven’t read book 1 and 2 yet but book 3 is definitely a good read.

AUTHOR LINKS:

Flame and Hope on FACEBOOK U.K
The Author on FACEBOOK

https://marethabotha2013.com

The Author on TWITTER

Thank you for joining me here and meeting my featured author today.

My featured Genre for JULY will be, Mystery/Thriller/Suspense. Are you interested in being featured here in July? Send me an email at Email link

Please include links to the book you would like featured. I will respond with the details of your author interview and other requirements. Each Showcase will run for one month. Beginning the 12th of each month.

 

 

 

 

Welcome and say, Hi, to Children’s book author; Maretha M Botha. A marvelous collection to add to your Christmas or any other list for the younger folks.

rrbc-pay-it-foward-cover-fauna-park-tales-maretha-mothaLet’s learn a little more about Maretha and her amazing collection of Children’s Books.

maretha-m-botha

Maretha Botha – Librarian, Children’s author/illustrator and self-confessed bookworm, chocolate and black coffee addict, animal and bird lover, occasional gardener and hiker on the moors. Her children’s (9-12) series of illustrated books called, “FAUNA PARK TALES” is based on “African Adventures of Flame, Family, Furry and Feathered Friends” a September 2013 GOLD MEDAL WINNER on Authonomy, a HarperCollins writers’ website.

The first three books of “Fauna Park Tales: An African Adventure” are available as eBooks and black/white illustrated paperbacks.
A 210 page, Gold Band DELUXE COLOUR ILLUSTRATED EDITION – “Tales from Fauna Park, An African Adventure: Flame and Hope” is available and will also be enjoyed by better readers (9-12) who still like seeing illustrations

What Maretha has to say about writing books for children.

http://myBook.to/ flameandhope

Even though there are many challenges as far as writing a book is concerned, one somehow gets beyond the difficulties of that first manuscript.  Then, once it has been edited, re-edited and formatted to perfection, it finally goes live on Amazon with accompanying congratulations and of course, cracking a bottle of Fifth Avenue Cold Duck, or whatever one prefers.  Inevitably, the bubbles disappear and then the reality sets in: marketing, maintaining an author platform and much more.  I realise now just how difficult it is for children’s authors to obtain reviews on Amazon. They have the extra bits, the extra rocks, or . . . extra mountains as obstacles in their quest to get reviews.

You might ask, What is she talking about?

I’m talking about the fact that the very ones we write for cannot tell us directly how they feel. They can only do so via their parents, grandparents, older siblings, carers or teachers – the adults in their lives – mostly busy with life’s ups and downs. Therefore, finding time to write a review on behalf of their children, becomes more challenging whichever way one looks at it. So what are readers saying about Fauna Park Tales?

“An engaging story told in well-crafted prose. Ideal material . . . enhanced by high-quality illustrations. If you and your child love animals and adventure . . . then this book is sure to appeal.”

“Good read. When I have kids of my own, I reckon they’ll love Maretha’s Fauna Park series.”

“What a wonderful story, a bit sad at times, but all in all a great tale told from the perspective of Flame aka ‘Jack Old Boy’.”

The ideal reading age for this series is 9-13.  Preteens will enjoy escaping into an imaginary world where many bush creatures always have hope that everything ends well when the sun goes down. Nevertheless, these stories are perfect to be read before bedtime to younger children and I’ve been told that many older readers had their “inner-child” resurface while reading these stories!

Here are a few of the latest reviews which I hope will inspire you to buy the series – available as eBooks, black-and-white paperbacks as well as a Deluxe Colour Edition – for a beloved child.

1. A retired teacher – still very involved in education. She refers to herself as ‘Dragon’ – I wonder why?🙂

on 12 August 2016
Maretha sent me Flame and Hope & Friends and asked me to comment. Oh dear! I don’t like anthropomorphic stories. I need not have worried, these stories are charming and the animals have the characteristics of animals and don’t behave like little people – not a pinny or waistcoat in sight. A moral message gets across subtly with no preachiness. I think younger children will enjoy having these stories read to them, and grown ups will enjoy reading them. Older children will be able to read for themselves and will enjoy the made up words such as Humanlang and Faunalang. They will also learn something about Africa.
2. This is a critical review by a fellow author.
on 4 July 2016
Having lived in southern Africa on the edge of a game reserve, Maretha Botha has first-hand experience of life in the region, and draws upon it to inform her stories. She is a champion of conservation, and keen to help young ones appreciate the importance of looking out for, and seeing the plight of many creatures, especially those in the wild.
Though this is a children’s book, it will be enjoyed by animal lovers of any age. It’s an entertaining adventure story that parents will enjoy reading to younger children, or will be appreciated by older independent readers. It’s thought provoking using the descriptive imagery of Africa to set the scene for the series to develop.
Flame and Hope are best friends, and the stories are told through the eyes of Hope. Since Hope is a bird perched high in an Acacia tree, he has an uninterrupted view of the remote cattle farm where Flame, a dog, lives. Flames and Hope are also friends with many other and varied animals and birds that live in the vicinity. On occasions the creatures gather around the tree where Hope is perched, and from where he recounts tales of past goings on.
This is a great writing device, and Maretha uses it well. Although the stories are engaging and well told, I have a slight reservation with the book for the newly independent reader: typically eight years old and upwards. Having said that, Roald Dahl’s Gobblefunk added over a thousand words to the English language of no relevance or meaning and his books are highly successful. Unlike Dahl, Maretha does include a dictionary in her book to help with pronunciation – look out Roald, you have a new contender chasing your heels…

3.  5.0 out of 5 stars

Heading: Animal Tales

on 7 July 2016
It has been many a long year since I last read a children’s book to my son, but, had the likes of this been available some 40 years ago, then I could not have done better. I liked Hope and Flame, the story that they told, and of course all of the porch animals who came to life in both words and pictures. A great start to a series by a talented author. Well done!
Heading: Wowsers!
on 28 June 2016
Just finished reading this and all I can say is WOWSERS! I know I’m not the age group that it was written for, but I loved every word of this book! If you’ve got a tween in your life and they love animals then get this book for them!
It’s an original book and drags you into every page, so that you don’t want to stop reading it!
If you’re an adult after a quick read for a few hours, get this book. If you’re a child, ask your parent or carer to get this for you… you won’t regret it!
cropped-lalitah-and-fauna-park-tales-books-2.jpg
Here’s a happy recipient of the first three books of”Friends: An African Adventure” is the second book of the series called “Fauna Park Tales” based on “African Adventures of Flame, Family, Furry and Feathered Friends”, a GOLD MEDAL WINNER on Authonomy, supported by HarperCollins.
The following is an excerpt from the HarperCollins Children’s Editor Review:

maretha-m-botha-book-cover-2

“A vivid and engaging world of animal characters . . . the use of cleverly animalised verbs is very creative – Dolly Cat’s ‘whispurr’. The exploration of interrelationships between animals is a very successful topic in the children’s literature genre, and you have created some great personalities – the stubborn goat ‘Plump-Grump’ and the conceited ‘His Handsomeness, King Rat’ being some of my favourites . . .”

Life takes strange turns for Flame, a puppy born in the African desert. Adopted by a free-range cattle farmer, the pup faces the challenge of proving himself to more than one of his new family.

As Flame grows into a strong and brave dog, he finds friendship with many loyal furry and feathered friends who teach him to keep The Promise – protecting the helpless ones in Fauna Park, a secret sanctuary within the boundaries of the farm. This ordinary desert dog becomes a hero when, to keep his promise, he saves a zebra foal from a fire.

These stories are perfect to be read before bedtime to younger children. Preteens will enjoy escaping into an imaginary world where many bush creatures always have hope that everything ends well when the sun goes down.

Visit Maretha’s author page at:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Maretha-Botha/e/B00MOORJAO/

or follow this blog and it’s new partner at:Follow Maretha’s blog here

Follow on Twitter @MarethaMBotha

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Fauna Park Tales illustrations and Book Adverts 013

If you have children to buy for this Christmas, this is a marvelous idea. A gift of love that keeps right on giving.

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