Guest Post: "The Inspiration Behind the Little Beth Books," by Deanna Klingel

The youngest of our seven children arrived as the sixth was starting school. When Beth was a toddler I discovered what it was like to have an “only” child at home with me. All the others were almost doubles which meant they always had to share me, and I always had to entertain and educate in pairs or even double pairs. When Beth was a preschooler she and I had lots of time alone together. Even though we lived in a big city, our backyard was wooded. We enjoyed feeding and observing birds and mammals.
The illustrations in this book were actually drawn from photographs of Beth doing all these things. She did share her oatmeal every morning with a flock of woodpeckers who waited on the backsides of the trees until she stepped out on the deck. The red heads were peeking around the trees waiting for her. Then the entire bunch would sweep down and take the warm oatmeal off her wooden spoon as she tried to plop it down on the deck rail. She played peek a boo with the thrashers and entertained us with her interpretations of the different birds. She never called them birdies, she called them by their names.
I was very busy in those days raising the seven and fostering others, leading Girl Scout troops, Brownie troops, Cub Scouts, driving car pools, providing soccer treats, and teaching CCD. I loved writing, did a lot of it, but never for publication. To begin with, I didn’t have a clue how to go about that. The photos of little Beth, attached to my typed pages of text, went into my files with other things I’d written, “just for fun.”
The children miraculously grew up, married, moved away. Dave and I retired to the mountains. I began to write in earnest. I joined professional groups and attended conferences to learn how to do this. Eventually some of my work was published. 

I was at a large book festival with some of my published books when I saw a display of children’s books. They weren’t bird books, but somehow they reminded me of my little Beth books. I talked to the publisher who encouraged me to submit. With my new knowledge of the craft, I polished up the little Beth books and submitted my query. The publisher took the entire series based on the query without ever seeing the manuscript. I was beyond thrilled. The first of the backyard nature series is Beth’s Birds. I wrote it for Beth when she was four. It went to contract the week she turned thirty four.
About the Book
Title: Beth’s Birds
Genre: Education, Preschool & Kindergarten, picture
Author: Deanna K. Klingel
Publisher: Peak City Publishing, LLC

Little Beth romps through her personal playground showing how she learns the proper names and characteristics of her bird friends. Her antics come alive in the delightful illustrations.
About the Author
Deanna lives in the mountains of western North Carolina with her husband Dave and their golden retriever Buddy. Their seven children, spouses and eleven grandchildren are scattered around the southeast. Deanna enjoys traveling with her books and visiting friends and family along the way.

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