I’ve made this series to highlight women who are starting out. They have created something out of nothing, following those whispers and are moving forward with bringing their dreams to life. I believe in the power of sharing our stories, supporting and lifting each other up. There is enough for everyone to be successful, in what ever way feels right for them.
I N T R O D U C I N G
Caitlin Brennan, is a first time author who has just published The Perfect Breed, an endearing story that will appeal to animal lovers of all ages, especially 3 – 10 year olds. There are beautifully illustrated pages featuring lots of cute dog breeds by Hafsa Pinar. The story is told in rhyming verse, the best type of book for reading aloud again and again. Characters are inspired by Caitlin’s own baby son Sam and her goofy and extremely loveable Bernese mountain dog, Eddie.
T H E Q U E S T I O N S
1. Would you share a little about yourself and what lead you to writing The Perfect Breed?
Hello! It’s such an honour to be featured on Fairy Wren Cottage and I’m excited to share some information about myself, my book and my passions – I hope you enjoy reading this!
I am a primary school teacher, a first time mum with an 11 month old baby, a fluffball owner (Eddie the Bernese) and a writer who has very recently published her first book!
When people ask me about my job, they’re often surprised with my response – “I ADORE my work”. Teaching is a heart-warming, fascinating, complex, emotional, sometimes challenging profession – but the children you work with make everything worth it.
I trained as a Primary/Secondary Teacher so I’ve worked mainly in upper primary (Year 5 is my favourite!). In my first year teaching Year 5, it surprised and saddened me greatly that picture books seem to be viewed – both by teachers and students – as “babyish” and are often not used beyond about Year 2-3. Well, that is a perception I work really hard to change.
Picture books encourage reading for pleasure – something which, sadly, often seems to die out as kids reach that upper primary age. They are often shared, not read alone; resulting in meaningful conversations. Finally, in great picture books, children are able to make inferences, draw conclusions of their own and use their imaginations.
2. Favourite time of the day?
It may not surprise you (at all!) but storytime with my baby, Sam, is my absolute favourite time of day. Before bed, we read 3-4 picture story books (it adds up to about 12-15 books a day!). I love the way he nestles into my chest and he loves turning the pages and “talking” (babbling) to the characters. He loves books that have a rhyming flow, as he bobs his little head along to the rhythm of the pages and he adores books with dogs – shout out to all the Hairy Maclary books for ticking both those boxes!
This was what I envisaged when my husband and I always discussed having children and it fills me with joy to share these small but extremely special moments reading together.
3. Life is full of distractions, what keeps you focused?
My family keeps me focused, inspired and – at times – humbled (as families often do!).
Although I do have to admit, I have a very stubborn streak in me that means once I get focused on something, I tend to obsess over it – not the worst trait for a writer, I’d like to think.
4. What has surprised you?
Oh goodness… so much has surprised me! This’ll be a long answer… sorry!
Firstly, at the risk of sounding corny… I’ve kind of surprised myself! I am determined and stubbornly obsessive when I get ideas… but I really never thought my book dream would ever come to fruition – simply due to not knowing where to start!
Equally, I’ve been shocked by the support from people – both friends and family and people I’ve never met in person (like yourself, Jude!). It amazes me everytime someone buys a book! Even more so people writing reviews, sharing their thoughts and recommending it to their family.
Finally, the nature of the internet and our modern world has allowed me to share my book with people globally and this has ASTOUNDED me! Gosh, it’s exciting to think that there are people in Germany, Poland, Canada, France (and more) who own and read my book!
5. One piece of advice you would like to pass on to someone who has always wanted
to write a children’s book?
Doooooooooo itttttttttttt! Seriously – don’t let your fears prevent you from sharing something with the world. Your story is worth sharing! Oh, and please reach out to me if I can help at all – or even just so I can follow you in your journey.
*For aspiring authors who need assistance from an editor, or an illustrator, check Caitlin’s website where she highly recommends and shares the contact information of her trusted team.
The Perfect Breed is published by Impressum and is available in hardcover and paperback at Caitlin’s website, plus on Amazon and at Booktopia.
Follow Caitlin on Instagram @caitybrennanwrites
Interview Series: Caitlin Brennan, Children’s Author.
March 25, 2023