Learning something new isn’t always a walk in the park – or should I say, forest.
But for Peachlander Kayla Klassen, taking a seed of a story and self-publishing her own children’s book taught her to stop and enjoy the process.
“It’s definitely a learning process,” says Klassen, shortly after we meet along a pathway downtown.
“I made many mistakes and I had to take many coffee breaks because I was like ‘I cannot do this right now.’”
But this first-time author was determined. Back in January she made a goal to publish her first book and five months later, Nature Ninjas – a tale of two wildlife-loving kids, Riley and Milo – was born.
Going the traditional publishing route wasn’t for her – so Klassen decided to learn how to do it all herself.
“I’m on Facebook and Instagram and I joined a bunch of self-publishing, new author, and children’s publishing groups and I just learned from everyone else,” she says.
“It’s a great community. Everybody supports each other, and I’ve actually made a lot of friends through this.”
Aside from writing the story (“which actually didn’t take too long,” she says), she hired an illustrator, who happened to live in the Netherlands.
“I gave her character profiles – I wrote what each one was to look like, what their feelings and thoughts would be, and what I got back was exactly how I envisioned they would look like. It’s like she plucked them right out of my brain.”
After some more finishing touches – and a few more little challenges – the first copy of her book arrived in the mail earlier this summer.
“I saw it and ran upstairs and opened it and of course I started crying. I’m a very emotional person,” Klassen says.
“I started crying because I actually have it in my hands, after five months of working on it. Flipping through the pages, seeing the vibrant colours and the work that you put into something. It was so rewarding – and I’m pretty proud of myself.”
Now, Klassen is set on making a hardcover version of Nature Ninjas, promoting the associated merchandise (kids’ tees and baby onesies!) – and now, she’s getting her family involved in her next project.
“My next book is going to be amazing,” she says.
“It’s called I am, I can and I will. And it’s actually a rhyme and it’s written by me and my husband – he’s like a rhyming master. And then it’s illustrated by myself and my daughter. We dabble in little sketches – so I’m sketching it and she’s completing the sketches and colouring it.”
So nice to talk to someone who just LOVES what they do. I couldn’t help but be genuinely excited for this fellow Peachlander / writer:
“I just figure keep doing what you’re doing and it’ll work out,” says Klassen.
“And so far, I’m having fun with it. People tell me it looks like I’m having fun and I am, because I’m enjoying this, this is what I like to do.”