Author Interview: Dr. Thomai Dion

 
NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

 

 

 

  • First, can you give us some background about yourself?

  • Of course! I am excited to answer this question as I actually have this exact background available on both my GoodReads and Amazon author pages. I have copied it below for easier reading. With that said, this is a story that easily rolls off the tongue regardless of whether it has already been typed up or not. I do what I do for my toddler and their thirst to explore, discover, and learn. Anything above and beyond is an added bonus!
    I am pharmacist and mother to a very inquisitive, energetic, and hands-on analytical thinker. I obtained my doctorate from the University of Rhode Island and believe it is never too early to start learning.
    Inspired by being a mother, leveraging my clinical background, and being driven to both teach and learn at every opportunity, I have created my own educational children's books that focus on various scientific topics, the first of which I have engagingly tackled being biology. These books cover seemingly complicated scientific concepts that are typically thought of as being taught to "older kids" in school; however, they are purposefully geared towards babies, toddlers, and young children. The idea to finally put pen to paper all started with my own child, a drive to educate, and some imagination.
    Playfully pretending with my toddler on our living room floor, surrounded by colorful wooden blocks and various makes and models of miniature cars, I began brainstorming what the next topic should be that my little guy and I would discover. Thinking back to my own experiences in labs testing and recording while obtaining my doctorate, I had an "Ah ha!" moment: I would research where to find a microscope appropriate for my child's age. Before pursuing a new subject of learning though, my rule of thumb is always to read and talk about the topic first. So I began to look for books on cells that were geared for very young readers. And I looked. And looked. The only search result I was able to come to was the decision to create my own. It was then that my first book, "Think-A-Lot-Tots: The Animal Cell", was written, illustrated, edited, and self-published by the both artistic, science-loving, right-brain and left-brain mom (AKA, me!).

  • What have you written?

  • I have a total of four books available currently on Amazon. All of these books are part of the “Think-A-Lot-Tots” educational science series for babies and children (The Cell; The Neuron; My Science Lab Notebook; How Many Microorganisms?). Over the past several months I have also donated nearly 100 copies to Little Free Libraries across the United States and Canada to promote STEM learning, to which I’ve received excellent and very inspiring feedback.

 

  • Are you currently working on anything?

  • Yes! I have 2 more educational science books in the works that should be available within the next week or 2. One is similar to my currently available books in that it explores a subtopic of science, namely biology. The 2nd though is something different entirely. Still within the same vein of teaching our youngest budding scientists, but a bit more hands-on!
  • How much research do you do for your writing?

  • I suppose the short answer to this is: "Something every day." I draw on my medical background while simultaneously finding inspiration on what my child is interested in learning today, in the now. Do they like colors? Are they fascinated with rainbows? Why do things always fall to the ground when I drop them, anyway? Let's figure it out through science!


  • What is your process like in the midst of writing a book?

  • Write, draw, review. Write, draw, review. Review, revise. Write and draw some more.
    I am both author and illustrator (and editor if we want to count that too), so the process is admittedly a fine line between what I can happily produce and what I am overly self-critical about. I take my work very seriously as I want it to be both educational and engaging. My work also focuses on fairly abstract concepts (e.g. a cell in your body), and teaching that to a toddler or other young child can add another layer of challenge (and opportunity!). 


  • What does your routine look like when you get to the editing process?

  • It is pretty similar to the above in that you could say I am constantly editing as I go. I also make sure to go through my work on separate occasions to focus on different aspects (Does the story flow well? Is everything grammatically OK? Do the illustrations appear as intended?).

  • Do you have any quirks or rituals that help you achieve your writing goals?

  • The container of dark chocolate chips on my desk beneath my monitor is an enticing motivator to keep me focused on the computer monitor and therefore my writing, although I would say the bigger and major drive for me doing what I do is my son. Will he learn from this? Will he enjoy it? If both answers to that are yes, then it is a simple decision -- I forge ahead.

  • Tell us about your work space.

  • I work at a desk tucked along one of the corners in my living room. It is a modest size, nothing too fancy, but it has a dark wood finish. So it looks nice and "grown up" amidst the trail of colorful wooden blocks, various makes and models of toy cars, and assortment of partially broken crayons scattered about (but they crayons are still perfectly OK to use! You just have more now! Look at all of these tiny crayons to color with!). My shih tzu is also snoring in the corner and behind me is a sketch pad surrounded by an army of colored pencils ready to pounce down onto the white paper once I decided to switch from writer to illustrator. So I'd say there are a lot of hats hanging around my workspace and dark wood desk, but I'm incredibly happy and grateful to be able to wear each and every one.
 
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  • Are there any software or apps that help you in your writing process?

  • Good old Microsoft Word and a scanner / printer combo that was gifted to me many more years ago than I'd like to admit.

  • What do you do when you lose focus? Any tips for getting it back?

  • Just sleep on it. (And with raising a young child, sleep is a precious and prized commodity if one can obtain it). There is no race, no urgency, no deadline to get any of this done. So if it needs to wait until tomorrow when I have more coffee flowing through me and a few more hours of sleep under my belt, then so be it.


  • Tell us about your publishing process.

  • I have self-published my books, so the process starts and ends with me I guess you could say. I am a pharmacist by trade; my professional experience lies not only within the clinical arena though but also nearly half a decade in business corporate strategy. I was not intimidated by the possibility of having to come up with an idea, write it out, draw it out, edit it, review it, and ultimately tie it up in a bow to present to the world. If anything, it has been very fun!

  • Where can people find you and your work?

  • A full list of available books can be found on my Amazon author page:
    http://www.amazon.com/author/thomaidion

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