Jun 5, 2012

An interview with children's author Kathy Parra.

After reviewing Kathy Parra's new children's book, Love Is The Color Of A Rainbow. We knew we had to interview Kathy and share her with all of you. You are going to love her. She's down to earth and speaks from her heart.
Kathy Parra, or Kap, by her nickname, loves gardening, talking with nature, especially with dolphins, vegan cooking and baking, bike riding, and skipping for joy where she lives in Mesa, Arizona with her partner Tony and their 3 girls.

Carol Lawrence and Stacy Toten: What made you pick a blind child for your main character? Do you have experience working with the blind?

Kathy Parra: When I was in sixth grade the teacher asked if anyone wanted to assist with the special needs students, I raised my hand and said, “Pick me!” I was paired up with many children but one in particular who we will call Willow, Willow explained to me that she had been blind since birth, each day I went in there to assist her with her Braille reading, which I might add she so wanted me to learn, but I never did. She would sit flitting her tiny fingers over the bumps in the thin translucent paper at rapid speed and I would pencil scratch my stories just at furiously, one day she asked me “what are you writing?” I told her I like to write stories about nature, she asked me to read them to her, she would delight in my story making and I would delight in her listening, we spent many a lunch hour eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as I read my nature stories.
One day out of the blue Willow took out her pear from her lunch bag, and said “I wish I knew what my pear looked like” “Kathy” she asked “what does a pear look like?” I started with well it’s green on the outside; she said, “what does green look like?” I knew then and there I was to take her in nature to share what the pear looked like, so I took her under a beautiful mulberry tree on the schoolyard as she stood under the tree I took her hand and let her feel the green leaves I said these are leaves and they are green and it is the same color as the outside of the pear, she said oh it is smooth-warm, then I ran her hand over the branch to which would be the sense of the stem of the pear, I said this is the stem and it is a brownish green, oh she said this too feels smooth yet strong, yes-yes! I was excited that she was associating the feel-sense of what I was sharing in a feeling sense, putting feelings to the colors, then I took her to the sand box and ran her fingers through the sand, I said the inside of the pear, it a soft white color yet as you bite into the pear there is just a bit of grit, she ran her fingers through the sand, then taking a bite of pear, she said oh it feels like life, like it has energy, when I feel the sand and then bite the pear I feel life-energy! Needless to say Willow quickly began to associate most everything in her daily life with a feeling for a color, she even made up her own colors! Willow often told me I was like a lot of colors put together, saying that all those colors were love. In that short amount of time that we spent together I was grateful for her friendship and she for mine, I think we both knew it was transient and as they say a reason- season or a lifetime. I had never had “experience” with blind children, but since then as an adult have assisted with Special Olympics only one other time.

Carol Lawrence and Stacy Toten: Do you have any children and were they an inspiration for your book?
Kathy Parra: Yes, I have three children - all girls! And they are 21-17 and 13. Yes, they were an inspiration to and for me and continue to be so; they have been my greatest teachers! I am honored and blessed to be in the presence of such wisdom! Namaste!

Carol Lawrence and Stacy Toten: How long did it take you to write Love is the Color of a Rainbow?
Kathy Parra: Well, the actual writing of Rainbow only took me 30 minutes, but the journey to publish it took 10 years, perhaps more if you count from sixth grade. Ha…

Carol Lawrence and Stacy Toten: Any advice for other children's authors?
Kathy Parra: Have fun, if you have something you are passionate about share it-be it-love it-nurture it-nourish it and allow it to bloom as it wishes, don’t try too hard or force the book to bloom, it will all blossom when the flower is ready to “be”…
Carol Lawrence and Stacy Toten: Are you writing another children's book anytime soon?
Kathy Parra: YES! I have dozens in the works. Many are already written, but as far as soon in publishing, one never knows, but yes for sure another children’s book, a few in particular, but I am allowing them to bloom and blossom as they wish to. I am currently enjoying sharing Rainbow and I really want to soak it all in, relish in the journey. I also want to start a Sensory Garden based on the book, intention has been put forth, seed planted and is “being” watered and nourished, waiting for the seed to emerge until blossom. I am also working on another book for all children of the world whether new to the earth or have been with the earth for many moons, it is titled One Love, surrounding the aspects of dolphins/whales and their presence in and of healing to and for us all! A short synopsis will be shared on http://www.intentionalconsciousparenting.com on May 16th, 2012.
Carol Lawrence and Stacy Toten: Have you always wanted to write a children's book? Has this been a life long dream of yours?
Kathy Parra: Yes, since I was four years old I have always known I wanted to write a story and not just a story for me but a story for the world and in a book! And not just any story but a story that would change the way people of all ages would view natures world, I wanted to make a difference in how people of all ages saw nature through the eyes of a child.

Carol Lawrence and Stacy Toten: Are there special ways you take care of Mother Earth? 
Kathy Parra: Yes, I am Vegan/Raw, with a passion to care for Mother Earth just as I care for my own body of Earth, Earth my Body = Mother Earth, and vice-versa. And yes, our family like many families recycle, reduce-reuse anything and everything, compost, shop locally, wishing to be stewards and serving earth as we would wish our own earth bodies to be. So it was a conscious choice for myself/my children and children everywhere/Earth that the book would and must be printed on recycled paper! It is my thought if we first take care of our own Mother Earth earthly bodies thus this will bring a conscious awareness for us to serve Mother Earth - Gaia in the same way.

Carol Lawrence and Stacy Toten: How did you meet your illustrator Candace Keach?
Kathy Parra: I initially met Candace through another mutual friend, Candace plays flute for symphony and her website is http://sonicangelmusic.com/
I shared with her about wanting a illustrator for Rainbow, she said “well I also am an artist, I said “well would you be willing to read the book and see if it resonates with you?” she agreed, she wrote back sharing it brought her to tears and would be honored to illustrate for Rainbow, off she went to her drawing table and each illustration was an intriguing and intricate process for both of us. She had seen a snail while on vacation, I, having a dream about something in and of the book. It was synchronicity and synergy as the universe unfolded each piece of Rainbow to both of us and now to the world!
Carol Lawrence and Stacy Toten: Tell us about your relationship with the dolphins.
Kathy Parra: Well, this is why I am compiling One Love, the easiest way to share this is to share the story: this story which was published by OCEAN Magazine, in which Diane Buccheri is the publisher and also the publisher of Rainbow. Dolphins are like a best friend in which they will always be there for you no matter what! Enjoy, Call of the Dolphins..(Full story published on Intentional Conscious Parenting http://www.intentionalconsciousparenting.com)
Carol Lawrence and Stacy Toten: Do you have a message you wish to share with parents everywhere?

Kathy Parra: To always look through the eyes of a child for when you do this, thus this is what you shall see.
“When we look through the eyes of a child the world becomes what it always is and has been, Love”.-Kathy Parra

Find out more about Kathy Parra at http://www.kathyparra.com/

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