State Nickname: The Grand Canyon State
Population: 7,640,796 (as of 2022)
Fun Fact: People lived in the area that’s now Arizona at least 20,000 years ago, before written history. But in the 1200s, this civilization disappeared, probably due to a drought.
Tell Us About Yourself
We are three of five sisters who have spent our adult lives living the corporate life. Even though we live in different cities, we have the shared thread of learning how to play nice in the sandbox with our other sisters, cousins, and friends. The common theme of our childhood was our dad's poignant, powerful, and imaginative stories.When we realized that the lessons and stories our dad told would be lost forever, we took off the 3-inch heels and replaced them with bunny slippers. And so, the stories began.
What made you want to be a children's author?
CJ Corki is our pen name. It was created as a tribute to our father. CJ represents his initials, and Corki is a Polish derivative of daughters, thus CJ's daughters. During our parenting days, we dealt with the challenges of balancing work, life, and reluctant readers. Because of our children's learning differences, we learned that we were not alone and that 1 out of 5 children is dyslexic. Because of this, we incorporate open dyslexic font in all our children's stories for easier reading.
What was our favorite childhood book?
You are probably not surprised that three siblings each have a different favorite. Carlene's favorite is the Nancy Drew Mysteries Series. Being one of five sisters, being a female "solver" was my aspiration. She was intense, bright, and constantly uncovering the mystery in their small Midwest town. Charlotte, author #2, is the fourth of five sisters whose favorite book is Charlotte's Web. Who could pass up the reading of a book with your name on it? Madeline found The Hobbit as her inspiration because it was a magical world like no other.
What does success as a writer look like to you?
Success is defined by us as both complex and straightforward. The simple response is that we want to reach more readers. The multifaceted answer is that we want to be a global influencer on all social media platforms and the "go-to" resource for helping parents and grandparents with reluctant readers learn the signs and be the active voice for their kids in the education space.
Did You use an illustrator for your books?
Yes, we discovered a local illustrator who was just like us, a first-time children's book creator. We both had the passion and no experience. CJ developed the script. Our illustrator had the patience to learn to work with the three of us, design and redesign to be true to our story, and together we figured out the nuances of layouts, ISBNs, and everything in-between.
Can You Tell Us a Little About Your Next Book?
Our first book, The Marshmallow Mystery, is the first in our Can You Find, Did You Know Series. We have two books currently in development. The first, which should be available by early June, is Fantastical Activities Journal: Write or Draw Stuff. This is a draw-and-write journal perfect for 4–8-year-old kids. Our theme Can You Find, Did You Know, includes this journal with three sections: Do: Complete the interactive journal's fun, interactive activities, and writing prompts independently or with a journal buddy, parent, grandparent, or sibling. Find: Hidden in the pictures are characters from The Marshmallow Mystery. This is an interactive scavenger hunt with the characters in the back of the journal for an easy search and find. Know: Learn about dyslexia, some early signs, and some famous dyslexics. Journaling is a great tool to increase creativity and critical thinking skills as you discover fun facts and more. This book utilizes OpenDyslexic3, a unique font from the OpenDyslexic type family. It makes it easier for both dyslexic and non-dyslexic readers to process. The next book for 2022, with an expected delivery of September, will be just in time for Halloween. Don't Fear the Monster: A Halloween Scare takes being scared to a new level, helping Sage, our lead character, find her voice when faced with someone that makes her feel uncomfortable.
Who was the first person who read your book?
The readers who were most interested in reading our first story were our kids. Yep, they knew Grandfather, heard the stories, and experienced picking marshmallows on the early summer mornings. When they heard we were taking their cherished memory into print, they couldn't wait to read our interpretation.
Do You Have a Library Card? What was the last book you checked out from your library?
Corners where you could curl up and read for hours on end, the Dewey decimal system, the smell of musty books, and a librarian with the obligatory "shhhh" were significant influences on our youth. Each of us has library cards, and even with these fond memories, we haven't consistently visited a library in years, even though we believe that the "shhhhh" is still reverberating the halls.
If You Could be Mentored by another children's book author, who would it be and why?
There are so many impressive children's books authors, from the voices of Dr. Seuss to the words of Barbara Parks. However, if the mentor still had to be with us, we would select Andy Andrews. He is known for inspiring books across the genre, and his children's books are relevant, thought-provoking and have kids reach for time and time again.
What is Your Writing Snack?
Wow, the answer again for each of us are as follows. Carlene's choices depend on the time of day she committed to writing. Early morning is coffee, black, usually 2 cups. If it's the afternoon, it's her water bottle hoping that she can chug at least 64 ounces before the day is out, and if it's in the evening, a glass of chardonnay...or two. (Which probably isn't what a children's author persona should be). Charlotte is a purist with no snacks or food/drink needed to keep the creative juices going, but if pushed would share that her guilty pleasure is white cheese popcorn. Madeline, on the other hand, can be found sipping herbal tea.
What would you like to say to your readers?
Dear readers: I hope you enjoy our books in the Can You Find, Did You Know Series. Our books are designed to entertain, inspire, and educate using open dyslexic font to help keep the love of reading alive.
Each book is intended to address issues that kids are dealing with, or not and might need our help. Don’t Fear the Monster’s message is that one must not run from fear. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, say no; when you feel you should, and it’s not wrong to ask for help when things don’t seem right. Have an idea on a topic we should address? We are open to writing stories to help your children, let us know your thoughts.
Keep on reading,
Love, Hugs and Blessings,
Funtastical Activity Journal: Draw or Write Stuff for Ages 4-8 Years Old (Can You Find, Did You Know Series) can be purchased on Amazon and the author’s website.
This Can You Find, Did You Know Journal includes 3 sections:
DO: Complete the interactive journal's fun, interactive activities and writing prompts independently or with a journal buddy; parent, grandparent, sibling. Everyone will love sharing ideas, stories, and conversations.
FIND: In the pictures are characters from The Marshmallow Mystery children book. Don't worry, the character pictures are in the back section of the journal. This is an interactive scavenger hunt that is perfect for home travel and much more.
KNOW: Learn about dyslexia, some early signs, and some famous dyslexics. Journaling is a great tool to increase creativity and critical thinking skills as you discover fun facts and more. This book utilizes Open Dyslexic3, a unique font from the OpenDyslexic type family. It makes it easier for both dyslexic and non-dyslexic readers to process.
Author website- https://www.cjcorki.com/