Author Karen Henton Talks Character Creation and Picture Book Marketing
The Snozzeralls. They have wacky names and wild adventures! Karen Henton is the author behind this unique series of picture books focusing on this little green family. The Snozzeralls live inside a human nose, and get up to all sorts of mischief as they explore; offering young readers an incredibly unique introduction to human anatomy.
Here is Author Karen Henton talking everything from Snozzamumma’s apron to picture book marketing in our Q & A together.
1.Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Karen Henton was born and raised in Carshalton Surrey, and now lives in a beautiful part of southern Spain, surrounded by the Carrascoy mountains. An ideal spot to keep writing her children’s picture books. She shares a rundown Finca which needs a lot of renovation work, with her partner Peter and a miniature pinscher puppy called Zorro. “Meet the Snozzeralls” is Karen’s first children’s book in the Snozzeralls Series of six.
Karen has four children and 2 grandchildren who actively encourage her to write, she adores baking unique birthday cakes and loves nothing more than to be under the sea scuba diving. Where its peaceful and tranquil.
2. Where did you get the idea for the Snozzeralls?
Well when Karen’s youngest daughter Rebecca nicknamed Boo was about 4 or 5 years old she just wouldn’t go to sleep in her own room so Karen used to read stories to her every night she eventually run out of books to read so Karen started to make up some stories of her own. One night they were talking about bogeys and then Boo said “ I know lets call them Snozzeralls. They could live in your face , you do know Snozza is ya nose Mummma”. They were both laying in bed crying with laughter. Karen never forgot about it and when she had the opportunity recently, decided to write some children’s books all relating to the Snozzeralls Family, the cute little green creatures that live inside a human face. It was only whilst writing the books that Karen thought O this could be educational as well as fun and teach children the anatomy of the human face.
3. The characters’ names are so unique and my son thinks they’re so funny! How did you come up with their names?
The characters are very loosely based on family members ie Karen will let you into a little secret her children still call her Mumma so Snozzamumma is based on Karen and as you can she see wears an apron, which is what Karen does. She absolutely loves baking unique birthday cakes. Snozzadadda’s character was created later and is based on Peter, Karen’s partner as he loves fixing things and making lots of mess. Snozzerella Bella Boo is Karen’s favourite character and is really where it all started, of course its Karen’s youngest daughter Rebecca nicknamed BOO who adores traveling and adventures. Snozzerellina Ballerina is based on Karen’s eldest daughter Lou Lou for her love of ballet and pink silk dresses. Her granddaughter who is five, thinks its great that her mummy is Snozzerellina Ballerina.
The McHooters characters came about because the family lived inside the nose and they were going to be illustrated as noses but in the end Karen decided that the green creatures the Snozzeralls should all look roughly the same and incorporate the same colour. After all they do look a bit like bogeys.
Karen was very fortunate that her illustrator Sarah Lee Wills totally got the Snozzeralls unique concept and designed the Snozzeralls, in line with what Karen’s vision was for the Snozzeralls characters.
4. What’s the most difficult part of the writing process for you?
The writing process is easy as Karen had all the stories already in her head. She made a book up out of paper and wrote the stories in pencil on each page. Karen thinks the books are the easiest part of the process although it takes time, more time than you think to get the book proof read, edited, illustrated and then finally published. The hardest part Karen has found is marketing and actually getting the book you’ve written out there on the various social media sites and then converting them into sales. Karen found it quite exciting but nerve wracking at the same time. Will children and parents love the book as much as Karen did writing it?
“…keep it relatable to children, simplify to get your story across, look at what niches have a gap. Children’s books are a very competitive market. Ensure that your manuscript is proof read and edited professionally, another set of eyes on it is a big positive step forwards. Above all, make it fun.“Author Karen Henton offers advice for aspiring children’s book authors.
5. Do you have any advice for aspiring children’s book authors?
Do it, you never know until you try, keep it relatable to children, simplify to get your story across, look at what niches have a gap. Children’s books are a very competitive market. Ensure that your manuscript is proof read and edited professionally, another set of eyes on it is a big positive step forwards. Above all, make it fun. Reading feeds children’s imagination and definitely helps with their vocabulary. Karen also thinks do your research and then do it again, there is so much free help online that can help you understand the whole process. As well as free tools, Canva. Free PDF converter to name a few.
Think about whether you want a agent , traditional publisher or to publish your book yourself. There are so many options, as with everything do your costings.
6. What’s your favourite picture book of all time?
Hairy Mclary at Donaldson Dairy. Author: Lynley Dodd
7. Where can people purchase your books?
“Meet the Snozzeralls” children’s picture book is available www.karenhenton.com Free downloadable colouring pages of the characters (Teacher & Parent Resources) www.partnershippublishing.co.uk Waterstones , Book Depository. Amazon eBook ( free on kindle unlimited) & Print Version. Etsy. Goodreads. Also part of the PLR Library Scheme UK & Ireland.