Inspiration comes in all forms. Amber Link was inspired by one of her favorite family members to create and write a darling picture book Declan the Dinosaur. Who is that special someone who inspired Amber, and what’s Declan all about? Keep reading to find out!
First off, tell us a bit about you. Who is Amber Link?
I live in a small town in Arizona, and I am a first-grade teacher. I completed my ME in literacy two years ago. Reading and writing are my passions, and I love sharing those passions with my students each and every day.
I am a wife to a wonderful and supportive husband, as well as a mother to a sixteen-year-old son.
What inspired you to write Declan the Dinosaur, and what is it about?
I was inspired by my amazing nephew, Declan. Declan was diagnosed with autism about two or three years ago. Our whole family has learned so much from this amazing little boy. Both Declan and I love dinosaurs, so turning Declan into a dinosaur just seemed the obvious choice.
When you first wrote your book, what were your intentions? Did you always plan to publish?
When I first got the idea to write this book, my intentions were to help spread awareness for autism and share the sweet quirks of my nephew Declan. My original plan was to self-publish. I actually did not tell a single soul that I was writing this book—not even my husband! When I finished writing it, I finally told him. It was my husband who actually pushed me to reach out to a publisher and try to get it published.
Once you decided to publish, how did you find Argyle Fox Publishing, and what convinced you that we would be a good fit?
Looking for a publisher was a bit overwhelming for me. This is something I have never done before, and I had no idea where to start. When I came across Argyle Fox and began researching and reading reviews, I just knew this was the publishing company I should reach out to. I am so happy that I did!
What are your goals for Declan the Dinosaur? How will you determine whether it’s a success?
My main goal is simply to spread awareness for autism. My long-term goal is to have a Declan the Dinosaur series. I want to continue spreading awareness for autism with the series. The real-life Declan just started kindergarten. My goal is to highlight the unique qualities of children with autism, and I would love to incorporate Declan’s school journey into my next book.
Your illustrator, Ani Maqoyan, really made Declan pop. What drew you to her style, and how does her work meet your expectations?
When I was asked about illustrators, I began looking at children’s books that my students love having read to them. I then looked at illustrators who had previously done work with Argyle Fox. This is where I found Ani Maqoyan. Ani exceeded my expectations with the illustrations.
Also, Daniel was amazing at bringing my words to life. It’s like he was inside my brain and knew exactly what I had in mind for the illustrations.
Have you started marketing your book yet? If so, have you found any marketing techniques that have good results?
I feel that marketing has been the most difficult part of all of this. I have been posting about the book on social media (Facebook and Instagram). I have made a special Instagram page for my book and have done my best to market it there. I am also quite blessed with amazing friends and family who have spread the word about Declan the Dinosaur. I could not have done this without all of them!
What feedback have you received so far on your book?
I am blown away by all the positive feedback I have received so far! It has been so unreal.
Did anything surprise you about the publishing process? If so, what?
I expected the entire process to be much longer and a lot more difficult. I was happily surprised at how smoothly everything went. Daniel was great at communicating each step of the process and answering any and all questions I had along the way.
There are a lot of writers who are nervous to take the next step and publish their books. Do you have any advice for them?
Just do it! That’s really the only advice I can give. Don’t hesitate. Reach out to Argyle Fox and get your book out there.
Do you have another book in the process? If so, do you mind telling us a bit about it?
I do! I am currently writing my second book in the Declan the Dinosaur series. It still has a ways to go before we get to the publishing stage, but I am excited to get a new Declan the Dinosaur book out into the world.
Where can readers find you online?
Is there anything else the world should know about you or your writing?
I just want to give a huge thank you to Argyle Fox Publishing for making my dreams come true! I’m not big on having the attention on me, but I know this is all for such a great cause, and am I happy to spread awareness for autism.
Thanks so much, Amber. Here’s to success!