Kelsey Cline, author of Countdowns All Around, stands with a poster of her book cover beside a creek.

Looking for a fun way to teach basic concepts to your little ones? Kelsey Cline has you covered. With her first book, Countdowns All Around, she published her first educational book that will engage children in the learning process. And don’t worry—there are more books to come. In fact, she’s already working on her next one!

Tell us a little about you. Who is Kelsey Cline?

I have my bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Old Dominion University. When I was in high school, I made history in my town by entering a local theatre’s playwriting contest in which I won two consecutive years in a row and had my plays performed before an audience. 

Most importantly, I am a wife to the most supportive husband a woman could ask for and the mommy of three precious children—two girls and a boy. 

Give some background on Countdowns All Around. What is it about, and what inspired the story? 

My book is an educational story teaching young children how to count backward from 10. I thought of this idea when I was homeschooling one of my children and was teaching them to count backward. I used my pervious skills from my days working in special education to use repetition to help retain information.

I like to write educational children’s books that correlate with the educational curriculum in schools, because I learned through experience what a powerful tool a book is for children. 

You also illustrated your book. Tell us a little about this. Were you confident throughout the process or did you have doubt along the way? If you had doubt, what encouraged you to move forward?

When I first began drawing, I definitely doubted my abilities. But then you come to a point where you realize that all art is different and unique and that’s what makes everyone’s art so special. 

My kids helped inspire me. As they would come look at my drawings, I watched their faces light up when they saw a completed page. 

Tell a bit about your writing process.

I usually write in the late evening, usually the hour or two before I go to sleep. It is very relaxing to sit and work on my books. It’s a nice unwinding time for me.   

As a writer-illustrator, you’re a unique creature. Which comes first for you—illustrations or story? Or do they come side by side? 

I am a complete mixture. 

My first step is usually coming up with some sort of idea. Next I like to think of the title before I do any of the writing or illustrating. I think a title is so important, because if it is not catchy or clever, readers may not notice it. Next, I draw all of my pictures, usually in a random order. Then I put my pictures in order and use them to help write the story. 

How did you find Argyle Fox Publishing, and what made you think we would be a good fit?

My husband helped my find the publishing company through TikTok. He knew I always wanted to write and stumbled across one of Argyle Fox’s videos. He saved it so he could watch more videos and we could do further research. Every review I read was positive. 

Now that Countdowns All Around is published, how will you measure whether your book is a success? What is your goal for the book? 

I want my book to be known in the educational communities and school systems. I want it to be used as a teaching tool for teachers to help engage students into learning new skills. I have always admired the work of Eric Carle. 

What are you doing to market your book and let folks know it is available?

I am doing different community activities and reading in schools and businesses. I have also been advertising online. 

What feedback have you received so far on your book?

So far everyone has loved it and the pictures!

What do you now know about book publishing that you wish you knew before getting started? 

When you find the right fit (writer and publisher) you will know—things will just start to fall in line. 

What would you say to other author-illustrators who have great stories and aren’t sure if it’s worth turning into a book?

Don’t be afraid to try.

I know you have another book in process. Do you mind telling us a bit about it?

It is about children with visible disabilities.

Where can readers find you online?—it is not completely set up yet, but we are working hard on getting it finished. 

Thanks so much, and here’s to success!