Today, I bring you another interview with children’s author, aspiring singer, fashion entrepreneur, and long-time friend Amanda Ferrandino.
Amanda is a Wagner Master’s graduate who began publishing children’s book as early as age twelve. Her love for everything creative certainly shows in her work. Previously she has worked with Sesame Workshop (Sesame Street), The Wendy Williams Show, and The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon to name a few. She currently holds the position of Marketing Manager at ET Studio Productions, but we’ll talk more on that later. Amanda is always looking to be involved in children’s entertainment through her membership with the Children’s Media Association.
With all of the great things she has done, it is important to look at her humble beginnings, which is why, today, I’m here to shed some light on her Beanies project.
What, or Who, are The Beanies?
The Beanies is a series of children’s books created by Amanda while she was a child herself. As of right now, two of her five books are published and available for purchase.
Continue below for some interview Q&A!
Q: “How did you come up with your idea for the Beanies?”
A: “I really love coming up with my own ideas. They’re stories that originated years ago, and these characters became my friends. I know so much about them because I made them. It’s harder to write adult books because there are more rules. There’s so many more opportunities for children’s books.
“I was actually sitting in my fourth or fifth grade class and just started drawing these figure-looking things and started writing stories about them. Over time they got better – more defined and detailed. . . . When I was reading children’s books, the drawings looked so real – they bored me. I don’t know why. . . . The (stories) that had a lot of creativity and imagination popped out because that’s what kids are interested in. It’s a kid’s idea. A lot of times adults’ concepts of what the kids enjoy is totally wrong. When I worked at Sesame Street, they literally monitored every second to get the kids’ reactions.”
Q: “You were pretty young when you published your first book. Can you describe that process?”
A: “I was very involved – so was my mother. We just researched a bunch of publishers, and we found Xlibris. They had really good communication and were really really helpful in the whole process.
“First, I copyrighted my work on the U.S. COPYRIGHT website. I did it myself to be safe. Then I sent in my work because it was illustrated. I made copies of all my artwork. I didn’t want to send in the originals. The drawings have changed a lot since then and have gotten so much more detailed and, overall, better.
“You can see the drawings on my website.”
Amanda shares details of her website and drawings on her website, amandaferrandino.com. You may look to enter her shared password ‘view.samples’ so you can access both old and new illustrations for the Beanies.
“I wrote the book when I was 11, and I was 12 by the time it came out.
“It was a really smooth process (publishing). I put all the words exactly where I wanted them. I don’t really like when people edit my work. I tried to make it as authentic as possible.”
Q: “How did you utilize social media for your books?”
A: “Instagram wasn’t really around when I first published but now it’s going to be good to use for (SPOILER) my next three books.”
Q: “What plans do you have for your upcoming books? Did you make any changes to your old ones?”
A: “I actually am in the middle of revising my first book because it’s so young looking. So, I’m changing some things, taking the first one offline for now, and changing the names of the characters. I have a new set of characters and haven’t used the first set in a while. I went and rebranded them last summer with my three new books. There’s a set of characters like you’d see on Sesame Street. I’m really excited, and I’m working with that first set of characters again.”
Q: “When you published, did you ever do readings for young children at libraries or anything of the sort?”
A: “I did! I actually have another story about my children’s books. I came up with the second book because I got a little piece of fan mail from a girl. She was six. She wrote to me with the help of her mom. Her letter really inspired me. I was really young still – like, 14. I asked her what her favorite colors were, and she said pink and blue, and I made her a character in my book.
Before I published the book, she passed away. She and her brother are characters in my book. She’s Valentina, my main character, and her character is pink and blue.
My book was used in a school in New Jersey, and I got letters from 50 kids saying thank you and why they liked the book. Some of them drew the characters, and they drew them to a ‘T’ because they were so relatable! That’s why I did what I did – because it’s easy to recreate.
Q: “Can you tell me a little about your next three books? What are you most excited about?”
A: “Ever since working for Sesame Street, I really learned how to incorporate lessons into my work. In some of my samples, you can see I teach about animals and teamwork.”
Q: “What advice would you give to authors – especially children’s authors?”
A: “Don’t be scared to go full out. Some people might say, “Oh, that might be too much.” It’s easier to dump it all out. Because if you don’t, some people might look at your work and say, “Oh, this part’s kind of boring. Can you spice it up a bit?” It’s easier to go all out and then look into it.
“Don’t be afraid to be as creative as possible, and, as I started to learn, try to incorporate lessons into your stories.
“I think with writing children’s books, we should also ‘think like a kid.’ It’s hard as an adult to put yourself in a kid’s shoes, but really observe kids, and try to be a kid for a day. What would you find funny? What would you find interesting or attention grabbing even if it’s not the prettiest?”
Q: “Is there anything else you want our audience to know about you?
A: “Well, I have always loved being creative in all outlets. I love drawing, writing, and music in all different ways. I did theater for a long time, and now I’m switching outlets”
“I was an intern for a recording studio. I found it in a Wagner email and wasn’t sure, but I went and got hired on the spot.
“All of the normal intern stuff lasted maybe two days. After that, I started taking over marketing. My boss, Laura, became like my sister, and I basically helped in the marketing department and am learning so much about music.
“I’m putting out music now. They’re (Laura and co.) so good and so sweet. They’re very family oriented. Every week, I write music, and I’m a key holder now, so I can go there whenever I want, and we all hang out and jam together.”
You can check out Amanda’s two new singles “Phase Me” and “Déjà Vu” on iTunes, Apple Music and Spotify!
Where Can I Purchase the Beanies books?
Where Can I Follow Amanda on Social Media?
You can follow Amanda on the following social media accounts and web pages:
Share Your Thoughts!
Now that you know about Amanda, how do you feel about picking up a copy of The Beanies? If you already have, how do you feel about the book and story? Have you had a chance to listen to Amanda’s music yet? Share your thoughts with me below, Reader, and let me know everything going through your head!
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Au revoir, Reader!