1. Where did the idea for this story about Bhante come from?

I visited Chuck and Sharon in Oceanside, California for the past several years, watching their little Corgi, Bhante. I took so many photographs of him while staying at the west coast. Wherever we went, people just loved him. From across the street,
I could hear, “It’s a Corgi!” as they smiled and pointed. Quickly, I learned that people are in love with Corgis! So, with all the photographs on hand, I just started to write his story.

2. Where does this story take place?

This story takes place right across the street from the Pacific Ocean (southern California). I taught middle school (Lincoln Middle) in Oceanside, CA for ten years, so I know the community and have friends there. It’s always great to return “home.”

3. This is your first, photo picture book? How was this process different to you?

The writing part was easy; viewing hundreds of photos was the challenge. The beauty of writing was if I could not find a photo to match a particular page or stanza, I could always change my words, which made it easy.

4. Chuck Fasilis is the Photographer for this book. How was the collaboration process for you?

Chuck was amazing! From the smallest detail, he was always willing to advise me and provide me with the photograph I needed. If I asked him to send one specific photo, Chuck would provide me with three to choose from. It was such a pleasure to work with him on this book project.

5. What book(s) will follow BHANTE, The Corgi of O’side?

The next book will be, SPARKY—a place to call home. This is my dog rescue story. Matt Lumsden, FAPA Award-winning Illustrator is now completing his design and layout for our book. Sparky is looking for a forever home, and he finds one! Sparky is a survivor, yet his heart is empty as he searches for love to share with someone. In the end, Sparky finds his special person-it is a very heartwarming story.

6. What are you writing now?

Currently, I am continuing with my Covid primary-source book. With that, I am also working on a historical book about the Storm of 1928, one of the worst hurricanes that took place out in Belle Glade-Lake Okeechobee, Florida. This book has my focus; the writing is all complete and now it is time for the illustrations that make the story come to life.

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