Interview with Hayley Rose, author of ‘Fifo “50 States”‘

Hayley RoseHayley Rose grew up in the beach side town of Pacific Palisades , California, to a family of visual artists. In the early 1990’s she traveled the U.S. with her band Crush Violet. In 1994, after a family reunion, she was inspired to write a children’s book. Looking for a cute and catchy name for a main character, she kept hearing “first in, first out”. Hence, the name Fifo was born. Hayley’s mother would often ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up, so Hayley decided to start her series of “Fifo” books with that very question. Her first book, Fifo “When I Grow Up” was published in 2002. Her love of travel inspired her second book in the Fifo series, Fifo “50 States”, published in 2010.

Along with writing children’s books, Hayley has been working in entertainment business management for the past 15 years, specializing in concert touring. She has worked with many “A list” musicians including Michael Jackson, Rod Stewart and Candlebox just to name a few. Hayley hopes to one day soon release an album of children’s songs. She is a currently member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and resides in Los Angeles, CA.

You can visit her website at www.fifothebear.com.

Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook!

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Q: Thank you for this interview, Hayley.  Can you tell everyone what your latest book, Fifo “50 States,” is all about?

Hayley:  Fifo “50 States” is a colorful reference-like book, where Fifo discovers the wonders each state has to offer.  He learns along the way each state’s capital, shape, flag, motto, and much, much more. The possibilities are endless!  In this delightful book told in rhyme, Fifo is bitten by the travel bug.  He dreams of digging up diamonds in Arkansas, looking for fossils in Kansas, enjoying a delicious bowl of gumbo in Louisiana, and even seeing a Broadway show in New York.  Yes, America is an exiting place!

Fifo 50 StatesQ: Is this your first book?

Hayley:  Fifo “50 States” is the second book in the Fifo series.  Fifo “When I Grow Up” was published in 2002 and is about Fifo getting ready for his first day of school with the help of his caring mother and his loyal dog, Alan.  Fifo explores the endless possibilities of what he can be when he grows up.  By the time the school bus arrives, Fifo has been a policeman, a fireman, a doctor, a pilot, a teacher and even the president of the United States.

Q: What compels you to write children’s books?  Have you ever thought about writing other genres?

Hayley:  Writing for children just sort of happened for me.  I didn’t really set out to be an author of children’s books.  I actually thought I was going to be a rock star.  It all started after a family reunion in Chicago where I had just met my two adorable little cousins, Megan and Rebecca, who were one and two years old at the time, respectively.  I thought, “They’re so young and they have their whole lives ahead of them; I wonder what they will be when they grow up?” That night on my four hour plane ride home, I decided I would help them figure out their options. By the time I landed in Los Angeles I had written, Fifo “When I Grow Up”.

Throughout my childhood my parents were very supportive.  We would often talk about all the opportunities out there.  They never once said, “No, you can’t do that“.  They would encourage me in everything I did.  I have great childhood memories and I now believe it’s why I write for children today.  So far I do not have plans to write in any other genres, but you never know.

Q: Can you tell us more about your main characters and what part they play in making the book come together?

Hayley:  So far Fifo is the only main character.  I wanted a main character that was identifiable and relatable.  I thought a bear would be loveable, cuddly and comforting. Who wouldn’t love a fuzzy brown bear named Fifo?

Q: Interesting that you worked in the entertainment business.  Would you like to tell us about that?

Hayley:  I seem to have fallen into that world as well.  I started out as a temp answering phones for a few days and ended up staying for seven years.  All and all I’ve been working in the entertainment business management industry for over 15 years.  The best way to sum it up is a cross between being an accountant and a personal assistant.  We also specialize in concert touring doing the tour settlements for each show.   I have been fortunate to have worked on some pretty exciting tours such as Michael Jackson and Rod Stewart.

Q: In your opinion, what is the key ingredient for writing great children’s books?

Hayley:  Research.  Get out there and talk to as many kids, young and old, as possible.  Find out what get’s them excited and then write from the heart.

Q: Finally, I like to ask authors this question.  What is your passion?  What is it that you’re more passionate about than anything else?

Hayley:  Other than Fifo The Bear who is really my main passion, I love to travel and learn about history and other cultures. I believe that having an understanding of others and where they come from makes you more tolerant.   I have been very fortunate to be able to combine my two loves in Fifo “50 States”.   Next up we are heading to Europe!

Q: Thanks for the interview, Hayley.  Do you have any final words?

Hayley:  Thank you very much for taking the time to support me and Fifo The Bear as we continue our journey.  All my books can be found at amazon.com, bn.com and of course, fifothebear.com.  All books ordered from my website come with tattoos and bookmarks.  Follow us on Fifo’s blog at www.fifothebear.com/fifoblog, or become a Fifo fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FifoTheBearBooks.

Again, I’d like to thank you very much for taking the time to interview me.  It is very much appreciated.

Join Hayley at the PUMP UP YOUR BOOK MARCH 2011 AUTHORS ON TOUR FACEBOOK PARTY at the end of March to win a copy of Fifo: 50 States!

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