Tip-Toes Lightly and Reg Down’s other books have been favorites in Ginger and Pickles for years. Check out the interview I did with Reg Down.We decided to feature mostly local authors on our website because we feel passionate about getting their books into the hands of our customers. We are proud to carry them in our store. We plan on publishing more interviews with our other local author interviews on the blog.
MBB: What was your first book?
RD: My first children’s book was The Tales of Tiptoes Lightly. This book is made up of three smaller ‘books’ or adventures and I initially wanted to have them published as three picture books in full color. None of the publishers I contacted were interested and so I decided to go it alone. I’ve had no regrets. Sometimes I even shudder to think how things would have gone if I had found a publisher. I have really enjoyed the personal aspect—learning new skills, meeting vendors and readers, and seeing the business side of things grow from year to year.
MBB: Which came first, teaching or writing?
RD: First came the teaching. In fact, the stories in the first few books, The Tales of Tiptoes Lightly, The Festival of Stones, and so forth, were mostly based on stories I’d done in the classroom—in some cases for years. I think this is part of their success; these stories have been tried and tested and found true within real working audiences of children. Trust me, if something does not catch their imagination then it quickly becomes apparent!
MBB: Did you have a number of books in mind or wait to see how the first was received?
RD: I knew that I had a number of books inside me. I have years of material covering different seasons, festivals and various characters; also the mood of different countries and schools as I taught in a number of Waldorf schools inCanadaand theUSA. And remember, a eurythmy teacher teaches the younger children, kindergarten to grade 3, once a week throughout the school year. This covers all sorts of events and weather and happenings and material from the curriculum.
MBB: You have started selling other author’s books. Did that fall into your lap, or was it part of a grand plan?
RD: I don’t have grand plans! I do what interests and fires me up at the moment. Sometimes that’s puppetry, or writing, or artistic research—or writing. There is a business side to selling books and I have to stockpile and send out books to vendors. I have 10 children’s books and a couple of other titles and while it was supporting me it was only barely supporting me. So I took on titles from Whole Spirit Press which was closing its doors. It’s just an extension of the practical side of the enterprise. I’ve also started adding public domain books which I think are really worthwhile for children to read. The first is a footnoted and annotated edition of The Boy who Knew what the Birds said, by the master storyteller, Padraic Colum.
MBB: Other than Waldorf, where do you find your audience? Any surprises there?
RD: I had my initial niche audience in Waldorf World, as it’s called, but my books have reached beyond into the big world. All the mainstream sellers now carry my books, Barnes and Noble, Powell’s Books, etc, as well as Amazon, of course. Homeschooling parents are a big part of this expansion too. They network a lot and let each other know what engages their children. I also have a number of vendors who are not particularly aligned with Waldorf and they keep coming back for more books.Australiais also a place where I have had a lot of sales recently. All of this pleases me immensely. I never wrote the books for Waldorf children exclusively. Children are children and my tales are for all kids, whatever their background.