Interview with Award Winning Author C.S. O’Kelly

C.S. O'Kelly BRAG

I’d like to welcome Award Winning Author C.S. O’Kelly today. Born to a loving mother with little money, but an abundance of imagination she shared with C. S. during long walks, bike rides before helmets, and nightly readings from mountains of books.  Stories of giants and elves, mythical beasts and powerful maidens filled the world of C. S. from the earliest of memories.

After finishing graduate school, C. S. O’Kelly sold off all five possessions, purchased a 1974 Ford 19-foot motorhome and went north. After ten years in SE Alaska, C. S. landed in warmer climes on a small ranch in Northern California where crafting stories and story worlds seemed as natural as raising organic free range chickens (named after Stars Wars characters) for eggs only.

To this day, C. S. travels the world, but always comes back to the small ranch with a home built with C. S.’s own hands near San Francisco, California. The philosophy that we enter the world with innate, powerful and beautiful imaginations is the core for all of C. S. O’Kelly’s works and a belief that permeates all things C. S

Hello, C.S.! How did you discover indieBRAG?

First off it’s a pleasure meeting you, Stephanie and thank you for giving another independent author a medium to highlight their work. indieBRAG was highly recommended to me by our talented editing team and has a great reputation in the indie publishing realm.

A pleasure, C.S.!

Please tell me about your children’s book, The Adventures of Gracie & MonkeyBear.

The Adventures of Gracie & MonkeyBear

It’s ‘Book 1’ in a picture book series about a friendship between a young girl, Gracie and her dog, MonkeyBear. Through the power of imagination and kindness, they travel to adventurous, far off places, helping those in need along the way.

Tell me a little about the relationship between Gracie & MonkeyBear.

They are the best of friends and the closest of family. Gracie is a bold and fearless adventurer while MonkeyBear is a brilliant scientist and inventor. Each is a different side of the same coin and when together… anything is possible!

What is an example of the adventure they take by finding portals to new worlds?

Gracie & MonkeyBear hear a mother whale calling for help from their wading pool in the backyard. MonkeyBear designs a submarine out of odds & ends lying around and together, they build the sub and launch it into the wading pool and are off to help the whale.

What was the inspiration for your story?

Watching my Niece playing with my Bernese Mountain Dog, Seamus (nickname: MonkeyBear) in the backyard. She was only 5 at the time, but would ‘put a bubble’ over his head as if he were carrying on a conversation with her. She has a boundless imagination and MonkeyBear adores her. I grabbed a notepad and sketched out the first few scenes of what became, Book 1 of The Adventures of Gracie & MonkeyBear series.

How did you get into writing children’s books?

I worked with youth programs all through college in the summers and whenever I was working with the younger kids, they clamored for ‘storytelling’ time, so I spent many hours reading the best picture books from all the greats. Many years later, I stumbled upon works by Illustrator, Jordy Farrell; I knew it was time to give Gracie & MonkeyBear life. Book 1: Summer is our teams’ first book.

Who designed your book cover?

The wondrous, Arial Light took my loosely bound concept of creating a cover similar to those of the early adventure novels by Jack London and Jules Verne.  Arial created a cover that harkens back to the daring times of the past when the potential of adventure seemed on every horizon.

Where can readers buy your book?

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ask for it at their local bookstore, Signed Author Special Edition from the Gracie & MonkeyBear website.

What is up next for you?

The Adventures of Gracie & MonkeyBear, Book 2: Winter is coming out late October 2017 and I am also working on a picture book series with Illustrator/designer Arial Light at the helm that is going to be fantastically unusual! Of course…

Thank you, C.S.!


Gracie & MonkeyBear Website

Purchase on Amazon

Kirkus Best Books of 2016

Gracie & MonkeyBear on Instagram

Gracie & MonkeyBear on Facebook

Gracie & MonkeyBear on Storytime Station and More

A message from indieBRAG:

We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview C.S. O’Kelly who is the author of, Gracie & MonkeyBear, our medallion honoree at indieBRAG. To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion ®, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Gracie & MonkeyBear, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.


3 thoughts on “Interview with Award Winning Author C.S. O’Kelly

  1. Our family just found this book at our local bookstore and my kids are now Gracie & MonkeyBear fanatics. We started with the paperback and now have ordered the hardcover 🙂 It is a different type of picture book with a unique style–read it to your kids first and then see what you think!

    My kids love this book and I hope Book 2 is out sooner rather than later!
    Love your Interviews, Stephanie. They help us find new authors and great books!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We were introduced to the, “C.S. vision” on Storytime Station and More, Youtube channel. Have to say, The Adventures of Gracie & MonkeyBear: book 1, was the most entertaining read-aloud our family has heard so far. We also purchased the hardcover after my girls (3, 5, 9 years old) pleaded their case.

    Once again, quality indie books have a different feel and creative spirit than many others… just one dads opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

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