I’d like to welcome back multi award winning author Kandi M. Siegel to Layered Pages. Kandi graduated from University of Central Florida is 2006 earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and was also certified in Special Education. She received the Editor’s Choice Award for outstanding achievement in poetry by the National Library of Poetry in 1997. She has been a member of the Space Coast Writer’s Guild since 2012. In 2008, Ms. Siegel was hurt on the job while working with special education and was unable to continue her job. Her love for children brought her back to her earlier career of storytelling. She finds writing books for children and meeting people at book signings a very rewarding experience.
Hi, Kandi! Thank you for visiting with me again! Congrats on your second B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree! That is wonderful! Please tell me about your story, A Dog for Leo.
It is my absolute honor to be a part of the B.R.A.G. family!!
A Dog for Leo was written for my Uncle Leo. He was the best uncle in the whole world but died too soon from throat cancer. I wanted to do something to honor his memory so I wrote a book about him. In the book, the other main character, Marty, is actually my other uncle, who is still very much alive. They were brothers. Other family members are also mentioned in the book, such as my mom Sylvia. I remember hearing stories of when my uncle was a boy and he wanted a dog so that’s where I got the idea from. It’s actually a made-up story from an idea of him wanting a puppy (which he actually won from a boy scout contest). Anyway, A Dog for Leo, is about a young boy who wants a dog but his parents don’t think he’s responsible enough because of certain situations that come out throughout the story. Leo is going to have to prove that he is responsible enough to care for a dog.
Is there a special message you would like to give to your readers to encourage them to read your story?
Yes, the story is all about being responsible. It also proves that no one is perfect and although Leo tries to be responsible, he goes through several bumps in the road, to get there. This book is perfect for any preteen to read who really wants something, but what they want isn’t just going to be handed to them on a silver platter. In the book, Leo has to work hard to obtain his goal. He will realize that being lazy isn’t going to get him what he wants. He needs to prove not only to his parents, but to himself, that anything worth having, is worth working for. This book is specifically designed for young adults.
Who designed your book cover?
I hired Debbie Johnson to illustrate the cover of A Dog for Leo. I was very specific with the pictures I wanted on the cover and throughout the book. I wanted the two main characters to look like my two uncles. I gave her pictures of them and she really made them come alive in the book. I also have a puggle and I wanted her to be on the cover with Leo. I also gave Debbie a picture of my dog and I actually cried when I saw the cover because the boy looked so much like pictures of my uncle when he was a young boy and she totally captured my dog Layla. I was so happy with her work that I’ve actually hired her to illustrate other books of mine and I have passed on her name to other authors looking for an illustrator.
Where can readers buy your book?
My book is available on Amazon
In our last interview, together, you talked about when you were a child you would keep all the stories you write in a box. How many stories did you write and what has the experience been like for you to give your stories to the world?
My book, “My Summer Triumph,” is a story about me at about 11 years old and it was my first time at overnight camp. I was bullied there and the story talks about what I went through and how I was able to triumph over defeat. The story is very inspirational to anyone that has ever been bullied or who has bullied someone. It shows how heart wrenching it can feel to the person who is being bullied. This particular book also showed the bully having a turnabout with her feelings too. This book is on the same reading level, young adult, as “A Dog for Leo.”
Another story I wrote, “Looking Back, No Regrets, Memoirs from the Heart,” is a collaboration of short stories of different relationships I had throughout my life from my first kiss, to a high school crush, online dating, etc. It’s filled with all kinds of emotions. This book is actually for ages 18+ although some parents have bought this book for their 16 and 17-year-old daughters who were in dating mode. A couple stories in the book actually makes the reader more aware of red flags to look for in relationships.
On behalf of National Dog Day that took place yesterday, tell me a little about the qualities you like in dogs and how you believe dogs are important to society.
I have always been a dog person as I grew up with dogs in the house and to this day, I still am never a dogless house. As a child, it helps with teaching responsibility and to care for something else other than yourself, from things as simple as feeding the dog to walking the dog. The dog depends on its owner to care for them but there are so many rewards given back. A dog has a very keen sense of when something is wrong. For instance, when I’m sad, my dog always seems to be able to pick up on that and will come over to me and lay her head on my lap. It’s so comforting and after sitting with me just for a few minutes and cuddling, I start to feel so much better. Dogs are also great protectors of their masters. They seem to know when the situation changes and will jump right in to protect their master at all cost. That’s why it is so important to give that love right back to your pet. I have no tolerance for people who abuse their animals. They are there to love and protect you and you need to honor, care for and love them back, always!!!
How often do you write during the week?
I always have some sort of writing project in the works, so I usually write just about every day in some form. Whether it be writing an outline for a new book, or scribbling notes for a new book idea that I’d like to write about.
What is your current writing project?
Currently, I am finishing up my cookbook that I’ve been working on for the past year. Several of my friends had asked me to put my recipes into a book and honestly, I did not realize what an undertaking it was to write a cookbook. I have two more recipes that I will be making tomorrow and then taking pictures of the finished product for the cookbook and I’m happy to say it will be completed. I will be sending the book off to my editor next week and I’m planning on a mid-September release date. The book is going to be called, “Cooking with Kandi.” I’m really very excited and pleased with the outcome of this book.
You can check out all of my books my going on my website
Thank you, Kandi!
I thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A message from indieBRAG:
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Kandi M. Siegel who is the author of, A Dog for Leo, 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, A Dog for Leo, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.