JiJi Talmas also known as “Ms. JiJi” was born in a small town near the sea until she moved far away to a land of snow and the Rocky Mountains. Before she started writing books, JiJi got a graduate degree in Early Childhood Education. After that, just to shake things up, she achieved the award of Excellence for her contribution to public education and later on, received the Kathleen Stroud Award for demonstrating exceptional leadership in supporting families and children’s education. She loves to write books and short stories to educate and connect with children using beautiful illustration and heartfelt characters that inspire. When she is not writing, JiJi spends most of her time reading, giving back to her community, connecting with nature, and hiking.
1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
JT: I’ve been writing my entire life. As a child, I made my own magazine and distribute it every month at my own school and as an educator, I made my own stories and books for my children at the program but knew nothing about real publishing. I’ve learned so much during the Pandemic. The lockdown and being laid off for more than a year forced me to get busy with searching, networking, and educating myself on how to publish a book.
2. How long does it take to write your book(s)?
JT: Because I was laid off, I had all the time. It took me a year to publish two children’s books and 8 months to publish my third which is a journal that shares my experience as an Early Childhood Educator. My last book highlights the importance of the ECE for everyone from children to volunteers, to educators, families through simple attractive writing style and colorful pages that will make the reader smile.
3. What is your work schedule like when writing a book?
JT: Again, I was laid off with no job. So, I had all the time. I wake up at 5 am to do my yoga and meditation, have breakfast, go for my morning walk. I sit by the river and think, write down a few notes and ideas. I come home and start writing, networking, communicating with the illustrator and editor until 5 pm. And do it all over again the next day.
4. Where do you get your ideas or information for your book?
JT: My books are original. The first one, “The Nest in the Evergreen Tree” is a beautiful story based on a real place honoring a loved one who passed. The tree is real, the robin was real … the painted rocks and what’s beautiful is at the end of the book, it shows the real pictures of the magical garden.
For my second book, we often have volunteers that come in to help and connect with children making special activities for after school and I as an educator always had a hard time finding a simple story that will help me introduce a volunteer to the children. There aren’t any at all. So, my second book was the first book written to shed light on volunteers and the important role they play in a child’s life at school.
The third book is simply a journal about my work experience in the field as an educator written in beautiful lines with stunning photographs.
5. When did you write your first book?
JT: The first book was written in year 2020.
6. What do you do when you’re not writing?
JT: Educating young children and hiking, connecting with nature.
7. What does your family and friends think of your writing?
JT: I see smiles… so, hope they’re proud!!
8. What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your books?
JT: I can never forget the moment I held my first book in my hand…. When you see your work being born … such a beautiful moment no words can describe.
9. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
JT: I have written three books and my favorite is my first, “The Nest in the Evergreen Tree” this book will always have a special place in my heart and a song was written for it called “I remember” by the amazing Debra Krol. Full proceed of the book is donated every year on June 18th to support environmental learning programs for children giving them the opportunity to explore nature, woodlands, meadows and wildlife.
10. Any tips/suggestions on getting started?
JT: Just do it … I know the journey seems long but start one step at a time and it’s not as hard as people think once you start… it’s a beautiful journey worth taking.
11. What do you think makes a good story?
JT: Creativity and beauty but most of all knowing how to connect to the audience of your book.
12. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
JT: lol a cop or crime scene investigator … I always watch CSI and Law and Order.