‘Fifo: 50 States’: Interview with Children’s Book Author Hayley Rose

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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Thank you for this interview, Hayley.  What inspired you to write your first book, Fifo – “When I Grow Up?

I had just come home from a family reunion in Chicago where I had spent time with my two little cousins. It was fun watching them learn to walk and talk, and I caught myself thinking, they have their whole lives ahead of them. Wonder what they’ll be when they grow up. Well one thing lead to another and I decided to write them a story with that very question in mind.

Your character, Fifo The Bear, is great. How did you come up with him?

I wanted a main character that everyone could identify with. I thought a bear would be loveable, cuddly and comforting, and who wouldn’t love a fuzzy brown bear named Fifo? Which brings me to the name Fifo. Fifo actually stands for, first in first out. It’s an accounting term, and I was working in an accounting firm while writing Fifo – “When I Grow Up”. I thought, Fifo The Bear, was a cute and catchy name that rolled right off the tongue. Hence, Fifo The Bear was born.

How did you come up with the idea for Fifo – “50 States”?

Fifo – “50 States” came from my love of travel. So far I have been to 42 states. Each state is unique and has something special to offer, and one day I hope to visit all 50 states. Of course, the book is all written in rhyme and educational. After reading Fifo – “50 States” you will know each state’s capital, bird, tree, flower, motto and much, much more. I am sure you will want to visit all 50 as well.

Describe your typical day.

I get up around 9:00 a.m., take a shower, brush my teeth and grab a much needed cup of coffee. I usually skip breakfast. I know, very bad! I roll into the office around 10:30ish, address emails and the social networking sites. I will usually touch base with my publisher or booking agent then as well to set up book events and interviews. I still work for a business management firm specializing in concert touring. So, I tend to the artists needs for the next 8 hours with a lunch break in between. Most nights I catch dinner out with friends and arrive home around 9:00 p.m. or 10:00 p.m. I feel the most creative at night so that is when I will usually sit down and write.

What are your hobbies when you’re not writing?

I love to travel. I recently spent a week at a castle in France. Except for the bugs, it was amazing. I am also interested in learning a new language. We’ll see what happens with that.

Describe yourself in 5 words.

Creative, loyal, spontaneous, easygoing, witty.

Where did you get your ideas to write books?

My ideas usually come from a part of my life. Something I’ve experienced in the past, or love to do. I then try to tie that in with something educational.

Did you like school, and what was your favorite subject?

My favorite subjects were history and music. I liked school for the most part, but It started a little too early for me.

Why did you want to become a writer?

I have always loved to write. It’s such a great outlet. It’s a great way to keep track of where you’ve been, where you want to go, and what you’re feeling. It’s a great release and/or a great escape. Anyone can write. I grew up with great parents and lots of encouragement. I wanted to be able to give some of that upbringing back to future generations in a positive way.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

Write often. Rewrite. Keep a pen and pad with you always. You never know when and where your next idea will come from. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

What did it feel like when you found out you were going to be published for the first time?

Ecstatic! It was a bit overwhelming and surreal. It’s been a fabulous adventure so far.

Who was your favorite author when you were a child?

Dr. Seuss! I love how he wrote in silly rhymes. It’s the reason I write in rhyme today.

What future plans do you have in store for Fifo The Bear?

Fifo has big, big plans! After Fifo – “50 States” the series will continue with England and then other European countries. Eventually Fifo will travel the world. Fifo also plans to release an album of children’s songs, along with an etiquette board game and a TV series.

What’s the worst summer job you’ve ever had?

Cleaning out horse stables. Smelly and not much fun after a big rain.

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