It all started with four best friends Meeka, Sokron, Jonsy, and Nina. They are super excited about the start of summer! Their adventure began as they were getting ready for a ‘pink sleepover’ and ran into a girl named Kiki as they were walking through the park. The girls thought she was the meanest girl on the planet. After Kiki made a snide comment that the four girls were not invited to an exciting fashion show, they made a mad-dash to Sokron’s house. There they would figure out, with the help of Sokron’s grandma, how also to participate in this event. When the invitation for the fashion show got stolen by Sokron’s dog, Dogon, the girls chased after him and bumped into Kiki again. With hesitation and some uncertainty, the girls summoned the courage to invite Kiki to join their fashion show team. Back at Sokron’s house, the five girls finished their final preparations and rushed to the show in grandma’s long-as-a-boat motor bike. After the show, the girls felt a strong bond of friendship. Kiki then understood that taking a step towards friendship was better than being alone. All the girls learned that by having the courage to include others you can ‘sew a friendship’.
Tell us something about yourself.
Natalie Tinti is a student in the fourth grade at the Vintage Hills Elementary School in Southern California. With her passion and talent of illustrating, she has won many awards for her excellence. Back in 2004, as a five-year-old, Natalie won first place for the poster contest at the 4th Annual Artists Event hosted by Great Graphics Bella & Animal Friends of the Valleys. That same year, she achieved first place for the Visual Arts Primary Division at her school for the Reflections theme “A Different Kind of Hero.” In 2007, her art piece was placed in the Promenade Mall at the Youth Art Exhibition hosted by the Temecula Valley Art Council. Recently, Natalie’s book, Sewing a Friendship, was awarded a Silver Medal in the 2009 award contest hosted by the nationally recognized Readers Favorite Book Reviews under the Children-Chapter category. In addition, Miss Tinti received a certificate of achievement and was recognized as an honor student at her elementary school.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired by my friends, family and my teachers. I also noticed that some children are unhappy,depressed and friendless.So I decided to write a book about friendship and show how different types of people could encourage each other to create a bond of friendship.
How did you publish this book?
We decided to self-publish, following Dan Poynter’s steps for self-publishing; and print books in China because to print colored page books very expesive as far as we find out. This is my first book, so we did not have any experience and knowledge about the whole process.
You are both the author and illustrator for this book. Do you find that the words usually come before the illustrations, or are you sometimes inspired to write a story based on something you’ve already drawn?
Since I am a visual person and my world based on images, I need to have pictures in my mind or on the paper at first before writing.
When did your interest in writing and drawing begin?
I always like to draw using all different colors. Ever since I can remember I drew everywhere: on a floor, on a wall, on a door, on asphalt, on myself and of course on any piece of paper.
How did you develop the characters we meet in Sewing a Friendship?
I developed my characters by observing my surroundings: friends, family, neighbors, and teachers, and noticed that people have many different opinions, views and angels in their lives. That’s why in my story called “Sewing a Friendship” each character is different in their own way: like Sokron-she is an artist (she sees her world through colors, shapes and forms; Meeka is science lover. In her world everything has all kind of measurements: speed, weight, length, distance, and directions. Nina is a music person and for her the most important things are: beats, sounds and rhythm in everywhere. In Sewing a Friendship I also put other two girls with similar ways how they react on the world: Jonsy and Kiki. They both have very strong feelings towards everything. One of the girls, Jonsy, always looking for and respond with positive feelings and reactions; but the other girl, Kiki, is very unhappy. Even though she would love to have friends, and have fun, and joy in her life, she prefer to recognize only negative sides in everyone and in everything. Even though we are so different in many ways, we can still be friends and support each other by sharing, and have fun, and enjoy each other.
Sewing a Friendship is a great story about friendship. What message do you hope readers will take away after reading your book?
I wrote this book to empower children to use their talents and imagination to focus on the importance and power of true friendships. I believe that friendships are an important part of our lives that can be created when we have the courage to include others. Creating friendships is fun and is our way to be the part of the Universe!
When did you find time to write Sewing a Friendship?
I was lucky. It was summer vacation, and only three weeks left before school started, and also right before my 10th birthday. So I was in a hurry to finish my manuscript with all drawings.
What are your favorite books?
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
My Sister a Vampire by Sienna Mercer
Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
Right now I am working on my second book Sewing a Friendship 2. It will be the same main characters, and it’s about how girls help one of their friends to cheer up from her small injury; when girls feel strong bond of friendship, they have incredible powers. And also I am thinking to write a book for parents on how to make your kids happier and make your life more joyful through child eyes.
What is the best advice you could give other writers?
Everything is possible when you believe in it with all of your heart. If you believe in your message, it doesn’t matter how old you are.
What types of promotion are you doing to get Sewing a Friendship in front of a larger audience?
First of all my book got awarded a Silver Medal by Nationally Recognized Contest and books reviews company Readers Favorite, then my mom send my book to different books shows, and we had a lot of Press Releases, and very good reviews from bloggers and editors. I am a member of many organizations for writers and artists like Author Den, Author Roost, Independent Publishing and others. We have a very good distributor, Atlas Books. We are going to have a long term service from Author marketing experts with Penny Sansevieri and from a company called Special Guests.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?