Dawn Brotherton’s latest book, Trish’s Team, is the first in the youth fiction Lady Tigers’ Series. Dawn started out writing murder mysteries with a female Air Force officer protagonist, Jackie Austin. As a colonel in the United States Air Force, she knows that part well (she assures us the murders are pure fiction). As her daughters started playing travel fastpitch softball, her attention was drawn back to the dirt fields where she had spent much of her youth. Keeping score and coaching for two different teams, Dawn grew frustrated with the standard scorebooks that were intended for baseball with softball as an afterthought and decided to design her own. The Softball Scoresheet is gaining ground as a more detailed book, with more room to recreate the games, and directions on how to keep score. Dawn is contemplating military retirement at this time and hopes to spend more time writing on a fulltime basis. The second in the Lady Tigers’ series, Margie Makes a Difference, is expected out by Christmas.
Tell us about your book! What is it about and what inspired you to write it?
My daughters are my inspiration. I have two (13 and 15) and they both read voraciously. They can’t ride in the car for ten minutes without their nose in a book. Because of this, they are both excellent writers. Better than I am, I suspect. They both played fastpitch for the Williamsburg Starz. Spending practically every weekend at the ball fields gave me plenty of material to take me to my goal of at least 10 books in this series.
Tell us about your publishing process. What was it like? Did you go indie or the traditional way?
I looked around for traditional at first. In the end, I decided that the trade-off of all the money and time I had to contribute versus the amount of money the traditional publisher and agent would take of my profits didn’t seem worth it to me. I established my own publishing company (Blue Dragon Publishing) and now I help other authors realize their dreams at a more realistic price.
How did you choose the title for your book? Did it come to you right away, before you started writing the story, or did it come later?
I think titles are the hardest part. This is the first in a ten-part series so that adds an extra challenge. I almost feel like there needs to be a connection, but my writers’ group talked me out of that. Trish’s Team came to me pretty easily when I was almost done with the story. I had it narrowed down to a few, then floated the choices past some friends. I even have the second book title ready, Margie Makes a Difference. The third one hasn’t come to me yet, although I’m over halfway into the book.
Tell us about the cover design process. Did you have a basic idea of what your book cover would be like?
I had some idea what I was looking for. I spent a long time at the library looking at various covers trying to decide what appealed to me and what didn’t. Then I asked my daughters to give their opinion. Once I had an idea, I drew it with a word picture and sent off to my cover artist. He got it right on the first try with only minor edits needed!
Who is your cover designer and how did you find him/her?
Vineet Siddhartha. Believe it or not, I found him on www.fiverr.com. The people advertising on the website will do a variety of jobs for $5, hence the name. Actually it ends up costing more than that, but they hook you with the idea of only paying $5. It was very much worth it!
How was your experience working with the designer?
Excellent. I would recommend him highly. He has done two of my covers so far, and I hope will do the whole series. He did a sketch of my original idea and gave me a chance to make adjustments (Trish was originally too curvy for a 12-year old <smile>). Then he added color and tweaked until we got it right.
What has been the readers’ response to your cover?
I was surprised when a mom stopped by my table at a book signing and said Trish would make a cute action figure. I’ve gotten lots of compliments on his work.
What tips would you give to authors who are looking for a cover designer?
Start with fiverr but make sure you read the fine print. You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money to get a good product. Trust in new talent. And make sure you own the rights.
Anything else you’d like to say about your book?
I’m really excited about Trish and her friends. I read a lot of sports books growing up but they were all written with male characters. The Lady Tigers have female leads but can be enjoyed by boys or girls because the lessons apply to both. I’ve added a glossary of terms in the back as well as questions to be used with a book club or to start a conversation between parents and their children. Enjoy!