Interviewing Sheila Dubell author of Mona’s Wings
Mona is one creative mama!
Join Mona and her ducklings on their adventure to Paris.Watch Mona’s love for her children, art and adventure come to life as they all head out on a journey to Paris. Henri, Pierre, and Coco show off their unique clothes and personalities as they dance, waddle, cook, and ponder.Follow the ducklings as they study famous works of art and explore the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, and more.Watch Mona’s wings slowly turn purple and the magic of each scene come to life with every page turn as she paints the stunning sites of the City of Light.
Mona’s Wings is an illustrated children’s book written by Sheila Dubell and illustrated by Sheri Gillett about family, culture, art, fun, and dreams come true. It’s an adorable little take that allows children to learn a lot more about Paris (and France overall) while adding a fun element to it. The inclusion of famous people from France by naming the ducklings after them was adorable. (Look at me gushing over cute characters in a book. 😂)
While reading it I kept thinking that this would be such a great inclusion in schools because of the education purposes it serves (and also for the kids currently studying from home).
I’m really looking forward to see what trips the cute little ducklings take in the future (possibly one to India? 😉)
Overall, really good children’s book that I would highly recommend.
1. Tell me (and the readers) a little bit about yourself, including a quirk that you have.
Answer: Hi! My name is Sheila Dubell and I have been a children’s product development specialist for 30 years. Currently I work for Little Partner’s, a Montessori children’s product company. I have a great passion for writing and recently published my first book titled Mona’s Wings. I grew up in the small town of Portsmouth, RI and currently reside in Pennsylvania. I love brainstorming new product ideas and solutions that help make it easier for parents to care for their children. I also love traveling, art, riding around in my VW bug and spending time with family in Cape Cod. A funny quirk I have is that I love everything Christmas! My friends and family have fondly nicknamed me the “Crazy Christmas Chick”, but I like to refer to myself as the “Bringing Christmas Joy Broadcaster”.
2. How did the idea for your book, come about?
Answer: Growing up I had always dreamed of traveling and seeing things I heard about in songs, read about in books, or saw on TV. I loved to read about places near and far, letting my mind get lost in their stories. Times were difficult for me and my family with the unexpected loss of my dad and I wasn’t sure if those dreams would ever come true. Then something amazing happened and I was given the gift of a lifetime. My Aunt Sheila gave me a full education to Salve Regina University, in Newport RI. This changed my life forever. My senior year I studied abroad in Ireland and started on my travel journey. Mona’s Wings was inspired by the idea that dreams can come true. I thought many children probably have similar dreams, so I decided to write about my visit to Paris through the eyes of a mama duck and her ducklings for them to enjoy. Having had experience as an elementary teacher early in my career, I thought it would be a fun way to introduce children to Paris and give them a beginner lesson on famous impressionist artists and their works.
3. What was the most enjoyable and stressful part about writing this book?
Answer: The most enjoyable part of writing Mona’s Wings was bringing the story to life with my illustrator Sheri Gillet. Sheri and I worked together designing children’s products for many years. She is a dear friend who is incredibly talented. Having the opportunity to work together on this personal project was so fun! Everytime a painted page was sent over for review it brought me so much joy. During a year of uncertainty with Covid there were also some stressful times that put Mona’s Wings on hold. I lost my job just as we started working on the book and my passion sadly plummeted. Luckily, I was one of the fortunate ones that found another job. A former colleague and friend offered me a position at his company, Little Partners. I work with a great team and having the opportunity to continue creating at work brought my desire back to creating something for myself. I found my spark again and Sheri and I finished Mona’s Wings a year after we began. We launched the book last month. I’m so grateful and excited!
4. Who was the first person you asked to read your book after it was ready and why them?
Answer: The first person to read Mona’s Wings was my dearest and closest friend, Liz. I chose her because she was with me through the journey from idea to publication. Often I would bounce ideas off her and we would talk about different ways to incorporate them into the story. Liz and I took a trip to Paris with friends in 2018. Having just been there together, she would often remind me of little details I may have forgotten. She is my most honest and trusted friend and has no problem telling me when something is great and when something is not so great. That’s the kind of friend I needed on this journey.
5. Are you planning to release another book anytime soon?
Answer: On the last page of my book, Mona asks the ducklings “where shall we visit next?” Coco, Henri, and Pierri all respond with different answers, leading the reader to believe there will be many more family adventures. I have started to write again and am anxious to release the next story. I’m loving every minute of it because it takes my mind back to a place I once was and makes me dream of going back again. It’s funny how things always come full circle. As a teenager I imagined traveling and now as an adult still being cautious with Covid concerns I am imagining again.
6. If you could venture into a different genre, which would you choose to write on?
Answer: I would love to write something that is based on historical fiction, perhaps a story within a story. So often when I’m traveling and seeing things for the first time, I think about who stood there and what happened in that spot before me.
7. Did you always know you wanted to be a published author/poet?
Answer: I’ve always loved writing. I enjoy journaling, writing poems and stories for friends, and just generally love how words look “and feel” on paper (or screen lol). When I write my mind is focused on that moment and brings me into a different world for a short time. It feels like meditation in some way. I always wanted to write and publish a book, but I didn’t think it would be a children’s book. Something struck me though during the pandemic as I thought about my nieces and nephews. Normal everyday life stopped for them for a while as they could no longer go to class, be with their friends, go to pool parties, dances, or reading circles at the library. I decided during this time to write something for them so they could get lost in an adventure and realize the potential they have to make their own dreams come true. That’s how Mona made her debut. 🙂
8. Did you look up to any author or poet while growing up?
Answer: I loved Maeve Binchy and still do. I have some of the best memories of being in Ireland that senior year. I still have friends today I met on that journey. Maeve’s stories in Ireland kept my memories alive and for that I will always be grateful.
9. I’ve always talked about this, but if your book was made into a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?
Answer: This question made me smile as I thought about who could play a duck! If Mona’s Wings was turned into an animated film I would recommend Tea Leoni play her part in a similar role as Madam Secretary. She would have her ducklings waddling around Paris with fervor and a determination to learn and embrace life confidently.
10. Lastly, do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers out there?
Answer: Oh wow, I’d have to say keep at it and it will happen. Believe in yourself and the words you have to share. It’s an amazing feeling to finish something you started.
Thank you Sheila for a chance to interview you. I’m looking forward to reading more works from you in the future!
Melina L. 🦄
Interviewing Sheila Dubell author of Mona’s Wings