Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Interview With Children’s Book Author Preston Rice

Author of Little Forces and the Water Rescue

1. What inspired you to launch a series of children's books with your twin brother?
As a father, my children will always be my inspiration. The conception of the Little Forces happened the night of our 33rd birthday where we both discussed the stories of the Little Forces. Writing these stories has allowed me to introduce the values in the books that I wish to instill in my own children. They have also allowed us to memorialize our good friends and their children within these pages as a tribute to their sacrifice, another part of our inspiration.

2. What themes are covered in your books?
The theme in every story is different, hitting on topics such as forgiveness, working together, being part of a community and being involved. Additionally, listening to your parents and respecting others around you is another focus. With these stories, we also introduce new technology but in a fun way where children can interact socially with other children and getting out doors to play. The stories are also written in a way to motivate children and inspire imagination and creativity.

3. You have been an active member of the armed forces. Please share with us a little about your experiences.
In 2001, I served in the United States Air Force where I spent my enlistment as a meteorologist. After 6 months of Technical School, my first assignment took me to Germany where I spend another 4 months learning about weather regimes and climatology across all of Europe. I began forecasting weather for many areas in Europe where we have U.S. Military Operations. I traveled much of Europe during my time there which was an amazing opportunity. After two years, I returned to a 3-month Technical School in order to learn how to become an observer and how to use equipment in the field for combat scenarios. After completion of this school I was stationed in Florida at the Special Operations base. I deployed to Iraq Operation Iraqi Freedom and briefed the commander and aircrews on weather conditions that could impact operations. Additionally, I deployed to Kuwait for a total of 256 days in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. I enjoyed the assignment, though my desire was to be part of the Elite Special Operations Combat Controllers though this did not seem to be an obtainable path due to the road blocks and poor vision. I ended up getting out of the military in 2005. Years later, after eye surgery, I had the opportunity train as a Combat Controller, but I gave it up in order to start a family. This decision was a tough one, but not one that I regret. I now have 3 beautiful children, two of which are currently characters in the Little Forces Series and the third will be introduced in due time!

4. What influence does your military experience play in your books' messages?
There is quite a bit of influence from our military experience that goes into these books. From leadership to even a refined version of operations in order to make this child friendly. Right away you can see Porter taking charge of the situation and Leading his friends. Everyone has a job to do and a responsibility. Within other books, we use some creativity in order to develop other military operations in an exciting way. We are very detail oriented and this is of the utmost importance.

5. Why is it important that we encourage children at a young age to step up and be heroes?
We all have heroes that we look up to. Typically, someone doing good and looking out for others is the premises for a hero, or even one with super powers. Using this idea, we think that children can develop these traits at an early age. While reading these books and seeing the actions of the characters, they can find that they hold power within themselves and have the ability help out those in need. We want to teach that it is ok to speak up or do something in situations that doesn’t look right. Stepping out of the comfort zone may be difficult at first, but it will help build on their character.

6. As a parent, how do you teach your children about teamwork and collaboration?
As a parent of multiple kids, I find it relatively easy. Lead by example and you will find that the children learn these behavioral traits quickly. Children are always observing, so as a parent, the ability to work with a significant other is extremely important. It is always great to show them how to do something at a young age rather than explaining it, though I practice both techniques simultaneously. With my sons, Porter and Keillor, they are very close in age and can learn to work together in order to achieve their goal. It can be something as simple as picking up their room and working together to accomplish the task, or even soccer where they pass the ball to each other. One time, the boys wanted to dress up as Spiderman. They both had their costumes on and I was the villain. They had to spray me with their web which was a can of silly string in order to capture me. They were both talking and devising a plan on how to get me which was great to watch. I believe that through regular play, children can learn quite a bit.

7. How does purchasing a book Help support the Special Operations Warrior Foundation? What does this organization do?
The Special Operations Warrior Foundation is a great organization which looks out for the families of the fallen in the Special Operations Community. I personally have seen the good this organization provides. Our good friend Andy Harvell was in the Extortion 17 crash in Afghanistan. He left behind a wife and two young sons, one which was still a new born. It was a dreadful day for all. The Special Operations Warrior Foundation used the funds received in donations to buy property and build a home for Andy’s family. This Organization also devoted to providing a college education to every child who has lost a parent serving in the U.S. Special Operations Command. At the end of every year, our goal at the Little Forces is to contribute a percentage of any proceeds to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

8. What is your latest book about, Little Forces and the Water Rescue?
This story is one that is quite common but done in a unique way. The idea behind this is that a boy doesn’t listen to his mother who is looking out for his best interest. By not listening and making poor decisions, he gets himself into a horrible situation. While not paying attention, he escalates the problem prompting the Little Forces into action. This time, they will have friends who offer a hand in order to pull of this daring rescue.

9. How much of a soldier's ability is learned vs being born with it? How can we raise better soldiers?
I believe the environment which one is raised may have something to do with how one may be more susceptible to becoming a soldier or even a better soldier, but I also believe that through our own experiences throughout youth and what we gravitate toward is a unique attribute. There are obvious abilities that one may not every have had the chance to learn if not given the opportunity through the military. That being said, raising a better soldier is also in the training. If we can better understand the human mind and the psychology behind it, we can train and motivate an individual to accomplish their tasks. This goes hand in hand with collaboration and cooperation and ultimately succeeding in the overall goal.

10. Do military families have unique challenges in raising their children?
Raising a family while serving in the military is nothing short of challenging. There is much more to it that those outside of the military will never perceive. For instance, if one parent is deployed and the other parent is home with the children, there are countless hours spent planning, organizing, scheduling, and taking care of the children as a single parent, not to mention the emotional aspect of being away from your significant other. On the flip side it is important to assure your family that you are ok while deployed. Communication may not be available from time to time while deployed either and being a way for so long is not the easiest of tasks. You still have to maintain focus and continue to do your job. You need to keep mentally sharp and on top of every detail. If there are problems at home or emergencies, you have to rely on others to help as it may take you a few days to get back home. I think the most important aspect of all is to ensure that the children know that their deployed parent loves them. It is also important to communicate with your family while deployed as much as possible and be involved where you can be.

Please note, Rice is a client of the book publicity firm that I work for. To see more information, please consult: www.littleforces.com.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

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