Thursday, May 30, 2024

Interview With Debut Children’s Book Author Dan Granger


“Kids will connect with Sam's need to "recharge" during winter-and wish to have superpowers to escape to a place of endless summer-while drawing inspiration from his willingness to open up about a disorder that too many are reluctant to share. Takeaway: Easy-to-follow introduction to Seasonal Affective Disorder, from a kid's perspective.”  — Publishers Weekly Booklife

1.      What inspired you to write this book? 

I wrote a children’s book for two reasons. One, it has been on my bucket list to write a children's book. Two, I suffer from SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder which is a form of depression. SAD is related to the body not getting enough vitamin D caused by lack of sunlight during the winter months. I wrote this book during Covid, when everybody was shut in. During this time. I felt I didn’t have a purpose, I was just going through the motions of life. To be honest this book became the inspiration to get up during those dark days. It was very cathartic. 


I have always been able to relate to children. That is why I became an elementary school teacher. As a former teacher, I am on a crusade to educate the public about SAD through my story. I wanted others who suffer from SAD to know that they are not alone. My hope is that by discussing depression earlier with kids when they encounter it, they can better deal with it. While researching for this book I noticed that there are not many books about depression catered to children without the human element. The books I did find, the characters were animals or inanimate objects


2.             What exactly is it about and who is it written for?


It’s about a child named Sam, who has Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a disorder that makes him sad or depressed during the winter months caused by the lack of sunlight. The reader follows along with Sam as he takes the reader through all his struggles during the long dark winter months.

I wrote the book for tweens and possibly teens, but this book is for anybody suffering from depression or knows somebody suffering from depression and wants to better understand the effects of SAD and how to combat it. Those who I can see benefitting from my book are: parents, children, grandparents, teachers, psychologists, counselors, particularly friends and family who wonder why this person suffering from SAD is pushing them away from loved ones and good friends. 

Furthermore, I have received feedback and reviews from all kinds. I received feedback from a parent who came from the hot environment of California to the cold environment of the Midwest. He told me that his boy who is in Preschool told him when he picked him up “I was charged today! I was not charged yesterday.” Being charged refers to the page where Sam introduces himself and compares his feeling to the weather. I also received feedback from the elderly who enjoyed learning from my book. I even have a review from a psychologist from Readers Favorites. ”. . . Author Daniel Granger highlights the impact of SAD in Why Is Sam so SAD? and how Sam copes with it. Sam explores the effects of SAD, including wanting to sleep all the time, just not caring about things that used to be important, grumpiness, and more. Too many people think that the person suffering from SAD can just get over it. This book does a wonderful job of explaining the complex issues in dealing with SAD and techniques to help and relieve the symptoms. I counseled families for over forty years and wish I'd had this book to give to my young clients with SAD. . .”  Philip Van Heusen.


3.             What do you hope readers will get out of reading your book?


I hope they have a better understanding of those suffering from SAD. I hope they are more empathetic to those suffering from SAD and depression, especially during the times when they are pushed away during the winter season. I hope they remember it’s not the person, but the SAD that is pushing them away. I would love it if the readers obtained a good grasp on the power of gratitude, and how choosing to be thankful can have an effect on one's happiness. Having the population notice gratitude and make their own lists is part of my crusade. 


4.                  How did you decide on your book’s title and cover design?


I knew from the get go that I wanted the title to be called, Why is Sam So SAD?.I especially wanted SAD to be all caps. I picked the name Sam because it could be a boy or a girl. I was undecided if I wanted to write about my main character Sam as a boy or girl. The name Sam is only three letters long and so is the word SAD. Using alliteration in both the words along with the same letter count in Sam and SAD I felt that made the title pop. 

Since I don’t have any drawing talent I initially wrote/illustrated my book using clipart pictures during the rough draft process. The picture on the cover is based on a clipart picture I found of a kid who is sitting kinda like that who looks just as depressed and sad as what you see on the cover. 


5.                  What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers - other than run!?

My biggest advice to fellow writers is be passionate about what you are writing about. If you are passionate, you will push through the writing hardships and hurdles. On the other hand, if you don’t care or your heart is only half in what you write, you will probably be more tempted to give up during the unexpected setbacks. If you are passionate about what you write, you will enjoy the journeys including the setbacks and the hurdles and see them for what they are a pitstop for learning along the way. Because you are passionate you will press on at all costs and see the long-term outcome. 


Also, as someone who had many edits or additions along the way, which cost money. I would say to edit something and then stop and leave it for a week or at least a few days to let your decision to edit sink in. Once you come back and look at it you'll know by then if you want to change it or keep it and send it onto the publisher as completed. 


6.                  What trends in the book world do you see - - and where do you think the book publishing industry is headed?


With Artificial Intelligence advancing more and more each day it is more efficient and cheaper to create book covers, images or interior art. This process used to be expensive and time consuming. In addition to AI’s impact on images, I have seen more cost saving by recording audio books with it. Artificial Intelligence capability is moving so far and so fast that it is going to be interesting to see where it takes us.


7.                  Were there experiences in your personal life or career that came in handy when writing this book?


Yes, this book would’ve never been written had I not had been in the position to feel so down and lack purpose. I credit my extreme down feeling to my body adapting from eighteen years of living in the hot, always sunny climate of Arizona with no SAD symptoms. Compared to now living in the dreary, gray, cold environment of Wisconsin where my symptoms were overwhelming. What made my SAD worse was working my first two years during the shut-in Covid era. During this time, I was working fourteen hours a day seven days a week. Therefore, I never saw the sun. I was at work before the sun came up, and I left work after the sun had set so those two years took a toll on me.


Also, as a former teacher and someone who understands children and understands empathy, I was able to use Sam as an instructor to teach others about the struggles, experiences and feelings of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Because I am Sam, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about since I was writing from personal experiences. All the experiences that Sam goes through. I’ve gone through and more. 

That’s not to say I didn’t do research because I did. In fact, after the book was written in hard and soft cover book form, I looked up something and found I was wrong which bugged me. 

All my family and friends said, “Just leave it. It's a children’s book”  I would have left it except the character who was giving the description was an expert so I couldn't in good conscience just leave it. I had to pay a pretty penny to make the change.


Initial written as:

My doctor says I like to be in the sun because my body craves or loves vitamin D, which the sun rays give off.


Changed to:

My doctor says I like to be in the sun because my body craves or loves vitamin D, which is made when the sun rays contact my skin 


8.                  How would you describe your writing style? Which writers or books is your writing similar to?


I’m not really sure what my writing style is similar to. This book and my next book are written, breaking the fourth wall as the character explains, describes and teaches the main topic(s). In this case, Sam tells all about Seasonal Affective Disorder and depression. I’ve read a lot of children’s books in my time as a former Elementary and Preschool teacher in fact and I have 300 books in my personal library. But none of them break the fourth wall and instruct like my book. 


9.             What challenges did you overcome in writing this book?


There are a few challenges I addressed writing this book. First, I became a faster and more efficient typist, which I never thought was possible. I was such a horrible typist in high school and college. I had my family members type up my papers. I was so horrible at my typing skills that I even paid my friends to type my papers for me in college. Handing off the typing process for a cost to someone was more effective than having me take several hours to do what someone could complete in an hour if that. 

The big challenge I overcame by writing this book is to be more honest and more willing to open up about my SAD, because it is something that is so personal. This is especially difficult since opening up is the exact opposite of what somebody who suffers from SAD and depression wants to do. What I found out while writing this book was that it was very freeing and cathartic.


I lacked sleep because my creative brain did not power down for sleep and was still in overdrive. I would think of something when I was supposed to be sleeping, and unless I wrote it down it would stay in my head. As far as money, all the multiple editions were costly so I had to work the long hours and OT. 


I also saved money by not eating my three-square meals a day. Of course, I do not recommend anybody go this route if it can be avoided. 

10.               If people could buy or read one book this week or month, why should it be yours?

Readers should buy my book if they themselves suffer from SAD, know a family member or friend who suffers from SAD or for those who just want to learn more about the experiences and remedies to combat SAD.

My book is an easy read narrated from a child's point of view about living with SAD and depression. I believe that the readers should buy my book because the remedies and experiences or advice that Sam gives or goes through may be beneficial to someone who is depressed or beneficial to somebody who knows somebody who is depressed and is being pushed away. The remedies that Sam uses have been beneficial to me and can be beneficial to others when they get depressed. 

It will help those with SAD make a list of daily gratitude. By being conscious and creating a list of all the good things I am grateful for that occur on a daily basis, I have become more positive. I am thankful for little things, such as making the green lights on my way to work, free lunch at work, being provided chances to give back, like helping someone or making them smile, etc. I remind myself when I’m SAD that my negative thoughts have no power and are just thoughts. That's where my being positive and grateful combats the negative thoughts.  

In short, reading this book, and knowing somebody who has SAD or depression, just being there for them being a comforting shoulder or a listening ear is priceless.


About The Author: Dan grew up in the Midwest and has coped with SAD every winter since he was a child. However, that has not stopped him from achieving his goals. He received his bachelor of special education from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He received his master's degree in early childhood education from Northern Arizona University. He is a certified reading specialist. He was a former teacher with fifteen years of experience teaching students from preschool through high school. In addition, he even tutored college freshmen. Teaching is in his blood and it even comes out in his writing. He has lived in the Arizona sun, but today he lives in a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Go Packers!” For more information, please consult: and


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Brian Feinblum should be followed on This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2024. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog, and El Chapo, a pug rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This award-winning blog has generated over 3.9 million pageviews. With 4,900+ posts over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and director of publicity positions at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America several years ago, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, Morgan James Publishing, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. His first published book was The Florida Homeowner, Condo, & Co-Op Association Handbook.  It was featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald.

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