Theresa D. Berger; Local Author and Publisher in Palm Coast

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This last week we sat down and talked to Theresa D. Berger, who is currently an author as well as owner of a publishing company. We talked about business, inspirations, dreams and goals in this interview. Her story behind her journey as an author and as a publisher is unique and inspiring.

We asked her to tell us a little bit about her current publishing company, Sunsational Publishing. “I started it in 2011. I had written my first book, it was called, Me and My Boy Skippy Living Life with Autism. I had drawn all these pictures of what my life was like with my son who was about 6 maybe 7 at the time. It was really really hard, I was a single mom and he had autism. He was very rambunctious. I had drawn these pictures, and I didn’t know what to do with them now that they were drawn. What I did was I called the head of Barnes and Noble and I asked them what do I do with all these pictures, I want to publish this book. I told them about my life with my son and she said, ‘Well if you can go through all of that you can become a book publisher.’ I didn’t think I could but I wanted to publish this book so I said, ‘I am going to try.’ I went through the hoops to publish this book, and I published it. Then I had a book and I said, ‘Now what do I do?’ I then went to a book store and I asked the manager if I could have a book signing event and she said, ‘Sure why not?’ I had my book signing event and while I was there people were coming up to me asking if I could publish their books, and I said that I suppose I could. So that is how it all started.”

Theresa talked about how she had ended up taking a break from publishing to work on her own books, since she is also an author as well as a publisher. Since coming back to Florida, she is now back to publishing her own books as well as other authors books.

We asked Theresa what inspired her to write her first book, and Theresa had this to say, “My first book was the Dozen Buzzin’ Cousins and it’s about these twelve honey bees who go on a mission to find a new queen for their hive, because their queen dies. The title just popped into my head, and once the title popped into my head the story just started to flow. It just came out of nowhere and I just started to write it. I found this great illustrator, his name is Jeffrey Davidson, to illustrate it and I wanted to have a sequel for it. After this book I wrote Queen Bee Penelope, and he illustrated that one as well. The second book is about when they do find a new queen, she comes to the hive, and she then gives birth to more little bees. They were assuming they were going to be girls like they were and they were actually boy bees; so there’s a little conflict there.” Theresa took this time to read a small excerpt from one of her books. “High above in the old oak tree, lived the family of young honey bees. There was Darla and Marla, Patsy and Polly, Cora and Laura, Mitsy and Molly, the identical twins were Sally and Sandy, the youngest of all were Cristy and Candy. Out of the hive they’d fly up a buzzin’, these twelve honey bees were a dozen of cousins, they’re all worker bees pollinating the flowers, doing their job all daytime hours.”

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She talked about other children’s books she has written such as, A Hound to be Found, Queen Bee Penelope, You Can Be, Amanda the Panda, Hortense Horton and the Cats of El Monte, and an upcoming book, Chester the Court Jester.  Not only has she written these books, but she publishes them through her publishing company.

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We asked if Theresa had always known she wanted to be an author, “Yes, I have from when I was five years old. I have a little book, Theresa’s I Am book. I took paper, cut it up and stapled it together and drew pictures of Theresa, which is my full name. I drew pictures of what it was like to go to school because that is what I could relate to. So it was she got out of bed, she was brushing her teeth, she was eating breakfast, she went off to school, and then got home from school, and she had dinner. I gave it to my mother, who kept it. When I was about 25, she gave the book back to me. She told me she had found it in her drawers, and she gave me the book. I looked at it and I was so frustrated and so angry with myself because I hadn’t become an author like I wanted to be. I took the book, tore it in half, threw it in the trash, and I left the room thinking I was never going to be an author. Unbeknownst to be, my mother went to the trash and got the book, taped it back together, kept it. When I did write Me and My Boy Skippy, which was many, many years later, I took my book to my mothers house and I showed her my book. I told her I finally published a book. I was so ecstatic and so excited, she said, ‘Look what I have for you.’ She gave me back my little book that I drew from when I was little girl, that I had torn up when I was 25. I saved it because it means a lot to me because it means I have really accomplished my goals in life. I have a ton more books that I have to publish.”

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We asked Theresa what she would say to someone who was looking to become an author? “Brainstorm everything that you have in your mind, put it down on paper, it doesn’t have to be perfect, and it won’t be perfect. Just brainstorm everything, just write, write, write. Get an editor, have the editor go through the book with you, tweak it and make it perfect. When you first write it you aren’t going to write a perfect novel. When I wrote Hortense there were a lot of things in the book that my editor helped with, grammar, sentence formation; definitely go for. Don’t stop because you don’t think your good enough, just write how your heart desires and have an editor help you.”

We wanted to know what the biggest obstacle that Theresa faced both as an author and as a publisher. “As a writer, the finances part of it. There is an expense as getting an illustrator to illustrate your book, because that could cost into the thousands, depending on the illustrator that you find. Definitely the financial aspect of it. If you don’t need illustrations, then maybe the obstacle would be that you can’t think of anything to write, or you go blank. If that is the case, put the book down, take a break, even if it’s for a week and then come back to it. Obstacles as a publisher; getting my name out there, having people know what I am doing. I have been doing a lot of Facebook marketing, but really word of mouth is the way to do it. Get people to know you and have them know your services, and I can offer typing, editing, illustrations, formatting, ISBN numbers, I do it all.”

We wanted to know what the most fulfilling part of being a publisher was for Theresa. “Seeing their dreams come true. If this is really as important to them as it is to me, seeing that they finally get their wishes come to fulfillment. To me this is the biggest dream I could ever imagine, to be an author, this is my jam right here. For other people who feel the same way, I feel very honored to be part of the process with them.”

Theresa also talked about some local Palm Coast authors she is working with, one of them will have a new book on the market this July. The book is My Secret Child by Charlotte Hacker. She is a Palm Coast resident and is writing My Secret Child, which is still currently in editing, it is a dramatic story, and Theresa doesn’t want to spoil the book, but it should be ready by July. She also has published The Little Girl Who Wouldn’t Go to Sleep by Danielle Bordieri, who is another local Palm Coast author. All of the books that Theresa has published are on her website, which will then link you straight to Amazon where you can buy any of the books that she has written or published.

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Theresa is always looking for illustrators, authors and others interested in this field. If you are a local author looking for help, or maybe you aren’t an author yet but it has always been a dream, you can reach out to Theresa to talk about how to move forward. You can find out more about her by visiting her website at: https://sunsational-publishing.com/

By Krys DeWind

Krys DeWind has been a Flagler County resident since 2016. She is active in her community and is always looking for ways to better it. She has a community first attitude which is one of the central founding ideals of the Flagler County Buzz.

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