We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarina Siebenaler and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sarina, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
At the start of having a family, my husband and I made the agreement that I would be the stay-at-home parent to our 3 beautiful children and manage the household duties. The ’round the clock management of being a nurse, teacher, playmate, chauffeur, chef, and the housekeeper was my new job and I did it with pride, while keeping busy. Although, my children and family were my first priority and commitment, I felt the enthusiasm slowly dim with the interalized feeling of losing a piece of my identity. I yearned to have a creative outlet, but struggled to find what it was that would full-fill me, but also be helpful to others, while being able to stay home and care for my children.
During this time, my son was medically diagnosed with Autism. After five years of my commitment to build a human village and vesting in the critical support my son needed, he started to progress in better cognitive awareness, speech, fine motor skills, and behaviors.
Part of his autism journey was and still is the need to read!
Our bookshelves overflow with picture books. My mom heart has loved reading to all of my kids. A bedtime ritual that I will always treasure. All 3 of my children have always been highly motivated by silly stories like Mo Willems and the use of wordplay by Dr. Seuss.
I have always had a love of poetry and art. For me, picture books were the marriage of the two. I started to toy with the idea of writing a story inspired by my children’s desire to bring exotic pets home (i.e., giraffes, hippos, dragons, and unicorns). I thought to myself, “I can do this. I can help children laugh through stories. I can help parents and support special education families and children that are struggling and reluctant readers. My creative outlet will be how I make a difference with early literacy!”
This is how my first book, “Do Not Wish for a Pet Ostrich!” was born. 2 years later, “Do Not Wish for a Birthday Unicorn!” was published too. The business was never on the forefront of my mind as I was writing my first story, but as reality has it – no one will ever read a published book without sales.
So, this is how my writing journey began. Passion for purpose and personal healing. All because I was lucky enough to be the stay-at-home-parent to my 3 beautiful children and our journey through Autism. My children gave me the gift to pursue a creative outlet, all while being able to stay at home with them too. Being able to pay it forward with early literacy has been a dream come true!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The most rewarding part of my writing journey has been the positive feedback that I’ve received from children, parents, grandparents, educators, librarians, YouTube read-alouds, and even a celebrity shout-out.
I’m very humbled by the acknowledgemnt and recognition of my work. It takes a lot of financial obligation and investment of pure passion and time to put a quality book into the world. The competition is very high in the book industry so when someone takes the time to let me know their child laughed and loved a story I developed – it sparks motivation for me to create more books.
My children and their friends have been valuable beta readers. This ultimately provides the key writing elements that drives my creativity. The silly fantasy and imagination is always sparked by the questions that I ask children when I read them my stories. This helps me realize what I am doing right and what I really need to work on to enhance my story.
Once the story has been finalized I work on the storyboard so that the words and pictures merry together. It’s always my mission to provide entertainment and I always hope that my books are read like a short film. My illustrator is very talented and I lean on her to help with some creative perceptions that I sometimes would never think about. Finally, when the book is ready for publication it creates work on the business side.
The marketing and business side is always the most challenging. Since I have full business control for everything that I have done. This part of the process can feel, at times, very overwhelming.
I certainly have a lot to learn and continue to research and find mentorship along the way to always work on marketing skills and best practices in this craft.
For me, I just do the best that I can and hope that I continue to touch my audience with my work. I’ve always said true success is helping children through early literacy. This is and will always be the heart of my business.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Arizona has one of the most beautiful sceneries and landscapes.
Friends and family visitors have had a great time at the following places:
Desert Botanical Garden to see various plants and cactuses that are native to Arizona
Hot air balloon excursion, to get a panoramic view of Arizona’s landscape during sunrise or sunset
Sedona (Pink Jeep Tours), discover Arizona’s majestic red rock and a place of spiritual inspiration and healing
Boulders Resort & Spa, breathtaking views of the Sonoran Desert in a private casita with luxury pampering
Camelback Mountain, hiking enthusiasts will enjoy this mountain preserve climb with 360-degree views of the surrounding city at the summit
Cave Creek Trail Rides, horseback riding with scenic guided trail rides
Shopping in Scottsdale, AZ: Old Town and throughout 5th Avenue and the Arts District, for handmade art and jewelry,
Scottsdale Quarter, Kierland, and the Promenade for popular name-brand retailers and restaurants.
Restaurants: El Encanto Mexican food in Cave Creek, Tonto Bar & Grill in Cave Creek, The Taco Spot in Chandler for fun street tacos with a fusion of raman noodles, The Farm at South Mountain in Phoenix for farm to table dining under the pecan trees.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family is my rock. Without their love and support I could never have gotten this far. I am so grateful for each and every one of them.
The Author Community has been a connection of unwavering support. They are like-minded creatives that share the same goals and aspirations. We are a part of each others survival guide.
Finally, the creative team that has worked diligently to help me bring my books to life. Their expertise and talents are inmeasurable.