My guest interview today is with Denise Barry who is currently enjoying great success with her book “What Does The Tooth Fairy Do with our Teeth?”
What does the Tooth Fairy do with our teeth? What a good question and one clever kids have been asking for ages! Until now, there has never been an answer that comes close to revealing just how playful, creative and clumsy the Tooth Fairy can be! Oh, and let’s not forget naughty. Yes, the Tooth Fairy can be a little naughty sometimes, too. Just ask the moon!
Take a sneaky peek inside the Tooth Fairy’s world where you will be amazed and delighted by all of the fun, creative and magical things she might do with our teeth. But be warned, you may never look at the world in the same way again. Not the snow, the stars, or even a chocolate chip cookie!
When I was 9 years old, I wrote a song for my mother on this little, plastic, red typewriter Santa Claus had brought me that year. I had begged him for it, thinking my parents couldn’t afford to buy me something so extravagant. I wanted it so I could become a “writer,” never thinking I could be one without it! So that’s when I began writing, but being a kid, I didn’t stick with it for long. It took until I was all grown up with kids of my own to get serious about it. And I picked it up again out of necessity. It’s not easy being bossed around by little kids all day long. I used writing as a stress release and really fell in love with it.
Q) So, when did you first consider yourself a “writer?”
I had written the book “What Does the Tooth Fairy Do with Our Teeth?” and two more books, but even though I WANTED to be considered a writer, I didn’t think I could call myself one because I didn’t have those books published yet. When I began writing inspirational stories on a regular basis for best-selling author and Oprah columnist, Karen Salmansohn, I began to feel like a writer. But I still felt hesitant to think of myself that way. One day I realized I was holding myself back by believing I didn’t own the right to call myself a writer. I was creating some standard for myself that had nothing to do with reality. The funny thing is, because I broke through that insecurity, everything began coming together for me. I can call myself a writer if I want to today, and I do because people always want to put a label on you, but I’m not stuck on that word anymore. We are more than what we say we are.
Q) What actually inspired you to write “What Does The Tooth Fairy Do With our Teeth?“
I’m finding that inspiration comes to me whenever it wants to, and I can’t force it. For this book, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
When my daughter was little and she had lost her first tooth, we did the whole Tooth Fairy tradition thing that night. We cleaned her tooth, put it under the pillow along with a note, and then we read a book about the Tooth Fairy.
It was about a little girl wanting her tooth back from the Fairy, a really cute book. The Tooth Fairy kept bringing the girl the wrong tooth; a rhinoceros’ tooth, a shark’s tooth, on and on.
This made my daughter curious about what the Tooth Fairy does with our teeth. She asked me, and honestly, I couldn’t come up with anything that didn’t sounded lame, like she builds a castle with them.
So I searched online for some answers, and I found things like, “she recycles them for babies,” and “she crushes them to make toothpaste.” How gross is that? I thought, I’m not telling her that, it’ll traumatize her!
Then I thought about how some kids are really scared about losing their teeth. It feels like they’re losing a part of themselves, and I thought, “What if the Tooth Fairy did really cool stuff with our teeth? What if she loved them and had fun with them? What if they became something incredible?”
I thought that would help make kids feel good about losing their tooth, so I went ahead and created my own ideas of what the Tooth Fairy might do with our teeth.
Q) Do think you have a specific writing style?
I think I do, but I’m not sure what it is. I tend to want to write the same way often, but I force myself to experiment with different writing styles. My goal in my inspirational work is to write as authentically as I can. With the children’s books, I want to write in such a way that kids forget where they are, and get really absorbed in the story. It has to be fun. I’m all about kids having fun. If they’re not smiling, I’m not doing my job.
Q) How did you come up with the title? It’s such a cute, bouncy, irresistible title and fits the book perfectly!
The title to “What Does the Tooth Fairy Do with Our Teeth?” just made sense. I played with so many different titles, trying to make it cute and clever. I asked everyone I knew for help, including the head of the marketing department of an international company. I really wanted to get it right. It’s that important to the success of a book. But it all came down to what I wanted to convey to the readers. There are a lot of books out there about the Tooth Fairy and I wanted mine to stand out because of what it’s about. People Google “what does the tooth fairy do with our teeth.” It’s something kids want to know and parents want to find the answer to. My book has the answers. So of course that’s the only thing that made sense. Sometimes simple is the way to go.
Q) I have to ask you this: What books have most influenced your life?
A book I read before I could understand it was “Mill on the Floss” by George Elliott. I literally kept a dictionary next to me to understand it. I don’t remember much about it, but it haunted me for a very long time, in a good way. I learned what it means to have morals.
The other books that influenced my life were Angela’s Ashes, The Glass Castle and Sophie’s Choice. Such sad books, but I loved them. It taught me how we, as human beings, can’t really ever be broken. There may be a deep well of pain and sadness, but there’s something deeper than that, something that can’t be touched and tainted, and it keeps us alive. It allows us to take the next step, the next bite of food, the next breath.
Q) Are you currently reading a book?
I’m trying to read “I Am That” but I keep falling to sleep.
Q) Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
You inspire me as much as I inspire you!
Q) Other than writing, do you have any hobbies?
Yes, a ton of them. I love making videos with iMovie, I could do it all day! I love to hike, bike, travel, try new restaurants, sleep late on the weekends, have friends over. I don’t do anything in particular all the time, but I love doing everything as it comes up.
Q) How do you enjoy social media interaction? Does it come easily to you?
The upside of social media is that I have made some awesome friends through it. I don’t care that I’ve never seen them in person, they are my friends and I love them. I even met my illustrator, Andy Boerger, through Facebook! The downside of social media is the work involved. I don’t think people appreciate how much time it takes to post things regularly. A lot of thought goes into a posting — and I try to post as many inspirational essays as possible in order to engage my followers and offer them useful tools, and this is very time consuming. It helps when I receive some positive feedback so I know what’s working, so keep that in mind. If something I wrote helped you in some way, let me know, so I can do more of that!
Q) Many writers get quite nervous when they interview. Let me ask you this– do you enjoy interviews?
Thoughtful questions, like these, pull things out of me I didn’t know I knew. So, in that way I like interviews. I like written interviews way more than live interviews because in live interviews I don’t always say what I mean. They make me nervous and my words get jumbled up! I like reading interviews from people I admire, so hopefully someone will like reading mine.
- The Tooth Fairy (Sort of) Screwed Up (blogher.com)
- The day the Tooth Fairy screwed up. Well… Sort of. (blogher.com)
- Is the Tooth Fairy selective? (shecando.wordpress.com)
- Acira lost her tooth !! (acmisra.wordpress.com)
- Tooth Fairy inflation: Price of a tooth nears $4 (thehartford.com)
- Tooth Fairy Visits Sopha (dougwebberfamily.wordpress.com)
- Denise Barry Rewrites the Tooth Fairy for Kids (nickwale.org)
- What my son has learnt about the Tooth Fairy (recoveringagnostic.wordpress.com)