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DO YOU HAVE FORMAL TRAINING AS A WRITER?
No, actually. I have a degree in Religions Studies from California State University in Fullerton. But I've always been a good writer, even winning a scholarship in writing my senior year of high school, and it seems that writing has always been a part of my professional life. I own an advertising agency and often write copy for websites, brochures, and advertisements. Additionally, I published a magazine for eleven years and was a contributing writer to it which allowed me to develop a "voice" that I've carried into the books that I've written.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO WRITE CHILDREN'S BOOKS?
Honestly, it comes down to having a short attention span. I love the idea of writing a novel, but I just don't think I have the self discipline that it takes to develop a story and characters and see their journey through to the end. Writing these children's books has just been fun as they are small, snippets of information and the layout allows me to tap into so many things that I love: photography, graphic design, and trivia.

DO YOU HAVE ANY EXPERIENCE WITH CHILDREN'S LITERATURE?
Not before these books! Prior to writing these books, my entire professional writing career has been aimed at an adult audience, so when I made the decision to write these children's books, I was very much aware that I needed to strive for the correct "voice". After I had a rough draft put together, I enlisted a 1st grade teacher, Kristine King, and her two young children to serve as my focus group. Their input was instrumental in the development of not only the words, but the graphics and photographs.  

DO YOU PLAN TO WRITE ANY MORE BOOKS?
Oh yes!! I have about a million different ideas churning around in my brain. I think my next book might deal with bugs...or maybe animals...or maybe bugs and animals. LOL, it's definitely a work in progress.

WHY ARE YOU SO OBSSESSED WITH BIRDS?
Mostly because I find them fascinating. I tend to be extremely curious and I love to learn new things. As I delved into the world of birding, I was amazed at how much there was to learn. Whenever I photograph a new species, one of the first things I do is to read everything I can about it. It's been the process of discovering these tidbits of information and realizing just how fascinating birds are that became a major motivation for putting these books together. 

WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO EQUIPMENT/LENS COMBO?
When I'm out on a photography adventure, 9 times out of 10 I'm moving around so I like to travel as light as possible so I don't haul a lot of equipment around with me. When I'm shooting closeups (macros), I use a Sigma 105 Macro Lens with a Nikon D850 body and external flash and flash hood. When I'm shooting wildlife my favorite lens and camera combo is the Nikon 200-500 lens with the Nikon D500 body. It's rather heavy so I use a Cotton Carrier system to lug it around. However, my D500 died on me recently, so I've made the decision to transition to mirrorless and have added a Nikon Z7ii body that I've been using with my 200-500 telephoto lens. Ultimately I'll probably replace my entire setup with mirrorless cameras and bodies. SO, in my camera bag I generally have two camera bodes (Nikon Z7ii and Nikon D850) and three lenses (200-500mm, 105mm macro, and a general purpose 20-200mm). If I'm just kicking around, I have a Nikon mirrorless Z50 kit camera that came with a 16-50mm and 50-250mm lens that I'm just wild about. It's lightweight so I carry it with me in my backpack at all times and is perfect for capturing those unexpected moments.

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Cheryl Johnson

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Share the Beauty of Nature with Your Child!

Nature is Amazing

These beautiful books by writer and photographer Cheryl Johnson, are designed to not only engage your child but to encourage their imagination, exploration, and discovery of the world around us.