by Lorie Lewis Ham
Recently I got the chance to chat with Reedley author Ginger Lee Bull. She has published several children’s picture books and just recently published a short novel.
Lorie: Share with us a little of your background?
Ginger: I am what you might call a true Valley girl, San Joaquin that is. I was born in Dinuba, lived on a ranch outside of Kingsburg and moved to Reedley at the end of seventh grade where I attended Grant School. My Mom and Dad, Jim and Nellie Gilmore, where busy running their new business, The Furniture Vogue, while I totally enjoyed living in the “Big City” of Reedley. I was a Pirate in the graduating class of 1960 and attended one year at Reedley College and later acquired my AA at Fresno City. I married “Teddy” Bull of Dinuba in 1962 and we moved to Glendale California for two years while Ted acquired his certification as a Dental Technician at UCLA. I began my banking career in Reedley at Crocker Anglo Bank in 1959 as a Senior in High School and continued in banking after I was married. My work experience includes Glendale Federal Savings, Sequoia Savings, Fresno County Federal Credit Union, real estate agent with Ruth Cornforth, assistant to Vernon Conrad, District Four Fresno County Supervisor and office manager for Clovis Unified at Pinedale Elementary and Clark Intermediate. I always took at least two art classes during high school and college. I took private lessons in watercolor and immediately loved it. I painted non stop to finish 6 20×40 pictures and had them framed and hung in our new home in Clovis in 1995.
Lorie: Tell us about your writing, painting and children’s books.
Ginger: I have always loved the ocean and in 2003 while staying at Morro Bay I was literally covered by ladybugs on the bright yellow warm up suit I was wearing. I have always loved the color of red and began thinking about writing a children’s book. As I sat by a camp fire in the evening telling stories to my friends grandchildren I knew my character would be Ginger Lady Bug. I wanted to have my Mom in the story with me so I created “Nellie Gnat”. I actually drew the pictures because I knew in my mind where the story was going and the message I wanted the children to learn. I painted the pictures in bright clear tones and loved every minute of it. I want children to know that there are adventures all around them, look for the good in life, do not tease others because words can hurt, help those in need and be thankful. So, Nellie Gnat’s wing is torn and cannot fly and Ginger Lady Bug carries her on her back to all her adventures. Notice, Ginger Lady Bug is three words because my name is three words, Ginger Lee Bull. It is important to me and I kept correcting the name with my publisher but it got past me in the first book.
Lorie: How and why did you first get into writing? (I know some of this in regards to the children’s books is answered above)
Ginger: Journaling has always been part of my life and I also love to write poems and songs. Some of my drawings from high school of big red lips and eyes with long eye lashes are tucked away in my trunk. I seem to be able to say what is in my mind when writing and painting easier than when I speak. In fact I joined Toast Master’s to improve my speaking ability about 20 years ago. When I began writing the children’s books I would awake in the middle of the night and go to the kitchen and make notes on the idea. That really helps you go back to sleep if you can get an idea out of your head and on to paper.
Lorie: What fun and exciting things have you gotten to experience with your children’s books?
Ginger: I still love story telling and reading to kindergarten classes has always been a joy. The children are so full of imagination and interact when I read to them. Teachers contact me and I give them order slips so if the parents want to purchase a book I can have them signed before I arrive and give them out after the reading. When I lived in Clovis I was known as the “Bug Lady” to several of the students. I have made presentations at Pinedale Elementary School for the past four years at their Literary Night. Books are purchased by the school and given as prizes. Each child gets a ticket as they enter the cafeteria. This past year I helped them make books of their own. There were about 30 adult volunteers that sat at the tables of approximately 8 students. Each group had a different subject and they worked as a group to create a book. What imagination they have!!! Beautiful art work and they all loved it. The books were displayed in their school and the names in each group were printed on the back of the books they created. Remember, this is a group of K-6 graders and they all did a great job. Oh what talent! I just want them to believe in themselves and become all they were created to be.
Lorie: Are you still writing them?
Ginger: I know the stories I want to write about and have many sketches and notes. Sometime in the future I know I will begin a new children’s book, but for now I am still reading Ginger Lady Bug’s Adventures, The Stream, Morro Bay by the Sea and The Blossom Trail to classes that invite me.
Lorie: Where can people find them?
Lorie: Why don’t you tell us about your latest writing project?
Ginger: House of Changing Tides is a story of Victoria and the battle in her mind. The life we live takes many turns in the physical but it is in the mind where battles are lost and won. Victoria was created from my imagination but she grew into a picture that I have attempted to paint with words for the reader. I want the reader to feel the breeze in her hair, taste the salty tears on her cheek and feel the hurt in her heart.
Lorie: How did it come about and where did you get the story idea from?
Ginger: It began as I would share and listen to friends that were going through so many trials. Many of the ideas in the book are from personal situations in my own life. For instance, I suffered from extreme pain from a fall where my nervous system was damaged and I was taught self hypnosis by a doctor to help people with constant pain. It was very successful and I took myself to the beach in my mind and felt the warm sand on my feet, etc. I put this into my book because I know it works for me. I also believe that our minds are so very powerful and we need to make it work for our good not our harm.
Lorie: When and how did it become published?
Ginger: When I began writing it was almost non-stop. I wrote and wrote then it was done. I had finished the thought, the story and then I began searching for a publisher. I sent my manuscript to Tates Publishing in Oklahoma City and they liked it. Of course there were many re-writes. It was harder re-writing but my story is still intact and the message is there.
Lorie: It’s a very short book–why did you decide to go that direction instead of the more standard lengths?
Ginger: I wanted it to be a short easy read, a book that could be mailed instead of a super large greeting card and I wanted the reader to know who Victoria began as, what she became and how she ended up without going back to try to remember why certain things happened in her life. When I go back and re-read my prayer journal I see many of the things I have been praying for all my adult life that have not been answered. Then I see many things that turned out differently then I had wanted and it has been for the good. In this little book, Victoria’s life can be read about and hopefully remembered when challenges, heart ache, and disappointments try to overtake and devour the mind.
Lorie: What do you want to accomplish with your writing?
Ginger: If one person can find forgiveness in their hearts for themselves first then for others I will be happy. Many of my readers have commented that they want to go live where Victoria lives. They can in their mind. Also many remark that there is not always joy behind the smiling face of their close friends because they know their heartaches. Joy has been stolen from many of us and it is time that we reclaim this gift that is rightfully ours. A smile can do wonders and I want my readers, when they read that last page, to smile as a tear of joy for Victoria touches their hearts. As I said it is a short read filled with many messages that hopefully will radiate joy to those who chose to read House of Changing Tides.
Lorie: Future writing goals?
Ginger: I have had requests to write a continuing series on House of Changing Tides. Of course the books would be short and follow one characters life. It is the way I paint, write and talk. I am always looking for the “bottom line”. We will see what the future brings. I know each day is a gift and will be gone like the breath we take. Tomorrow becomes today and turns into yesterday.
Lorie: What is your daily routine like with your writing?
Ginger: I blog at gingerleebull, write articles from time to time on-line. Of course my daily prayer journal is ongoing. Life of course takes much of my time. I cook, I wash, I clean, I sing and then I do it all over again.
Lorie: What kind of things are you doing to promote your books?
Ginger: Tate Publishing has written letters of introduction to several media, news papers, magazines and I will be following up on them. Also they have created a TV commercial that will be aired at various times. I have spoken to groups and presented House of Changing Tides and the message it carries. There will be book signings at bookstores as time moves on. Each day I move forward and it is an ongoing venture for Victoria and me.
Lorie: Anything else you would like to share?
Ginger: Books are available at barnsandnoble.com, amazon.com, gingerleebull.com or ask at your favorite book store.