Summit County author pulls from life experiences to write children’s books
On Thursday, Lisa Reinicke, a Breckenridge resident and children’s book author, sat behind a small table at French Kiss on Main Street. She was out of her element, doing a signing event at the store. Reinicke would much rather be reading stories to children than out chatting with adults and selling her books.
“It’s because I am a kid. It’s what I’m drawn to, it’s how my mind works,” she said.
On top of the table was a stack of books with a bright pink pig holding a flower in his mouth on the sky blue cover. “Arnold, the Cute Little Pig With Personality,” was the first book Reinicke published, a journey that started back in the late ‘80s when she used to tell her original stories on “Blinky’s Fun Club.” The Denver-based television show starred Blinky the Clown, and had children as part of a live audience.
“I have all these old tapes of the ‘80s and ‘90s, of when (I) had the mullet and the Farrah Fawcett hair, the pleated pants that come up to my waist,” she said.
Reinicke did audio recordings of some of the stories from the show, and didn’t lose her creative streak after Blinky was cancelled in 1998. Reinicke decided to transition into book writing now that her four kids are grown up.
Reinicke said she has a constant stream of ideas for books that come to her, waking her in the middle of the night. She keeps a drawer of handwritten notes, mostly based off her life. The book about Arnold is inspired by a pet potbellied pig the Reinickes had while living on an 8-acre farm in Elizabeth, Colorado. Arnold used to get into the horse pen to eat their food. Reinicke added that he was also a very personable pig that went around and was fed by their neighbors. The lesson behind the books is about healthy eating.
“That’s the hallmark of all of her stories, is that they’re all true stories from our life,” said Lisa’s husband Rich.
When Reinicke decided to pursue book writing, she decided it would be better to self-publish. Reinicke said that this was in part because even with a big name publisher, the author still has to promote their own work. Lisa and Rich started Our House Publications in 2016, and published “Arnold, the Cute Little Pig With Personality,” as well as a second book, “David’s Christmas Wish.”
Her second book was written for her son David, after his wife died, leaving him to care for three children. Reinicke felt she could not reach out to her son to provide the support he needed, but still wanted to show him that she cared. “David’s Christmas Wish” tells a story from her son’s childhood, and how all he wanted one year was a goldfish. Rich had just lost his job, but the couple still wanted to make sure David got his Christmas wish.
“I wanted to communicate, not just to our child — our grown child — and our grandchildren, but to all children of how much they’re loved,” she said. “It’s a little story about what parents go through.”
The Reinickes are no strangers to starting their own company, having founded Automotive Warranty Network, Inc., in Denver in 1986. While the couple now lives in Longbranch in Breckenridge, they travel back to Denver to work with their auto company. Lisa said that being an author is her passion project, but their other company pays the bills. Using a combination of Amazon, Facebook and a website for Our House Publications, Reinicke’s books hit the web. She said that the hardest part has been learning about self-promotion, and all the little steps that go with putting together a book.
“I’m not good at ringing my own bell,” she said.
Rich has been helping Lisa with promoting her books, organizing book signing events and readings. She will be doing another book signing in Frisco sometime in January.
Lisa added that she’s most in her element around children. Her favorite part about promoting the book has been doing readings with children at schools in Denver. She loves seeing their reactions, both the excitement and concern as characters grow in her stories. During readings, she will sometimes get help from children in naming her latest project.
Right now, she is working on a book about a butterfly and a boy who become best friends. The story is about strong friendship, despite their differences.
“I like it to have a good story so that it’s enjoyable for both the parent and the child,” she said.
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