I started writing and publishing as a child!

by Zak Zaikine
(Healdsburg, CA, USA)

The Magic of Hanalei Bay

The Magic of Hanalei Bay

When I created my first children's books, I was a youngster myself. It was during the summer of 1950, when I was eight years old, living in New York.

As far back as I could remember, I wanted to be an artist. With scissors, colored pencils, paper and a stapler, I created my first books. I was able to put together about twelve pages and a cover stock cover and make, if memory serves me, six original copies that I then took around my suburban neighborhood and sold to neighbors.

(Who knows? A copy may still be around somewhere!)

My father was Russian and a respected muralist in New England. He gave me my first tools for making art. My mother read fairy tales to me every night. My third grade teacher read and told us stories every afternoon, and my wonderful, magical grandmother (my babushka) told me fantastic tales of old Russian fables passed down from generation to generation.

Her heritage was Russian and she was born in Siberia, where shamanic myths originated.

Self-publishing and marketing was fun and rewarding as a child, and I continue to enjoy it. Currently my three recent written and illustrated books The Magic of Hanalei Bay, A Mother's Love, and Eugene and the Magical Carrot Tree are enjoying wide appreciation. Created with my dearest friend and editor Karin O'Keefe, these books have not only won the hearts of friends and family, but also the buying public.

In self-publishing, feedback is essential. Validation of accomplishments is needed by an independent person or community (such as a juried competition).

There are many competitions, especially for self-published authors, like Writer's Digest's. A great selection can be found by Googling self-published children's book awards.

P.S. These books of mine are signed limited first edition. Purchasers from my web site receive not only an autographed, personally dedicated copy, but also a small hand drawing on the first page. Self publishers have to give that little something extra!

Visit Zak's website.

Read about two authors who are still children.

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Mar 22, 2008
by: Anonymous

I've read these books and loved them.

Mar 08, 2008
Hi Steve. Answer to your question...
by: Anonymous

Well, Steve, that is a very good question! Most all my art and stories come from real life experiences...things that I have encountered and then run with. Here's a perfect example: "The Magic of Hanalei Bay" Once i arrived in Kauai, and came out of the airport, I began noticing the wild chickens. The further I got into town more feral chickens. So I began asking people about them.

I was corrected. "Those aren't chickens. Those are our birds. See? They fly. Chickens don't fly."

Well, I had raised chickens and knew the do fly. Of course lean and feral ones would.

Finally, I met an old timer who told me that a storm - a very rough one - had hit in the 1990's, and it took the biggest chicken ranch with it.

From that came my painting, the "Birth of The Magical Merchickens," and from that my book, "The Magic of Hanalei Bay."


...Blessings Zak ***

Mar 05, 2008
An early start on publishing
by: Steve B.

Zak, nice work! A visit to your website reveals that your books are really, literally, works of art.

I find myself wondering about your process. Does the story lead you to the pictures or, because you're an artist, is it the other way around?

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