Chad Henry and Dakota Tallman are the co-authors of the picture book Ruthless the Elf: Keeper of the Naughty List, a book about a mean little girl who learns a lesson in kindness from Santa Claus.
Chad Henry is a small business owner with a passion for people, sports, movies, and all things entertainment. Dakota Tallman is a published poet in the anthologies Found a Proverb and Vanish in Poetry with a bachelor's degree in social work.
Chad's inspiration for the book stems from the personalities of all ages he encounters in his convenience store. Chad explained his vision to Dakota, and she wrote Ruthless the Elf: Keeper of the Naughty List overnight.
In Chad and Dakota's upcoming book in the series, to be released later this year, Ruthless learns how to be the keeper of the naughty list. She is sent on missions to help kids stay off of the naughty list.
In this Q&A, we learn about Chad and Dakota's inspiration for creating their picture book.
1. What inspired you to write this story?
Chad was talking to one of his younger cousins and she said something rude in a joking manner. He told her that she was ruthless but adorable at the same time. He told her that she could be an elf, but he wasn’t sure what Santa would do with her, possibly make her guard the Naughty List.
Chad then asked me to Google if there was an elf that guarded the Naughty List. There wasn’t one at the time, so I went home and wrote Ruthless the Elf: Keeper of the Naughty List that same night. I presented the story to Chad, and he knew we should get this published.
2. Tell us about the process of collaborating with your fellow author to write it.
Chad has a very creative mind and is always thinking of ways to make people smile. He will either tell me about an idea or write it down and send it to me. I take his idea and put it into words a child could understand. I present the draft to him, and we discuss ways to improve it as a team.
3. What do you want to tell readers with your story?
We strive for readers to learn a lesson they will carry with them for their entire lives, while also enjoying an adorable story to go with it.
4. How do the illustrations complement the text?
Our illustrator, Lazaro Ruiz, is amazing! He perfectly constructed the illustrations to bring our words to life!