The Smell of Summer Author Interview and Giveaway!

About the Book

Book: The Smell of Summer

Author: Mary Ann Hake

Genre: Picture Book

Release date: May 15, 2023

Explore the smells of summer with April, a blind girl, and her menagerie of pets.

Visit the county fair, the seashore, Grandpa’s farm, and the zoo, and camp with April’s family in the woods—each place has its unique fragrances.

“As summer thoughts stir in my mind,

I wonder what new smells I’ll find.”

The back of the book contains activities using the sense of smell.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Mary Ann Hake, author of the Smells of the Seasons picture book series, has loved learning, reading, and writing for as long as she can remember. She has scribbled stories and poems since she first learned to write and has published hundreds of stories, articles, poems, puzzles, devotions, and more for both children and adults plus written hundreds of book reviews. She loved working in a bookstore and as a librarian and enjoyed reading to children at story times and conducting summer reading programs. She has also taught writing to children and at writers’ conferences. In addition to writing, she continues to work as a freelance editor. Visit her website,, and sign up to receive monthly activities for children and updates on future books.

More from Mary Ann

My mother introduced me to books at a very young age. Mom read to me nearly every day—beginning with picture books then adding longer stories and poetry. I loved books and soon memorized the text of favorites so I could turn the pages and “read” them myself. (My own daughters did the same.) I could hardly wait until I went to school and learned to read so I could devour books on my own. In honor of my mom, The Smell of Summer’s release date is her birthday, May 15. I am her firstborn and her only summer baby. She always encouraged my writing.

My four-book Smells of the Seasons series are told in rhyme because that appeals to children. The Smell of Summer shares summer scenes from the life of April, a blind girl who uses her sense of smell to help her experience her world. The story includes elements that offer a fun companion text for connection to science including the senses, nature settings, animals, flowers, vegetable gardening, and other food. This is the second book in the series with April and her menagerie of pets.

Most people love summertime. This delightful picture book will stir up memories of summer experiences and offer some you may wish to enjoy this year. As the final page says:

I love the many summer smells.

So many stories each one tells.

Author Interview

  • What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

I learned more about the ins and outs of the self-publishing process, especially with picture books and working with Amazon’s KDP program. I had to contract the illustrations and book design. I also learned authors make more from a paperback than from a hardcover because production costs and shipping are higher for the hardback. Some of the knowledge I gained producing my first published picture book, The Smell of Spring, helped me make better choices on this second book in the Smells of the Seasons series. I went with the same illustrator to keep the pictures consistent and because many readers liked the illustrations in my first book. I continue to take classes about writing and marketing to improve my craft and outreach.

  • Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I have heard directly from some readers, and I do appreciate their messages. The positive response to The Smell of Spring, the first book in the Smells of the Seasons series, has been a blessing. All the wonderful reviews show me readers do enjoy the picture book and understand what I was trying to share in this story about a blind girl. I’m glad readers also see the educational opportunities this book presents. Readers have also expressed insights I never even considered, such as gaining a sense of peace from reading The Smell of Spring.

  • How do you overcome writer’s block? Do you have any advice for others in finding their process to overcome it?

I don’t really believe in writer’s block. Yes, we can feel uninspired, but writing takes discipline. We can choose whether to sit down and write something or decide to fret about it. Just getting words on a page helps prime the pump so writing eventually flows more freely. Some authors use writing prompts or freewriting before getting busy on their work in progress. I usually will read over some of what I’ve already written, which prompts ideas to continue and gets me back into the work. If the writing just won’t flow, it may be time to take a break and do something else—like take a walk. Often while doing so, the mind percolates and comes up with something to write when you’re ready to pursue it again.

  • Do you read the genre you write? Why or why not?

Yes, writers need to keep up with what’s popular in their chosen genre. They can get ideas to apply to their own work—not copying the language or plot but more general, such as whether to set a story in a familiar place or in a new setting. If an author doesn’t enjoy reading a particular type of book, why would they write one? I believe we should enjoy both reading and writingin our chosen markets.

  • Is your writing space pristine or organized chaos?

Well, I’m not pleased to admit this, but I have a messy desk with pieces of paper containing notes scattered about and overflowing bookcases on both sides of me. So I’ll go with semi-organized chaos. Too clean and clear seems to rob me of creativity. All the scattered clutter offers oodles of possibilities. : )

Blog Stops

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 2

Sylvan Musings, June 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 4

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 6

Lots of Helpers, June 7

Lily’s Book Reviews, June 8

Vicky Sluiter, June 9 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, June 10

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, June 11

Artistic Nobody, June 12 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, June 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 13

Guild Master, June 14 (Author Interview)

Walking Fruitfully, June 14

Blossoms and Blessings, June 15 (Author Interview)


To celebrate her tour, Mary Ann is giving away the grand prize package of a signed hardcover copy of The Smell of Summer and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

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