During a WIT promo trip to Nashville, I got the chance to be interviewed by WKRN - News 2 Anchor, Nikki Burdine. During our chat I learned that Nikki has another title … Author. So, not long after our chat, I turned the tables and interviewed her about the children’s book she wrote with her dad, Miles Burdine - Live Like Grunt.
It was so inspiring to hear how Nikki juggles being a morning anchor, mom to a 3-year-old tiny miracle, Andi, wife to Justin, clothing designer and author. Her outlook and book will no doubt encourage you to live with more optimism, hope, and love.
When did you decide you wanted to write a book?
My daughter was born 3 months early and weighed just
1lb 4oz, so she spent 3 months in the NICU. While she was there, my husband and I would read books to her every single day - a tradition we still do to this day. Reading these books took me back to books that meant a lot to me when I was a kid. Through reading to my daughter and reminiscing about my own childhood, I realized I had a book inside of me.
Tell us the backstory of Grunt - he’s actually your childhood pet, right?
Yes! I am one of 3 girls, and the only “boy” my dad had in our household was our beloved dog, Grunt. Dad saw our unconditional love for Grunt, and used that relationship to teach us some really special life lessons. He would email my sisters and me pictures of Grunt doing things like digging in the front yard with the caption, "If you want what lies buried, dig until you find it," or "When you're happy, dance around and wag your tail." Some are simple ideas, others have a deeper meaning. We can learn a lot from the unconditional love of our dogs!
My dad always tells the story that his girls would come home from school and college and the first thing we would do was hug and kiss on Grunt. Even though Dad paid for our school, took us shopping, pretty much gave us whatever we wanted, Grunt was who we wanted to see. Dad says he took that as a lesson, because Grunt was always happy to see his family, loved unconditionally and was loyal and a fierce protector of his girls.
What do you hope the reader gets out of reading your book?
The thing I love most about this book is the lessons are great for kids and adults. I hope
the children reading pick up on little nuggets that help them become good people and I hope adults are reminded of life lessons we often forget. I hope everyone realizes that we don't deserve dogs and they can teach us so much about life.
I’m sure people reading this are going to wonder how you managed writing a book while also taking care of a newborn. Did you experience any setbacks writing the book?
I wrote this book while I was on maternity leave, so the setbacks I faced were often from me trying to balance motherhood, a newborn, going back to work and all that that entails!
The delays that inevitably came with that were just a part of the season of life I was in, which was a great lesson for me to learn. I learned how to prioritize what's most important (motherhood) while not forgetting about what makes me tick - creating and writing.
Now that you’ve published your first book, what advice would you give someone who wants to write a book?
Just put pen to paper and do it. If I can write a book, anyone can. The idea of writing a book can be so abstract and so *big,* but it is really simple. Write out what you want to say and keep writing until it feels right. Then seek out small publishers in your community, they will support you because your success means their success!
Have you received any feedback/reviews that mean a lot to you?
I've heard from several parents who say they enjoy reading the book with their middle schoolers - which makes me smile. Of course kids love the book because it has great illustrations of dogs, but I love hearing about older kids who can pick up on the more complicated lessons like perseverance and loyalty.
We all want to know …. anymore books coming out?
I would love to write a book about my daughter and her time in the NICU. She is tiny and mighty and would make a great superhero! I've also always wanted to write a book about my life and some unique experiences I've had that I think could help others.
Where can the reader of this article find your book and find you?