Take a unique glimpse on how each book came to life...
The inspiration of Dee and Deb Off The Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters is tribute to my endearing bond with my fraternal twin sister, Deb. The story is a true account as to how we were separated for the first time in kindergarten. For back then, pre-school was not a structure that was available. I cannot imagine navigating these past 50 plus years without Deb and our bond continues whether the adventures are together or apart. Love you immensely, Deb!
Beyond the enjoyment of a beach vacation I never gave much thought to marine life. Sure we’ve gone on the typical whale or dolphin watching tours and were always delighted to see these creatures come up out of the ocean. But I never truly paid attention to what some humans do to marine life, until the day I read a news article about a dead whale that washed up on shore of a California beach. What fascinated me about this article was the police needed to guard the whale, until the local marine biology institute could arrive to determine what the whale died from. The reasoning for guarding astounded me. Apparently, poachers would take the opportunity to steal the whale’s teeth to sell for artists to create scrimshaw on the teeth and then sell for a profit.
This particular article pumped up my creative writing juices and before I knew it, I was researching marine biology, Endangered Species Act, and the Mammal Protection Act. Then came the creation of the fictional storyline and characters. Once I knew how I wanted the characters to be instrumental in propelling the story along with my research, the two blended into a beach adventure with a learning aspect without preaching to the reader. Hence, A Sandy Grave was born. The title was created from points in the article and research.
Powder Monkey was an initial manuscript I wrote and submitted to a different publisher that put out a request for manuscripts for the late 1700's to 1800's time period, specifically dealing with the Royal Navy. Being a lover of everything historical fiction I jumped at the opportunity. They turned it down, but after several rounds of edits with Guardian Angel Publishing Powder Monkey was awarded an acceptance.
The Royal Navy Press Gangs is incredibly fascinating to me, especially since the Press Gangs would kidnap boys as young as 12 years of age and force them to work on the ships. Appalling, but incredible for a writer to uncover. The story idea flowed as well as the characters making for a journey like non-other.
Often times I find knowing when to stop the research the most difficult. I never "throw out" my research, even if it all does not make it into the current work-in-progress...one never knows when it will come in handy for a new manuscript. Here's to the next bit of research taking a life of it's own on!
Throughout the years of watching my nieces, nephews and my own children compete in one sport or another it became concerning how some coaches, teammates and parents thought the almighty win was the most important outcome to a game. Sometimes even encouraging the children to cheat or inflict bodily harm to an opponent to win. In today’s day and age it’s more important than ever to teach our children that “honesty is the best policy” and good sportsmanship is imperative. It may sound like a cliché to some, but without honesty and staying to true one’s self we would all self destruct.
I used the backdrop of hockey since several of my nephews and a niece are avid hockey players and I wanted to pay tribute to them since I chose different names for the characters.
For Hockey Agony, even though the story honesty and peer pressure is based around the sport hockey, it’s important to overcome peer pressure in any circumstance that presents itself.
I have always had a fascination for American History and living in the historical hamlet of Tappan, New York is a constant reminder of the rich history of our country. And when the opportunity arose at the end of the Institute of Children’s Literature Writing for Children and Teenagers course to create an outline for a book idea I naturally gravitated toward the Underground Railroad.
I initially visited my local library and researched both children’s and adult books on the Underground Railroad. The wealth of information was endless, but once I focused on the central character being the son of a slave owner the story flowed. From start to finish after research it took about a year to edit and fine tune the manuscript to feel confident enough to submit to the Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. After placing 12th in the Children’s/Young Adult category I then met Lynda Burch of Guardian Angel Publishing and submitted. After several more edits and expansion of the story, Ms. Burch offered me my first children’s book contract, adding about another two years to the process. It may seem like a long time, but it’s all worth it.