Odds and Ends

Funny, yesterday I said Dawn and I had trouble gettting our schedules to mesh. Then we managed the interview last night – so check it out here.

If you checked out Crys’s blog yesterday, you saw a bunch of stuff about the struggles of self-published and small press authors. See Vivian’s response and more information at her blog here. I learned something from both of those yesterday!

In other news, I’ve been turning over my last manuscript to see what’s salvageable. There are good things and bad things about it, and it just keeps popping through my head. How much work should I put into something if I’m not sure I can publish it? It’s not keeping me up at night (I have a little one to blame for that), but I wish I had a good answer. Perhaps tomorrow will bring more insight and I’ll have fewer ideas popping in my head. (Not likely, but I don’t mind the new ideas!)

Lea Schizas with Bubba and Giganto

Lea Schizas joined me for an interview on her blog tour for Bubba and Giganto. I’ve run into Lea a few times as another author with 4RV and also through the Muse Online Conference.

What inspired you to write Bubba and Giganto?

I find kids nowadays have no understanding of the hurt they cause to other children by their bullying. Bullying can be anything from name calling, shunning because of how one looks or dresses, to the actual physical pushing and shoving. There are consequences for their actions. All of these areas I use to get the message to children that bullying is a no win situation.

Past events in my children’s lives was the inspiration to write about. Although my children were brought up knowing making fun of others, or pushing others is not acceptable, they were in situations where they were bullied because they stood up to help other children who were being terrorized. I’m talking about elementary age here. Very frightening that they start so early, and because of this I believe the more books that show consequences, various ways to combat anger and frustrations, can only be a plus in a child’s life.

What themes are woven through the book? How do you insert them, or do your characters decide for you?

My characters show me the way in most of my books. I create, flesh them out, but when the story begins they take a life of their own. The themes I use are:

Friendships and its importance
bullying, its outcomes, and the danger associated with it
the victim’s need to retaliate but in a way that is dangerous to them
and soccer, a sport that can help to learn sportsmanship

You said you like to end chapters like episodes in comic books.

I love to use cliffhanging chapter endings only to entice the child to continue reading. As writers we need to instill a love for reading and writing in our younger generation. Since kids love to read comic books I figured the closest connection – seeing how my books for that age level don’t have pictures – is to use these cliffhanging endings, use humor that kids can relate to, come as close to their ‘lingo’ as possible, and use social themes they can associate with.

What do you hope to give kids or inspire in them with your writing?

The most important thing for me is to instill a love for reading. That’s why I believe with all my heart that writers need to try and touch kids with their words using areas kids can relate to: using humor, their ‘now’ speech, and characters they can step into their shoes and say, “Wow, sounds like me.”

What do your characters teach you, if anything?

They teach me patience. I try to move them at my pace but that never goes as planned. They have their own speed I need to work with.

The reviewer said ‘another surprise ending.” Do you ever get surprised by your endings?

Oh heck, yes, all the time. I write when I get a title. From the title I know who my characters are and what the obstacle will be. As for the ending, that pace I mentioned above, comes from my characters and they lead me to their conclusions.

How do you spend your downtime? (Do you get downtime as a full-time mom and writer?)

Downtime? Shoot, I knew there was something I was missing. I read, watch TV, go to the movies, play board games with my kids, and if there’s time…I sleep.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

I’ve begun another adventure with Bubba and Giganto. This time the boys will combat students’ indifferences when it comes to children who have disabilities.

I hope you check out Lea and her book as well as continuing with the tour.

Meet Dehanna Bailee

I had the chance to interview the author of Calypso’s Revenge. This book is pretty exciting, and she’s definitely an author to watch!

Tell us about yourself, Dehanna.
I’ve been writing for over six years and my published works include True Nature (paranormal romance), The ABC’s of POD (nonfiction) as well as an assortment of other e-books, articles, anthologies, etc. I have two new fiction works coming out this month and next, a science fiction novel with romantic elements titled Calypso’s Revenge: A Traitor’s Heart and a contemporary paranormal novella For Better or Worse.

What are your writing habits?
Admittedly, my writing habits are not what I would like them to be but, even so, I do try to write, or at least do something writing-related, every day. I often find forced inspiration difficult, especially if things are chaotic, however I figure if I can’t actually create anything new I will spend some time reworking what I have written and/or trying to strengthen my skills to be a better writer.

What drew you to write Calypso’s Revenge?
Calypso’s Revenge came out of the blue. I have always enjoyed science fiction books and movies but as for writing it, this was a leap, but once I started writing it, I had to finish it. No matter how long it took—which this one took much longer than anything else I’d written not only due to the original length but the amount of work it took to get it to where the story is now.

What about Calypso’s Revenge keeps you excited and makes you want to share it?
What got me excited was that although it wasn’t picked up by a major publisher, it was looked at, which means it might not have been what they were wanting at the moment but at least it got me in the door. What makes me want to share it is that I know it breaks the rules; it’s not just like everything else out there for it’s not merely a sci-fi, nor is it even close to the present definition of a textbook romance, and as for the ending, well…that’s a whole ‘nuther story in its own.

What advice do you give to beginning authors?
Write what you want to write because in the first place, writing should be fun, and second, words that come from the heart seem to have more of an ability to make that all-so-special connection with the read than any amount of rule-following and conformity. This doesn’t mean that a writer shouldn’t know the rules, and always strive to improve, it just means that it’s okay to just let the words flow from your fingers then go back and tweak them later to fit a certain market (if you choose to do so). Remember that they’re your words, enjoy the expression of the mind and do with them what you will.

Do you have other comments?
I’d like to thank you for letting me come be a guest on your blog and to invite any readers who are interested in learning more about me or my books to visit me online at http://www.dehanna.com

Thanks for joining me, Dehanna! Best of luck for Calypso’s Revenge!