Saturday, July 26, 2014

World of Writing, interview

-- Quote of the Day -- 

"In reading, a lonely quiet concert is given to our minds; all our mental faculties will be present in this symphonic exaltation."

~ Stéphane Mallarmé

-- World of Writing -- 

Yes - it is time for another World of Writing interview. I started this series some years ago in hopes of not only networking with and supporting other writers, but also to encourage other writers out there by sharing other people's experience in the industry.  If you look through the blog archives you'll see we've featured poets and authors in many different genres, article writers, magazine publishers and more. You can also find more rich information (for free) through the archived World of Writing audio series via this link: Conscious Discussions Talk Radio

* Today's featured author is DuEwa Frazier (M.Ed., M.F.A., Ed.M.) - a publisehd writer, author, educator, poet and speaker. You find out more about her via these links:

Q: When you started your book, did you plan on writing it as a series, or did it just grow into one? 

A: I have published two children's books to date - Ten Marbles and a Bag to Put Them In: Poems for Children (2010) and Deanne in the Middle (2014).  I was inspired to write Ten Marbles after writing poetry for both children and adults for years.  I have enjoyed being an educator and I have often taught poetry workshops for children.  Writing Ten Marbles, a poetry collection for children was a way for me to continue sharing poetry with children and engage them in literacy activities.  Ten Marbles includes both writing exercises and drawing activities for children.  Reading poetry is as much a visual experience for children as it is a listening experience, so I really wanted to create a collection of poems that spoke to children visually.  I started writing Deanne in the Middle in 2007.  I didn't plan it as a series but I can see where the story may go if I decide to do that.  Deanne in the Middle highlights a part of teenage life that I think we all have experienced in some way, so I was thrilled to craft this story and bring it to life.   

Q: What age group did you write for, and why did you write for this particular age group?

A: I write for elementary, middle grade and teen readers.  I wrote my book Ten Marbles and a Bag to Put Them In: Poems for Children for elementary and middle grade students.  I enjoy teaching and sharing my love of poetry and literature with students.  My young adult novel, Deanne in the Middle is geared toward teen readers.  I have worked with middle or high school students for several years. I find them to be hilarious, energetic, intelligent and inquisitive.  I have had the best discussions about books and literature with some of my students.  Because I'm a book geek and I love spreading my passion for writing and reading, it was natural for me to progress to writing for teens, they are the students I serve as an educator.   

Q: Did you find it difficult to choose the right language, images and writing style for reaching this age group? 

A: I think that writing for children and young adults means observing them, talking with them, understanding what they care about and what motivates them. I think you also use your own creativity and imagination when crafting the language and you figure out what is genuine for a character.  Teen or young adult dialogue has its characteristics that are of course different from the way many adults speak.  And there are teens who do not sound, quite like what we think is a typical teen due to adult influence, education, the region they live and so on.  So the challenge is to create dialogue and points of view that are just genuine to the particular characters you're crafting.  The main character in my novel, Deanne, is made fun of for the way she talks.  She speaks more Standard English than slang, but that's her.  Another character in the story may be different.  Every child is different, and I think when I created Deanne and the other characters, with young readers in mind, I wanted to write was was true for that character. 

Q: How do you plan to promote this book (or series)? 

A: I am an educator and I have the opportunity to work with secondary students in schools, libraries and other centers of learning.  I look forward to participating in literacy programs for youth and teaching workshops where I can support youth literacy and share my work. 

Q: Is there anything in your book that is based on a real life experience?

A: Deanne in the Middle is a work of fiction. I think that something I can relate to from the story is that I experienced growing up in the Midwest is having friendship with so many diverse peers, but none of my friends had a problem with each other.  People throughout time, and kids, have problems with fully accepting those who are different from them or those who they feel represent some kind of threat to their power, individuality or sense of popularity.  But just as in real life, I like that my characters are not one-dimensional. You can see the good and not so good in each of them.   

Q: Why did you feel this book needed to be written? 

A: My young adult novel, Deanne in the Middle grew out of my experience as a middle and high school teacher.  Many of our youth are being bullied and harassed in and outside of school settings.  Oftentimes adults do not know how to support our youth to tolerate difference and communicate with a positive impact on their fellow peers.  Our youth, pre-teens and teens already have many challenges in navigating responsibilities and accepting the physical changes and social pressures they have. Merge all of that with disagreements and feeling "disliked," "dissed" or "unpopular" and you have an explosion waiting to happen.  This is how alot of bullying and aggression takes shape amongst our youth.  These are some of the issues and themes that appear in Deanne in the Middle. It is my hope to use the novel as a springboard to discuss solutions and strategies for young people regarding youth bullying, conflict resolution, respecting different and building strong  identity with communities of young readers. 
Q: What’s the best advice you were given about writing?
A: The best advice I've been given as a writer came from both Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and workshops I have taken.  The advice is to never get attached to your first draft and be willing to cut and revise several times.  And also to realize that everything you write may not meet book form, but keep writing anyway. 

Q: What is the wisest thing anyone has said to you?
A: I think the wisest thing I've heard is to appreciate the journey, whatever it is.  I've had an amazing journey as an author so far, and I just appreciate everything.

   Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!

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