Interview with author Tammy Ruggles

(Before we get to the actual interview, I just had to say that this author really made me happy!  Since Edgar Allan Poe has always been my favorite author, it is a joy to get to write about another devout fan of his!  Also, the first two writers I would choose to meet, living or dead, are the exact same ones this author chose!)

OK, now on to the interview…

Tammy Ruggles is a writer who dabbles in many different areas.  She has had a fair share of success with her most recent published work, Peace: Quotations & Aspirations for a Peaceful Planet, but may be even more well-known for the audio books she has created for young adults under her pen name, Miss Tammy.  These audio books are gritty and realistic, meeting kids and teens right where they are, in the midst of this confusing, often messed up world we live in.

I could tell you more about Miss Tammy, but perhaps it would be best to let her tell you in her own words…

1. When did you first decide that you wanted to be an author? What made you want to choose this career path?

I first got that dream when I was about 13, which was when I started writing short stories and my friends passed them around to each other at school. My classmates really liked them and I really liked creating the stories, so I kept doing it, but I didn’t have any aspirations of becoming a real, professional, published writer. It was something I did on the sidelines as a hobby, just for myself. I didn’t choose it as a career path until I was 40, when I had to retire from my first chosen career, which was social work. Even at 40 I wasn’t sure I could write professionally. I still felt like that 13-year-old writer. It still seemed like a hobby. But I gave it a chance. It took a lot of query letters, but it worked. The first article I ever sold to a magazine was about babysitting, and I got a check for $35. It felt like Christmas!

2. Who are some of the authors that greatly influenced your writing style? What were some of your favorite books as a kid?

Well, I wish I knew what my style is! I don’t know. But I dearly loved Dr. Seuss books, and still do. He really sets the imagination free. I liked Chalou, which was the story about a dog, because it’s a story that tugs on your heart. Later, Harold Robbins was a writer whose style I liked to read, which was simple and easy. William Peter Blatty riveted me with The Exorcist. Peter Benchley is another writer whose basic, direct style was something I liked. And I cannot leave out Edgar Allan Poe. There is an elegance and a rhythm and pace to his stories that I really get into.

3. Did you have a hard time getting your first book published?

I think it was a little hard trying to break in at 40. It took about 500 rejection letters from all kinds of publishers to get that one yes for Peace.

4. Assuming that you write for children or young adults, what made you decide to write for those age groups? Do you still feel connected to your “inner child”?

I think I have a connection with kids. They seem to like me. I still feel like a kid at heart sometimes. I haven’t forgotten the ups and downs of childhood and adolescence, and, being a retired social worker, writing about and for kids and teenagers in trouble comes easy for me. I don’t mind writing about touchy subjects. It’s reality, what kids are really going through. Like with my two new audio books coming up: How To Save A Life is about a boy who tries to save his best friend’s life, and Summer Doesn’t Dance Anymore is about a teenage girl afraid to tell even her best friend that she’s been raped. Then I have a 3rd one, an Edgar Allan Poe story, The Tell-Tale Heart, which is a little different for me because I didn’t write it.

5. What are some of your hobbies, other than writing?

I love going to movies. I love sketching. I love cooking. I love listening to music.

6. Do you have any sage advice for new authors who are just entering the field?

One, keep trying. If you give up too soon, you’ll regret it. Try not to take it personally when your material gets rejected. That’s part of publication. Just learn from it and go on. Grow. Two, although writing is an art, it’s also a business, so keep that in mind when dealing with editors and publishers. Three, write what makes you feel good, what comes easy to you, always try something new or different, and finish projects that you start. Four, don’t just talk about writing. Actually write. And five, don’t forget the query letter. Publication begins with querying. You must do this continually. It’s probably the most important part of becoming published.

7. Do you hold any other jobs outside of your writing? If so, do you find that this helps your writing or gets in the way?

Since I’m retired, I have a lot of free time for writing, and I love doing it, but I don’t let writing get in the way of my family, friends, and faith. I like to have a balance of things. I think it helps the writing when you fill yourself up with life and doing other things besides writing. Then you’ll have something to come back and write about.

8. If you could meet one author, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

I would like to meet two of them. Edgar Allan Poe, and Emily Dickinson, because I’d want to ask them, “How do you do it?” but I’d probably be too nervous to meet them.

9. Do you have any other information you would like to share, such as a website, author page, awards won, etc.?

I don’t have any awards, but I do have a professional website that tells about my stuff:

http://tammyruggles.tripod.com/

Then there are a few websites where you can go and hear my audiobooks:

www.learnoutloud.com

www.teachoutloud.com

www.youtube.com/misstammyschannel

And other places on the internet like amblingbooks.com or audiobooktreasury.com. Just google it and you’ll find the places I didn’t mention.

Interview with Middle Grade Author Greg R. Fishbone

I was fortunate enough to get the chance to interview Greg R. Fishbone as part of his Galaxy Games Blog Tour. For those of you unfamiliar with Greg’s work, he is a fantasy/science fiction author who normally writes for the 8-12 age group. His most recent work, “Galaxy Games: The Challengers”, published by Lee & Low Books/Tu Books, is already creating quite a buzz, so make sure you check it out!

Now, on to the interview…

1. When did you first decide that you wanted to be an author? What made you want to choose this career path?

When I was in the third grade, I had a dream about a book. It was very vivid, and when I woke up I could remember every word and every detail, including the way that reading it made me feel. I was sure it was a real book I’d seen before, but the librarian couldn’t find the title and said the plot didn’t sound familiar to her at all. That had to be my “calling” because who else but a future author dreams about books that don’t exist?

2. Who are some of the authors that greatly influenced your writing style? What were some of your favorite books as a kid?

* THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY by Douglas Adams

* A SPELL FOR CHAMELEON by Piers Anthony

* THE FOUNDATION SERIES by Isaac Asimov

* THE WESTING GAME by Ellen Raskin

* A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L’Engle

* A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA by Ursula LeGuin

* THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES by Ray Bradbury

3. Did you have a hard time getting your first book published?

I sent eight drafts of my first book, back and forth, to a single editor before I collected my first rejection letter. About a dozen more rejections followed before I put that book away and worked on something else, which also didn’t get accepted anywhere. The first book I actually published, THE PENGUINS OF DOOM, was seven years in the making. But it’s actually good that it took such a long time because the revision process made me a stronger writer, and that first book would really embarrass me now if it had come out when I originally wrote it!

4. Assuming that you write for children or young adults, what made you decide to write for those age groups? Do you still feel connected to your “inner child”?

I tried to write books that I would enjoy myself, and people would tell me that “kids would really love this.” I think I am writing for my inner child, to some extent.

5. What are some of your hobbies, other than writing?

I like designing websites and taking nature hikes, but usually not at the same time.

6. Do you have any sage advice for new authors who are just entering the field?

If somebody presents you with a shortcut to instant success, avoid it at all costs!

7. Do you hold any other jobs outside of your writing? If so, do you find that this helps your writing or gets in the way?

Being able to pay the mortgage and purchase food helps my writing process immensely.

8. If you could meet one author, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

I met Neil Gaiman once, briefly, but I’d love a chance to sit down with him and chat. The ideas that come out of his mind and the style he uses to express them are just amazing.

9. Do you have any other information you would like to share, such as a website, author page, awards won, etc.?

My author page is http://gfishbone.com

My book site is http://galaxygam.es

You can also like my fan page or the Galaxy Games fan page on Facebook.

                                                                                                                                                                                          

Puzzle Piece #20 of 31 for the Galaxy Games Blog Tour Puzzle Contest:

Interview with Children’s Picture Book Author Carol Gordon Ekster

Carol Gordon Ekster is a writer who uses her creative abilities to discuss real world problems with kids.  From divorce to cleaning up a messy room, Carol finds fun, entertaining ways for kids to deal with the issues in their lives.  Ready to learn more?  Then on to the interview!

Q: When did you first decide that you wanted to be an author? What made you want to choose this career path?

A: My desire to write surprised me.  It seemed to come out of nowhere.  I worked with children on their writing as a 4th grade teacher for 35 years. I had writing workshops and conferenced with each child individually to give them feedback on their work.  When I started writing, I certainly had empathy for my students.  Getting feedback, at first, was not easy.

Writing just came to me one day on the beach when I was fifty years old.  I needed to write.  I went to the car and got post-its and a pen and started my first story.  Until then, I had always found writing a difficult skill.  It is difficult…lots of skills are needed to do it well.

I stepped into the life of a writer, joining SCBWI, becoming passionate about the craft, reading many books on writing and joining critique groups.  I stuck to my new path and never looked back.  It was wonderful to be able to share my journey of becoming an author as well as the writing process with my classes. Now that I’m retired,  it is the writing that allows me to continue communicating with children.

Q: Who are some of the authors that greatly influenced your writing style? What were some of your favorite books as a kid?

A: I believe I have my own writing style, but I’ve read so many books and respect and admire countless authors of children’s books and adult books. I found picture books to enhance all areas of the curriculum when I taught.  I usually read a few a day to my students…so I was preparing myself for becoming a writer.  I knew what I liked…beautiful language and a story well told.  When I was a kid, I loved Nancy Drew books best of all.  Now I rarely read mysteries.

Q: Did you have a hard time getting your first book published?

A: My first book, Where Am I Sleeping Tonight?-A Story of Divorce, Boulden Publishing, 2008, was published about two years after I started sending it out, and less than two years after I started writing.  It was bought by the 12th publisher I sent it to.  That was the 20th manuscript I had written.  My second book, which is expected out this fall, Ruth The Sleuth and The Messy Room, sold the 16th time I sent it out.  It was the 30th story I had written.  I also sold the 24th manuscript I wrote to a magazine.  The second time I sent that out, I got a request for a rewrite.  Then the publisher said they were interested in the rewrite, but they ended up changing offices and staff, and I never received a contract.  So after about 20 other tries to get it published as a book, I decided I just wanted the story shared with children and accepted that it was time to let it go as a magazine piece.  I try to stay focused on working on my craft and enjoying the submitting process, and if something sells, well that’s a bonus.  Sometimes, I still get disappointed when I get a rejection, but mostly I prepare to send it out again to another publisher.

Q: Assuming that you write for children or young adults, what made you decide to write for those age groups? Do you still feel connected to your “inner child”?

A: I definitely feel connected to my inner child, but I believe it’s the teacher in me that pushes me to write for children.

Q: What are some of your hobbies, other than writing?

A: I love doing yoga, aerobics,  and going bike riding.  I love to vacation and be with family. And of course, I love to read.  I always have a book on CD that I’m listening to in the car, and one near my bed.  I also enjoy cooking healthy meals.  When I taught, I spent a lot of time looking for new teaching ideas and web sites to use with my students.

Q: Do you have any sage advice for new authors who are just entering the field?

A: Most importantly, writers must persevere and not get disheartened.  Continue working on your craft and submitting your work.  You must belong to writing groups or have other writers give you feedback.  We do not write alone.

Q: Do you hold any other jobs outside of your writing? If so, do you find that this helps your writing or gets in the way?

A: Being retired now allows me the time I need to write and promote my books.

Q: If you could meet one author, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

A: Carolyn Keene, because she made me love reading and understand the power of a good book.

Q: Do you have any other information you would like to share, such as a website, author page, awards won, etc.?

A: www.carolgordonekster.com

Interview with author Scotti Cohn

Scotti Cohn is one versatile author.  At the age of 60, this South Carolina writer has published 10 nonfiction books.  Scotti also writes fantasy stories and focuses on a wide range of age groups, from preschool to adulthood.  At the time of this interview, Cohn’s most recent work is a nonfiction book for children entitled Big Cat, Little Kitty, published by Sylvan Dell Publishing.

Read on to learn more about this talented author:

 

Q:  When did you first decide that you wanted to be an author? What made you want to choose this career path?

A:  I have wanted to be an author ever since I found out that authors exist — in other words, ever since I began reading and appreciating books. I found that I loved writing poetry and stories, and I thought I would enjoy doing that all the time.

Q:  Who are some of the authors that greatly influenced your writing style? What were some of your favorite books as a kid?

A:  My favorite books as a kid included the Mary Poppins books by P.L. Travers. I kept thinking how cool it would be if Mary Poppins were my babysitter. I also loved the Eloise books by Kay Thompson, Nancy Drew mysteries, and books about horses and other animals. I don’t know if I can name specific authors who have influenced my style. I write a lot of different types of things. I *hope* that my style has been influenced by the authors I like the most, such as Ray Bradbury, Philip Pullman, Madeleine L’Engle, Susan Cooper, Cornelia Funke, and Clive Barker.

Q:  Did you have a hard time getting your first book published?

A:  I felt like I had a hard time getting my first picture book published, although I have talked to authors who had a harder time than I did. I submitted the manuscript to 23 publishers before Sylvan Dell picked it up.

Q:  Assuming that you write for children or young adults, what made you decide to write for those age groups? Do you still feel connected to your “inner child”?

A:  I am definitely still connected to my “inner child.” I love the thought of giving children as much enjoyment as I received as a child when reading my favorite books.

Q:  What are some of your hobbies, other than writing?

A:  My hobbies include The Beatles (I have a huge trunk full of scrapbooks and memorabilia, plus my original copies of all of their albums). I make jewelry and sell it online(http://jewelrybyscotti.blogspot.com/). I play piano and guitar. I collect walruses (stuffed animals, metal, wood, china, ceramic, paintings, etc.)

Q:  Do you have any sage advice for new authors who are just entering the field?

A:  Learn as much as you can about the craft of writing, practice practice practice, and never stop believing in yourself.

Q:  Do you hold any other jobs outside of your writing? If so, do you find that this helps your writing or gets in the way?

A:  In the past I held full-time jobs that did get in the way of my writing. I was so tired from my job and taking care of my children that I just didn’t feel like writing much. I really admire people who can work a full-time job, manage a household with children, and produce publishable material. Fortunately some of my jobs did involve writing, so I stayed in practice. These days I occasionally take on a copy editing project, but that doesn’t interfere with my writing.

Q:  If you could meet one author, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

A:  I would like to meet Susan Cooper (who is still living) so I could talk to her about her Dark Is Rising series — how she developed her characters, the story line, and so forth. She is one of the authors whose books made it clear to me that one day I would like to write a YA or middle-grade fantasy.

Q:  Do you have any other information you would like to share, such as a website, author page, awards won, etc.?

A:  My author website: http://www.scotticohn.com

Awards:

My picture book One Wolf Howls (Sylvan Dell Publishing, 2009) won a Silver Nautilus Award and was named a Maryland Blue Crab Young Readers Award Honor Book.

My picture book Big Cat, Little Kitty (Sylvan Dell Publishing, 2011) won a Mom’s Choice Gold Award.

Currently I am collaborating with illustrator Christina Wald on an upper elementary age chapter book — a fantasy called Wordsworth and the Dragon — that I plan to self-publish. I invite everyone to join me on this journey at http://wordsworthdragon.blogspot.com/.

Interview with a real adoptive family #1

Although social workers and other experts can tell you a lot about the foster  care and adoption process, they can’t give you the nitty gritty details about  the experience.  Only someone who has been through the foster care or  adoption process can tell you what it is really like.  Of course, each  individual experience will vary, perhaps to a great degree, depending on  the personality and unique problems of each kid.

Our first personal interview in this series will be with Rebecca, an adoptive  mom who stepped in to help out her own nieces and nephews…

Continue reading on Examiner.com: Presenting the new foster care and adoption interview series – Dayton Adoptive Families | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/adoptive-families-in-dayton/presenting-the-new-foster-care-and-adoption-interview-series#ixzz1MRVxXOIH