AUTHOR INTERVIEWS WITH LEA SCHIZAS & DONNA MCDINE

Since publishing my first book, I have been a guest author two times.

Friday, June 26, 2009- Lea Schizas

Meet Nicole Weaver – children’s author

I began writing around seven years ago. I joined my church’s writing group. I started writing poems about my experiences. Many of my poems were published in my church’s bi-monthly publication. I later entered a poem competition sponsored by my local library district. I won 1st place, that really inspired me to continue writing.

Yes! my family supported me in a huge way. I have written a story about my son. I will at some point get that story published.

I fell in love with children’s Picture book when I came to the United States. I was ten years old at the time. In about six months, I learned how to read in English. After reading so many volumes of children’s Picture books, I knew one day I would write one myself.

I wrote the book in English/French/Spanish because I am fluent in all three languages. I have been teaching French/Spanish for twenty four years now. I think it is imperative that we expose young children to other cultures and languages at an early age. The World is becoming more and more competitive, in order to stay abreast educationally, culturally we must provide our children with much more rigor. In Europe it is not unusual for students to study two to three foreign languages.

I lived near the beach in Haiti when I was a little girl. Sea turtles came to shore a lot. One day as I was strolling on the beach along came this huge sea turtle….. Sorry you have to buy and read my book to find out what happened next.

I think writing is hard in general.

I published with Outskirts Press because I wanted to have complete rights to my book. I am very much dedicated to writing books that feature children of color. As a child I always wondered why the characters in the books I read were always a different color than me. Publishing with Outskirtspress afforded me the flexibility to decide on the illustrations and many important issues regarding my book.

I would love to see many more children books that features people of color. I spend a lot of time in the children section at my local library reading, much to my dismay very few books are about people of color. I want to make a huge dent in that trend.

I am currently working on two more books. Both will be tri-lingual. In fact, all of my future books will be in English/French/Spanish. I am totally dedicated to promoting foreign language literacy and World cultures.

Parents/ teachers : The best way to use my book is to first read it in English to your child/ student, later have he/she tell you the translation for specific words. You might want to discuss prior to reading the book what a cognate is in English. There are many cognates in French/Spanish that are similar to English. I am working on a study guide that I will make available later . One last tip: See if your child/student can sound out the French/Spanish words after reading the English version. This activity can be a very good exercise in phonetics.

Title: Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle

Posted by Lea Schizas – Author/Editor at 5:34 AM

Write What Inspires You! Newsletter

October 2009 – Interview

1. What or whom inspires you to write?

    My children and students inspire me to write.

2 .What has been the most memorable experience in your writing career?

    Getting my first book published.

3. What style or genre of book do you write/have you written?

    Children’s picture book.

4. What type of creative process do you use for the development of your ideas? Are you an outline writer?

 I basically jot down ideas as they come to me. In my opinion it is too rigid to work from an outline.

5. Please share with us the idea behind your book, Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle.

 I lived on the beach when I was a little girl, sea turtles came to shore all the time. The story is based on true events of my childhood days.

6. Have you used any of your experiences teaching in your writing?

As a teacher you have to have a lot of compassion, so I always try to incorporate the importance of having compassion in my writing.

7. What did you find to be the most frustrating step/process of getting your first book published?

The editing process was very frustrating. Prior to that was the many rejections I had gotten. That is why I decided to self-publish. I also decided to write the script in three languages to make it more marketable.

8. Please share with us your current work-in-progress.

   I am currently working on getting a book of poetry published and a book on short stories for middle and high school students. Last but not least, I am doing a re-write for a children’s picture book that was critiqued by Guardian Angel Publishing Company.

9. What advice would you like to convey to aspiring writers?

    Never give up, keep writing so you can get better at it.

10. A signature request I like to ask every author, illustrator, editor, etc., I interview is for the individual to     share with us a tidbit form their lives that the reader will find either humorous or surprising. Nicole, can you please share one with us?

The first time I vacationed in Mexico I had a very interesting experience. My husband and I went to the flea market to look around, one of the merchant made a very unpleasant remark about me in Spanish, I responded in perfect Spanish and said “Watch what you say, you never know who can understand you.” Since I am black she assumed that I did not speak Spanish. The people around us got a real good laugh.

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