Archive for the ‘AUTHOR INTERVIEWS’ Category

Interview: Tony Gaines, Author of ‘Diary of the Lost Teen Age’

I am elated to interview a local Colorado author. Tony Gaines wrote his first short story in the second grade after the teacher assigned the class to read The tale of Peter Rabbit and by the age of twelve he was firmly hooked on writing in a diary regularly. He has written and published several poems and songs and his first novel called, Diary of the Lost Teen Age is showing lots of promise by the reviews it’s receiving on Amazon. He was a military soldier in his early twenties and has lived all over the world including three continents and now resides in Colorado. Tony Gaines is presently working for the U.S Postal Service.

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Are the events you wrote about based on your life or are they all fiction?

All the events in my novel happened in the lives to at least one of the characters in the novel. I rearranged circumstance so no one character could ever be prosecuted for past events.
What lessons do you want your readers to learn from reading Diary of the Lost Teen Age?

I would like the readers to learn as they read forward and the novel unfolds how I crafted each main character in the novel to have learned a lesson about themselves and life as they mature throughout the novel. I also would like the challenge the readers to witness how the current events of the day dramatically changed the lives and behaviors of the main characters.
How long did it take you to write such a novel? What paths did you take to reach this artistic point?

I begin unconsciously taken notes for the novel when I bought my first diary at the age of thirteen when a friend suggested I journal what was going on these days in our lives in the ever-changing 1970s. I kept an ongoing diary throughout my teenage years and had grandiose plans to one day write a novel about those teenage years after I was retired living on some island and collecting a pension.

My inspiration came in 2005. At that time we had the typical American two teenager, two career frantic fast pace family lifestyle that ended in divorce. When I was moving out of the suburban home I had shared with my family I discovered my old teenage diaries I had kept from the 1970s in a briefcase in the downstairs closet right next to my old bowling ball which hadn’t been seen in decades either. 2008 arrives, and I am now discovering the diminishing returns of hanging out with my teenagers and their friends, dropping them off at parties and listening to latest teenage craze, leaving me with spare time I had never imagined.

I gathered those old diaries from my briefcase, bought my first computer, went to the library and checked out a book on how to finish your novel. There were mornings I would be late for work because I had gotten up early to work on the novel. I just couldn’t stop working on it. There would be times when I’d get a Starbucks coffee on a Friday evening and watch the sun come up on Saturday morning, not knowing the hours had pass. Eight months later I had written Diary of the Lost Teen Age.

I really like your writing style. The novel is fast-paced and very funny at the same time. How did you develop such a unique style?

Once I started reading back over my old diaries the writing part was the most satisfying part of the journey. There is a writer in all of us just waiting for the right opportunity to express itself. I had unconsciously learned so much from my teenagers, which in turned made my novel more enlightening, having had the experience if knowing how best teenagers think and react. My style came from the voices I kept in my head from my old friends who eventually became characters in my novel most of which I still be in contact with to this day.

Where will your next book take you — and your readers?

If all goes according to plan I would love to take time and write two more novels.  One about what it’s like to lived through your midlife, another about living through those golden years.

How can readers learn more about you and your accomplishments?

I have a website called, Diaryofthelostteenage.com.  I would welcome readers to post on my website reviews of my novel Diary of the Lost Teen Age and their thoughts about midlife and their golden years.  I could one day incorporate some of their ideas in my next novel.

Thank you so much, Tony for doing this interview. I enjoyed reading your book. Your book is very informative  and I learned many lessons.

My Thoughts on the book:

I have read and reviewed more books than I can count.  Reading Tony Gaines’ newly published novel, Diary of the Lost Teen Age, was by far the best reading experience I have had in a long time.

The novel chronicles the life of Tom and all the hurdles he had to endure living with a religious fanatic mother and an alcoholic father.

The author does a great job portraying the life of a devoted Jehovah Witness.  I heard many negative things about the Jehovah Witness religion, but never in my wildest dream did I ever imagine how bizarre they are.

The following passages from the book shed light on how controlling the Jehovah Witness religion is.

Howard’s stepfather has been disfellowshipped  for conduct unbecoming a Christian. During his disfellowship, Leonard is not allowed to sit in Christian fellowship with the other members of this congregation. Although he is expected to attend services and fulfill all of his Christian duties, no one, including his family is allowed to speak to him or otherwise acknowledge his presence in any way for one year.

 Even with a 148 I.Q. I’m not clever   enough to understand how a religious organization can prevent a man from associating with his own family.

It is truly mind boggling to think on how men use religion as a way to control other people.  I applaud Mr. Gaines for not holding back and for displaying all of the dark side of  the Jehovah Witness religion.  I believe Diary of the Lost Teen Age is definitely a novel that should be made into a movie.

If you are looking for a fast-paced and funny book to read, I recommend you pick up a copy of Diary of the Lost Teen Age.

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Interview: Maisha I, Author of ‘Journey to I’

It is always a pleasure meeting local authors.  Last month I had an opportunity to  meet Maisha I.  I read her newly published book Journey to I, and decided to interview her.  Her book chronicles what happens when a child is set in his or her ways.  Being too obstinate is never a good thing.

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You were raped at thirteen, have you forgiven the boy that raped you?

It has been a real roller coaster ride of a journey, because I truly was not able to put into context what he had done to me was a rape until I was in my 40s. I had re-framed the incident as to something that was my fault; there was something that I had done, a non-verbal message I had given to him, that provoked his actions. I had somehow brought this on myself as girl/woman and he as a boy/man wasn’t responsible for his inability to control his animal nature. I had to go through a lot of processing and forgiveness for myself, I can now say I have forgiven the boy and have moved on.

Your relationship with your Mom was not the best — have you been able to restore your relationship with her? What are her thoughts about you publishing your tell-all memoir on how badly she treated you as a child?

I discovered so much more about Mom as I wrote my book Journey to I. She actually read through many of the chapters and helped me with some of the early editing. Much of her story that I had no clue about begin to take shape in the book as she helped me filled in some of the blanks. All of a sudden, I began to see her as a woman who had also endured many traumas and she was getting through life the best way she knew how.

Mom had a difficult time when the book was first published and realized that some people may see her in an unforgiving light; however, she always encouraged me to write my book because it was my story, my interpretation of the events as seen through child eyes.

Recently she shared with me. “Maisha, I knew that you were going to have some hard knocks in life; I thought you might get pregnant, maybe have to drop out of school. I thought you would go through something traumatic that would make you come running back to me so that I could protect you. I could never imagine that you were going through what you went through and keep going back out there for more.”

My Mom lives with me now, and I am excited about traveling on the road of healing our mother/daughter relationship that we have embarked on. I can only hope that we can be an example that it is never too late to let the healing begin.

You were a strong-willed child, and your Mom did not know how to handle you. Do you think your life would have been different if your Mom had given you the attention you craved?

 For sure I was an exceptionally strong-willed child; I would not have wished the raising of me on anyone. Mom is a very gentle spirit, and I came out of her womb with a spear in my hand, daring anyone to tell me “No”. You know, this is a difficult question, because I really like myself now; I like to think that I am in the place that I am now because of how I was raised. Maybe if she had given me more attention, I would have felt smothered and had nothing to live for, this way I was always pulling, striving, clinging to the pieces I could get from her. It gave my life purpose.

Do you believe in destiny?  

 I believe that each of us came to the planet earth at this time for a specific reason and no one else can tell us what that is; only each one of us knows our own specific mission for being here. I believe that there are ways in discovering/remembering your mission: ie, speaking with your higher self, guidance through spiritual practices. I believe that there are many wonderful ways placed on this great big planet and in the universe to help us glean our own individual paths. I believe that the destination is already predetermined and we will all eventually get there (or we’ve actually never left). We only get to decide the road we want to travel to the destination.

You spoke about getting involved with Wicca, and having out of body experiences while in prison, do you still practice these rituals today?

 I have practiced many things, I am clear that that I came here to play and experience as much as I can in the realm of co-creating. Out-of-Body experiences are common events that happen to most of us as we sleep; many times we leave our bodies and experience things from a different perspective than our everyday 3rd dimensional can grant us. I am always open for seeing a bigger picture and will not allow anyone to tell me that their interpretation of experiencing life on this planet is any more valid than my own. I love learning and experiencing new things, tasting new foods, participating in various cultural practices. Seeing how for all of our differences, we’re all the same.

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What do you hope your readers will learn from reading your book? 

Mess happens. Sometimes we can find ourselves in the biggest mess that we or anyone around us could have thought of. Sometimes it’s way bigger that anyone could have thought of. No one around me saw that I would one day be facing the Death Penalty.6 years in prison for murder. Serving time for armed robbery. And have cancer. My life was a huge mess, and I had to face that I co-created that. I made that mess, no one else. I had done all of that to myself. When I realized and faced that I had totally co-created my worst life, the worst experiences, my worst self. I was able then to begin replacing the worst with my best. I realized I was sitting at a smorgasbord of experiences, and I was choosing the foul and rotten when fabulous and yummy chocolate cake was on the menu.

You were born in Alaska, and lived in Japan. What led you to relocate to Colorado?

That’s a long story in itself and will be part of my next book entitled Giving Birth to the Goddess of Love: a mother/daughter…daughter/mother saga in which I talk more about me and my mother’s relationship and I bring in my own experiences with raising my own daughter.

In short I ended up in Colorado after I had lived in Trinidad and Tobago WI for about 6 months. I just couldn’t go back to the extreme cold after that.

What advice can you give to teens to help them avoid the many mistakes you made, that ended with you serving six years in prison?

Take responsibility for who you are right now, the person you are being. Circumstances may seem out of your control, but you mind is your own, how you choose to deal with it is up to you. Your thoughts create what is around you. You have much more power than you can ever know. Listen to that part of you that guides you to your greatest joy, no matter what anyone else tells you. Only you know your true mission for coming to this planet at this time. You are the one you have been waiting for.

Can you talk about the woman who you thought was your friend and betrayed you, by reporting you to the police?

 Aww…Kim. I was very hurt by her deceitfulness initially. It didn’t take me long to realize that she had done for me what I could not do. Remember I always try to see how I have co-created the circumstances in my life. I was the one that told Kim, there were a number of people in my life that I could have told and perhaps it would still be a secret today. I chose Kim because on some level, I knew what she would do. On some level I knew what needed to be done. I only wish her a good life and health.

Tell the reader about your former partner Tony who committed the murder, is he still serving a life sentence?

 Tony is still in prison; he did escape once about 18 years ago and was caught after 3 months. Tony is still professing his innocence to this day and after all these years he probably believes his lie. I actually saw him about eight years ago, Please, don’t ask how and why just know that occasionally I still make stupid decisions and choices. I’m really done now. That encounter will be in a future writing.

Now that you have been released from prison, how are you different from the former defiant teen person you wrote about in your memoir?

Ohh… that defiant teen Deidra Gaddy is always with me. I love to say my job is to bust it up, change the conversation, shift the paradigm and give a different perspective. To see possibilities where others may see none. One of my favorite quotes is  “Let no theory contradict your own experiences”—Seth

I would not be who I am without having gone through the experiences I have had. I would not be able to be the voice for magnificently defiant teens like myself. I understand them, I am them. I hope that I can help them realize their voice and focus it in the way of powerfully creating what they want instead of using their voice to cause havoc in their lives and the lives of others. I am still very much a member of the defiant tribe, I’ve just learned to sprinkle it with a little bit of wisdom and grace.

Thanks Maisha I for doing this interview.  I hope you will continue to excel in every endeavor.  I am wishing that when troubled teens read your book, they too, will climb their way back to being  productive citizens.

 My Thoughts on the Book:

I thought the book is well written.  I give it a rating of five out of five stars. This is a book that a parent can read together with a teen that is defiant and who is determined to go down the wrong road.  It can teach what happens when one do not follow certain boundaries.  Troubled teens can learn the lesson of why they should be very careful who they associate with or befriend.

Even in the most dire situations, the book chronicles that one should never give up, and that with a willing spirit one can  find ways to overcome obstacles.  This is the number one reason why I think this book should be read in all detention centers for troubled teens.

I do not hold any judgement against the author for her out of body experiences or getting involved with Wicca, but being a christian  I was a bit shocked when I read about these things. This is the part of the book I liked the least.

Book Review/ Author Interview with Melissa Kline

Author Melissa Kline has done it again.  She has written a breathtaking coming-of-age story that addresses issues affecting teens from all backgrounds. As a high school teacher, I understand fully some of the social issues most teens encounter on a daily basis. It is not easy being a teen, and Miss Kline has written a well-penned story that chronicles the life of Storm, the main character.

melissaStorm is a story that most teens will be able to relate to, because the characters are believable.  The emotional difficulties Storm has to endure are what most teens in real life may experience, and this is why I enjoyed readingStorm. Navigating through emotional ups and downs is never easy, but the author does an outstanding job showing that with determination one can overcome any and all obstacles.

securedownloadI highly recommend this book for all high school classrooms.

After reading Storm, I wanted to find out how Ms. Kline came up with such a riveting story line.  Below is an interview she agreed to do.   

What inspired you to write Storm?

Storm came to me right after I finished writing a novel where one of the main characters died. That story ended in a funeral home and the essence of Storm seemed to arise from the feeling of mourning. Storm “spoke” to me and I knew that his story needed to be written.

How long did it take you to write Storm?

It took me about a month to complete the rough draft. I tinkered with the first chapter after receiving a few suggestions from publishers, then decided to revise the entire manuscript a couple of years before it was published. Storm and I have had a very long relationship — it took years to fully develop this work. I’ve learned that it is important to honor the writing process and each book’s timing.

I noticed there were quite a few sex scenes in Storm. Why did you decide to include the sex scenes being that the novel is for teens?

This is a great question. Sex is a touchy subject and this has definitely been controversial for my readers. However, I don’t believe that this book would have been as powerful if I had left out the intimate stuff. I feel that this part of Storm’s experience was important to include because sexuality is one of the challenges that teens contend with in our society today. I chose not to glaze over the issue or completely omit Storm’s sexuality because this would not have seemed genuine or realistic. I am telling the story of a teenage boy who lost his mother and whose father is emotionally preoccupied. So, I think that Storm’s intimate encounters are authentic to the circumstances that that the character faces. And please notice that there are repercussions in the story for Storm’s promiscuity. I am by no means advocating teen sex or promiscuity, but I think that every teen is faced with making decisions in this area. I hope that my readers will take away a valuable lesson by reading about Storm’s mistakes.

What lessons do you hope teen readers will learn from reading Storm?

A sense that they are not alone and that there is hope for the future. That you can make mistakes and overcome. To keep moving forward. To have compassion for yourself and others. To know that it’s okay to reach out and ask for help. To realize that nobody is perfect; we all have secrets, wounds and scars. Embrace who you are, quirks and all, and be proud!

I understand Storm was a finalist in some prestigious awards. Can you tell readers about those?

Storm received recognition as a finalist in the 2012 ForeWord Book of the Year Awards and 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. I attended the NGIB awards ceremony in New York City where I received a medal and celebrity treatment. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had as a published author. Being honored and recognized as a finalist in both of these awards programs is incredibly significant. It is so important to celebrate and to be celebrated.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a book similar to Storm called, Accepting Hannah. I’m also working on a sequel/series to My Beginning. I have many projects in the works, including a fun, non-fiction book project for teens. Lots of books to come!

What advice can you give for those wishing to get published?

Enjoy the process — being published is wonderful but there is nothing like having the freedom to write for the pure love of it. Be patient and know that your time will come. Don’t ever give up on your dreams.

Thank you Ms. Kline for doing this interview.  I am wishing you great success with all of your future projects.  To learn more about Melissa and her continuing journey, please visit her  website

Interview with author, Melissa Kline

I am pleased to showcase  a local author from my current hometown of Colorado.  I met Melissa at a local author meet and greet.  I read her first novel, My Beginning, which I reviewed here.

Her book won The Halloween Book Festival Award. After reading her book, I wanted to find out more about what inspired her to write such a riveting story.

1. Do you consider yourself to be a born writer?

Absolutely! I have always had an extremely vivid imagination, which is the magic behind my writing. I wrote my first book when I was just six years old! Throughout my childhood there were many “signs” of my inner writer; it just took me a while to discover her. It wasn’t until I was 13 that my inner writer really began to emerge. Since then, there’s been no stopping me. Writing is in my heart and soul.

2. Tell us about your recent release. What was your inspiration for it?

My most recent release is My Beginning, a young adult dystopian adventure about 16-year-old Ivory, a girl who has spent her entire life sealed in an institution. A devastating plague wiped out scores of people and animals, polluting the earth and requiring that children never venture outside. Or is that all a lie? Ivory and Aidan decide to find out. They escape the institution and find a world unlike anything they had ever known. My Beginning won the 2011 Halloween Book Festival Award! You can find the gripping book trailer and more here

3. What do you do for inspiration and unleashing your creativity?

I enjoy using various creative methods to make my characters come to life. For My Beginning, I created character sketches and collages, built an institution scene using miniatures, and collected props including uniforms, textbooks, Ivory’s necklace and institution keys. I use these tools for visual inspiration and fun! You can view these and other character creations on my website.

4. What are you working on now?

My second young adult novel, titled Storm, will be released this winter, so I have been hard at work getting ready to launch! Storm is a captivating true-to-life novel laced with mystery, romance and intrigue. Beneath the juicy drama and colorful characters, the story has a beautiful message – one that I believe both teens and adults can relate to. It’s ultimately about relationships, connections and overcoming obstacles. Because it deals with many issues that teens today face, I am donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale to youth organizations – something that is very important to me. You can find a full synopsis and more information aboutStorm on my website. I am very excited to share this book with the world!

5. What advice would you offer aspiring writers?

Believe in yourself and never give up! Create a platform, network and promote yourself as a professional. Embrace yourself as a writer and go for it!

Interview: Valerie Bowen, Author of Tormented

I have a great deal of respect for people who do not let negatives in their life define who they become.  I am hugely impressed with Valerie Bowen and her willingness to share her personal experiences in her writing. Her novel, For the Sake of Amelia Tormented, has been an eye-opener for many people.  Her book gives the reader hope; it shows that one can find hope even in the most dire circumstances.

Can you explain why you wrote For the Sake of AmeliaTormented ?

I had a strong desire to make individuals who had been abused realize not all is lost. There is always hope. Although there are few people who have endured the magnitude of abuse the character Amelia had endured, I wanted the message to come across to the reader that your life is not carved in stone. I know Amelia’s character has touched many readers just by the comments alone. My ultimate desire is the For the Sake of Amelia series will help at least one individual escape from a dangerous or deadly situation.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Yes. I have been a victim of abuse basically from the time of birth. Although I have never been brutally whipped like the main character, I felt the need to enlighten the readers about the many emotions that race through a victimized person. The physical and emotional toll abuse takes on a person of abuse is inconceivable to people who have not had to go through that kind of trauma. Many readers have said the emotional descriptions that I allowed the character of Amelia suffered through were so vivid, that if they hadn’t felt the pain in real life they certainly felt Amelia’s.

What was your favorite chapter to write and why?
The first is titled “Patio Furniture”. In this chapter, Amelia puts Kyle’s love to the test. Amelia is barely five feet tall and Kyle is a six foot six muscular man. In this chapter she insisted on driving him around (she thought he could relax for a change). The way Kyle had to mash himself into the vehicle was quite comical…I must say I had tears running down my face when I was describing this little scene.

The second chapter in Tormented that brought tears to my eyes when I wrote it is titled “Reality Sets In.” Kyle and Amelia return to Colby, Kansas, to the very farm where she had been brutally whipped. Although Amelia isn’t able to go into the barn where she nearly lost her life, Kyle wants to see the actual site. I worked hard on the descriptions of all the barn scenes within the three novels, but for some reason description of the whipping scene in Tormented played heavy because I had to bring Kyle down to his knees and made him fully aware of just how much Amelia suffered. Let me tell you bringing a six foot six muscular man to his knees and make it believable is a task in itself.
Did you learn anything from writing your book?
Writing these novels and discussing them with the beta readers made me realize the words on the paper have to connect the readers to the characters. I have been told by many people who have read the three novels they were sad when they read the last page because they felt as if they lost a few close friends. With every rewrite I did on these novels, I added more realism to the characters. I wanted the reader to believe these characters could be their neighbors; I needed them to relate to not only Amelia but the other characters as well.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The message is to never give up. Anyone who has the desire to get away from a bad situation has to believe in themselves. They have to realize there are people willing to help them if only they take the first step. To quote myself “With love there is strength;” you just have to love yourself to gain the strength to help yourself.

 Can you name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members?
I would have to say that if it wasn’t for a man I met on a social network this entire series would have been a pipe dream. This is what happened…I posted one evening that I was signing off to go write. This man that I only knew through a certain game asked me what I was writing. I explained the novel and he requested to read Tormented. After reading he asked me if he could give it to his wife to read. I didn’t think anything of it, as a matter of fact I was kind of stunned that he actually thought it was “a great read”. Once his wife finished reading Tormented she sent my novel to an indie author (at this point in time I had never heard of indie authors). It was that author who mentored me and set me on the road to self-publish the Amelia series.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in For the Sake of AmeliaTormented?

I have read and reread Tormented more times than I care to say, and I still find extremely minor things I could change. As far as if I had to do it all over again…I wouldn’t change a thing.
What are your current projects?
I am currently writing another series titled Mind of a Madman, the first novel in the series Evil Unleashed that brings the reader face to face with a psychotic killer. Although you want to hate him for all the brutality, I make the reader actually feel sorry for the killer. Although as the series progresses and the murders get more and more brutal you’ll find yourself actually hating the man you once felt sorry for. As the main character’s illness progresses, so do his crimes. I am having a great time writing this series, although at times I am so mean and descriptive with the murders I wonder if I’ll get arrested.

Do you have a website where readers can learn more about you?
Readers can go here. I also would like your followers to know I have also written a young adult novel titled Faerie Wishes. In this novel you find Talia, a female faerie who falls in love with a human male (Cayden). She is willing to give up eternity as a faerie to live in the human realm with the man she has fallen in love with. But then she realizes life is far more difficult in the human realm than she had imagined. Cayden has to make a heartbreaking decision to save the woman that he loves more than life.

Please tell readers where one can purchase your novel?
All of my novels are available through AmazonBarnes and NoblesSmashwords and Lulu.

Read more: http://blogcritics.org/books/article/interview-with-valerie-bowen-author-of/page-3/#ixzz1lq2Wc6CN

INTERVIEW: MY BIRTHDAY IS SEPTEMBER ELEVEN AND OTHER SHORT STORIES

A huge thank you goes to my author friend Cherese Vines for interviewing me.
Interview with the author of My Birthday Is September Eleven: Nicole Weaver. Thank you for the interview.
1) Tell us who you are.
My name is Nicole Weaver.  I am Haitian American.  I am fluent in four languages-French, English, Spanish and Creole.  I am a veteran French and Spanish high school teacher. I am also a published author of a trilingual book titled: Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle/ María y su Amiga la Tortuga Del Mar/ Marie et son Amie la Tortue de mer. I have a second trilingual book titled My Sister is My Best Friend due to be published fall 2011 by Guardian Angel Publishing.  My third trilingual book titled: My Brother is My Best Friend is under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing.
2) What influenced you to become a writer?
 
I first became interested in writing after winning a poetry contest.  That experience fueled my interest in writing.  I later joined my church’s writing group.  Being a part of the group allowed me to venture out with my writing.  I have pieces published in my church’s journal.  Next, an author friend talked me into attending a writer’s workshop.  The workshop peaked my interest even more.  I later decided to write my first trilingual children’s picture book.
3) Why do you think you chose to write for children?
 
I see a huge need for more books that portray children of color in a positive light.  I also see a need for more books that encourage the learning of a foreign language. I write all of my children’s picture books as trilingual books because a child’s brain is wired to learn language when he or she is young.
 
4) You mentioned that many of the stories from My Birthday is September Eleven are true. Are all your stories/books based on true events? Where else do you get your inspiration?
 
Yes, most of my stories/books are based on true events.  Having been an educator for the past twenty five years affords me many opportunities to see and experience many things.  Many times I am emotionally moved by these experiences and I must find a way to channel the emotions into a positive way and writing provides me with that outlet. For instance, around ten years ago, I received a call from a woman who adopted a Haitian little girl.  The little girl only spoke Creole; she wanted me to help her communicate with her in Creole.  I was very honored and blessed to help her.  I later learned that the little girl was dropped off at the local adoption agency in Port-au-Prince Haiti, because her mom could not feed her.
 I carried that information in my heart and I always wanted to write a story about it.  This is where the idea for the story “No More Hunger” came from.  Imagine the pain that mother experienced when she dropped her daughter off.  I hope my story will bring attention to what goes on in my native land of Haiti.
I also get inspired by what I see in my classroom.  I taught middle school for fifteen years.  During my tenure as a middle school teacher I observed how cruel students can be towards one another.  It pained me greatly to witness the way many bi-racial children were constantly teased and picked on.  The short story “Zebra Boy” is based on what I saw happening to those children.  Honestly, it would take me two lifetimes to write about all the things I have seen and experienced as a classroom teacher.   
 
5) What would you have liked to have been told as a budding writer?
 
It would have been nice to know how difficult it is to market yourself.  Getting published is only the first step; the real work begins with marketing yourself and your book.
6) Can you tell us something that your readers may not have guessed about you?
 
I love being an American citizen.  My life changed for the better when I set foot in America. I believe the only way to beat bigotry is through education. Through hard work and dedication one can achieve great things.
 
 
7) Is there anything else you would like your readers to know?
 
Never give up on your dreams.  When I first came to America, after reading many books from the Curious George series, I instantly knew that I would one day write my own picture book.  I also invite all readers interested in learning more about me can visit my sites:
 
My Sister Is My Best Friend Blog:
Marie and her Friend the Sea Turtle Blog:
 Websites:
 Educational Expert:
Blogcritics Contributor:

MY INTERVIEW WITH MAYRA CALVANI

I am thrilled to announce award winning author, Mayra Calvani recently interviewed me for Blogcritics.  You can read the interview here: http://blogcritics.org/books/article/interview-with-nicole-weaver-author-of1/