I believe that children, especially primary school age children, are the most restlessly creative and imaginative human beings alive. Dragons who hate going to the dentist, parrots who have learned to fly underwater, and pandas who turn pineapples into hats are just a few of the recent inspiring creations from some of my creative writing workshops in schools.
|Dana Fradon (New Yorker, 1953)|
But they are also children, which means they are not always either aware of this huge imaginative potential, or equipped to access it on demand or under pressure. And of course, as children, they lack the emotional maturity, craft or life experience to do much with it - but that doesn't invalidate the strength of the imagination.
Left to their own devices, an arm curved round a piece of paper and a pen in their hand, endless improvised drawings and visualisations tumble forth with an unselfconscious energy that most adults - whether they are engaged in a creative industry or not - would envy. Every school visit for me proves Baudelaire right - "Genius is no more than childhood recaptured at will."
|Baudelaire looking at his most unchild friendly|
However in school visits, this genius (quite understandably) often deserts children, when after forty minutes or so of authorial prancing round, they are asked to function like dull grown ups at a literary festival and "ask me a question".
Too often, this places the discourse no longer in the world of castle in the clouds world of make-believe and stories, but in the constant over-the-shoulder looking world of careers, worry, tested expectation and obsessive productivity that our current cultural system irrevocably steers most human beings towards. And so, they try to function accordingly, and I'm sure many of you will have heard the questions below.
I always answer them as truthfully and as honestly as I can, because it is impossible on such brief acquaintance to separate the earnest and authentic enquiry by the next J K Rowling from the unthinking auto-response nervously asked on rote. But here are some more alternative replies I dream of on the bus back.1) How long did it take you to write your book?I wrote this book in forty seconds while my demon wrapped a girdle around the world ORI have been labouring on this tome since the dawn of time, when beings as yet unknown to man appeared in the sacred flame, whispering the collective knowledge of the last great civilization, and bid me decode them for your permanent improvement.2) Do you know any celebrities?I wouldn't say I know that many celebrities, but put it this way - Harry Styles is my chauffeur.
3) How much do you get paid?Every week, the Aka Khan, the world's richest man no-one has heard of, sends me a private jet laden with jewels and treasure beyond your imagining from his vaults, such is the value he places on children's literature.4) Are you going to write any more books?I will write as the muse dictates. Whether it be a book a week, or a book every quarter of century, the volume is irrelevant - what counts is the power of the story and love for life, the world and all she has to offer contained within its pages.
|Harry Styles has recently abandoned a successful pop career to drive children's authors to school visits.|
But of course - every fifth question can be a gem. What's the most unexpected thing you've been asked on a school visit, and what did you reply?
I think my favourite is still the boy who said "Could you make your next book a bit shorter?"
I’m excited to share Franki Sibberson’s latest project with you. SOLVE IT YOUR WAY! is an innovative project to encourage creative problem solving and collaborate with others around the globe. I shared this… Read More
Out of the blue, I was recently (and kindly, I might add) awarded The Liebster Award, by Murees Dupé at Daily Drama of an Aspiring Writer.
Here's how it works:Liebster Award Rules:
1. Thank the blogger who gave you the award and link back to his or
2. Answer 11 questions from the presenter; list 11 random facts about
you, and create 11 questions for your nominees. (Whew, this part
is a lot of work, which is why it's taking me awhile to complete.)
3. Present the Liebster Award to 11 bloggers whose blogs have 200
followers or less and whom you feel deserve to be noticed. Leave
a comment on their blog notifying them of your nomination.
4. Upload the Liebster Award to your own blog.Murees's Questions for Me:
1. What is the worst job you ever had? A laundry I worked in, once. The biggest problem was boredom.
2. What is your favorite snack? Cookies. Any kind. I love them.
3. What is your favorite TV series? Downton Abbey. I confess, I'm hooked.
4. Who would you like to meet? (Person could be dead or alive.) Hmm. Perhaps Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Then I could ask him why he felt his Holmes stories weren't literary.
5. If you could be any animal, what would it be? A dog. They are such noble creatures.
6. What are you most grateful for? My marriage, my extended family, and my friends.
7. What do you hate? I don't hate.
8. Do you include exercise into your daily routine? I should, shouldn't I . . . Does gardening count?
9. Do you like animals? Dogs, cats, horses, for sure. Maybe not octopi.
10.What is your favorite season? Fall, but Spring runs a close second.
11.What is your favorite food? South Indian cuisine. So many delicious dishes. So much variety.
Eleven Random Facts About Me:
1. I love to read a good mystery, whether for adults or for children.
2. I love poetry, both reading it and writing it.
3. So, it follows that I hang out at book stores and libraries, right?
4. I love the French Impressionist painters.
5. I'm hooked on the Victorian Era. So much so, that I'm starting a second blog, called, Victorian Scribbles
. It's still in construction, but it should be ready for visits by next week. Take a peek.
6. I love opera. Especially Puccini's operas. Especially La Boheme, Madame Butterfly,
7. I once nibbled a dog biscuit just to see what the appeal was for my dog. I don't recommend it; not my kind of cookie. Probably not yours, either.
8. One of my ambitions in life is to walk a part of the pilgrimage road in Galicia that leads to Santiago. To get a certificate, you have to walk 100 kilometers on it. (Hmm, maybe I should start exercising. See Murees's question #8.)
9. I drink a cup of hot chocolate every morning. It's a great way to start the day.
10.That said, I'm not particularly keen on chocolate per se.
I mean, I enjoy a piece now and then, but I can have a gift box of chocolates on the shelf for a good six months before its contents are finally gone.
11.Some day I would like to go to Ireland. It's a land that seems (to me) both haunting and haunted.Here's My List of Questions for My Award Recipients:
1. Who is your favorite artist?
2. Favorite author?
3. Have you ever interviewed someone? If so, who? and about what?
4. What is your favorite genre in literature?
5. Do you speak any languages other than English?
6. If you were 19, what career would you choose—the one you did choose, or another?
7. Which deceased author would you most like to meet, and why?
8. Which living author would you most like to meet, and why?
9. What is number one on your bucket list?
10. Do you believe in Hobbits?
11. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?And Here Are My Picks for the Liebster Award:(Go check out their sites; they write good stuff!)
1. Rosi Hollinbeck - The Write Stuff
2. JaNay Brown - JaNay With Words
3. Richard Hughes - Writing and Living by Richard P. Hughes
4. Victoria Lindstrom - Writ of Whimsy
5. Julia Hones - My Writing Life
6. Catherine Winn - The Writing Room
7. Julie Luek - A Thought Grows
8. Joanna Marple - Miss Marple's Musings
9. Linda Jackson - Writers Do Laundry Too
10.Shannon Lawrence - Writing from the Peak
11.Kenda Turner - Words and Such
Ciao for now . . .
I've just created a FAQ page (see the header bar above) that should answer all you burning questions, such as Why Caroline by line? Where did the follow button go? and What can I do to get published?
Anything else you're dying to know? Ask away!
So, I have a question that I 've been wondering about for the past while. I've been thinking deeply about tween reads and what makes them great. I've also been thinking about the idea of tween / middle grade as a category. My question(s) to you are as follows...What is your favourite middle grade/tween read of the past 10 years (and why). What is your favourite middle grade/tween read of ALL time (and why)?
Thanks in advance! I can't wait to see what folks love!
Anyone with children will know the ‘why?’ stage. The child discovers that this tiny word can make an adult talk and talk and talk. The child receives undivided attention because the adult loves to show how much he knows.
‘Isn’t the blossom beautiful?’
‘It’s beautiful so it attracts bees.’
‘To help make more trees, and more blossom.’
‘So that...er...would you like some Gummy Bears?’
It goes on forever. The child isn’t really listening, she’s just enjoying the attention, the love that’s being devoted to her.
Because adults love to explain. Adults want to be able to show they understand and that everything is explicable.
Because adults fear that not knowing means they are stupid. Or that the child will feel rejected. Adults just love to fill silence with sound.
Shut up. I don’t know.
Take the recent riots. How many different explanations did we hear? Left wingers giving left wing explanations (cuts; no jobs; the breakdown of the state). Right wingers giving right wing explanations (bad parenting; nanny state; the breakdown of the family). I am sure many of these views could have been given even before the event.
Question: If there was a riot next week what would be the causes?
The right wingers and the left wingers have already made up their minds. The event itself doesn’t have any relevance.
Young children imagine all adults will give similar answers, that the reasons for something happening are easy for us grown ups to understand. The world is black and white. Up until around the age of seven or eight, if you ask a child whether it is wrong to steal a loaf of bread to feed a starving family, almost every one will give a categorical ‘yes’. It is wrong to steal. Of course it is.
This is one good very reason for giving children a diet of fiction. Children get to hear inside the heads of other people, even if they aren’t real. These imaginary people can hold views that real people may have. And slowly, a child begins to realise that two characters versions of the same event may be very, very different.
As children begin to explore the territory of what makes us the people we are then they can begin to understand that others may be inflexible, or are not even prepared to listen to evidence before coming to conclusions, that sometimes judgements are clouded by temperament, character or emotion.
It’s a giddy experience, the dawning realisation that there may be fewer certainties in the world.
It just is. Now go to bed.
First I want to say, I am so sorry I have neglected going to and commenting on your blogs the last couple of months. I have so missed it and vow to get back into it.
As you can imagine the last 2 months have been totally crazy. I must admit, I was in over my head. I have had a blast but I've been barely keeping my head above water and struggling to get stuff done.
Anyway, I am now back to my regularly scheduled blogs on marketing and indie pubbing.
So today, if you have any suggestions on upcoming topics or any questions on indie pubbing, marketing, my books, or for me in general - please leave them in the comments.
Or you can tell me what you are working on (you know agents stop by here so it's a good way to plug :)
Whoever leaves a question/comment will go into a drawing for your choice of 1 of these 4 prizes:
1) a free book of On The Bright Side
2) a free book of Untraceable
3) a query critique
4) some other books/arcs I have laying around
This is my way of saying thanks for not giving up on me and for all your support :)
So I got a lot of questions yesterday.
Jan Status (Untraceable)
Winners for Q/A postAll prizes for launch day will be mailed out on Monday.
- I've sold approximately 3,600 books to date (from Nov 31st).
- The highest sales are on Amazon. B&N second.
- ebooks account for most of that at 90%.
- Only about 200 paperback.
Karen Adkins, Mandy, Vera and Danielle. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your choice of prize.
1) a free ebook of On The Bright Side
2) a free ebook of Untraceable
3) a query critique
4) some other books/arcs I have laying around. You can choose.
Don't forget to stop by On The Bright Side tour still going on :) There are are some giveaway, prizes, marketing tips, writing tips, character interviews and more.
Answers to your questions
How do you manage your time with everything?
Well I'm glad it LOOKS That way. Because I don't feel like I do. fake it 'til you make it that is my motto. So honestly? I try to schedule the time. 1 hour for interviews, 1 hour to write etc etc. I also have ADHD which comes in handy for multi tasking. I'm also a night owl so I get a lot done after 10 pm. Plus I am having so much fun it doesn't feel like work. But I am tired :)
3 Comments on Answers, Prizes, and Bookanista - Oh My, last added: 2/3/2012