Happy New Year!
I am pleased to reboot Writer’s Spotlight Wednesday (WSW), and the first WSW of the New Year features:
Donna L. Martin
“I can’t imagine NOT writing!”
Q: What subject matter do you specialize in writing? Why do you write?
A: The various fiction genres I write in are picture books, early reader chapter books, and young adult novels. I have a number of completed picture books but I am currently shifting more toward writing creative nonfiction.
I suspect I write for the same reason any other serious writer does…it’s as vital to me as the air I breathe and I can’t imagine NOT writing!
Q: Tell me about your book and what inspired you to write it.
A: My debut picture book, THE STORY CATCHER, is about a little girl who comes from a family of readers, or story catchers as they like to call themselves. Addie tries to catch her first story but the wiggly words keep playing tricks on her. It takes a little faith and a nighttime ritual to help her become the next STORY CATCHER.
Addie is dear to me. She represents any child with a learning disability or even just beginning to learn to read and struggling to untangle the words on the page. I am a READ TO ME approved volunteer, and I spent one year tutoring a young girl who really struggled to comprehend the words in the books she was read to by her family. By the end of the school year of us working together, she could finally read her first book all on her own.
Q: What has been the most challenging part of releasing your book, and how did you overcome that challenge?
A: Do you mean besides exercising tremendous patience while my book went through the long publishing/production process? The most challenging part is probably the extensive marketing aspect including expanding my author platform. I’ve done a lot of research this past year and I’m learning new things every day. I have created an extended promotional campaign to help get the word out about THE STORY CATCHER in the upcoming months ahead.
Q: What are you currently working on? Any other upcoming projects?
A: Earlier in 2014, I completed a creative nonfiction chapter book about a historic event involving chocolate, children, and an airborne train. It’s an unsolved mystery that really happened many years ago and I call it THE CHOCOLATE TRAIN WRECK. I will start subbing it out this month. I’ve also finished research on a Titanic angle never done for children before as well as starting to write first drafts from some of the many ideas I wrote down during Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month event last November.
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given, and how have you applied that advice?
A: That’s a tricky question because I’ve tried to learn something from everyone I come in contact with in this industry, but maybe one of the best pieces of advice I was told early on was to have lots of patience and grow a thick skin when it comes to handling rejections. The publishing industry is very subjective so what one agent or editor is interested in today may change tomorrow depending on how they read the market trends. It is NOT the norm to go from receiving a manuscript request to signed publishing contract in six days like it happened to me and THE STORY CATCHER. Even after my book is about to have its official release day, I’m still receiving rejection notices for agent representation. I believe in my skills as a story teller so I don’t take it personally when one of my stories is rejected for some reason. With hard work I was lucky enough to get this far so I have no doubt the rest will come when the time is right.
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If you would like to join Donna’s FREE STORY CATCHER FAN CLUB to receive a bi-monthly newsletter, a reading log with the chance to become an “official” story catcher, membership certificate, and story starring YOU, send an email request to: firstname.lastname@example.org Include your name, age, and email address with your request.
Donna can also be found on the following social media sites:
(click on a logo below to be redirected to that page)
Author Email: email@example.com
Author Website: www.donnalmartin.com
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Cheers to the journey to “catch” many stories in the New Year!