Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Friday, August 15, 2014
I didn't write Silent Starsong for the purpose of being one of the few children's books that feature characters with disabilities. In fact, during my drafting and research, I was actually pretty scared and unsure...looking for an excuse not to write the story. I even tried to put the characters up for adoption to my writers group. “This is not my story to tell!”
But, of course, it was. My writers group told me to writer-up and glue my butt to the chair in Kyra’s and Marne’s names. That’s why the characters popped into my head. That’s why they wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote and wrote and wrote.
You see, I’ve never been deaf. And Kyra is. She and Marne explained this to me within seconds of appearing in my head and demanding my attention. I have family members who have gone deaf. And blind. Some have many other disabilities, most invisible, actually. But what if I got something wrong? What if I offended people? What right did I, someone who can hear rather well, have to pen this story?
So, I did what (I’d hope) any socially conscious writer would do. I researched. I spoke with people who were deaf. I went to a friend who was teaching music for the deaf for several interviews.
Did I screw up? Not that any of my readers have told me, but not everyone’s journey is the same. And there are still reviews coming in. One hearing impaired person’s experience is not the same as any other; not every individual person’s life, hardship, and triumph is the same. None of us can assume one story is representative of any category, no matter how we slice it.
But Kyra was sure of her story. And so was Marne. I’m not a little pink alien with telepathy or telekinesis either... but those of us who write science fiction and fantasy tend to feel fairly comfortable with representing aliens or faerie or more fantastic creatures; we haven’t yet met ones who we could actually offend yet.
So I wrote. And researched. And wrote. Kyra and Marne lived and breathed on the page. I had to think about writing with only four senses for Kyra’s point of view, a hard-to-break habit after years of being told, “show all five senses.” I had to consider the difficulties in lip-reading, how she’d feel about telepathy, how other languages, how she would interpret the feel of sounds. How people would treat her.
I didn’t intend to write about a character with a disability, and really, that’s still not what I think the story is about. The story is about two outcasts, two young persons that “don’t fit in” and have to overcome difficulties and grow and be heroes and friends for each other. It’s a story I hope any child can relate to. I hope Kyra and Marne can be the friends and heroes for the many children who get picked on, who are left out, who want to change the world and make it more accepting. I want them to be “people” readers can relate to.
Maybe, though, for the children who don’t fit in or get picked on because they have a disability, Kyra can be a special hero and friend for them.
About the book:
Order Silent Starsong on Barnes & Noble
ISBN ebook: 978-1-939392-94-7
Appropriate for ages 10 & up
About the Author:
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Monday, August 11, 2014
But really well written TV is something I adore. What's coming this fall is making me squee with delight!
ONCE UPON A TIME
If you know anything about me, you know I am a Fairy Tale junkie. Even more a mash-up junkie. I've been watching this since Day One. The second season was a bit difficult, but once they added the Wizard of Oz, I was re-hooked. Frozen features this season??? Elsa and Anna? How can I resist?
I know the first half of the season was kind of slow. But once you got to December/January, it took off like a rocket! My son and I watch this together, and we are addicted! Cannot WAIT for the new season!
And of course....
A new Doctor. New adventures. This is technically a 'summer start' show, but I wouldn't be a good Whovian if I forgot it! I don't even have an inkling about what's going to happen, I've avoided all the trailers. I only know it will be darker and less 'silly'. Which is okay.
Those are just three of the shows I'm looking forward to. There's also GRIMM (which I'm a whole season behind on, but watch on Amazon anyway), CASTLE, SLEEPY HOLLOW, and all the crime shows I usually watch.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Chances are the book in question was a classic.
Classic starts to equate in your mind to "boring."
You see other books labeled "classic" and you ignore them, because you have learned that classic equals boring.
But what if the book in question wasn't really boring? What if it wasn't poorly written? What if you, as student, were just not ready for the insights the book revealed about human nature.
What if you read the book years later as an adult and are amazed at the power of the language, at the imagery at the depths of the insight?
What if you get it when you are an adult?
But what if you never pick the book back up, because you've already read (or skimmed) it and already know it's boring. Why then, you'll be missing out on something big, and you'll never know it.
My daughter had to read All Quiet on the Western Front in 7th grade. She hated it. I'm pretty sure I read it in high school and thought it was boring. I just re-read it last week and loved it.
I understand the desire of teachers to want to introduce their students to a variety of literature. I get that. But sometimes I think we do students a disservice by forcing them to read books they are not ready for.
Is there an easy answer to this? Probably not. But I do think we have to stop making reading novels feel so much like work, and let it be fun. This is one of the reasons why YA literature is so important for kids. It's something that they're much more apt to get. It's something that can be fun. And when something is fun you want to do more of it.
And reading should be fun.
And classics are fun too - but not when read at the wrong time.
So, what is your take on this - are we ruining classics for students by forcing them to read them when they don't really understand them, or are we making sure they leave school with a well-rounded introduction to literature. And does it have to be one or the other?
Friday, August 1, 2014
I've been honestly amazed at the chaos (both good and bad) and the speed with which 2014 has been zooming past.
Work continues to be super busy. Everytime we think things are getting organized, more changes and chaos ensues. Sadly, making the paycheck and dealing with all that 2014 has been throwing my way has super slowed my writing endeavors. Still, I forge ahead when I can. But it really makes it hard to make steady progress. I am so ready to finish my current WIP. Lol.
Was going to drag some pics to share, but how about a new Simon's Cat instead? Hee!
Hope you all have an awesome weekend!