Monthly Archives: June 2011

Jiba Molei Anderson– Writer

Jiba Molei Anderson is an accomplished illustrator, graphic designer, writer, and educator. In 2002, Jiba formed Griot Enterprises and created its flagship property, The Horsemen. Currently, Jiba is working on Heroes Of Hip Hop for Top Cow and Getback for Markosia Publishing in addition to producing a new Horsemen book. He has also written the educational text Manifesto: The Tao of Jiba Molei Anderson and is currently writing the script for The Horsemen animated film. Jiba also has podcast radio show, Ghetto Of The Mind, which can be found on Itunes. In addition, he teaches courses in Animation and Video Game Design at the Illinois Institute of Art in Schaumburg.

What made you want to become a writer?

I became a writer out of necessity. I have always considered myself an illustrator first, graphic designer second. I’ve been creating characters ever since I was a little kid. And every character I created had to have some sort of story to justify their appearance and how they related to other characters that I created.

 

As I continued creating characters and designing costumes, I also started acting in school plays, which exposed me to scriptwriting, drama, all of the necessary literary tools needed to affect a good theatrical production. Of course, being an avid comic book reader and book reader didn’t hurt either. I always wrote little short stories and poems in grade school and high school. I’ve always been attracted to language.

 

The Horsemen was my “portfolio” piece for the comic book industry. As such, I just wanted to show the powers that be what I could do (i.e. penciling, inking, coloring, design, and writing). It just so happened that people were most attracted to The Horsemen because of my storytelling.

 

Was the journey difficult? Any help? Any obstacles?

No. Aside from the regular problems writers face (coming up with ideas, finding the “right” word, etc.), I just did it to the best of my ability. Thank goodness that was enough for readers to appreciate my work.

 

Any lessons learned on your writer’s journey?

Words have power. If you can articulate your ideas in a way that people not only understand, but also enjoy, you can influence people. I just try to be responsible with my words. I try to make sure that my voice is a positive one.

 

Where does that inner drive to write come from?

I love words. I have something to say and I want the whole world to hear my voice. I hope that doesn’t sound to egotistical.

 

How do you keep readers turning pages?

I always try to have each page be a complete “micro-thought,” which is part of the larger “macro-thought”. At the end of that page, I try to have that “micro-thought” spark a new “micro-thought” (the next page), which when all thoughts are read in sequence, reveals the big picture, so to speak.

 

I make sure that each “micro-thought” has an impact and delivers an emotional or visceral response to keep the reader not only entertained, but also intrigued and anxious to get that next piece of the puzzle.

 

How often will you revise and re-write your work?

I try to get it right the first time. So, while I’m writing, I’ll stop at a certain point and look over the work I produced. If it doesn’t “sound” right to me, I’ll “edit in the can.” By doing so, I probably revise maybe once or twice after the script is done. I rarely, if ever, do complete re-writes because I think they’re a waste of time. The only time I’ll actually re-write a piece is if I’ve lost it completely due to a computer glitch (as I am doing with the script for The Horsemen movie right now).

 

Re-writes suck.

 

What are some creative ways you’ve learned to generate ideas?

I listen to music, I’ll watch movies, I’ll daydream, I’ll do stream-of-consciousness, I’ll read, all of the usual tricks.

 

Sometimes, my best ideas come from joking around with my friends. Comedy is a great catalyst.

 

What are some practical solutions for writer’s block?

Don’t force it. Unplug. Decompress. Don’t think about it. It’s in those moments of calm that you will replenish yourself and those creative juices will start flowing again.

 

Do you have a favorite book?

I don’t like to play favorites. My favorite book is most likely the last book I’ve read. However, The Power of Myth, The Hero With An African Face, Wildseed, Black Gangster, Soul On Ice, and Tell Me How Long The Train’s Been Gone pop up in terms of straight literature. When it comes to comics, it ranges from the first twelve issues of The Authority to 100 Bullets, V for Vendetta to Infinite Crisis, Sin City to JLA/Avengers.

 

Do you have a favorite time of day when you like to write?

Because of my very tight work schedule, I write when I can. There’s no “magic” hour. Although, I tend to favor working at night when I don’t have to deal with the 9 to 5 grind. Being creative helps me relax.

 

What is one saying or proverb you live by?

“Know thyself,” “Seize The Day,” and “That which does not kill you will only make you stronger.”

 

What advice would you give kids who wish to pursue a career in writing?

First, write. Second, write what you know. Third, read. Fourth, be aware of the world around you. Fifth, live life like every day is an adventure.

 

Where can parents and kids find out more about your work?

Go to: http://www.griotenterprises.com for more info or, just Google my name, Jiba Molei Anderson.

 

Copyright 2005-2011, Jolene Owen. All rights reserved. This interview is free to copy, publish and circulate. You may reprint or publish it without permission in any format. Please credit: Jolene Owen as interviewer. The views expressed herein are those of the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the interviewer or the official position of the publishing company, its various departments and/or the Institute of Interactive Journalism. If you’d like to be interviewed, or would like to send our team an interview, or just send us lots of gifts and candy, contact us at: inspiring.interviews@gmail.com.  Please do not try to contact interviewees through the institute. We never release confidential information or fwd messages. No exceptions.

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Jeremy Robinson– Writer

JEREMY ROBINSON was born in Beverly, Massachusetts in 1974. He stayed in Beverly through college, attending Gordon College and Montserrat College of Art. His writing career began in 1995 and includes stints on comic books, and thirteen completed screenplays, several of which have been produced, optioned or have gone into development. He is also the author of two non-fiction books: The Screenplay Workbook and POD People – Beating the Print-On-Demand Stigma as well as the Barnes&Noble.com and Amazon Canada bestselling novel, The Didymus Contingency and newly released Raising the Past. He currently resides in New Hampshire with his wife, Hilaree, daughter, Aquila and son, Solomon.

What made you want to become a writer?

For as long as I can remember I’ve been telling stories, but originally through art. Growing up, I would paint huge murals in my bedroom depicting dragons, aliens, huge castles and cityscapes. But the images were more than illustrations; they told stories. As a high school student, my interest in telling stories through art led me to comic books, which I illustrated after college. Illustrating comics led to writing comics. While I had written several stories previously, I had never considered myself a writer or a good writer at least. My interest in comics morphed into an interest in film, for which I wrote 13 screenplays. Eventually I was consumed with telling longer and more in-depth stories (which can’t be done through comics or screenplays) and I began adapting my screenplays into novels. And now I have two published novels, The Didymus Contingency and Raising the Past and three more on the way!

 

Was the journey difficult?

The journey, more than anything else, was fun. I can’t say this is true for everyone, but I really enjoy improving my writing and have spent the past ten years writing and rewriting manuscripts. I love telling stories, so I always enjoy getting my hands dirty with a new story, or rewriting an old one.

 

However, what haven’t been easy were the sacrifices that needed to be made in order to really make a career of writing. The term “starving artist” works just as well for writers as it does artists. It takes a certain level of dedication to push on against the odds, which I have, but the odds are stacked against all new writers. It’s a long road to success. As for help, I would have to thank my wife, Hilaree. She has been an amazing support, giving me time to write and encouraging me when I met setbacks.

 

What were some of your favorite stories growing up?

Growing up, I was a huge fan of Godzilla…and I still am, but he’s more of a film icon. For novels, I would have to say James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Hobbit. I have vivid memories of my mother reading these books to my brother and me before bed. They are such vivid and imaginative stories. I believe they planted the seeds in my imagination that led me to daydream and conjure unknown worlds and creatures.

 

What inspires you as a writer?

My first instinct is to say, “Everything.” Every good writer looks for story ideas and elements in each and every nook and cranny of life. But the true answer for me is science and the Bible. I’m always keeping track of new developments in scientific discoveries and advances; from Archeology and Paleontology to Astrophysics and Oceanography. Science is an amazing resource for ideas and is constantly changing the way we experience and view the world.

 

As for the Bible; whether you’re a believer or not, the Bible contains a wealth of stories that inspire the imagination and presents amazing possibilities for modern stories. Out of my five novels, three involve Biblical themes. As a result, most of my stories involve Biblical themes enmeshed with modern science. Of course, to inspire myself to write I simply need to read a good novel or see a good movie!

 

What advice would you give a writer with writer’s block?

Writer’s block has actually never been a problem for me. In general I can’t find enough time to get all of the ideas in my head out. If I do have trouble writing I take a break. If my imagination is stalling it usually means I’m stressed out. So I’ll watch a good movie or take a walk in the woods or, but by far my favorite imagination booster is visiting the ocean. I find the ocean to be mysterious and amazingly huge. I feel the same way in a lightning storm, but they come when they please. The ocean always relaxes me and fills my imagination ideas about what might lurk beneath.

 

What stories are you working on presently?

I’m currently finishing up my fifth novel, a story involving a sea creature that lives in the Gulf of Maine. As I love to do, I’ve got hard science mixed with Biblical history to create an interesting thriller. I can’t say anymore than that, except for that it is tentatively titled, From the Deep. I’m also hard at work promoting my newly released novel, Raising the Past, which is an arctic adventure similar to James Rollins’ Ice Hunt. The story takes place in the Nunavut region of Canada and starts with an excavation of a Mammoth from the ice and tundra. Things take a dangerous turn when an ancient woman falls out of the Mammoth’s belly, clutching a futuristic object. The crew of the expedition suddenly find themselves wielding the key to mankind’s freedom or destruction…and are pursued by the sinister forces that want it back.

 

Finally, what advice would you give kids who wish to pursue a career in writing?

Have fun! Seriously, you should enjoy what you’re doing, whether you’re a writer or not. But as a writer, if you’re not enjoying yourself and your stories, then it’s going to show in your work. Let your imagination go wild. Be creative. That doesn’t mean you should let things like grammar, spelling and vocabulary go, because they’re very important. But building an imagination and constructing complicated plots are much more difficult skills to acquire.

 

While grammar can be taught in school, your imagination can only be sustained by yourself. Allow yourself, as you grow older, to maintain and enjoy your imagination. My advice to parents on this point would be to encourage your children’s imagination. I credit my parents for bravely allowing me to paint murals on my bedroom walls. They recognized my imagination was worth far more than a coat of paint (which I would apply before starting my next mural!)

 

Where can kids and parents find out more about your work?

First and foremost, I respond to all e-mails I receive. I can be reached at info@jeremyrobinsononline.com. My website can be found at www.jeremyrobinsononline.com and my publishers website, where Raising the Past is featured, can be found at www.breakneckbooks. I also have a blog at http://jeremyrobinson.blogspot.com and a myspace page at www.myspace.com/robinsonwrites. I’m very easy to reach and love interacting with fans!

Copyright 2005-2011, Jolene Owen. All rights reserved. This interview is free to copy, publish and circulate. You may reprint or publish it without permission in any format. Please credit: Jolene Owen as interviewer. The views expressed herein are those of the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the interviewer or the official position of the publishing company, its various departments and/or the Institute of Interactive Journalism. If you’d like to be interviewed, or would like to send our team an interview, or just send us lots of gifts and candy, contact us at: inspiring.interviews@gmail.com.  Please do not try to contact interviewees through the institute. We never release confidential information or fwd messages. No exceptions.

 


Jenni Cargill– Storyteller

Jenni employs a wide repertoire of dramatic skills and a beautiful singing voice to hold her audience. Her training includes a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Sociology from the University of Queensland, classical singing training and a diploma from the Drama Action Centre in Sydney. There she studied clowning, improvisation, dance, singing, mask, mummers, percussion and workshop facilitation, specialising in storytelling. Her professional experience was gained in over twelve hundred schools in Australia and New Zealand. She has performed for ABC national radio as well as ABC TV’s ‘7.30 Report’. She has performed and presented workshops for the Bennelong Program at the Sydney Opera House, The Powerhouse Museum, the National Storytelling Conference, the Woodford Folk Festival since 1993, Byron Bay Adult Community Education and The Byron Bay Writers Festival 2004. She is currently recording two new CD’s, one for adults “Stories to Light the Dark” and one for children “The Mermaids Shoes”. Both combine stories and song, some traditional, some original. In 2007, she will become director of her own storytelling school in Byron Bay, a first in Australia.

What made you want to become a storyteller?

 

I trained at a drama school in Sydney called the Drama Action Centre for two years full time. It was a very exciting and nourishing time. We studied mime, voice, singing, clowning, percussion, rythmn, dance, mask, mummers, outdoor performance and storytelling with some of the best teachers in Australia and New Zealand.  I had the dream of performing in schools and in community theatre.

In first year we were given a storytelling assignment- that is to find a story to tell. I reacted with a big yawn. ‘Oh how droll’, I thought and I dragged myself through the process of finding a story. Then after a few days, I happened to find the oldest written story: the myth of the Sumerian Goddess Inanna, as translated by Noah Samuel Kramer and interpreted by the famous storyteller Diane Wolkstein. As soon as I saw the ancient Goddess image on the front cover my heart leapt! Then as I read the text, it was like the road of destiny opened up and I felt something big was dawning in me. As I worked on the tale with various teachers, I realised I had a strong calling to be a storyteller.

 

Was the journey difficult? Any help?

I was very lucky to have a mentor who helped me enormously. I was a very nervous beginner as I was launching myself straight from Drama School into professional storytelling in schools which is a little pressured. You need a minimum audience of 120 children per show, in order to make it worth  while for an agent to book you and I knew I couldn’t sell myself.

I also had a highly overdeveloped inner critic. While this helped me strive toward excellence, it also  made me feel like giving up at times.

My mentor was an experienced American storyteller living in Sydney at the time, Chardi Christian. She helped me develop my show, came to my first few shows and helped me get a really excellent agent. Then, as there wasn’t enough storytelling work to make a living from, I got a job in a medieaval music ensemble- as a storyteller, singer and percussionist.

I worked and toured with them for seven years and this really developed my musical skills and performance experience, but I let my storytelling idle in that time as I tended to use the same few tales. I let my fire go out so to speak. The touring life was a wonderful job and a great way to see country Australia and different cities, but I could rarely make it to storytelling events. It’s very helpful to connect with and see other storytellers perform to keep growing as a teller and I missed that.

 

When I became a mother, I left the medieval band, settled in Northern NSW with my partner and concentrated on mothering and storytelling. I continued touring for another three years- mostly to Sydney, Western Australia and New Zealand, but by the time my second child came along I found touring a solo show and juggling childcare was too stressful. My partner had a job, so I couldn’t leave the kids with him and he had to stay behind mostly. So I gave up touring when my second child got to be four months old. Since then I have worked in ways that complement family life- which means more teaching and CD sales, some festival and local work, but not much touring.  I have had more time to read not only more stories and develop a wider repertoire or range of stories, but also I have read about storytelling which has been invaluable. I have also learned a great deal from teaching storytelling to adults.

 

Any obstacles?

My main obstacles have been isolation and my self critic. Now that I live in Northern NSW, a few hours from the nearest city, I don’t see many other storytellers unless I go to a Storytellers Conference, but in Australia they only happen once every two years. However, slowly by teaching and performing locally, I am building my own local storytelling community, so I’m not so isolated anymore.

With young children, I don’t want to travel overseas to attend festivals and workshops, but if Moses can’t go to the mountain then I plan to bring the mountain to Moses! Next year I will be starting up a storytelling school. That way, I can regularly bring great storytellers (I happen to have a great network) here to teach and perform. I live near Byron Bay which is one of Australia’s most popular holiday destinations, so it’s a great place for weekend retreats and Winter Schools. (It’s too hot in Summer here for a Summer School!)

Of course, the world wide web is also a fantastic way to connect with the international community of storytelling, and I love listening to stories on Storyteller Net. www.storyteller.net

 

 Another form of isolation that limited my repertoire previously was that most of my work was in schools. There are only certain kinds of story and storytelling and only certain sets of stories that hang together to keep 120- 250 students and teachers happy and thoroughly entertained for an hour. Since becoming a mother and telling to my children and smaller groups of children and adults as I work locally, I have connected with a broader community and so I have been able to explore a wider range of stories and styles.

I also now understand children a little better- in terms of what they can and can’t understand and what interests them at certain ages. I feel that has made me a much better teller. Also I can characterise mothers and children in the stories I tell in a richer way and with more conviction.

 

Problems with my self critic have lessened as I have gotten older and (hopefully) wiser. Having children has helped too, because mostly my kids never take anything too seriously and when they occasionally do, I can see how silly and unhelpful it can be!

 

 

What were some of your favorite stories growing up? What made those stories so special?

I especially loved the tales my mother told me of family life, both before and after I was born. Mum had such a cosy, warm voice and was very expressive. I loved the tale of how my brother and sister (who were much older and usually very well behaved) nearly burnt down the house when they were little by playing with birthday candles under Dad’s wing-backed chair. Mum also told a very simple made-up story about a little girl going to the market to buy an enormous cabbage that was so big she could hardly see around it and she got it safely home and every one was pleased. I didn’t even like or eat cabbage, but I LOVED that story and I would ask for it again and again! My mother was always surprised, “Not the cabbage one again?” she’d say.

I don’t especially remember adoring traditional stories then though I may have, but I certainly do now and so do my children!

 

Is there a difference between writing a story and telling a story?

ABSOLUTELY!!! Just try it! Sometimes, I have sat down at my computer to write out a version of a story that I have been telling for years and there is a temptation to start changing it. I have been doing a lot of this lately because I am recording two new CD’s: one for children called “The Mermaid’s Shoes” and one for adults called “Stories to Light the Dark”. Sometimes the story becomes more literary and when I go to retell it, it doesn’t flow.  

Told stories ‘cut to the chase’. They are mostly action and dialogue. You can have some short passages of description, but you can’t go on for too long with florid descriptions and you can’t explore too many tangents or your audience will get confused and/or bored. It is a very different thing to read a story as opposed to listening to a story. Different processes go on in your brain. For a start, one is received visually and one aurally, which involves different regions of the brain.

When you are listening, you can’t turn the page back to check which character did what. If you were in a small intimate group, you could possibly ask the teller to clarify a detail, but that would disrupt the flow of the story. So it’s better not to get too complicated.  You also need to be careful of painting a scene or character so fully that the listener has no room to imagine it their own way.

 

There is also a big difference between a story written to be read and a story written to be read aloud. Mem Fox- one of Australia’s most famous children’s writers, says that a good read-aloud story should be so well crafted, that it’s words flow like a Mercedes on a smooth road, instead of bumping along like an old truck on a road full of pot holes!

 

What is the difference between a fable, a parable, and a fairy tale?

Good question! Can you let me know? To tell the truth, I can’t abide many fables or parables, so I haven’t pondered this deeply. I suppose I think of fables as short stories with animals as main characters and an obvious moral.

A parable has the moral laid on even more thickly and perhaps a religious flavour. If the lesson in the story is laid on too thick, then frankly I lose interest. I am not opposed to morals in a story and in fact they are pretty much inevitable especially in folk tales or tales written in the style of a folktale, but I like the meaning to be subtle- something that seeps into you gently over time, rather than something that hits you over the head like a mallet!  Of all the teaching tales that I have read however, there is one series that I love and that is all the Turkish tales of Nasruddin Hoca or The Hodja. Although they always have a clear moral, it is served between thick layers of humour and irony, which for me, makes the lesson quite palatable and delightful.

A fairy tale is another name for a folk tale- a tale which has a certain predictable formulae in which good prevails over evil, a good protagonaist or main character has to overcome some kind of difficulty and because of their honesty and goodness or loving heart they receive divine or magical assistance. After facing several daunting challenges successfully, the hero or heroine succeeds in their quest and brings home a boon/ treasure/a magic skill, marries the prince/princess and lives happily ever after. The positive hopeful ending and the predictability of the basic plot is invaluable for the hearts and minds of the young, for whom as Bruno Bettleheim put it “all is becoming.”

 

Teenagers and adults can cope with tragedy and developmentally they need to be able to handle tragedy, but I don’t believe that this is what young children need to cope with. Even though young children may experience real tragedy in their lives, in the world of story, they should be able to find respite and a salve for their sore hearts. Though I am not a Waldorf Mum, I think Steiner had it right that children need different stories at different stages. They can be exposed to frightening stories with wicked and terrible villains (once they show the desire for such stories), as long as justice prevails and the evil are thoroughly defeated. Young children must be encouraged with stories of hope, hope and more hope! I very much dislike seeing books aimed at young children which paint a gloomy outlook on life. They are often very ‘clever’ and sophisticated, and are sometimes awarded prizes by adult panels, though they rarely get voted popularity awards.

I am predominantly a folktale and myth lover, plus I occasionally write the odd story, poem or song. My favourite tales are stories of adventure, trickster tales, funny tales, puzzle stories, stories with magical transformations and stories that make my heat sing!

 

If you could be one character in a story who would you be and why?

An all powerful Goddess. Perhaps the Goddess of Love. I would make my world and the world at large into a happy, love-filled Garden of Eden! However perhaps that would be dull! No interesting stories can come of everyone living happily ever after at the beginning- unless there is a fall from grace- or can they???!!!

 

If you could have coffee with one famous storyteller who would it be and why?

Joseph Campbell. He had such a profound, deep and broad understanding of the layers of meaning and metaphor embedded in myth and folklore. He had a superb knowledge of the mythology of almost very culture in the world! I have read several of his books and listened to some of his conversations with Bill Moyers. His way of talking about myth, though sometimes filled with rather loooong words, I find completely inspiring!

I’m sure he would be fascinating and he also seemed like a lovely person. I would spend ages framing my questions before meeting him to make the most of the time. (I recently ordered the CD set of his conversations with Bill Moyers from the US and expect them to arrive next week, which I will listen to with great pleasure, even though I have read the book of those interveiws!)

My next choice would be Starhawk.

 

What inspires you as a storyteller?

When I see how much storytelling can make people’s faces shine! When I hear adults say how surprised they were at how much they enjoy listening to stories. When I feel an audience is with me in that magic imaginal landscape of story- we are all crossing the river, facing the giant, finding the treasure… together! It is a great sense of communion (though I am spiritual rather than religious)! When I see the great healing power storytelling can have on people- it can soothe, empower, evoke memories, teach, excite, inspire, energise. Great theatre and literature can do this, but storytelling does it in it’s own unique way and this has to be experienced to be fully understood.

I feel that in this fast-paced technological age, we are in desperate need of slowing down. To sit still and listen to a story requires a certain entrainment of concentration- or a one-pointedness that is like the stillness one can get in meditation. Your mind is completely engaged in the inner realm of imagination. This in itself is soothing and healing.

I recently did some training with Nancy Mellon who visited us from the US. She  spoke of the way different rythms and different tones of voice will physically affect the listener. She describes in her book, Storytelling and the Art of Imagination: “The basic story rythm has a deep connection to our human heartbeat …the tempo of a tale may be discovered and controlled by the teller as a piece of music is discovered and interpreted by a musician.”

Storytelling has such limitless applications and we are still discovering them all!!!

 

What advice would you give a storyteller faced with writer’s block?

I rarely write original tales so I find it hard to give much advice on this. If you want to write in the genre or style of folktale, read a lot of folktales. Nancy Mellon’s book Storytelling and the Art of Imagination has some really wonderful ways in to writing a folktale of your own. My partner has an incredible genius for making up pirate stories- it seems effortless to him. He just makes them up off the top of his head and they are brilliant first go! He seems to tap into something deep inside himself and as an English teacher he has a strong understanding of plot. Joseph Campbell said “Writers block results from too much head. Pegasus, poetry was born of Medusa when her head was cut off. You have to be reckless when writing. Be as crazy as your conscience allows.”

In other words give yourself permission to write very badly for a long time before the gems emerge.

However, not all storytellers write their own stories. Most of the tales in my repertoire are traditional stories and only a few are original. An experienced storyteller can interpret or re-interpret a traditional story skilfully- that is they will put it into their own words and update it slightly. Writing and interpreting tales are distinct skills. We live in a culture that tends to worship individuality and original creativity. However folklore and folktales are collectively created, then improved and worked on as they are passed down from person to person through the generations.

Good interpretation means being able to dust off ancient tales, cut out some of the bits modern listeners don’t relate to and reweave them so that modern listeners can make sense of them. To do this without losing the original magic of the tales, you really have to understand what you are working with or you can easily make them dry and dull.

For a storyteller wanting to interpret a tale who is feeling ‘writers block’ or ‘tellers block’, I would recommend going to listen to other storytellers, or listening to recordings of storytellers telling stories or reading tales written or interpreted by storytellers. Sites like Storyteller Net are excellent for this.

For adults read about the meanings of tales also so you know what you are doing. Bruno Bettleheim’s The Uses of Enchantment is fantastic and Jack Zipes poses some alternate views.

 

What stories are you working on presently?

I am working on the story of The Weaving Maiden from the Star Festival of Japan and the Chinese tale of the Magic Fish. After that I am interested in working on my version of the myth of the Celtic Goddess Brigit, who was the Goddess of Spring. I will draw on the beautiful version  by Adrian Beckingham in Stories that Crafted the Earth.

 

Finally, what advice would you give kids who wish to pursue a career in storytelling?

Go to storytelling concerts, festivals and workshops, check out storytelling websites, listen to storytelling CD’s and read books written by storytellers. Find yourself a mentor, preferably one who lives nearby. Wishing or asking for divine assistance can be helpful when it comes to manifesting a mentor. Or finding a carpark! Whenever I remember to ask the parking fairy for a good park, I get one!

Give yourself the chance to make baby steps and remember, “Rome wasn’t built in day”!

I have a links page on my website which may also be helpful.

 

 

Where can kids and parents find out more about your work?

At my website: www.jennicargill.com.au There you can hear sound bytes from my CD “Wonder Tales of Earth and Sea” or at Storyteller Net you can hear all of my original story Goldenheart, which I tell in verse accompanied by a lyre.

 

 

Copyright 2005-2011, Jolene Owen. All rights reserved. This interview is free to copy, publish and circulate. You may reprint or publish it without permission in any format. Please credit: Jolene Owen as interviewer. The views expressed herein are those of the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the interviewer or the official position of the publishing company, its various departments and/or the Institute of Interactive Journalism. If you’d like to be interviewed, or would like to send our team an interview, or just send us lots of gifts and candy, contact us at: inspiring.interviews@gmail.com.  Please do not try to contact interviewees through the institute. We never release confidential information or fwd messages. No exceptions.

 


Henry Chang– Writer

Henry Chang is a native New Yorker who grew up on the mean streets of Chinatown. He is a graduate of the City College of New York, and has been previously been published in Bridge Magazine, Yellow Pearl,  On A Bed of Rice, and The NuyorAsian Anthology. He resides in New York City. Chinatown Beat is his first novel.

What made you want to become a writer?

I became an avid reader during my high school and college years. The voices I heard in the books and magazines inspired me to tell my own stories through writing. Growing up in Chinatown I experienced many things and I felt I had a lot of stories to tell.

 

Was the journey difficult?

It was a difficult journey because you have to deal with the everyday stuff of life, like your job, and family, and then still find the time, place, and energy to try to be creative. For me, writing the stories was a labor of love.  After I’d found a voice to write from, I wrote every chance I could; in restaurants, on paper napkins, and in coffee shops, libraries, anywhere I had a thought, or a scene in my head. I tried to keep a pen and pocket pad handy, jotting down observations while in the subway, in the park, even on the beach. You have to love what you’re doing creatively, whether it’s writing, painting, photography, or anything else you do to express yourself. You shouldn’t follow your ideas and goals only because you see money or fame as the prize, but because you love what you’re doing and you’re happy expressing yourself.

 

Any lessons learned on your writer’s journey?

On my journey, I learned to never give up, and to move on to the next project instead of getting stuck, If one thing doesn’t succeed, try something else. Keep all your work together, in case you want to go back to it one day. Like myself, you may be discovered years later.

 

Where does that inner drive to write come from?

The inner drive to write comes from your desire to express an idea, or story, something you feel is worthwhile and needs to be shown.

 

How do you keep readers turning pages?

You have to reveal parts of your story at the proper time, when the characters are ready, not before, in order to build suspense or intrigue. You have to plot and pace the events in your story.

 

How often will you revise and re-write your work?

There are more than a few re-writes already as I go from longhand writing, then typing into the computer to Word editing. Then more revising with an editor from the company that’s publishing my work. I wind up revising and re-writng a lot. That’s okay, as long as you are true to your story and you’re happy with it.

 

What are some creative ways you’ve learned to generate ideas?

Reading books, magazines, and newspapers certainly is a good idea. The internet is also a good resource for research and ideas. Whenever I’m traveling, I tend to jot down images I’ve observed,  using quick notes about things. If I have a camera handy, I’ll take some snapshots to remind me later of the people, the places, or even the colors of the setting. Writing is an organic process for me; this means I like to feel and use my senses to experience whatever I’m writing about. This method may not be for everyone, but I put myself out in the freezing cold, under the burning sun, or pouring rain, so I feel and describe what my characters in the story are feeling or seeing. I never put myself in danger, but I allow myself to make unusual observations, to see the world differently, to see how people react in different environments.

 

Another way to generate ideas might be to take what you intend to write about, meditate or think about it in a completely silent, isolated setting, for an hour or so, and be ready to write down what ideas come to mind.Don’t just sit there staring at a blank page and expect something to happen.

 

What are some practical solutions for writer’s block?

Go out into the environments of your characters, and see, hear, smell, taste what your characters are experiencing.

 

Do you have a favorite book?

Offhand, I liked Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe because it’s such a great New York City story, and NYC is where I live.

 

Do you have a favorite time of day when you like to write?

I like to write soon after I get up in the morning, when my mind is fresh, focused, and open to new ideas. I also like to write later in the evening, because things happen in nightlife that don’t occur in the daytime.

 

What is one saying or proverb you live by?

I’ve always believed in the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared”.  Be pro-active, have your plan ready before you take action.

 

What advice would you give kids who wish to pursue a career in writing?

Get the proper guidance counseling and direction at school, look for internships in the writing industry, do a lot of reading to find out how you want to write and what you want to write. There’s usually not a lot of money in writing, so also consider teaching or journalism while you’re crafting your writing.

 

Where can parents and kids find out more about your work?

Go to my website  Chinatownbeat.com  for more information about the book and related .links.

 

Copyright 2005-2011, Jolene Owen. All rights reserved. This interview is free to copy, publish and circulate. You may reprint or publish it without permission in any format. Please credit: Jolene Owen as interviewer. The views expressed herein are those of the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the interviewer or the official position of the publishing company, its various departments and/or the Institute of Interactive Journalism. If you’d like to be interviewed, or would like to send our team an interview, or just send us lots of gifts and candy, contact us at: inspiring.interviews@gmail.com.  Please do not try to contact interviewees through the institute. We never release confidential information or fwd messages. No exceptions


T. Gregory Argall– Writer

T. Gregory Argall is the author of more than 20 plays, a collection of short stories and a book for children. He is currently working on a musical (co-written with Todd McGinnis), a sketch comedy television proposal, two novels, a screenplay, a non-fiction study of language development, a board game and, possibly, a nap. He lives in Brampton, Ontario with his wife, Margaret, his son, Robert, and Lefty Stitchnibbler the Wondercat.

What made you want to become a writer?

I always enjoyed telling stories and putting those stories on paper just seemed like a natural outlet. I never had any aspirations of being published, but friends kept urging me to submit to editors and enter writing contests. Then one friend in particular got me involved in theatre and writing plays. So essentially, while the basis of “a writer” was always there, I guess an honest answer to this question would be, “My friends told me to.”
Was the journey difficult?

Yes, to all three, but well worth the effort. I have a wonderful collection of very encouraging rejection letters to go with many of my earlier short stories. Then William Poulin (a brilliant actor – you should interview him) asked me to write a play for him to direct in a one-act play festival. With some trepidation I agreed, worked out an idea and wrote my first script for the stage. Bill had ten years stage experience at that point and I was completely new to the whole process of how a play works. I gave Bill the first draft, expecting to receive a long list of required changes in return. Bill said, “Don’t change a thing,” and that first draft became the final draft. That play was “A Year in the Death of Eddie Jester” and when I saw it performed for the first time, I was amazed. I was torn between watching the stage and watching the audience. People were laughing at all the right things and the admitedly sad ending actually had some some audience members crying. With a thirty minute play I had moved people between two extremes of emotion, simply with words. I was hooked. I had to do it again.
The thing is, beyond my immediate (yet ever-growing) circle of theatre-related friends, no one knew about my plays. That’s where the internet comes into play. The web, if used properly, has so many opportunities for shameless self-promotion. As a result, I’ve had plays performed on six continents. (I’m still waiting for a call from the Antarctica Theatre Guild.)
In 2002 I expanded “A Year in the Death of Eddies Jester” into a full length two act play, running about an hour and forty-five minutes. With that play I won the Samuel French Inc. Canadian Playwrights Competition and became an actual published playwright. Subsequently, I self-published many of my plays on Lulu.com. When I was asked to read to a group of elementary school students during Literacy Week, I decided to go all out and wrote a book encouraging literacy among children. Also published on Lulu, that book was very well received when I read it at the school.
Looking back over the last few paragraphs, it actually looks easy, doesn’t it? It wasn’t and it wouldn’t have happened without friends. Writing the stories is the relatively easy part. Getting people to want to read (or perform or watch) the stories is the real challenge. My circle of friends are a wonderful PR machine, full of ideas and encouragement.
What were some of your favorite stories growing up?

I remember reading a lot of Hardy Boys books and Tom Swift books. Danny Dunn. Encyclopeadia Brown. Books that made me think and ask questions. They showed all sorts of possibilities. In my early teens, a librarian introduced me to the books of Donald E.Westlake and I learned that very serious situations and activities have an enormous potential for laughter and comedy. Then I discovered Science Fiction, followed shortly by the discovery of Douglas Adams. Through it all, from childhood to adulthood, I have been a reader of comic books. All of the elements of great storytelling can be learned from reading comics.
What inspires you as a writer?

Laughter. I love to laugh. I love to hear other people laugh. I love to make other people laugh. I want to show people that it is OK to laugh. Life is so full of potential comedy just waiting to be recognised.
I’ve also found that there is a certain point in whatever story I’m writing, when the characters themselves become my inspiration. I have a play called “South of Hope,” involving a wheelchair-bound former hockey player, a blind photographer and a factory worker who had lost an arm. It was originally intended as a short exercise for actors; can you maintain the physical restrictions of the character? I had planned on it running about twenty minutes, but once I got started, these characters just had so much to say that I ended up with a two hour play.
What advice would you give a writer with writer’s block?

Put it on a shelf and work on the next project. When you can’t find your keys or a book you were reading or the TV remote, or whatever and you finally give up searching after tearing the house apart, suddenly there it is in front of you. It’s the same with plot elements. If you try to force your way through a writer’s block, something will get broken. Put your focus on something else and at the back of your mind the tangled storyline will sort itself out and just present the solution to you. Keep a notepad on the bedside table, because this couild happen at three in the morning.

What stories are you working on presently?
I am co-writing a musical about Norton the First, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico. He was an actual person in San Francisco in the mid-to-late-19th Century.One day in 1859 he decided to declare himself Emperor and he maintained that post for more than twenty years. 300,000 people attended his funeral in 1880. He is a very very fascinating character.
I’m working on a novel about the next stage in evolution, where the collective gene pool of the human race must find alternate means of breating, because the air is so polluted. That sounds very sci-fi snooty, but it’s actually more of a character-driven story.
I’m writing a screenplay that would give the wrong impression to your young readers, so we probably won’t talk about that.
With my occasional writing partner, I’m developing a sketch comedy televion show.I will soon begin working on a sit-com idea developed by a filmmaker friend of mine.I am toying with ideas for a second children’s book, but nothing is quite clear yet.
Finally, what advice would you give kids who wish to pursue a career in writing?

Read a lot. Learn different storytelling techniques.
Learn to spell and keep a dictionary handy. Don’t trust the spellcheck on your computer. It doesn’t know what you’re trying to say.
Pay attention to everything. Watch the world around you. The stories are there waiting for you to tell them.
Where can kids and parents find out more about your work?

Here are some links to more about me and/or my work…
http://www.lulu.com/tgargall
http://www.myspace.com/parallaxtheatre
http://www.thebramptonnews.com/authors/47/T.-Gregory-Argall
I can be contacted via any of these sites and I’ll gladly talk about myself ad nauseum.

Copyright 2005-2011, Jolene Owen. All rights reserved. This interview is free to copy, publish and circulate. You may reprint or publish it without permission in any format. Please credit: Jolene Owen as interviewer. The views expressed herein are those of the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the interviewer or the official position of the publishing company, its various departments and/or the Institute of Interactive Journalism. If you’d like to be interviewed, or would like to send our team an interview, or just send us lots of gifts and candy, contact us at: inspiring.interviews@gmail.com.  Please do not try to contact interviewees through the institute. We never release confidential information or fwd messages. No exceptions.

 


Gayle Martin– Storyteller

When Gayle Martin returned to Phoenix, Arizona, in 1997 to further her career in art, her plans quickly got sidetracked when she learned of the plans to demolish the Ciné Capri, an old and revered movie theatre in town.  Her father, W. E. “Bill” Homes, Jr., was the contractor who had built the landmark structure in 1966.  A campaign was begun to save the theatre, but it was not to be.

The theatre was razed in 1998, just weeks after her father passed away.  The whole experience, however, ignited within Gayle a passion for history and more importantly, for keeping history alive.  She commissioned an architectural model of the Ciné Capri in her father’s memory and gifted it to the Arizona Historical Society.

A second-generation Phoenix native, Gayle graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in art and then pursued postgraduate studies at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco.  Following the devastating earthquake in 1989, she moved to Colorado where she worked for several years as a graphic designer and illustrator, winning numerous prestigious awards.

After she made the move to Phoenix and was inspired by the efforts to preserve her father’s theatre, she discovered a new outlet for her talents.

Since 2002, Gayle has been a featured performer with the Arizona Living History Programs, an organization of her own creation.  She has taken audiences on “time travel trips” by performing as historic characters, dressed in period costumes.  She has helped entertain and educate schools, universities, associations, convention groups, and corporations.  One of her characters is a woman by the name of Elizabeth St. Claire.  Through this persona, Gayle becomes “The Old West Storyteller” and shares tales of what is was like in the Arizona Territory, placing a special emphasis on Tombstone and the events surrounding the famous gunfight that occurred near the O.K. Corral.

Gayle is a member of the “Amazing Arizonans” program with the Arizona Historical Society Museum in Tempe, Arizona, and is also a Candidate Member of the Arizona Chapter of the National Speaker’s Association.

What made you want to become a storyteller?

I was going through a series of life changes a number of years ago, and, during that time, began volunteering at a local historical museum.  I was leading tours for students, typically fourth and fifth graders, and discovered I really enjoyed it.  Young people that age are really excited to learn about people from the past. I observed some of the museum staff using storytelling as a means to explain some of the exhibits as they led their tours.  It was a very effective teaching tool.

 

Was the journey difficult?

Actually, for me, the journey was a lot of fun.  The museum offered storytelling workshops, and I took as many as I could.  They were a lot of fun too.  I discovered I had a natural talent for both storytelling and public speaking that I was not aware of.  Also, when I was growing up, I had wanted to be an actress.  Now, as a speaker and storyteller, I am, in a sense, living out my dream.

 

 

What were some of your favorite stories growing up?

I was a real horse lover when I was growing up, and my favorite stories were classic horse stories like “Black Beauty,” “My Friend Flicka,” and “Misty of Chincoteague.”   My family and I also watched a lot of westerns on television, which I enjoyed too.  Most TV westerns, like “Bonanza” and “The High Chaparral” were romantic adventure stories; the good guys would always defeat the bad guys, and oftentimes the good guy would get the girl too.  The real old west, however, was actually quite different.

 

Is there a difference between writing a story and telling a story?

Yes.  When I am writing a story I can go into more depth, more detail, and more character development.  I can say a lot more about who my characters are and what makes them tick.  My storytelling programs are historical programs, and they were developed as a means of teaching history, but in a way that is much more interesting and entertaining than reading something out of a textbook.

 

 

What is the difference between a fable, a parable, and a fairy tale?

As I recall, a fable is a story written to teach a lesson and there is always a moral at the end of the story.  A parable is a story with symbolic meaning, much like a fable, and a fairy tale is pure fantasy.

 

The ‘Luke and Jenny’ stories include elements of both fables and fairy tales, with some real life history blended in.  Luke and Jenny are two fictitious characters who take a magical journey back in time.  That is the fairy tale part of my story. The historical events they witness are all actual events, but they also learn some valuable life lessons along the way too.  For instance, early in the Tombstone story, they see the accidental shooting of Fred White, the town marshal.  This tragic event actually occurred in 1880’s Tombstone.  However, there is a discussion afterwards amongst the characters about gun safety, forgiveness, and redemption.  This would be the fable part of the story.

 

 

If you could be one character in a story who would you be and why?

I would probably want to be the young girl who ends up with the handsome prince and lives happily ever after.  That way I’d never have to worry about a mortgage or how I was going to pay the bills.   Of course, that’s not reality, and without obstacles in life we wouldn’t grow,

 

If you could have coffee with one famous storyteller who would it be and why?

George Lucas.  He is undoubtedly the best storyteller of modern times.  He created an entire fantasy universe in his “Star Wars” series, and we, the public, embraced it fully.   He really has a way pulling us into his stories, and while we’re there we get to have an exciting adventure in a totally different time and place.  That would make his stories modern day fairy tales.

 

What inspires you as a storyteller?

In the case of my ‘Luke and Jenny’ books, it’s the history.  Real life often is stranger than fiction.  It’s such good material to work with.

 

 

What advice would you give a storyteller faced with writer’s block?

The first thing I would tell him or her is to relax!  The more you get stressed out over it the worse it will get.  Take some time off, go do something that you really enjoy doing, and don’t think about it for a little while.  Oftentimes the best ideas will pop into your head when you least expect it.  I’ve had some really good ideas come to me while I was doing something trivial, like housecleaning.

 

 

What stories are you working on presently?

I am currently working on the next installment of my Luke and Jenny series of historical novels for young readers.  This one is about Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War.  It is a more complex story than the Tombstone book, and I’m learning a lot about Billy the Kid as I’m working on it.  I hope to have it finished by the end of the year.  With any luck it will be out sometime in 2007.

 

 

Finally, what advice would you give kids who wish to pursue a career in storytelling?

First you need to find out what it is that you are passionate about, and then you need to learn as much as you can about it.  If you are interested in writing stories you will also need to pay attention in your English class.  I know all those grammar and punctuation lessons may seem pretty boring, but you will have to learn it if you ever want to become a writer.

 

If you are interested in storytelling you will need to take some speech and drama classes too.  You need to learn how to get up in front of an audience and be comfortable while you’re there.

 

Being an author, and a public speaker, or storyteller, can be a fun and exciting career, but it takes a lot of hard work and dedication.

 

 

Where can kids and parents find out more about your work?

My book has it’s own website.   It’s http://www.tombstonebook.com.

 

Copyright 2005-2011, Jolene Owen. All rights reserved. This interview is free to copy, publish and circulate. You may reprint or publish it without permission in any format. Please credit: Jolene Owen as interviewer. The views expressed herein are those of the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the interviewer or the official position of the publishing company, its various departments and/or the Institute of Interactive Journalism. If you’d like to be interviewed, or would like to send our team an interview, or just send us lots of gifts and candy, contact us at: inspiring.interviews@gmail.com.  Please do not try to contact interviewees through the institute. We never release confidential information or fwd messages. No exceptions.

 


Gabriel Frizzera– Graphic Novelist

Gabriel Frizzera was born in Brazil in 1975. Son of an architect with artistic inclinations and a politician with writer’s soul, he soon developed the taste for art and storytelling. Soon he was writing and drawing his own stories, and started distributing them where he could, from the university to alternative rock concerts. After working briefly in the advertising world, Gabriel decided to fulfill his dream to live off his art. He moved to Canada with his son-to-be wife Claudia in hopes of finding a place where he could meet talented people from other places and learn with the experience. Today he works as a concept artist at Electronic Arts Canada, and creates his own graphic novels. In the last two years he published two books, Isthmus and Heavy Metal Heart, and it’s working on a couple of more projects for 2007.

 

What made you want to become a writer?

Like many kids, I always felt the urge to give voice to my imagination and tell stories. The first way I found to do that was by drawing. But while most children abandon drawing as expression when they grow up in favour of writing (a far easier “code” to master if you want to be understood in a simple level), I followed another path and kept drawing every day. I wanted to be an artist.

It was much later in life that I understood something about my own desire to create: I loved drawing so much not because I loved images, but because I loved creating. While some ideas are better expressed by images, only writing has this mysterious quality of stimulating the imagination of the readers, who can complement the text with their own experience. I started then to write my own stories and also draw them, combining image and text in my own graphic novels.

 

Was the journey difficult?

I always had the full support of my parents to follow my creative dreams. I come from a family that always loved to read and discuss ideas, and this environment was very fertile for me to find my own voice. Unfortunately, the world outside is not as forgiving. Sometimes harsh critics and closed doors can take away your enthusiasm while you’re still developing your style. I hit a lot of walls, but my love for storytelling was always stronger. Even when I could not find an audience, I wrote for myself, always trying to improve my technique. Eventually, I found and audience for my writing, or they found me.

 

Any lessons learned on your writer’s journey?

First, everything people say about your work is just opinions, not necessarily the truth. Sometimes people’s opinions motivate you, sometimes they discourage you; but either way you have to take all of them with a grain of salt, learn what you can and move forward. Many people create beautiful stories and never let anyone see them, for fear of being criticized. It’s absolutely crucial to put your work out there, and grow from people’s reactions.

Second, don’t get attached to your ideas like they’re the only ones you could ever have. It’s a beautiful thing to have creative ideas, but if you are hanging to the same idea forever and never goes anywhere, just put it in a drawer and start something new. Give the ideas and stories the sweat they deserve, push them as much as you can, but don’t be afraid to throw it away, or completely change it. If you are a real writer (or any kind of artist for that matter) you’ll always be able to come up with more ideas, even better ones, if you keep your mind open and don’t get attached to just one “baby”.

 

Where does that inner drive to write come from?

Good question. I though a lot about it, and as I get older my own theories about it keep changing. But even without fully knowing the answer, one thing I know since I wrote my first story: it’s the greatest feeling in the world to connect to someone through your work. Of any the differences you the writer and the reader might have, for that moment reality is suspended; the person enters your world, and you communicate in a very deep way. That’s why I do it.

 

How do you keep readers turning pages?

I think that in all interesting stories information is always revealed in small doses, just enough to entice the reader to turn the page and know more. I take that to heart, and try to keep the pace gradual enough to maintain the interest. I usually take that to extremes, and characters often have a complex back story that is never fully revealed, just suggested (like the story is just a snapshot of a larger picture). I even put a lot of secret messages in the way people talk and act in the book, so if readers are really attentive, they can see foreshadows of what’s going to happen. That’s part of my fun when I write.

 

How often will you revise and re-write your work?

I often rewrite until the very last minute. Somebody once said that creative projects are never truly finished, only abandoned. I think that’s true. In all my stories there’s always something I want to improve, and there always will be. But now I know that most of the things I change by the end of the project nobody will ever notice, so I try not to be too nitpicking and just let go.

 

What are some creative ways you’ve learned to generate ideas?

Experience is everything for a writer, both good and bad moments. Talk to people, watch movies, internet, travel… you never know where the ideas will come from, and they usually arise from unusual places, so I like to be open. But it’s also important to know when to close the gates. I usually alternate the search for inspiration and the time to digest that inspiration and create. First I try to absorb everything and keep my mind open to the world outside; and then, when I’m ready to write, I isolate myself from strong influences that could dilute my creativity and style. That seems to work best for me.

 

What are some practical solutions for writer’s block?

Basically, time. Leave the work alone for awhile, and come back with fresh eyes. Go have a walk, try to think about something else. It’s a very efficient method, because sometimes you become too close to your own work, and you get stuck. Sometimes I need more time than others, but it always works for me.

 

Do you have a favorite book?

It’s hard to point just one, but there are some books that change my way of seeing life. One was Don Quixote. I was taken by the richness of the characters and the text. It was probably the first “grown up” book I read. Then there’s Moby Dick, which even to this day is very entertaining and alive to me, a breath of fresh air. I love everything by Jose Saramago and Umberto Eco. In the graphic novel world, I guess V for Vendetta was the one that really opened my eyes about the possibility of the medium in literary terms. Alan Moore is probably the writer who influenced me the most, and he keeps getting better.

 

Do you have a favorite time of day when you like to write?

I’m usually more prolific in the morning. I think because my mind is cleaner, and the logical part of my brain is not overanalyzing what the creative side does.

 

What is one saying or proverb you live by?

“We are what we think. With our thoughts we make the world.”

 

What advice would you give kids who wish to pursue a career in writing?

First, Read a lot. No way to become a good writer without it. Read everything, from the classics of literature to daily comic strips, and everything in between. All the things you read will mix in your head and combine with your own experience, creating your unique style.

Second, be true to your own experience. Even if you’re writing about some faraway planet or distant past, you have to bring something from yourself, or it will sound false to the reader. Try to learn with everything you experience, because eventually those things will find their way into you work, and they will resonate with people.

Third, write a lot. There’s no substitute for practice. If you write something great today, don’t waste too much time patting yourself in the back, go ahead and write more while you have the momentum. Just imagine how great your next work will be. You can only improve, while you get more experienced and learn new tricks.

Fourth, put it out there! If your work is in a drawer and nobody reads it, it doesn’t exist. Writing is communication, and you will see that this dialogue with readers makes you stronger as a writer. There’s no perfect book and it’s guaranteed that less than 100% of the readers will like your work. So make sure you do your best, and show it to everyone you think it’s going to help you improve. You can only gain from the exchange of ideas.

 

Where can parents and kids find out more about your work?

My two latest graphic novels, Isthmus and Heavy Metal Heart, published by Lulu, are on sale online at www.lulu.com/xgabo both in print and download formats. I am currently writing a new book tentatively called At First There Was the End, due sometime next year, which will be available online too.

Copyright 2005-2011, Jolene Owen. All rights reserved. This interview is free to copy, publish and circulate. You may reprint or publish it without permission in any format. Please credit: Jolene Owen as interviewer. The views expressed herein are those of the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the interviewer or the official position of the publishing company, its various departments and/or the Institute of Interactive Journalism. If you’d like to be interviewed, or would like to send our team an interview, or just send us lots of gifts and candy, contact us at: inspiring.interviews@gmail.com.  Please do not try to contact interviewees through the institute. We never release confidential information or fwd messages. No exceptions.