I don’t know how many of you saw A Dolphin Tale, a movie based on a true story about Winter, a young dolphin who lost her tail in an accident. Winter not only inspired a movie. She’s inspired people around the world to reach for new horizons. http://seewinter.com/winter/winters-friends
It came about in a circuitous way. My husband and I bought a condo on Clearwater Beach, Florida, four years ago. One day I happened to drive by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of Winter, the dolphin. I’d never heard of her so decided to have a look. I visited Winter and went in to see the video they were offering about her. Featured in the video was an eight year old girl, Katrina Simpkins, who had to wear a prosthetic leg. It told the story of her journey from being a shy, withdrawn and bullied child to one with more self-assurance and determination. About a year later, I received a phone call from a woman called Maria Simpkins. I knew I’d heard the name but couldn’t place it. Martie is Katrina’s mom, and she called to see if I’d be interested in writing a book about Katrina.
Narrative non-fiction offers up a true story written in a style much like fiction. This genre in some forms has been around awhile. People have written memoirs and autobiographies for many years, but the emphasis has not been in a narrative style. The person credited for bringing narrative non-fiction onto the mainstream is, of course, Truman Capote and his journalistic book In Cold Blood. The book describes the murder of the Cluter family, subsequent trial and hangings of the two accused men. Capote wrote the book in the style of a journalist, researching and interviewing countless people. Added to this, he is the narrator of the story and allows his bias to show through.
Indeed. The problem often sited is no stringent standards or guidelines. The reader wants to know what is fiction and what is not. Sometimes the lines are blurred, leading to confusion and even rejection of the work.
This genre has become a powerhouse in the book market. If it is done well, accurately and is interesting to kids, it has real merit. Narrative non-fiction is full of teachable moments and can make such an impact on a child's life.
Yes, actually I am in two critique groups, one in St. Louis and the other in Tampa. I am maniacal about them both and only miss if I really must, depending upon which place I am, of course. Writing in a vacuum is not a good idea, and I would urge every writer, seasoned or novice, to join a group. To me it is pivotal!
Children’s books were always what I wanted to write.
There's a story behind Pelican. The first story I sold in the Bella and Britt Series was Bella Saves the Beach. It was almost out when the Gulf Oil Spill happened. My publisher, Lynda Burch of Guardian Angel Publishing, thought a book had to be written about the disaster and wanted the Bella and Britt Series to do this. As you know, it takes months to write a book and up to two years to get it into print. I wrote Pelican in six weeks (not sure if I should be proud or embarrassed by this admission ), and it was the first children's book on the spill published in the US. I'm also happy to mention that Pelican was on Amazon's Bestseller List for Children for 18 weeks, won a Literary Classics Seal of Approval, a Readers Favorite 5 Star Award and was nominated for a Global eBook Award. And as for Beach Bella? Next one out the gate!
This is an interesting question. I know the social media has helped get the word out about my books. No question of it. Whether it, and I use them all, helps actually sell books is another matter. I am finding more and more that it is rather a combination of ingredients, such as virtual tours, blogging, facebook, getting on lists such as Amazon, all in concert with each other. The first ingredient, though, is still writing a great book that has appeal to the trade audience. There is nothing more important than that.
I do school visits and attend and speak at national and regional conferences. I never refuse speaking at events within the community. I blog at least three times a week and work at getting new followers of my blogging community. I carry business cards at all times and give them out whenever and wherever I can. It becomes a way of life, really, where marketing is a constant for you.
I am just finishing a middle grade novel called “Lost on the Skeleton Coast.” It is an adventure set in the African country of Namibia in the Namib Desert where a brother and sister, Olivia and Andy, are on an archaeological dig with their Uncle Blake. The kids get swept up in a kidnapping and getting lost in the desert where they contend with diamond smugglers and lions who may be ready to attack. It was fun to write, and I hope it’ll be as much fun to read!