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Meet Kimberly Dana Author of Cheerage Fearage, Pretty Dolls,Bungalow 52 and Jonas and The Blue Lady.
http://www.bookpleasures.com/websitepublisher/articles/4494/1/Meet-Kimberly-Dana-Author-of-Cheerage-Fearage-Pretty-DollsBungalow-52--and-Jonas-and-The-Blue-Lady/Page1.html
Norm Goldman


Reviewer & Author Interviewer, Norm Goldman. Norm is the Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com.

He has been reviewing books for the past fifteen years when he retired from the legal profession.

To read more about Norm Follow Here






 
By Norm Goldman
Published on January 5, 2012
 


Norm Goldman, Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com interviews Kimberly Dana author of YA thriller, Cheerage Fearage and the delightful picture book,  Pretty Dolls.  She has also authored Bungalow 52  and Jonas and The Blue Lady.








                                                                                                          


                                           

Today, Norm Goldman Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest award-winning author and teacher Kimberly Dana.

Kimberly enjoys teaching writing to middle school students who give her much inspiration and insight into the world of tweendom.  The National Council of Teachers of English and the recipient of several writing honors from Writers Digest and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association publish her. 

Other affiliations include the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and EPIC, the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition, where she serves as a judge for the annual eBook competition.  

Kimberly's most recent publications include her YA thriller, Cheerage Fearage and the delightful picture book,  Pretty Dolls.  She has also authored Bungalow 52  and Jonas and The Blue Lady.

A lover of photography and experimental cooking, Kimberly lives in Los Angeles and Nashville with her husband and spoiled shih tzu, Gizzy.

Good day Kimberly and thanks for participating in our interview

Thank you, Norm. It’s great to be here.

Norm:

How did you get started in writing? What keeps you going?

Kimberly:

I loved to write from a very young age. Around eight or nine, I would write plays to entertain relatives at family reunions. I would type out the script a week before on my parents’ old Smith Corona and then cast my brother and younger cousins in their respective roles. We’d practice and on opening night pass around a canning jar for admission. So that was technically my first writing gig.

English was always my favorite subject in school so it’s no surprise that it was also my major in college. But it wasn’t until I started teaching that I thought, I want to write books for my most reluctant readers. So one year over vacation, I wrote a short book of funny poems and brought it into class. I read a few and the kids who disliked reading the most were in stiches, shrieking and applauding. This is probably what inspired my writing bug. As far as what keeps me going, it’s my audience. I absolutely love writing for children, tweens, and teens.

Norm:

What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write your books?

Kimberly:

Well, first things first: a cup of hot, strong coffee! After I fuel up, I try to write for at least two hours in the morning. Although there are certain scenes I prefer to write at night, especially if it’s a dark, edgy scene and I’m seeking a certain tenor.

As far as the creative process, I always carry a notebook because you never know when an idea might spark. When I write I try to follow a general outline but I must admit, it seldom resembles the final product. I think an author has to let the characters live and breathe and make their own good or bad decisions. We may think we know what’s going to happen but more often than not, it’s a surprise.

Norm:

What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc?

Kimberly:

I write a solid two hours a day on my current project – even if it winds up in the trash, which I must admit, sometimes it does. But I think it’s important to have that daily discipline. I spend at least another two hours a day promoting, blogging, answering reader emails, etc. It’s a myth to think once you’re published, the work is done. You can be a published author, but promotion is a team process and it takes just as much time as writing. I think an online presence is essential, especially considering my audience.

Norm:

Does reader feedback help you?

Kimberly

Absolutely. Reader feedback is paramount to the writing process whether it be an agent, editor, publisher, spouse, friend, etc. I must confess that some of my best comments have been from my students. They are brutally honest and will tell me if something works without any frills or fluff. I appreciate their candor. As a writer you’re so emotionally entrenched in the book, it’s hard to see things with fresh eyes; reader feedback pulls you back into that reality.

Norm:

Why have you been drawn to young adult(YA) books and picture books? As a follow up, are there aesthetic advantages and disadvantages peculiar to the two genres? Do they have a particular form?

Kimberly:

I am drawn to YA and picture books because of my audience. Kids are the emotional truth-tellers of the world and very in tune with their authentic selves. They are so smart and astute.

Both YA and picture books adhere to the algebra of story: a + b + c = x. Story is the language of the heart. It has a beginning, middle, and end. The protagonist goes through a journey and hopefully changes for the better. Regarding their aesthetic differences, a picture book must have humor and unpredictability. Writing a picture book may seem like an easy feat because of its brevity, but it’s not. I love the challenge of making every word count. YA is going through a sort of renaissance right now. Teens have decided it’s cool to read again and the genre has the power to transcend audience. Evidence: Listen to all the soccer moms (and dads) weighing in on Edward v. Jacob. It’s a very exciting time for YA and I’m so thrilled to be part of it.

Norm:

How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?


Kimberly:

Excellent question! I had a strict, Protestant, Midwestern upbringing. There was definitely a sort of reverent routine to life: We ate dinner together every night and went to church every Sunday. I think there is something about growing up in the Midwest that gives you “space” to think and dream. I can’t really articulate it but having lived all over the country, the Midwest childhood is excellent meditation for a writer. It’s safe enough to play Kick the Can outside after dark but you also know that evil lurks and one had to be careful – even if it’s only a twister. Perhaps it’s that vast expanse that allowed the imagination to wonder and dream, What if?

Norm:

Could you tell our readers something about your most recent books, Cheerage Fearage and Pretty Dolls?

Kimberly:

I’d love to. My YA book, Cheerage Fearage takes place at Camp Valentine - a cheerleading camp with raging spirit. It’s ten years after a popular girl’s bizarre death and the bloodthirsty pranks are going down at a hypnotic pace.  Enter Tiki Tinklemeyer my protagonist, an indentured servant to the geek label, who’s thrown into the middle of camp mayhem Not only is she out of her element spending a week with the micro-miniskirt V.I.P.’s, but now someone wants to kill her.  The book’s tagline would be Fly high and die!

Pretty Dolls is a children’s book that addresses the universal themes of jealousy and friendship. Three haughty dolls perch on the tippy top bookcase shelf in little Tasha’s bedroom singing, “Pretty eyes and pretty hair.  We’re the best dolls anywhere. If you were a pretty doll, you’d be up here standing tall. Yet it’s Gracie, the purple-eyed, one-armed, spiky haired doll who’s won the snuggly arms and heart of Tasha.  Only Emily-Nicole will have none of it.  Little does Tasha know that when the lights go out in her room, the doll wars begin…

Norm:

When in the process of writing your books do you begin to look for a publisher?

Kimberly:

As soon as my manuscript is complete, my agent or I will shop around for a publisher. When deciding whom to query, I look for a publisher’s vision, niche audience, past publications, etc. Personally I don’t advocate sending out queries before a manuscript is finished unless a prior relationship has already been established. Why waste people’s time? I believe an author should make their product the best it can be before showcasing it.

Norm:

As you are a teacher, what makes literature and writing come alive in a classroom? How can teachers foster a love of literature and writing in their students?

Kimberly:

In my class we do something called D.E.A.R. – Drop Everything and Read. During D.E.A.R., my students will read and discuss books in Literature Circles, which has a Book Club vibe. In their groups, students actively discuss aspects of their book, dramatize scenes, write new endings. By fostering an environment of enthusiasm, kids see the connection between reading and writing and get very excited about it, which is of course a teacher’s ultimate goal – love of story.

Norm:

Where can our readers find out more about you and your books?

Kimberly:

Readers can visit me at my OFFICIAL AUTHOR WEBSITE -where I have writing tips for kids, FAQ’s, and class visitation information. I also recently started an author BLOG where I post about Kid-Lit, the writing process, and promote other authors.

Norm:

What is next for Kimberly Dana and is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered?

Kimberly

I am enjoying the journey and look forward to sharing my love for the written word. My author motto is - Loves 2 Write 4 Kids / Loves 4 Kids 2 Write. That’s my passion. That’s why I get up in the morning.

Norm:

Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors.

Thank you, Norm. It’s been a pleasure.