Rossandra White, author of Loveyoubye asked me to participate in a blog hop with her, where I was featured last week. Here’s all about Rossandra, a super cool lady, and writer friend…
A fourth generation South African, Rossandra White is a blogger and author of two YA novels, Monkey’s Wedding and Mine Dances, which are set in Zimbabwe and Zambia. A recipient of many writing awards, White has been published in Writer’s Digest and Interstice, among others. From computer operator to letter carrier, executive secretary to ceramic artist, White has found her passion living in Laguna Beach with her two Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Fergie and Jake, where she writes and blogs about the wild old days of her childhood in Africa as well as the wild new days of her life here in the states. When she’s not writing, she enjoys yoga, Jazzercise, and hiking the hills behind her home in Laguna canyon. You can find her here: http://rossandrawhite.com/
Now here’s the Q&A part of the hop…
1) What am I working on?
I’m pretty fortunate that the publisher of my upcoming middle grade novel is interested in seeing a new book from me, so I’m working on another middle grade novel. Like the one they are publishing, it has fantasy elements, but this time it is an entirely original story, not inspired by a folktale. In this story (still untitled) a trio of siblings wish on a star and have their wishes fulfilled by unusual means. As yet, I have no idea how this story ends. Which may be a very bad thing.
2) How does my work differ from others of this genre?
There are not many women being published in the area of fantasy, and fewer minority women. (I am 1/2 African descent and 1/2 Indian descent.) My upcoming novel takes readers to the Caribbean and introduces some interesting fantasy creatures that American readers would be unfamiliar with, such as douen–baby spirits with backwards feet who try to steal children, or the soucouyant–a vampire-like old woman who sheds her skin and flies through the air in a ball of flame to find victims so that she can suck out their blood.
My current story does not have Caribbean flavor, but I have injected some of my biracial upbringing into it, which is also a bit unusual for current kid lit.
3) Why do I write what I do?
Since I was three and lost myself in a book of Grimm’s fairy tales, I’ve wanted to be a writer. The fairy tales probably also informed the kind of quirky fantasies that I have been writing lately as well. However my debut young adult novel, Angel’s Grace, was realistic fiction. I was inspired to write that kind of fiction for that particular age group after reading Rosa Guy’s The Friends. I read it soon after I moved to New York from Trinidad, and it spoke directly to me especially since the main character was also a recent Caribbean immigrant. I’ve been told that I write realistic stories well, but I seem to be drawn to stories where strange things happen. Come on. Weird stuff is awesome.
4) How does your writing process work?
I probably shouldn’t say this but I am fueled by fear. Fear stops me from working because I don’t know if I’m good enough. Fear gets my butt to the chair and sets my fingers writing when I think it’s time to show fear who’s boss. Fear makes me go over and over things that I am not sure about, much to the annoyance of my family and friends who are often subjected to sub-par drafts. I wish I could say that I did have a process, or a regimen, but the truth is, I write when I’m terrified, and I write when I’m terrified because I’m not terrified. So yeah. I work in a constant state of panic. But here’s the thing. I work.
Well, enough about me. Here are the two lovely ladies who have signed up to blog hop with me! (Yes, I know there’s supposed to be three, but there was a bit of a problem with #3.)
First up is one of my favorite writers, and National Book Award winner Kathy Erskine, who never fails to deliver an awesome story. If you haven’t read Seeing Red yet, do.
Kathryn Erskine grew up mostly overseas and attended eight different schools which gives an interesting twist to her writing. She draws on her life stories and world events to write her novels including Quaking, an ALA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Mockingbird, 2010 National Book Award winner, The Absolute Value of Mike, a Crystal Kite winner, and Seeing Red, a Jane Addams Peace Award Honor Book set immediately after the Civil Rights era that questions who we were then and who we are now.
Her upcoming novel, The Badger Knight, is a Middle Ages adventure about a small, sickly teen with albinism who runs off to battle to prove he’s a man — which he succeeds in doing, but not in the way he thought. She is currently working on several more novels and picture books.
She loves travel, taking walks, being in nature, exploring places (any places), laughing, playing games, learning languages (or anything, really, just learning) and eating chocolate. You can learn more about her at http://www.kathrynerskine.com/Kathryn_Erskine/Home.html
or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/kathy.erskine
and Twitter at http://twitter.com/KathyErskine
Next up is Jenni Green Miller, whose blog has inspired me to write honestly every time, even when I blog. (She even got me to write poetry. Publicly!)
Jenni is a playwright, actress, and professional speaker living in the Pacific Northwest.
She is a recipient of a Regional Arts and Culture Council Individual Artists Grant for her play, An Island, and is a member of the Dramatist Guild. Currently she is working on a play based on Susan Brownmiller’s book, Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape. She studied theater and composition with Anne Bogart at SITI Company in NYC, and has toured professionally with Brainwaves, an improvisational creative problem solving organization, as a group facilitator for corporate team building. During the day she is a brand marketing and social media specialist, copywriter and storyteller, advocating for various non-profit organizations and their programs throughout the Pacific Northwest. At night she does the dishes, reads books with her kids, and then does more dishes. In between, she puts words on paper, trying to make sense of it all. And to learn.
You can find Jenni here: http://jennigreenmiller.wordpress.com
Please visit Kathy and Jenni’s blogs next week (may 5th) when they will each tell us about three more bloggers we should know. Have a great week everyone!