|Posted on March 11, 2013 at 7:25 PM|
Where Writers And Authors Meet Interviews:
Shannie Kaye was our Featured Spotlight author last week and vistors were encouraged to ask Shannie some of their own questions! Here is a link to that Spotlight! Feel free to ask more questions, and we might just be able to get Shannie back for a follow up interview!
* First, I think your mission is admirable and I too believe laughter is the best medicine. I write adult comedy which is fairly easy as I'm an adult (although my wife begs to differ). How to you go about learning what today's youngster will chuckle at without going over or under their heads?
Thank you kindly, Stephen… We must always remember that our children are our future and that we must all do a part to support and help them along the way. Well, here I am to try and do my part. You see, if only one sad or unhappy child smiles or giggles while reading one of my stories - I feel my job is done.
* What do you find to be the hardest part of writing for children? (From Jo Linsdell: www.JoLInsdell.com)
I find the hardest part of writing for children to be ‘keeping it simple’, since I am a perfectionist and sometimes put too much thought in my writing. I try to stay away from more complex messages and thinking processes when writing for kids. I must always remind myself that a child’s attention span is much shorter than an adult’s; I keep my mentality comparable to the child’s age that I am writing for specifically because a child’s imagination and creativity can be limitless... particularly when there are certain ‘obstacles’ in that child’s life – he or she tends to escape into the imagination.
* Do you illustrate your books yourself? (From Jo Linsdell: www.JoLinsdell.com)
No, unfortunately I do not; my publisher offers free illustration for children’s books and although I am happy about how the illustrations for my books have so far turned out, I would surely have done it myself if I were a better cartoon artist.
* When I was young I read a lot of mythology. One I found it exciting, the Greek myths and the Romans, Native American folklore, etc., but mostly because they explained the world around me in such simplistic ways and I found that refreshing. Do you approach the children's story with the same simplicity? Do you try and incorporate any moral lessons as well? I was a semi-professional magician for many years and did that with my kid's shows. I tried to help them see why things were as they were in our world through simple demonstrations and story-tales with magical effects to drive home the main points and to show how they can make things better. I have not tried to write any books for children, I do adult/older teen fiction, but I do admire those that have written for children. I am curious, why did you say above that you wanted to bring laughter to victims of crime? What type of crimes and why these children in particular? (From Stephan James Gathings: http://noveltimes.webs.com/)
I also love Greek mythology; in fact, I studied it in high school using the textbook, “Mythology”, written by Edith Hamilton. My favorite story is about Icarus and how his father, Daedalus – the great inventor and architect, made them both a pair of wings to escape the Labyrinth that King Minos had thrown them in. He told his son ‘escape may be checked by water and land, but the air and the sky are free’ and before they took flight, Daedalus warned Icarus to keep a steady course above the sea; if he flew too close to the sun the glue on his wings would melt and they would fall off of him. As the two flew swiftly and without effort, the new ‘power’ of flying went to the boy’s head and he continued to fly higher and higher… paying no attention to his father’s warnings. Icarus then flew too close to the sun, which melted the glue on his wings, and he fell into the ocean. There is much more to this story but it is a classic example of how children may disregard what their elders tell them while presenting a moral to the story about having to suffer consequences for their own actions. I am 1/8th Choctaw, so Native American Folklore also intrigues me. “American Indian Myths and Legends” by Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz is a wonderful collection of diverse and comprehensive stories ever compiled into only one book. I would find it difficult to locate all of them, since there are so many tribes and different bands of Native Americans, but this book surely gives us a newer look at older traditions. Some of my favorite legends originate from the Chippewa (Ojibwe); it basically tells of both Mackinaw Island and the Manitou Islands – where human souls were thought to reside after their death.
You posted some good questions! As I stated earlier, I do try to keep it simple as I write to ensure I do not lose the little reader’s interest. I also try to include somewhat of a moral or (at least) a life lesson in each story as well. I am a firm believer that while teaching – to include musical or rhyming in the lessons because it is more effective – besides, it makes it more fun! As far as my mission goes, I want to bring laughter to anyone suffering because I love to laugh; laughing makes you feel better and helps to overcome sadness. Both myself and my oldest child were victims of child abuse (his experience was unfortunately far more violent and at the hands of his biological father) and I know first-hand exactly how sad a child can be when this happens. Children are resilient and are capable of overcoming so many things, but adults must remember that our children sometimes need a little help with ‘bouncing back’… Laughter is FREE and CONTAGIOUS.
* How did you get the ideas for your books: A Fish with a Wish and O Little Star? How did you decide to set the price you have picked for the books? What makes your books special, why should people choose them over other books in your genre? (Hazel Nutt: www.HazelNutt.com)
Sadly, I had no hand in setting the price of my books; my publisher has control over that aspect. In my opinion, they seem to be priced a bit high, but I am thankful that my books are out there. I have two more books in production right now: “A Snowman’s Love Will Never Melt” and “Funny Bunny”. I have always loved the night sky – the stars, the moon, etc. Sometimes kids are afraid of the dark and going to bed can be scary to small ones (as I was). When I was little I would look out the window at night and stare at the moon and study all of the stars. I would try and find the brightest star in the sky and pretend that it was watching over me as I fell asleep, keeping me safe until morning. This childhood experience of mine was the influence for “O, Little Star”.
My second book, “A Fish With a Wish” was influenced by my son and his ability to overcome his prolonged injuries due to Shaken Baby Syndrome at the age of two months. After his release from a two-week stay in the hospital back in 1986, he endured many therapeutic appointments for many years and it has been a long, hard road but today he is in his twenties and thriving, since he does not let his limitations and handicaps hold him down. I have always told him to ‘never give up’ and to ‘try it once before saying you can’t do something’; truth be told… it is hard to keep up with him these days and he loves to laugh and tease to the point where I can only roll my eyes. I would hope that anyone with a desire to bring laughter and happiness to a child that needs it would take just a moment to use one of my stories to help them along the way.
* Your bio note says you like laughter, beaches, horses, the night sky and snowmen. Could you envision writing a story about a laughing snowman who rides a horse down the beach at night?
Too funny, now you’re thinking creatively. That would certainly make a child happy, wouldn’t it… Knowing my sense of humor – it can be done, but I’m not too sure about a snowman on a beach – and I’m from Michigan! Thanks for that awesome question, but now you got my mind thinking “If Dr. Seuss can do it, so can I!” <sigh>
From the Admin: Thank you for sharing your answers with us Shannie! You really have a talent for entertaining! (Ps- to our readers- Shannie's knee was injured pretty badly over the weekend. The pain is apparently really bad, and is also the reason for her lateness in getting her responses back to you all. Can we all please leave her some kind words of encouragement and for healing? I know she would appreciate it! Take care of that leg Shannie
You can find Shannie's Book's on Amazon here:
Categories: Writers Interviews