Why did you write Reggie & Ryssa and the Summer Camp of Faery?
All of my life, I’ve been an avid reader. As my children grew up, my children were readers – well, at least 2 out of the 3. And yet, everywhere I looked, children were getting less and less into reading and more and more into the realm of video games. It didn’t dawn on me as to why-until Harry Potter hit the market. J.K. Rowling did the one thing for kids that many authors have not been able to do since C.S. Lewis – she produced an incredible piece of fantasy work that made children, who had never before shown an interest in picking up a book, actually *want* to read. What she did was amazing.
The thought of taking my fantasy world writing into a realm where children would want to go was exciting to me. As a mother of 3 boys and one step-daughter, it is hard not to make your life and goals not be “all about the kids”. Thus, Reggie & Ryssa was born.
Why the focus on the kids’ contest?
Because the books are for kids. I hope that adults will enjoy them too, but for me, it is all about the kids. When I first made the decision to include little “sketch” graphics at the top of each chapter, I was excited. After spending days on the first five, and then realizing that there were 27 chapters, my enthusiasm waned considerably. So I asked some friends to help out. I decided at that point that these books were for the kids…and to help engage them in the story, I would have kids contribute graphics for the successive books. So many kids have this amazing, expressive, and creative talent that doesn’t get enough attention paid to it in many cases. I want to give them that recognition in some way, so they don’t shut down an amazing form of expression that I feel can make them a more confident adult years down the road.
The writing side is another big part of that. I want to be able to offer some kind of encouragement toward a creative outlet for kids. Not everyone will get published, but I want to make sure they all receive some kind of recognition for the effort.