Writing stories from the point of view of a 'tween' is a lot of fun: Darlene Foster
Are you a fan of children's books? I know despite our age, we do succumb to the shiny covers of those wonderful books. One such author who constantly provides us with those innocent stories is Darlene Foster who I met through a discussion forum. Author of the famous Amanda series, she has also penned many short stories and travel stories. In fact, her stories with Amanda (Who is Amanda?!) feature a lot of gorgeous places in the world. So, I am so pleased to present you this wonderful author to you all!
I am a writer of children’s stories, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor, a wife, mother and grandmother. I love travel, reading, shoes, cooking, sewing, music, chocolate, walking on the beach and making new friends. My grandson labeled me “super-mega-woman-supreme” a couple of years ago and it has stuck. I was brought up on a ranch in southern Alberta ,Canada, where I dreamt of traveling the world and meeting interesting people. I currently live on the westcoast of Canada with my husband Paul and our two black cats, Pumpkin and Monkey. I have two published novels and am working on the third in the travel adventure series for kids 8 - 12.
I thought your name is Darlene! Now who is Amanda??
Amanda is my 12 year old alter ego. She is spunky, adventurous, caring and inquisitive, although somewhat naive. She makes a wish on her twelfth birthday for travel and adventure and receives a ticket to visit her aunt in the United Arab Emirates. She is taken completely out of her comfort zone and has to rely on her resourcefulness to get out of some sticky situations. But it doesn't stop her from wanting to help others in distress.
Amazing! What inspired you to write children's books?
In some ways I don't believe I have ever gone much past 12 myself. You know what they say - "you are only young once, but you can be immature forever!"
I love the 8 - 12 age group. They aren't yet teenagers but they are no longer little kids either. They still have that eagerness for knowledge but are starting to question things. It is really the end of innocence I guess. Writing stories from the point of view of a 'tween' is a lot of fun I must say.
One interesting story about your reader?
One young girl had a nightmare and couldn't fall back to sleep so her mother gave her a copy of my book she had planned to give her later as a gift. The young girl stayed up all night and read the entire book. She said she loved it and wanted to read the next one. Her mother was shocked as her daughter was not normally a reader.
Wow! That is so sweet. But how difficult was the journey? What makes it worth it?
It was a difficult journey fraught with many obstacles and self doubt. I work full time as an employment counsellor and also tutor ESL students evenings and weekends so the time for writing is limited. It took me three years to complete the first book, Amanda in Arabia. Then it took five more years to find a publisher. I had no idea that would be the hard part. I was often discouraged and felt I should just forget the whole thing. But I persevered. In that five years, in between sending the story out to publishers, I wrote the second book, Amanda in Spain. Was it worth it? You bet! When I held that first printed book in my hands, it was like holding your first born. Sheer joy. And when someone tells me how much they enjoyed the book, I have to pinch myself to make sure it isn't all a dream.
Do you think it is up to the authors to promote their work? How do you do it?
I realize in this world of writing and publishing you have to promote your own work if you want it to sell. I always carry a copy of my book with me and never pass up an opportunity to talk about it. I make use of social media such as facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, goodreads, blogs etc. I get involved with local events, join writers associations, write articles in newspapers and do some school visits. Whatever it takes. My friends are a great support and do a lot of promoting for me as well.
Any advice to aspiring and new authors?
I think the best advice I can give is - never give up! Even when it looks futile, keep going. You need to believe in yourself if you want others to believe in you.