Amendments have been made to this post – I have just added Donna’s eBook giveaway competition details.
Today, it is my pleasure to welcome talented children’s author, Donna Smith, to my blog corner as part of her September blog tour promoting her delightful new book, Jazmine Montgomery Toy Detective – The Magic Glasses.
Welcome Donna. I appreciate you dropping by during your busy blog tour schedule.
Thank you Helen for having me today at Helen Ross writes.
My pleasure Donna. I’m looking forward to discussing your new book.
Q: So to start, could you give us an insight into the inspiration behind your new release?
Donna: Yes, Helen. Jazmine Montgomery Toy Detective – The Magic Glasses is a new series in which Jazmine and her little companion Yapps, share the case files of their missing toy cases. They have some extra help though Helen – some magical help! My daughter inspired the idea of the base storyline as she has a beautiful infant-like ability to see the magic in everything. I just love that notion, not everything that is real can be seen.
Q: Is Jazmine Montgomery modelled on anyone?
Donna: Helen, the character Jazmine Montgomery is based on my daughter Jazmine; she will turn twelve in a few weeks. She is very creative and just loves puzzles and puzzle games, and despite being almost twelve, Jaz sees magic in everything. We do have a cubby house which is identical to the one on page 16 which Sharyn Madder illustrated. Now the children are a little older, they use the cubby to hold secret meetings! They also love to do artwork in their cubby and hold tea parties.
Q: What do you love the most about her character, and why?
Donna: I love that she is so excited to see the Mushroom elves just as if it is the first time she sees them, even though she has seen them many times. This is modelled on Jazmine – she still possesses an infant-like innocence which is priceless and a delight to see. She can see magic in everything. I just love that.
Q: Tell us a bit about the creative process involved in writing Jazmine Montgomery.
Donna: The production was quite a process in itself. The story evolved over time and sections were re-written after the first draft to prevent the possibility of outdating quickly. In the original story it was a red scooter that Jazmine and Yapps are searching for, however, after speaking with my mentor and editor Sally Odgers, it was decided that a scooter could date quickly. Therefore sections were re-written to incorporate the new iPad story line. This was time consuming but needed to be done to produce the best possible story. I really enjoyed the production process of this book. On Monday, I mentioned to Dimity from Boomerang Books how the layout incorporating the stars was achieved. The process involved placing each star independently on the page initially by myself and then Sylvie Blair converted them into InDesign and ensured they stayed in the same place on each page and didn’t flow on. This process was complicated and took a little while to get right. For that same reason this actually became a small hurdle to overcome when we converted Jazmine Montgomery into an eBook. Because there is artwork on the edges of the pages (not just the internal illustrations) the eBook conversion needed to be tested several times to ensure it read properly without flowing onto the next page.
Q: What did you enjoy the most about the process?
Donna: Helen, I really enjoy the entire writing process and then following it through with book production. I really enjoy the creative process of production, such as cover design and internal layout. Working on the trailer is also a great deal of enjoyment. I find this process very rewarding. Seeing your story come to life just the way you image it is such a buzz.
Q: Did you have a writing routine, and a special place to write?
Donna: Yes Helen, I really enjoy my writing time. I do share it with my Jelli-Beanz duties and marketing, so I have to be organised. Each term I draw up a timetable for myself to ensure I fit everything in and meet my goals. It is a funny timetable as I draw it up based on my children’s school timetable – six periods over the day. If anyone read it, they would think I was a tad crazy! Period one for the gym, period two for house-cleaning, period three for checking and replying to emails at work, then morning tea followed by period four which includes study, period five is writing. Then it is lunch-time (1.30 p.m.) followed by period six which is when I organise dinner and kids activities for the afternoons. Then it is school pickup. The day tends to fly by! It sounds crazy to divide my day up in periods like the school timetable, but it works for me. Otherwise I would become distracted and tinker on the internet all day!
I actually think that is a brilliant idea – organising your day into a timetable of activities and times. My husband has been urging me to do this for some months now but alas, I haven’t as yet tried it.
Q: Donna, did you enjoy reading mystery books as a child?
Donna: Absolutely, I just love a good mystery. I always loved trying to figure out the puzzle pieces and where they fit.
Q: If you found a pair of special glasses, what would you most love to be able to see?
Donna: Gee Helen, that is a tough question? Magic, real magic. I am sure it is there, we just can’t see it.
Q: To finish up, what advice can you give on writing children’s stories?
Donna: Read, read, read and then read some more. Write, write and write lots more. You can’t be a writer if you do not write. Pen your ideas down, expand on them, play with language and build vocabulary. Keep on writing and don’t throw the towel in when it seems like you have hit a wall.
That is great advice.
Sadly, our chat has come to an end. Thanks Donna for dropping by, and sharing the inspiration and writing process associated with your new book, Jazmine Montgomery Toy Detective – The Magic Glasses. We wish you every success with your new release.
Thank you Helen, I have enjoyed my visit.
ISBN: 9780980861044 Paperback
Published by Jelli-Beanz Publishing
Internal illustrations by Sharyn Madder
Suitable for primary school age
Literacy Ladder Reading Series Grades 1-3
If you peep out into your garden, hiding among the fruit trees there is a tiny village where the mushroom elves live. Jazmine’s magic glasses allow her to see the elves and their magic.
Just as well, as Jazmine and her offsider, Yapps, have a dilemma. And the magic glasses are needed. I won’t spoil the story but it has a story line that primary aged children can relate to with the ingredients to keep them turning the pages – magic, mystery, some delightful but cheeky magical beings and a primary aged-child super sleuth. Children love solving problems and will enjoy following Jazmine and Yapps on their quest. The girls will enjoy reading about a female school-aged sleuth. The language is suitable for its target market (6-8 years of age).
Jazmine Montgomery Toy Detective – The Magic Glasses would be excellent as a school reader, and the back pages offer some ‘Top Detective Tips’ that could be incorporated into a number of excellent classroom activities that boys and girls could enjoy. It is a story that children will enjoy reading over and over gain.
For more information:
Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Sm02nfTXlc
I just love this book trailer. And the music is a perfect fit.
Jelli-Beanz Publishing: http://jellibeanzbooks.wordpress.com/
Check out Donna’s other books.
Donna Smith: http://donnamsmithauthor.wordpress.com/
Meet Donna at her recent graduation with her children, Jazmine, Timothy and Benjamin. Donna gained an Arts degree – her main stream was Educational Psychology and Writing/ Literature. Congratulations Donna!
And don’t forget to join Donna during the rest of her virtual blog tour.
The following link is to the promotional poster for Jazmine Montgomery Toy Detective – The Magic Glasses.
Donna Smith is giving away a free eBook each day of the blog tour. Just pop in to each of her blog stops, leave a comment and your name will go in the draw to win the free eBook. It is that easy. Just follow the above blog tour schedule. And don’t forget to leave a comment here today.