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This blog is my diary of works in progress. The only way a writer can improve upon her skill is to practice, practice and practice some more. Here, in this place of quiet peace, I pen to paper my thoughts and creativity. Welcome to my world.

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Thursday, December 25, 2014

The 3 B's of Storytelling: An interview with Donna Martin.....

Today I would like to introduce Donna Martin, author of The Story Catcher. In this interview, Donna will share with us her debut picture book, what it takes to be good storytelling and her 3 "B"s of becoming a stronger story teller. Welcome Donna!!!

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Well, I stay pretty busy. By day I am a Fourth Degree Black Belt Certified Taekwondo Instructor who helps run a martial arts training facility. Once I get home around 9:30 each night I go into Ninja Writer mode and work on my writing until around midnight before I crawl into my bed for a few hours of much needed sleep. I can also say I’ve been writing for 45 years but only professionally for the past 5 years.

What is your story about?

My debut picture book, THE STORY CATCHER, is about a little girl named Addie who comes from a family of readers or ‘story catchers’ as they like to call themselves. Addie tries to catch her first story but the wiggly words keep playing tricks on her. She tries different ways to make them sit still but it takes a little faith to help Addie become her family’s next STORY CATCHER!

What do you think makes a good story?

Something that makes an emotional connection with its intended audience. When i read a story that makes me laugh, cry, or just feel like I can relate to the main character, then I know I have a good book in my hands.

Your book teaches children the importance of faith and how to catch a story, what is the first story you ever caught? Was it hard to catch? How did you catch it?

I was lucky. I was the youngest of four kids in my family and my sister closest to me in age helped to teach me to read. I could read books on my own by the time I was around 4 or 5 and one of the first books I remember reading on my own was a children’s version of the dictionary. I’m not kidding! My mother was an HUGE fan of the written word and when she found out I had checked out a dictionary, she not only made sure I read every page, but she also gave me a verbal test on it when I was finished reading it and I passed!

Who was your favorite story catcher growing up? Who is your favorite story catcher now?

One ‘master’ writer I devoured while growing up (and still enjoy reading today) is Mercer Mayer.  The incredible balance between his art and the written word calls to the kid in me and if I ever grow up, I want to be more like him! Besides Mr. Mayer, it’s not so much an individual I admire as the beauty of a well written story. My all-time favorite story, bar none, is THE GIVING TREE by Shel Silverstein, but I’m not a huge fan of his other work. I enjoy the work of people I’m honored to call my friends and colleagues like Susanna Leonard Hill, Tara Lazar, Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, Corey Rosen Schwartz, and many, many more.

Can you share with us a few of your tips for being an excellent story catcher?

I can list three “B”s to help newbie writers become stronger storytellers:

Believe…in yourself, in your skill as a storyteller, and in your own stories.
Be open…open to constructive criticism  so you can grow as a writer, open to the world around you so you may never run short of story ideas, and open to opportunities…large and small…which might come your way in your writing career.
Be determined…never let the doubters shake the faith you have in yourself. Do whatever it takes to succeed, but most of all stay true to YOU and keep on writing every day!

1 comment:

Tina Cho said...

Wonderful interview, Donna and Saba! It was fun reading about your past, Donna.

Member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators