Today we have a special treat of an interview with the AMANDA series by Darlene Foster, from our very own blogging community. And I should also say from our own kidlit community that we all love being part of. So it is with extreme pleasure that I present, Darlene Foster!
Thanks so much for answering these questions for the interview. I never get tired of reading an authors journey from idea to publication. And you have so intrigued me with your AMANDA series. It is an awesome accomplishment. Congratulations to you.
CBJ: 1– What brought you to the land of writing, Darlene?
I’ve always enjoyed writing. English was my favorite subject in school. I’ve been creating stories for a long time. I was raised on a ranch in southern Alberta, Canada, which was a great life but a bit lonely for a little girl who loved to be around people. So I would make up friends in my head and create adventures for these friends. When I learned to write, I was encouraged to write these stories down. It has always been in the back of my mind to be a writer. Perhaps I was born into the land of writing.
DF : 2—can you tell us a little about your books?
My books are about a twelve year old girl, Amanda Ross, who travels to fascinating places around the world and meets interesting people. She is adventurous and kind, which lands her in trouble at times. Whether she is helping an Arabian princess escape bounty hunters, a young Spanish girl rescue her dancing pony or tracking down a missing vintage novel in England, Amanda is always one step ahead of danger.
CBJ: 3—have you published other works beside the Amanda series? How did you get published at the beginning? On your first book? Publishers want their authors to be published somewhere don’t they?
I had some short stories published in anthologies but the Amanda books are my first published novels. It was very difficult to find a publisher. I sent the first book out at least 30 times over a span of five years. I was about to give up when a gentleman called to inquire about a local writer’s group I facilitated. He wondered if we would be interested in learning about his daughter’s e-publishing business. E-publishing was quite new at the time and I thought it would be interesting to learn more about it. His daughter, Michelle Halket, of Central Avenue Publishing (called ireadIwrite Publishing at the time) attended a meeting as a guest speaker at which time I told her about my book. She agreed to e-publish Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask. A few months later she published it in print format. Michelle has since published all the Amanda books in both e-book and print format. She creates the perfect book covers and is wonderful to work with. After searching far and wide, I found my publisher in my local community!
CBJ: 4—tell us a little about your writing style? When you do your best work and if you get up at five AM to do it?
I do get up at five AM but not to write. I commute by public transit one hour each way to my job as an employment counselor in Vancouver. I do my writing in the evening after work and after dinner with my husband. I devote a minimum of 2 hours every evening to writing. If I didn’t have a job to go to, I may get up early in the morning to write as I am a morning person. I’m not sure. Now I write when I have the time, evenings and weekends.
CBJ: 5—which book is your favorite?
DF: If you mean which of my books is my favorite that is hard to say. It’s kind of like picking a favorite child. I must say I had the most fun writing Amanda in England – The Missing Novel. Everything came to me quite easily. I have been to England many times as my husband is English. I’ve always loved it there so writing about it gave me pleasure.
CBJ: 6– What was the first book you ever read that had an impact on you?
DF: Oh my, that was such a long time ago. Perhaps it was Goldilocks and The Three bears. Goldilocks was not afraid to try something new, even though it was a bit scary.
CBJ: 7—do you remember the first story you wrote? Tell us about it okay?
DF: I most probably wrote other stories but the first one I wrote that I remember is Save Your Food Dollar which was published in the Winnipeg Free Press. I believe I was twelve at the time. It was about two girls going to Woolworth’s Department store with not much money and trying to get the most with what they had.
CBJ: 8—what is the best book you’ve read recently? And which one do you return to over and over?
DF: I recently read The Book Thief and was incredibly impressed. I read all the Jane Austen novels over and over. I never tire of them and feel very attached to the characters. I also reread Anne of Green Gables. Anne is a delightful character who is also not afraid to try something new.
CBJ: 9— I also re read the Book Thief recently right before the movie came out. It was so good. There’s no wonder a movie was made of it. Darlene, what kind of reader were you as a child?
DF: I read whatever I could get my hands on. I loved reading and was often found reading while other kids played sports. I was one of those kids who read under the blankets at night with a flashlight. I recall visiting my great aunt and uncle in town. They had a book cabinet with the most amazing books behind the glass doors. When I was little I would sit and look in the cabinet wishing I could read them. One day my aunt said, “Would you like me to open the cabinet so you can choose a book to read?” I thought I had died and gone to heaven. If I remember correctly I chose “The Prince and the Pauper”. After a number of visits, I had read all the books in that cabinet.
CBJ; 10—what novels had the most impact on you as a writer?
CBJ: Novels that had an impact on me where the ones I read as a child myself such as Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, The Bobbsey Twins, Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew. As an adult I read Jane Austen, Margaret Laurence, Carol Shields, Alice Munroe, Margaret Atwood; all who have had a huge impact on me as a writer.
Darlene Foster’s Bio:
Darlene Foster is a writer, employment counselor, ESL teacher, wife, mother and grandmother. Her grandson calls her “super-mega-woman-supreme”. Brought up on a ranch in southern Alberta , she dreamt of traveling the world and meeting interesting people. She lives with her husband on the west coast of BC with their black cat Monkey. Darlene has written three children’s travel/adventure books, Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask, Amanda in Spain – The Girl in The Painting, and Amanda in England -The Missing Novel. She is currently working on the fourth book, Amanda in Alberta – The Writing in the Stone. Readers from seven to seventy enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another.
CBJ: Thanks so much for talking to us, Darlene. It was great to get to know you better.
CBJ: Where can we find you on the internet?
CBJ: Here you go! I have it on my signature.
Author of the Amanda travel adventure series http://www.centralavenuepublishing.com/Books/Amanda%20in%20Arabia/
DF: Thanks so much for the interview. I enjoyed answering your questions, even though you made me search way back in my memories.
CBJ: And thanks so much for being on my blog, Author Darlene Foster! It has been a pleasure. I can’t wait to read your books. They sound so full of life, of travels and mystery all in one. A special Treat indeed.
the winner is Robyn Campbell!
Robyn, please let me have your email in the comments and tell me which you’d rather have, a copy of “Henry on Fire” by Stuart or “Annie’s Special Day” by moi.
Congratulations, Robyn. I look forward to hearing from you.
See you all Friday! XXOO
© 2014 Clara Bowman-Jahn aka Clarike Bowman-Jahn