Interview with Author Donalisa Helsley
Donalisa lives inTulsa, Oklahoma with her husband, David, her daughters, Jadyn and Genesis and their miniature schnauzer, Shadow. She is Wild About Reading. Donalisa has written many stories since she was a child. She is a social worker and has worked with children for over 12 years. Donalisa is finishing her Masters in Social Work so that she can be a therapist for children and adolescents.
Interview with Donalisa Helsley, author of The Day No One Played Together.
I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog
What is the last book you read?
The last book I read was “Tell No One” by Harlan Coben. I’ve already read it before but didn’t realize it until I got it home from the library. I read it again anyway because I could not remember the ending! Also, I usually read more than one book at a time! I’ll have one on the night stand, one in the office, one in the car and some on the ipad, and my iphone. That way I always have a book wherever I go!
What were your earliest memories of writing?
I remember typing on an old typewriter at the kitchen table at nine years old. I completed my first book when I was 11. It was about 250 typed pages and it was a Christian version of “Sweet Valley High” I gave it to a friend to read and never got it back! It still frustrates me to this day!
Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?
I believe it was something that came natural. I was encouraged to read and loved to. I would think of stories I wished I could read and would write them instead.
What was your favorite children’s book?
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf was my very favorite as a child. I also loved George and Martha and Amelia Bedelia books. I read all of the Chronicles of Narnia and the Laura Ingall’s Wilder books over and over. Growing up I was so thirsty for books I read any book that I could find in the house (even the hidden ones). So I read a lot of non fiction and A LOT of historical romance novels (shhh don’t tell my mom!) Another of my all time favorites is Oh, The Places You Will Go! by Dr Seuss. Which I didn’t read until I was in high school.
Are you working on a new book?
Yes, I have quite a few already written. I am currently finishing up two. One is about a big bad bully and the other is a silly mixed up fairytale. I don’t know when I will be sending any of them out to be published. “I Love You Better Than Chocolate Chip Cookies” will be out in January.
What inspired you to write ‘The Day No One Played Together’ and how did you come up with each character?
I promised my oldest daughter that I would write a story about her when she was three. She is multiracial (black, white and chinese). She wanted to see someone that looked like her in books. So the characters are based on my two daughters, Jadyn (9) and Genesis (4). I am always trying to help them figure out how to work through conflicts on their own. I helped them learn to compromise and they loved doing it so much that I thought that maybe other children would enjoy the lesson also.
What do you hope that readers will take away from your book?
I hope that they learn that they can brainstorm creative solutions to their problems. My goal with the Jadyn and Genesis series is that children learn life and social skills in a fun way.
What do your kids think about your book?
My kids are estatic! They want to show everyone and they can’t wait for the other two books that I have written about them to be illustrated. They have told all of their friends that they can be in the books too.
Tell us about your website ‘Wild About Reading’
My website is a place you can go to learn more about me, my mission and also buy my books. It is a work in progress. I want to add links to places you can donate books for children who can’t afford them and also some tips for parents. My Wild About Reading facebook page is a page where I share tips, encouragement, book reviews, interviews of other authors, book give aways and trivia. Stop by and visit! The goal is to re-ignite a love of reading in parents and encourage it in children.
What is the most difficult part of writing?
The most difficult part is actually setting aside time to write. It seems every moment of everyday is filled with something to do. Once I have the time the words seem to flow right out.
What do you do when you’re not writing or promoting your books?
I am a mother, a student, and a therapist. So most of my time is spent studying, taking care of my family and of course reading. Oh yeah, and Facebook!
Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with?
C.S. Lewis, Dr. Seuss, James Patterson, Iris Johansen, Tami Hoag….I have so many. I love reading true stories of people who have survived. I would also love to dine with people like Corrie Ten Boom, Elie Wiesel, Langston Hughes….the list could go on and on.
What author inspires you the most and why?
I am not sure who inspires me the most. I am inspired by any author who puts their work out there for the world to see. What people don’t understand is that when we write we are sharing a piece of our heart and soul. Its scary. Anyone who is brave enough to share their work and let the world see a piece of them inspires me.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
Procrastination is the only rule I follow consistently. Sadly, in my writing I do not impose schedules or even goals upon myself. If it comes to me I jump up and scribble it on a scrap piece of paper or I type into my ipad or whatever is handy. Once I have graduated “I have a dream” (said in a Martin Luther King Jr. voice) that I will be able to devote a more consistent and structured time to write.
What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read?
One of my favorite quotes sums it up: “There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children that have not found the right book.” ~Frank Serafini Let your child chose what they like. Take them to the library, the bookstore and let them wander around. If you notice they have an interest in dinosaurs or princesses find all the books about dinosaurs and princesses you can find.
I have also learned that just because I liked a book that doesn’t mean my daughters will like it. So I watch and see what they enjoy and then try to find other books like it.Readingshouldn’t be a chore. If all they want to read is comic books be happy they are reading. I do suggest checking out what they read so that you can be aware of what is going on. I try to read every YA book that comes out and is a fad because it helps me engage with my child and adolescent clients and also I figure one day my kids will be reading them.
What advice you would give to new writers?
1. Read, Read, Read. How can you be a writer if you don’t even read? 2. Find people that you trust to share your thoughts with. 3. Never stop believing in magic, the impossible and the unbelieveable. Some of the greatest books I have ever read were written by people who remembered what it was like to be a child and to dream. 4. If you are a children’s book writer I believe that there is a part of us that never grows up. Tap into that!
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Thanks for reading this. It is very humbling to think that anyone would want to read about me! By the way when I grow up I would like to be a ninja. Random? That’s me!
Thank you for this interview.
Thank you for taking the time to interview me and review my book!
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My name is Ella Johnson. I started Mymcbooks to promote reading. As a former teacher, I know that making basic education fundamentals interesting to children can be challenging. Education can be fun, exciting and captivating for children with the right learning tools. So my goal is to “make learning interesting and fun” for the children while they learn, by introducing them to fun books with colorful and captivating illustrations.
In 2009, I start the giveaway program giving away free school supplies at random to 2 winners each year. I also started a monthly free giveaways for books and gifts.
August 2010, I extended the free school supplies from 2 to 5 winners at random on my blog and also give away 20 bags full of school supplies to familes in need at Chick-fil-A in Brandon, Florida during their family nights. And in 2012, I beat my that number and gave away a lot of school supplies to needy families. Hopefully, I can continue to do this each year.
In 2011, I started writing reviews on children’s books then giving these books away free on Mymcbooks Blog. I increase the number of books we giveaway free to help support parent. My goal is to give away as many as I can each year. This is also a great way to introduce parents to new books.
Mymcbooks blog is always looking for other ways to give kids free books. So I started Mymcbooks Birthday Library http://mymcbooksbirthdaylibrary.wordpress.com/
My goal is to giveaway at least 300 books to children each year.
Books Given in 2011: 315
Books Given in 2012: 380
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Read Interview about Ella Johnson, http://melangeofcultures.wordpress.com/2011/07/31/interview-with-ella-johnson-founder-of-memorable-children-books-gifts/ Interviewer: Nicole Weaver
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