Mymcbooks Interview Author Kay Lynne Virgin
Kay Lynne Virgin and her husband Gregg reside in Northern California. They have four sons and three grandchildren. Kay has taught children ranging from toddlers to teenagers, directed and produced children’s stage productions, and led children’s choirs. Her love for children’s literature began as a little girl and continues today as she teaches. Reading has always been a great joy in her life. The joy of discovering other people and places, exploring the realms of imagination, and even learning lessons in life have been important parts of her reading experiences and she has endeavored to pass this love on to her own children and those she has taught through the years. It is her fondest hope that the Ember the Dragon series will be stories that can bring laughter, adventure, and a positive sense of self to all those who read the books. Her stories are filled with love, family, humor, and positive reinforcements to encourage all of us to keep trying so we can continue to grow and become all that we can be. http://kaylynnevirgin.tateauthor.com/
Kay Lynne Virgin is the author of Ember the Dragon and the Birthday Surprise.
I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog
Ella, this is truly my pleasure. Thanks so much for inviting me to participate. It is an honor to be with you.
What is the last book you read?
I have to admit – I am a Twilight nut – I’ve read all four books many times and am just finishing up Breaking Dawn again. Just before that, I reread all the Harry Potter books again. I’m a huge fan of those books as well. I love the characters in both series and have to visit them often – they have truly become friends.
What was your favorite children’s book?
When I was very little my parents bought me a Walt Disney book of Cinderella and it was love at first sight. The book was very large and the illustrations were just exquisite and each one of them had gold leaf somewhere in the picture. The cover even had gold leaf in the vines that edged the front and back. It was so beautiful and it became one of my favorite possessions. I still have it though it doesn’t look the same as it did all those years ago. I fell in love with the story and that book, and it has gone with me through every phase of my life. Truly a treasure for me.
What were your earliest memories of writing?
I remember writing poems and silly sayings when I was old enough to write. I loved to write poems about the little things I would see everyday – birds, flowers, whatever had captured my attention. I was probably about 7 or 8.
Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?
I have always enjoyed writing. I was very quiet as a little girl and it was a way to express myself without having to be noticed. I remember other kids in my school classes complaining about having to write essays, but I didn’t even mind doing that usually. Writing has always been fun for me.
Do you generally get a story idea first or does the main character develop first?
That is a very good question! Actually, I think it is a mixture of both. I have written stories about my children so obviously the characters came first with those. With the Ember stories, the characters came first and then the stories evolved around them. I am working on a novel for young adults now, but that started with the story idea first and the characters have come from the story line.
What inspired you to write Ember the Dragon and the Birthday Surprise?
My four sons were the inspiration for stories about dragons. They have all loved dragons. In fact, my third son wanted to be a dragon for several years when he was small. When people would ask him what he wanted to be, he would always reply, “I want to grow up to be a dragon.” They loved the huge, scary dragons, so I took their favorite creature and gave them a little twist so now we have wise and kind dragons instead of scary ones.
Are you working on a new book?
The second installment of the Ember the Dragon series is in production now and a third story is completed and should be out next year. It is a Christmas story and I really love it. I mentioned earlier that I am working on a novel for young adults and it’s a big change from the Ember stories. It is even a romance which is a big departure from dragons in the land of Forever After.
What is the most difficult part of writing?
Finding blocks of time to write is the challenge for me. I don’t like to sit down, write a few sentences or paragraphs, and then have to jump up and go take care of something else. I prefer to get immersed in my story and let it evolve for awhile and that takes time. So I have to plan to write and make room for it in my schedule.
Do you write full time or do you still have a day job?
I would love to write full time! But unfortunately we have real life to provide for so I have a full time job as well. We keep working toward the goal of being a full time author, but it hasn’t happened yet!
How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
I have to be honest with this one. So far, reviews and readers have been very kind. I know that won’t hold true forever so I’m trying to brace myself for rejection. Realistically you can’t please everyone so I do know there will be some negative things along the way. I’m hopeful that I can use the comments constructively and try to see a different side of things and hopefully become a better writer in the process.
Have I ever suffered from writer’s block? Not really. Sometimes it’s harder to come up with exactly what you want to say to make the story come out exactly right, but with a little work and revision, so far it has worked out and the ideas seem to come together.
What do you hope that readers will take away from your book?
First of all, I hope people will enjoy reading the stories. I want them to be fun and bring a smile to brighten someone’s day. But I also want them to feel better about themselves or about life after they finish the books. It is very important to me that my stories bring something positive to life and I hope that children especially will want to read them over and over again. For me that is the mark of a great story – something you want to enjoy over and over because once is not enough.
Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with?
Wow! What an interesting question. I would love to get together with Dr. Seuss and Charles Schultz (yes, I know he created a comic strip) but both those men had such unique ways of looking at the world and they both brought such joy to so many people. I would also love to share some time with British author Mary Stewart. Her stories about Merlin and King Arthur are some of my favorite books and her love of her country and heritage come through so clearly in her writing. Of course, I would love to chat with Stephenie Meyer and J.K. Rowling. I am a huge fan of both these lovely authors and would love to talk about their characters and stories with them. My list could go on for a long time but those are the ones that would be at the top of my list.
What author inspires you the most and why?
I would have to say that Dr. Seuss has inspired me the most. He specialized in writing for people just beginning to discover the world around them and helped them not only to learn about words and reading but he helped them love it. I have no idea how many times I have read his stories myself and read them to and with my children. I literally have years worth of reading his stories in my life and every single time I have laughed and smiled all the way through each book. What an amazing accomplishment – to help people (children) learn and have them love every minute of doing it. How can you top that??
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
When I am working on stories, I am very focused. The story nags at me until it’s done so I have to stay with it until it is finished. As a result, I have to schedule all the other requirements in my life carefully so I have that time available. When we started the Ember books, I knew it had to be a series, so one of my goals is to complete at least 6 stories with our dragons. The novel I’m working on is a continuing project and will take some time to complete. This is a much different project for me and the goal is to have it completed by the end of this year so I have lots of work to do to get that accomplished.
What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read?
First I would suggest they get books for their children that capture their attention and imagination. Childhood is such a wonderful time and far too short. Reading is such an important part of life and you want your children to have excellent reading skills and also to enjoy reading recreationally as well. Find out what they love and get them books about those things to encourage them to spend time with their books. Choose stories that make them smile, teach them about the wonders of the world around them, and give them stories that captivate them. Most importantly, read …read … read … with your children and let them see you read too.
What advice you would give to new writers?
Be brave and be patient. If you are not a famous person to start with, then you have to work to build an audience which will take some time. This is a long distance race not a sprint to success. If you love to write and feel you have something positive to contribute, follow that love and stay with it. Don’t give up and write, write, write!
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
This has been such a fun experience. Your questions were wonderful and really made me think! One thing I would say to your readers, especially the parents out there, is to always remember you are the most important thing in your child’s life. The time you spend with them will be far more important to them than all the activities they participate in, all the places they go, the things they do, or the things they have. Spend time with your children and let them know you care. That will be their greatest gift ever! I know it sounds obvious, but if you spend that time when they are little, you have a relationship that will see you through the teen years and into their adult lives: a truly priceless gift.
Thank you for this interview.
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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
Book Given in 2013: 330
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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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