Q and A session with a HS in Albany, New York

I am often asked many queston on the radio, in a school, or libarary about the many aspects of writing, the book itself, the characters etc. I decided to share a Q and A emailed to me which I had with a HS in Alabany. My answers are after the numbered questions short and sweet but I share my sincere opinion as an Artist and Author to everyone below these questions-especially aspiring writers.

Teacher: Hi Tina, I hope your trip was enjoyable!  We did do a read-aloud with your book and the students had a number of questions in both classes about process as well as choices.   I’m giving you their questions as they (as a class) created them.

Period 5:

1. How did the author and the illustrator decide on the illustrations?—especially the expressions on the characters

I envisioned them myself and directed my illustrator to create MY characters. I delevoped all the characters. It was a unique experience.

2. What kind of creature IS Skipper?

You name it. It is not important to a child to be specific about this. Some call him a p-wog, some a frog. Kids NEVER have asked me.

3.Why did you choose a dragon to emerge from a sea shell? (this was troubling for Seniors who wanted an egg

Kids are imaginative. Why are there space ships in the ski, how can a refrigerator talk in a cartoon,  who can prove any of that? The writer, in my case is imaginative. The seashell will be told in future stories. Obviously this story CONTINUES……hence, the ending which leaves room for future books.

4.What was the inspiration for the book?

My own life and surrounding of a playful , creative and imaginative life I wish others to have and experience…..fun!

5. What is the significance of the RED sneakers and YELLOW backpack?

None. Simply a decision.

6.What is in the backpack?  (we kind of got caught up in the details and not your role as author—sorry)

You will find out in future stories.

7.       Why are the parents so accepting of a dragon?

It is a Good story, he is a good dragon…no demons and bad guys.

8. How and why did you choose the illustrator?

Long story but in a nutshell, she is European and in Latvia. Speaks no English and I adored her and decided I really wanted to work with her.

9.How long did it take to finish the book in its entirety?

approx. 2 years- NOT full time

10.What lesson, if any, was the book trying to teach?

I leave that open to the reader.

11.Does the theme have to do with manners?/…………..Why is the dragon so polite? That is his character.

I leave that up to the reader

12.Why doesn’t Danny act like the dragon (I’m not sure what they were asking here—I can ask for clarification)

Can not answer this………..this is sort fo a silly question, sorry.

13.Are you concerned with the logic of Danny shrinking in water?  (the discussion was Danny ate soup which is watery and yet he does not shrink from eating liquid—or must the water be salt water?) The explanationis is in the book and in this story.

14.Is there a significance to the pictures—7:10 for dinner clean-up, license plate FL-1, feather on the picture of a boat, grandparent picture in the background . . . ?

No significance at all.

Period 3 Class

1.Same as #4 in 5th period

2. Same as #5

3. Why did you choose imaginary characters (dragon) rather than realistic (hermit crab)?

Boy, …..because I am a writer / author and as a writer I make my decisions as I choose. I am able to create ideas and imagination and place this on paper for others to envision my words. That Iisan authors job and capability. This is what writing is all about.

4.       Was the book meant to be an independent reader or a “read-to” book?

From the Reviews all Lower School ages seem to be reading it as well as being read to.

5.Why is there no real conflict in the book? (we are High School and used to looking for conflict)

Smart point. In many books there are conflicts and especially at the middle, turning point. The turning point is the evolving from a shell.

Keep in mind this is a 32 page children picture book so they may look at the halfway point, or there-about.

6.How long did it take you to write the book? above

7. Is there a significance to choosing (the name) Danny the Dragon?  (They know Danny and the Dinosaur) above

8.Was the book written as a stream of consciousness?  No.

I tried not to answer their questions, or guess what your response would be.  They were inspired from your introduction of your own writing at 16 that they could illustrate and/or write their own best-selling children’s books! Good.  Thank you so much for willingness to share.       Thank you, Karon

Additional comments to teacher from me- my views: Hi Karon,  These answers above are short and sweet. With this many question there is usually a live phone interview. I tried to answer quickly as I just eloped a plane after a 18 day tour.   Many of these questions are goood. The spirit of writing, having fun, playing with your reader and in this case young children, is the main purpose. You can break some rules IF your story communicates. Never allow the students to fail in writing by getting so caught up in the “rules’.   The questions as to why does he act so nice, like a dinosaur and am I concerned with him shrinking….well, I can say that the magic did not convey to som fo these kids, maybe due to them be HS students? They are looking at a book trying to dissect it as an educational tool, which is terrific but due to the nature of the questions, they may loose sight of the magic of writing if they need a WHY to all points in a book and on its pages, especially a childrens’ picture book. Writing can be much simpler and fun.Working with my illustrator was a magical experience. I am an Author and love to write, my illustrator is an Award Wining illustrator and this particular book is the opening to Adventures. The rest is sure to come.   Thank you for your questions and time. I wish all the children in your classes with a true goal to be a writer all the best os success in their endeavor. Those with a goal to be a children’s picture book writer will need perseverance and stamina and I feel anyone with enough perseverance can make it.

All the Best, Tina Turbin  Author

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