Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Author Vivian Zabel
on her Award Winning title I Like Pink
WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER?
I always told stories to my friends and siblings. The first time I shared my desire to write, was at school when I was an eighth grader in Morocco (my father was in the Air Force). I told a classmate I would write a book some day. She laughed at me and ridiculed me about that until my family returned to the states. I wish I could remember her name and find her so I could "show" her now.
AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU ASPIRE TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?
I wanted to be a teacher as well as a writer. I taught for 30 years, high school mainly: English, writing, yearbook, newspaper, speech, drama, and debate. In my early thirties, I began writing poetry, articles, and short stories, which were published.
HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE?
After the family Thanksgiving dinner two years ago, my three-year-old great-granddaughter climbed on the sofa beside me. "Granny," she said, "we need to visit." During our visit, she informed me, "You know, I like pink: dark pink, light pink, even almost white pink." Discovering she knew shades of colors existed gave me the idea for a book, not only about colors, but about shades. The main character also has my great-granddaughter's name, Haylee Rose.
TELL US SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER: The first book I wanted to have published concerned experiences family members suffer when a child or children are "stolen." However, one of my grandsons had a reading problem. I thought if I could find him some books about athletics, his main interest, perhaps he might find he liked to read. I couldn't find any for middle-school-aged and older boys, other than a few boring biographies. So, I wrote one, The Base Stealers Club. I know baseball, even helped coach the sport. I like mysteries, grew up on Nancy Drew. I combined my two interests, wrote a book, mixed in some black and white photos from some of my grandsons' baseball games, and, voila, one book that did interest a reluctant reader. Then, I wrote a sequel, Case of the Missing Coach. Not only did my grandson enjoy the books, many other pre-teens and younger teens did, too.
WHICH AUTHOR HAS MOST GREATLY INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING STYLE?
I have always been a voracious reader, reading different genres, different authors, and different styles. As a result, my style is a mixture of that of many authors.
WHAT BOOK HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE?
When I read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte as a seventh-grader, I knew I wanted to be able to write like Bronte. I wanted to bring characters alive, make readers hate for the book to end, take someone out of reality into the world of a book I wrote.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
Every time any of my writing won an award, I felt I had proof I accomplished something. Having I Like Pink win the Children's Literary Classics Silver Seal gave me a thrill and a sense of pride. However, when a librarian asked my grandson if he had read his grandmother's book The Base Stealers Club, he answered, "Only three times," success was mine.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF BECOMING PUBLISHED AND ANY TIPS YOU MIGHT OFFER FOR OTHER ASPIRING AUTHORS?
The process of becoming published is arduous and often disappointing. The main ingredients needed to succeed - determination and a thick skin. Another aspect of the process includes a writer's continuing to learn, improve, and refuse to give up. My pile of rejection letters and emails would paper my office, and most authors have the same experience. All submissions to 4RV Publishing, including submissions from company officers and staff, are sent to acquisition editors anonymously. I was rejected by my own company once. The head of the editorial department asked if I wanted him to send the manuscript to another editor, and I said no because the reasons given for the rejection were valid. I learned what I needed to do, where problems with my writing existed. Yes, rejection hurts; however, a good writer picks up the pieces, after having a short pity party, and either improves the manuscript or puts it aside to work on something else -- but he keeps writing, learning, and improving.
CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
I wish I had good advice that wasn't expensive, but I don't. Of course, some publishers help promote, but most promotion must be done by authors. Entering competitions is one way to promote. Speaking at conferences helps. Networking with other authors gives a writer support. I attend writing conferences and all sessions dealing with marketing, which gives me ideas. I don't have space to share some of those ideas, but speaking with a marketing professional is a good idea.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?Becoming a good writer requires learning how to be a better writer, through reading, workshops, and conferences. I taught writing for thirty years, but I attended workshops and writing clinics every one of those years, often two or three a year. I still attend at least two writing conferences a year. If we, as writers, don't continue to learn and improve, we begin to die.
WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?
All can be found or ordered through any bookstore or from Amazon as well as through the links provided.
Young Adult books:
Suspense and mainstream novels:
DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?
Yes, I'm working on a historical novel, Burnt Offering.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR NEXT BOOK:
During the 8th Century BC, King Ahaz of Judah followed the idol Moleck, and he, along with others, sacrificed their children by burning them alive. Women during those days were considered property and had little to no say or control over their own lives. The question that kept popping in my mind wouldn't let me forget the topic, "What would I have done as a mother during that time period?"
Little information of that time period exists, but my imagination took the research I found and turned it into a story of treachery, mystery, and struggle to survive.
Burnt Offering, hopefully, will be finished by next summer and submitted. Until the novel is accepted, I will have no idea when it will be available.
LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org