Thursday, August 20, 2009

Review: Interview with Dawn Menge, Creator of Queen Vernita!

Dawn, I've just finished Queen Vernita Visits the Blue Ice Mountains! I'm impressed and on behalf of children and parents who care about teaching their children, I thank you!

Thank you, Glenda, I really appreciate your review, kind words, and having me here...

Dawn, When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

I started writing in a credentialing class. One of the assignments in class was to write a children’s math book.

Children's Math, huh? That would be an interesting topic...I can see the Queen writing on the chalkboard in her own castle classroom! Where do your ideas and subjects come from?

My ideas and subjects come from my life. The character Queen Vernita is based on my grandmother. The other characters in the stories are people that are in my life, my family and friends. The subjects come from my travels. The Blue Ice Mountains comes from my trips to Alaska, the next in the series; Queen Vernita meets HeathyBean the Astronomer is based on my brother Heath.

Heath...interesting name, reminding me of Heathcliff! I know you are working on your doctorate and have undoubtedly done much writing, but did you go to school for writing?

No, I have been in the special education field for the past 14 years. I have a clear credential and masters degree in special education. And, as you mentioned, I am currently a candidate for my PHD in curriculum and instruction at Capella University. So yes, I've done a lot of writing, although creative writing is much different. But with my family life, it all seems to pull together.

Does Your writing come natural to you or is it something that you have to work on?

Writing about Queen Vernita and her adventures comes naturally to me. The subject and her characters are a big part of my life. The activities and education that I am passing on to my readers is something that I have experienced myself. Therefore it all comes from the heart. It is easy to write about the people that you love, your enjoyment of life, and to pass the passion into your writing and to your readers.

Well, I certainly can agree that your passion comes through in your writing! I would enjoy spending time with Queen Vernita! Especially if I can visit her castle...! Kidding??? Not! What has been your favorite subject to write about?

Traveling and using these experiences to expand our children’s knowledge base. Every new adventure that Queen Vernita goes on is a new adventure for me. I have had a good response with my books and I look forward to seeing what mischief Queen Vernita gets into next.

Yes, I'd like to see her get into a little mischief myself! So, what are the projects do you have for the future?

Sir HeathyBean and the teacher Cora will discuss the different aspects of astronomy. He teaches Queen Vernita and her friends about the sun, moon, planets and meteors.

Queen Vernita will soon travel to an enchanted island with her friends. This adventure is based on my trip to Kona this summer. Queen Vernita will learn about Seahorses, eels, botanical gardens, sea turtles and many more exciting subjects.

In Queen Vernita’s 5 adventure she will learn about volcanic activity and the flora and fauna surrounding this environment.

In the adventures I also try to add in information about disabilities and environmental issues as in animals that are becoming extinct and preserving the planet.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment to date?

The Most important thing in my life is my family. I have three beautiful children and three grandchildren, a very special mother and two brothers. Without these people in my life I would be lost. They have given me the inspiration to reach whatever goals I desire.

That excellent answer surely is illustrated in your choice of writing books to help children learn!
Any tips for other writers?

As they say “Just do it”, but remember to do what you know. If you are writing about a subject that you have a great passion for and is close to your heart, it will come naturally and easily. The enjoyment you get from it will be passed onto your readers.

Not a secret, of course, but not as easily to do! I read constantly, but I also realize that I don't have the creative talent to write...which you obviously do! Dawn, thanks so much for sharing with us today! I wish you well with your Queen Vernita series...