Today we are joined by Canadian Children's author Diane Mae Robinson.
A bit about Diane Mae Robinson:
Diane lives with her husband, Allen, in a small hilltop castle nestled amongst a magical forest near St. Paul, Alberta, Canada.
They have four dogs and three horses, along with a forest inhabited by gnomes, fairies, a puny prince, a bog witch, a charismatic princess, and a somewhat unruly dragon.
Diane has a journalism diploma from the Schools of Montreal and an advanced diploma from the Institute of Children's Literature in Connecticut.
She is also an artist and teaches acrylic and watercolor art to children.
Why did you pick to write books for children?
I didn’t know I was going to be a children’s book writer when I first started writing. After I graduated Journalism School, I dabbled in article writing, travel writing, and some adult short stories. All that kind of writing was okay, but I didn’t feel passionate about any of it. I then enrolled in the Institute of Children’s Literature thinking this might be my niche---it was, and I have never looked back.
What types of books do you like to read?
I read many different genres: fantasy, adventure, psychological thrillers, spiritual books, and the ‘classics’. But mostly, I read a lot of children’s books. My favorites in children literature are books by Lemony Snicket, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, and Jonathan Stroud. My favorite adult writers are Terry Goodkind in his Sword of Truth series and anything written by John Irving. Right now I’m reading a classic, Cluny Brown, by Margery Sharp written in 1944.
When you are not writing, what do you like to do?
I love to be out in nature—riding my horses, playing with my dogs, gardening, or just walking in the forests of our acreage. The forest gives me inspiration for my writing. I am also an artist and teach private art lessons to children. And, of course, I read a lot.
Tell us about Sir Princess Petra – The Pen Pieyu Adventures and how the story came to be.
The story stems from my childhood imagination. As a child, I made up plays and skits to act out for the neighborhood kids. I was the princess; my sister was my hero; and we charged a quarter to watch the performance. My imagination has always been set on ‘high’, and I’ve never stopped making up plays in my head.
This story was originally written as a story picture book. When asked by a publisher if I could turn it into a chapter book, which I did, the story took off in a much better direction. Upon resubmitting the chapter book version, that publisher offered me a contract. The contract was signed by both parties, but ultimately the book was not produced by them due to financial difficulties that publishing house was having at that time.
After submitting to several more publishers, I finally did receive a contract for the chapter book.
Here's a peak at Sir Princess Petra – The Pen Pieyu Adventures:
'I have thought hard and for many passing moons. Jewels, frocks of lace, and princess games have become boring. The thing I want the most...' Petra hesitated and bit on her lip. 'I want to be a royal knight.'
Princess Petra's unusual birthday request sends the court into a frenzy, but when she agrees to undertake a knight's quest they can't stop her. Armed with a cake knife and outfitted in the best royal pots and pans, Petra sets off to face a dragon and win her real armor before encountering a bog witch, and an army of the kingdom's worst enemies. Will Petra's kindness and acceptance prove to be more valuable than weapons and armor?
Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.
Book two in this series, Sir Princess Petra’s Talent – The Pen Pieyu Adventures, is being released in March, 2013. Book two carries on the zany adventures of Petra and her dragon pal, Snarls. Petra is ordered by her father, the king, to attend ‘Talent School’ and attain a talent fit for a ‘princess’. Well, Petra is not your usual princess kind of princess. She scoffs at girly- princess things and is only interested in adventures. She’s not too happy about having to learn some girly stuff, such as crochet or knitting. Where will Petra’s talent lie?
What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?
I am currently writing book three in this series. I hope to have at least four books in this series.
What advice do you have for other authors?
The most important thing is not to give up. If you believe in yourself, write the best you can write, and do your research on publishers and follow their guidelines for submitting, eventually a book contract will come along. My first book was published after twenty-seven rejections and one failed contract.
Where can readers find you and your books?
The books can be purchased from:
Amazon; Barnes and Noble; Goodreads distributors AbeBooks, and Alibris: and through the publisher, Tate Publishing.
I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Goodreads, SCBWI, Young Alberta Book Society, Google Books, Jacket Flap, CCBC, and the Children’s Book Directory.
You can also link to the book sellers, get my contact information for Facebook, etc., or read more about my writing, book awards, and book reviews at my website: http://www.dragonsbook.com
On my website, there is also a ‘Kids Page’ with interesting facts about the characters of book one, and a free pdf download of the Sir Princess Petra coloring book.
Anything else you want readers to know?
I do author visits for school and libraries in person or through Skype. I will have lesson plans for teachers posted on the ‘Teacher/Librarian’ page of my website in the near future.