First, a bit about Randa:
Randa Handler is an international journalist, publicist and publisher. Her interview with actor Rock Hudson (his last) was published worldwide. In 2003, Handler moved into publishing, successfully launching an educational series of children’s books used as ‘lesson plans’ by elementary school teachers. She is currently dedicated to writing and illustrating children’s books.
Why did you pick to write books for children?
I really believe that early education is key! Having worked at the UN and having been exposed to so many cultures, made certain needs clear. Most importantly: teaching in a fun way tolerance of all differences. I wanted to see if I could help somehow. Even if it's in a small way.
I like to read all kinds of books. I basically get intrigued by the premise and the background of the author.
When you are not writing, what do you like to do?
I like to keep my mind busy doing something --it seems. If I'm not writing, you can find me starting some kind of project. I've rehabbed homes and furniture. Hobbies wise, I like to antique shop and catch a movie, an opera or concert.
Tell us about The Boy Who Spoke to God and how the story came to be.
I thought a long time about writing this book. Like many people in publishing, I shied away from
talking about anything that might be seen as spiritual in nature. At the same time, having worked with children's book authors and educators both in public relations and in publishing, I knew that children didn't have books that addressed their basic questions about God. I decided to premise an early reader’s children’s book with exactly that. I set out to try and find a way to do that without being religious, preachy, or slanted. Believe me, that's a hard task. I thought if I set it as a fairytale, about a time long ago, it might be accepted. I decided on four tribes that find a way to live in peace and harmony despite vastly different religious beliefs. I will be happy if the book is accepted and is used as a tool to open a dialogue with a young mind.
Here's a peek at The Boy Who Spoke to God:
become divisive when religious holidays approach. During such times, they cannot agree on the timing or manner of religious traditions, and they each have their own god who looks and dresses as they do.
When Niko, a young Greek boy, has several dreams of God, each tribe interprets the various details of his dreams according to its own view of God, further emphasizing the tribes’ differences in beliefs. Subsequently Niko is shunned for having created even more disharmony and for lying to the tribes, or so they think, as no one believes he dreamed of God.
To clear up all the confusion and arrive at the truth, Niko begs God to manifest in one final dream. This time God shows him that the tribes’ beliefs are actually different expressions of the same god. Niko concludes that God is like colorless and formless iridescent light, and the beliefs of all tribes about their gods are correct as these gods are like colors of the rainbow that derive from white light.
Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.
I have 5 books released and currently working on others. The Thanksgiving Dinner Platter takes place in 1941 when Thanksgiving became a national holiday and features the friendship between a Native American boy and a Japanese-American little girl. It even includes a real recipe for cornbread just like the one served at the first Thanksgiving dinner eaten by the pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians at Plymouth Plantation. The book concludes with the kids sharing the special cornbread with the Vets and thanking them for their service.
I also have two installments in the series Cubbie Blue and His Dog Dot. Book one sets the stage for this series of children’s books centering around the friendship and adventures of 3 multiracial kids and their special tiny friend Cubbie. Book two of the series What’s up with Mike? features a
blind child and helps kids learn how to deal with disabilities.
If I Were King centers around a feisty zebra who decides to befriend many jungle animals except other zebras. Winner of a 2013 Mom’s Choice Award, it focuses on finding true friendships and learning about boundaries.
What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?
Right now I'm working on the third installment in the Cubbie Blue series.
What advice do you have for other authors?
Don't let rejections detract you from your goal. Practice makes perfect and try to always work with a good editor who will really give you the honest truth. Not a friend but a business associate.
Anything else you want readers to know?
I'm sure news about new releases will be posted by my publisher, Premier Digital Publishing or on my own website.
Where can readers find you and your books?
They can follow me on Twitter or visit my Facebook page.
My books should be available online and hopefully at all book retailers in 2014.