Today, I am thrilled to welcome award winning children’s author Donna M Smith to Robert’s Time Out to celebrate the launch of her magical new book Jazmine Montgomery Toy Detective ‘The Magic Glasses’.
If you peep out into your garden, hiding among the fruittrees there is a tiny village where the mushroom elves live. Jazmine’s magic glasses allow her to see the elves and their magic. Do you have magic glasses? Can you help Jazmine and Yapps solve the case of the missing iPad before school Monday morning using the very special mushroom elf magic?
Jazmine Montgomery Toy Detective ‘The Magic Glasses’ is an entertaining tale of a brave and inquisitive detective by the name of Jazmine Montgomery. This Toy Detective lives to snoop and ask questions. Jazmine stumbles onto a mystery that must be solved before school. Thanks to her
magic glasses, Jazmine begins her detective investigations to try to piece together what happened. Using her sleuth-like qualities and the help of Yapps, they ultimately discover the mystery of the stolen iPad.
Jazmine Montgomery Toy Detective ‘The Magic Glasses’ is a delightful story. The book is easy to follow and the wonderful illustrations by Sharyn Madder help to enhance the atmosphere of the story. This book is ideal for any wannabe detective, with just enough clues and surprises to keep you guessing whodunnit.
Donna M Smith is an award winning children’s author who lives in Victoria with her husband and
their three children. Donna has had several children’s stories and poems published, including early chapter books and most recently, co-authored a picture book. Donna holds an Arts degree and loves helping at her children’s school in the classroom. Donna has also written forty academic titles including textbooks and lesson plans. When Donna is not writing she enjoys spending time with her family.
Welcome Donna. I’m excited to have you visit today.
Thank you Robert for inviting me to visit your blog this evening.
Q: Are any of the characters in your book based on people you know?
Donna: The main character Jazmine Montgomery is based on my daughter Jazmine. She has a wonderful ability to see the magic in everything. Jaz is very creative and just loves puzzles, puzzle games and word games such as Boogle. Jaz was the inspiration for this story.
Q: Jazmine is an adventurous character. Can you see her solving further mysteries?
Donna: Absolutely! Jazmine is really looking forward to sharing her case files with her readers. You may of heard via the detective grape vines that Jazmine is putting together her case files for ‘The Missing Beads’ which she will release next year. Just quietly, there is also a detective game coming out too! Sshhhh quite as a mouse about that one.
Q: What’s your secret to writing interesting characters?
Donna: Humm, that sounds like a compliment, Thank you. Gee, that is a hard question Robert, but a really good one. I think the secret lies with allowing the characters to evolve naturally. By evolve naturally I mean, first having your story idea mind mapped out which includes a base character set. Then giving it time to grow and evolve into a 3D reality. Something tangible, something that gives the reader a sense of being ‘in’ the story rather than just reading it. My daughter has come from school where she has enjoyed author visits and told me the author said they wrote the story in a day or two – then she asked me ‘why do your stories take so long?’ That is an incredible ability, to be able to write a story within a day or two. I need to allow my characters, plot and storyline time to whirl off the corkboard and literally jump infront of me. Once my mind-map is complete and I have a base story and character outlines, I pin them up on my corkboard in handwritten format, sketches (although I cannot draw) and typed notes and ponder over them for a week or two. I find that ideas and characters traits start flowing and depth begins to evolve. Then I will have a spurt of writing and then again, notes will sit on the corkboard for another week or two and then more ideas and so forth come to me. So for me, writing a story is a longer process. With one particular story, I hit a wall which was disappointing and it had to sit for several months as I fiddled around with my mind maps and ideas until a light clicked on and a pathway presented itself. I admire those writers that can sit down and from start to finish write a fantastic story with a short period of time.
Q: What do you like most about writing?
Donna: The creative possibility of being able to experience worlds beyond our own, to enjoy wild adventures and crazy comical mishaps that anyone can sit and enjoy with their children, friends and family. Writing also allows me to give something special to my children and leave something behind for my grandchildren, to me that is my primary motivation and inspiration. The enjoyment my children get from reading the books, some about themselves, and their excitement when their teacher uses them in class for narrative study or discussions, is fulfilling.
Q: Which hat do you prefer to wear publisher or author?
Donna: Another tough question Robert, you are really picking my brain! It is really difficult to isolate just one. When I write a story, in my mind it can ‘see’ the characters, see it unfold just like a movie. I usually can see the cover before the story is complete. When my ms is complete ready for publication, I thoroughly enjoy the creative process of the cover design, internal layout, production, trailer and all of those things that bring a story to life. I really love the creative ability of being able to produce the final product.
I had a story published in an anthology a little while ago (I will mention the publisher or title) and once it was released, myself along with four other authors where disappointed. It was intended and advertised as being for 7-10yrs however, many of the stories where filled with swearing and stories that where just not appropriate for that age group. The layout was all over the place and many of the stories has not been professionally edited, the spelling errors where just in an abundance. I decided along with three other authors to have my story removed from the book. The experience was just that, an experience to file away and learn from and I felt I could have done better myself. Hence my next title was self published. I have had several other stories published in anthologies since by reputable publishers and several textbooks. However, with my early chapter books, I prefer to self publish under Jelli-Beanz Publishing to create the final product that is exactly as I imagine them to be. This process can at times be lengthy, however the patience and hard work is well worth the wait when it is finished.
Q: How will you promote the book?
Donna: Jelli-Beanz Publishing titles are distributed throughout Australian and New Zealand by a
Melbourne base company. They supply many schools, libraries and bookstores with success. I have been with them since 2010. The book is now also available as an ebook via iBookstore (itunes) for iPhone and iPads, as all of my titles are, making them the perfect travelling companion. My titles are also available via Amazon and their twenty odd distribution channels world-wide. BookPod, an Australian online bookstore also carries my titles and provide great service as they ship the same day of purchase. I can also provide readers with signed copies of my titles directly and provide schools with reading packs. So, I guess Robert there are easily obtained should a reader like to purchase a copy.
Q: Where can we find out more about you and your books?
Donna: I post regularly at Jelli-Beanz Publishing www.jellibeanzpublishing.com and I also have my own blog at http://donnamsmithauthor.wordpress.com/
My books also have their own blog sites, maintaining so many can be a tad difficult at times. I try to keep each blog focused on the theme of the book, that way nothing is ever doubled up and it is of course relevant to the book and site itself.
My other titles:
Delightfully Haiku: http://haikupoetry.wordpress.com/
A Shadow at Cape Naturaliste: http://ashadowatcapenaturaliste.wordpress.com/
Billy Cart Derby: http://billycartderby.wordpress.com/
Hopscotch (Anthology): http://packedlunchhopscotch.wordpress.com/
A Christmas Tail (Co-author Helen Ross) released 2013: https://www.facebook.com/peter.cherrywood?ref=ts&fref=ts
Thank you for dropping by Donna. I wish you every success with the book.
Thank you Robert, It has been great visiting you today.
Tues 3/9: Dimity Powell
Wed 4/9: Helen Ross
Thur 5/9: Di Bates
Fri 6/9: Sally Odgers
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