Day 1 of J. Aday Kennedy’s Virtual Book Tour For The National Writing For Childrens Center

      This month, I’m hosting Day 1 of the Virtual Book Tours for all
       the children’s book authors/illustrators who are part of the
       November Showcase at the National Writing for Children Center.
       Today, I’m pleased to be hosting Day 1 of the tour for author J.
       Aday Kennedy.

       I fell into writing for children accidentally. I
       never planned to write professionally. After my
       bills became manageable a few years following
       college, I researched graduate schools for a
       master”s degree in history and a teaching
       credential. I had narrowed down the schools in
       which I planned to apply, but my situation
       changed drastically.
      
       In 1998 I caught spinal meningitis and had a
       stroke due to complications due to the illness. I
       became a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic and
       there was little I could do physically and
       independently. I have always worked (since I was
       ten years old) and was a bit of a control freak.
       It is ironic that I became almost completely
       dependent on others. For six years I completed
       eight hours or more of therapy daily in an
       attempt to get some function to return. When I
       wasn’t doing therapy, I watched hour after hour
       of television.
      
       Life became a monotonous bore. I asked myself,
       “Is this all life has to offer?” Through the
       hours of therapy, I had regained partial use of
       my left arm and hand. I started playing games on
       the internet, but remained restless. My brain was
       itching for something to do. I found an online
       class, “Write Your Life Story.” That was the
       beginning of my writing life.
      
       Since childhood I had kept a diary. When I was a
       little girl, I wrote stories and illustrated
       them. After the class I discovered writing
       provided a distraction and renewed a childhood
       hobby. From this class I continued to take others
       on writing and read blogs, newsletters and e-
       books. I decided to stop all day therapy
       sessions. I had one arm and hand and that was
       enough. I took my writing seriously, and decided
       to pursue a writing career.
      
       After completing my twelfth online writing course
       an artist contacted me with a picture book idea.
       I tried to write the book. I researched writing
       for children and took a few courses on the
       subject. Writing for children looked easier. In
       actuality it was more difficult, but I loved the challenge.
      
       The most intensive and best course I took was
       through the Institute of Children’s Literature
       (ICL). I had enjoyed success writing Christian
       and inspirational essays and articles for adults.
       Many were published in magazines, newspapers and
       five were published in the popular Chicken Soup
       for the Soul anthologies.
      
       Writing for children was more fun and challenging
       than writing for adults. I loved dreaming up
       characters in which children could relate. I
       loved to laugh and tickle other people”s funny
       bones. There were few sounds that I enjoyed more
       than the laughter of a child.
      
       The idea for any single picture book, comes from
       many places. Klutzy Kantor was a mixture of ideas
       that had nothing in common. A riddle, Pegasus,
       klutziness, apples, a rainbow and a leprechaun
       joined to make what I believe is an original and
       funny story.
      
       The riddle in the book was shared with me by my
       respiratory therapist from India. She told me how
       the riddle perplexed her uncle. He was a
       mathematician. Mathematical formulas were tried.
       He wrestled with the riddle for two days and
       found no solution. When he gave up, she told him
       the answer. I shared the riddle with many and no
       one has solved it except Kantor.
      
       The main character, Klutzy Kantor, was a Pegasus.
       I have read and adored fantasy fiction since
       childhood. That influenced my selection of making
       the main character a Pegasus. He was not only
       clumsy. His intelligence was shown with his
       riddle solving skills. One of my sisters is a
       complete klutz and shared his intelligence. My
       sister is Kantor in the form of a male Pegasus
       that loves apples and solving riddles.
      
       The remaining elements came from a tool I learned
       in a writing class. I brainstormed for five
       minutes and wrote anything that popped into my
       head. Odd phrases appeared and I bundled them together.
      
       When I dreamed up the second and third books in
       the series, they were constructed in the same
       way. The second book in the series, “Cobblledom’s
       Curse,” showcased an elf cursed with insomnia.
       Kantor and the elf wash Cobbledom’s dingy rainbow
       in exchange for a wish. The third book, “The
       Itcha Itcha Goo Goo Blues,” centered around an
       elf that lost her hair to cancer. Kantor used
       Cobbledom’s jealousy of his brother to convince
       him to grant the elf’s wish for hair.

      Each book endeavored to incite laughter, shared a
       character building lesson and attempted to be
       enjoyable to reluctant readers. In an effort to
       get kids to dance and sing I co-wrote a song with
       LeFerna Walch of the Character Studio Dot com.
       For a review of my book I offer a free MP3 of
       Kantor’s song., “Go Me!”
       
      

Follow all 7 authors on their 5-day Virtual Book Tours and leave
       comments and you could win the Giftbox Giveaway from the
       National Writing for Children Center.  Click here to keep
       following the tour for Day 2 at http://terri
       forehand.blogspot.com

 

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