Recently, Pooja from Lifesfinewhine interviewed me about my work as a writer and blogger. What I love about the experience of every writer interview is that each interviewer brings their own flavor of questions to the table. As the master of her own blogging metropolis, however, Pooja didn’t just bombard me with questions about blogging. Her questions opened the discussion to include two of my favorite things to talk about: children’s books and historical fiction! (Surprise, surprise!)
Without further ado, I would like to thank Pooja for this splendid opportunity, and share with you some excerpts from the interview:
When did you create your blog and what pushed you to start blogging?
Creating a blog was something I had long avoided, because in my heart of hearts, I am a storyteller and not a conventional blogger. What I didn’t realize, though, was that author blogs are actually some of the most interesting ones out there, and that blogging and storytelling are quite compatible (case in point, Pooja’s “six word stories”). The Inquisitive Inkpot began in the summer of 2019 as my platform for sharing bits of historical research and background information about my historical fiction novel, The Exile. It didn’t take long to realize that there was so much more I wanted to write about, so it quickly became the online hub for sharing all things related to my creative projects, lessons I’ve learned in the writing/publishing process, and commentaries on the connections between life and storytelling.
What is the most difficult part about writing for children?
This is a great question. As a writer who usually prefers to imply things, I have to remind myself that children are not able to make sophisticated inferences in the same way adults can. This means I have to work to make the themes of the story more obvious than I normally would– and yet if they are too obvious, then the book feels preachy and overwritten. It’s about finding balance. I want to challenge kids by strengthening their reading and critical thinking skills, without important elements of the story going straight over their heads.
I would add that one of the most rewarding parts of writing for children is seeing them learn. A recurring pattern in my first series of children’s books is the use of alliteration (i.e. using consecutive words that begin with the same letter). I use this particular literary device to introduce new words to kids in a fun way, which means they are more likely to remember the word and use it themselves. For example, in The Misadventures of Melvin the Missing Sock, the story begins with Melvin the sock feeling “mediocre” because he is just a plain, white sock who lives in the middle drawer. Later on, when he is separated from his match, he feels “melancholy.” It’s always a blast seeing kids light up when they realize what these words mean, and then hearing them use the words later on!
What is one thing you love about blogging?
Stumbling across a perspective I haven’t encountered before! In the blogosphere, you encounter plenty of people who echo the same concepts and principles– which can be a helpful reminder that what they’re saying is true, but it can also grow monotonous. I like running across an article or blogger who evaluates something from an unconventional angle– not for the purpose of being nonconformist, but for the purpose of raising important questions that many of us overlook. Two bloggers who consistently do this well are Sam Kirk and Saania Saxena.
What is your favourite food?
This is probably the easiest question: Italian. I’m probably biased because I am Italian, but it is a core belief of mine that garlic can improve just about anything (except for desserts).
As a historical fiction writer what is one century/period of time you wish you could experience?
Although none of my stories (yet) have taken place in this setting, I would love to have experienced the golden age of Rome. The level of technological advancement, art, and education this society reached is truly astounding, when you think of how long ago this was. Granted, you would only have benefited from these aspects if you were of some means. Slaves didn’t have the best of lives, but the standard of living for the common man was still much higher than it was for peasants of subsequent centuries. For all the attention that the Middle Ages and the more “rugged” time periods receive, I think we forget that life back then would have been very harsh, dangerous, and full of disease. We are still dealing with the effects of a pandemic today– imagine what it was like for those trapped inside cities during the Bubonic Plague! The plunge from Rome’s pinnacle also fascinates me because it reminds me how civilizations are capable of regressing as well as progressing.
The full writer interview can be read on Pooja’s blog— which is worth stopping by anyways. 🙂