Saturday, September 17, 2016

Between the Lines: Writing for Kids

by Zinta Aistars

for WMUK 102.1 FM
Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate




Between the Lines is my weekly radio show about books and writers with a Michigan connection. It airs every Tuesday at 7:50 a.m., 11:55 a.m., and 4:20 p.m. (or listen anytime online), on WMUK 102.1 FM, Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate. I am the host of Between the Lines.

This week's guest: Kelly DiPucchio 

Kelly DiPucchio
CREDIT TAYLER STIRRETT



Kelly DiPucchio writes children’s books because she can’t imagine writing anything else. She’s written twenty of them so far and is just getting started. Two of her books, Grace for President and The Sandwich Swap, were New York Times bestsellers. This month, she added a new book to the shelf: Everyone Loves Cupcake.

Grace for President, published in 2008, has taken on new life during the current presidential campaign. It’s a story about a little girl who notices that there are no women on a poster of U.S. presidents. Grace decides to run for president of the student council in her school to help change that.

“Every election, the book has another life added to it,” DiPucchio says. “This year, it’s had all kinds of interest in it. Rutgers University did a program in which they sent out copies to congresswomen and mayors and senators, encouraging them to takeGrace for President out into their communities and read them as part of their ‘Teach a Girl to Lead’ program.”
  DiPucchio’s newest book, Everyone Loves Cupcake, deals with sweeter matters. The character Cupcake is a perfectionist – every sprinkle in place – but finds herself dealing with self-esteem issues.
Although the book deals with some serious ...


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Between the Lines: In the Context of Love

by Zinta Aistars

for WMUK 102.1 FM
Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate




Between the Lines is my weekly radio show about books and writers with a Michigan connection. It airs every Tuesday at 7:50 a.m., 11:55 a.m., and 4:20 p.m. (or listen anytime online), on WMUK 102.1 FM, Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate. I am the host of Between the Lines.

This week's guest: Linda Sienkiewicz

Linda K. Sienkiewicz
CREDIT DANIELLE SIENKIEWICZ

Michigan author Linda Sienkiewicz painted and wrote poetry. But it was a celebrity crush that inspired her to write a novel. “Years ago I had a crush on Russell Crowe,” Sienkiewicz laughs. “This was before he broke Meg Ryan’s heart. I was surfing the Internet when I stumbled across Russell Crowe fan fiction. Fan fiction is when you take characters from a movie or another book and you create a new story about them.”

Sienkiewicz thought she’d try her hand at fan fiction. It seemed easy enough. She developed her characters and a story line and shared it with a friend who worked as an editor. He encouraged her to keep at it but give the manuscript a more serious turn and develop it into a novel.
Sienkiewicz laughs again, “I had no clue how to write a novel, but he said, 'Oh no! it’s really easy! Fourteen chapters and a new character in every chapter…'”
Writing her debut novel was anything but easy. Sienkiewicz was hooked, though, and her characters and their story carried her along as she rose to the challenge of writing something more substantial.
“I even had an agent for what I call my starter novel,” she says. “But the agent wasn’t able to sell it. I wanted to learn more about novel writing, and I thought back to an article I’d read in the early 90's, called 'My Father was a Rapist.'”
CREDIT BUDDHAPUSS INK
Sienkiewicz was intrigued by the article, which related the stories of several women who learned that they were born out of the act of rape. Each deals with that knowledge in a different way. For Sienkiewicz, it became an important part of what would become her debut novel, In the Context of Love(Buddhapuss Ink, 2015). The novel has since become a 2016 Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist, a 2016 Reader’s Choice Women’s Fiction Finalist, and earned Great Midwest Book Festival honorable mention.
In the words of Kalamazoo’s own Bonnie Jo Campbell, “Linda K. Sienkiewicz’s powerful and richly detailed debut novel is at once a love story, a cautionary tale, and an inspirational journey. In the Context of Love should be required reading for all wayward teenage girls — and their mothers, too.”
For Sienkiewicz, writing the novel also meant pushing herself through ...






Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Between the Lines: From Manga to Barbie to Minecrafters

by Zinta Aistars

for WMUK 102.1 FM
Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate




Between the Lines is my weekly radio show about books and writers with a Michigan connection. It airs every Tuesday at 7:50 a.m., 11:55 a.m., and 4:20 p.m. (or listen anytime online), on WMUK 102.1 FM, Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate. I am the host of Between the Lines.

This week's guest: Danica Davidson

Danica Davidson
CREDIT DEBORAH PECKHAM

Danica Davidson of Sturgis, Michigan, began her career as a writer when she was just three years old. That's not a typo. She couldn’t write yet but she could dictate. Her parents took down her dictated stories, and little Danica then drew pictures to illustrate them.

By age seven, Davidson had written her first novel. “It was terrible,” she admits.
By age fourteen, she convinced her school teacher to tell the Los Angeles Times that there was a talented writer in her classroom. The newspaper followed up and interviewed the young author.
“I began submitting to agents and editors when I was in middle school,” Davidson says. “And I was learning that to break into publishing was about the hardest thing to do in the world. I thought it would help to have been in the LA Times, but it didn’t.”
CREDIT SKY PONY PRESS
Davidson says her first sale to a publisher was a book on manga — the Japanese comic art form. Anime is the animated version of manga.
“That was a surprise to me. The publisher actually approached me. I had by then a history of writing articles on manga, so they asked me to write a book about it.”
Davidson was soon writing articles for hundreds of publications, magazines, and websites. The list includes MTV,The Onion, CNN, Ms. Magazine,Publishers Weekly, and many more. But she especially enjoys writing for the young. Her "Minecrafter" novels, stories built around characters in the popular video game, are written primarily for ages 7 to 12.
Davidson’s writing about manga for MTV earned her ...