Author Spotlight – Welcome Back Darlene Foster

It is a very special pleasure for me to welcome you back on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’. In your former visits we learned about your writing, your writing process and asked for some advice. But there are so many more questions to ask!

Let’s see what you can tell us today:

1. Would you please describe your writer’s spot?

If you mean where I do my writing, it is usually in my office in my home in Spain. It’s the spare bedroom which we have turned into my office with a desk, computer and comfy office chair. I’m surrounded by books, magazines, a dictionary, thesaurus and other writer’s aids. Pictures of my family grace the walls. It is not a neat and tidy place but it works for me. I also hand write in the car (while hubby is driving, of course) on airplanes and sitting on my sunny terrace.

2. Is there a particular plan or schedule you follow with your writing?

I am a usually very organized person who loves to plan. But with my writing, I don’t have a plan or schedule, I’m a genuine panster. I write when I get time and when I get ideas. I create a mind map, basically with locations and characters, to help me stay on track but it doesn’t always help. It gets very messy by the time I’ve finished the book. I sound totally disorganized, it’s a wonder I ever get anything written!

3. Do you think writers often are ‘introverted’ people, preferring to be alone rather than in company?

Some writers are introverted I’m sure, but not me. I love being around people, am energized by them and get my ideas by being around a variety of folks. Meeting new people is always a treat for me. You learn so much from others. I find it difficult to be alone and get bored quickly.

4. Do you publicly speak or have readings, and if yes, do you have any advice for beginners?

This is my favourite part of being an author. It’s a great way to connect with readers. I write books for middle-grade children so I contact schools and libraries and ask if I can do a presentation and reading. Kids love being read to, especially by a real live author. I always leave time for questions and answers. It is amazing how clever the readers are and the great questions they ask. If I’m unable to answer the question, I’m honest and say I don’t know or would rather not answer the question. (Like “How old are you?”) I sometimes get an email address and offer to get back to them later. Besides schools and libraries, I’ve done presentations at senior’s homes, coffee shops, hospitals, service groups and whoever will listen to me. Interaction with readers is a good way to increase sales and get ideas. And it is fun!

5. There are so many scams out there for writers and upcoming authors. Did you ever have experience with any of it and do you have advice on how to not get trapped?

I have not been caught up in any scams but I know they are out there. Like everything, one needs to be vigilant.

6. Do you have a particular marketing strategy for your books?

I do some pre-publishing promotion through guest posts and other social media. Around publication time I always do a physical launch at a bookstore and then book other bookstores, library and school visits. I continue to market the series all year long. Networking, on social media or in person, is still the best way to market any product, including books.

7. Did you publish more of your work since your last visit here? If yes, please tell us about it.

I haven’t published another book since Amanda in New Mexico-Ghosts in the Wind. I have however completed Amanda in Holland-Missing in Action which will be released September 1, 2019 and is available for pre-order. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07L9LVK4J/

In this book, Amanda is in Holland to see the tulips with her best friend, Leah, travelling the canals of Amsterdam, visiting Anne Frank House, checking out windmills and a wooden shoe factory, and taking pictures of the flowers of Keukenhof Gardens. While she’s there, she is keen to find out what happened to her great uncle who never returned from WWII and was declared missing in action. What she doesn’t expect to find and fall in love with is Joey, an abandoned puppy. While trying to find a home for him, she meets Jan, a Dutch boy who offers to help, a suspicious gardener, a strange woman on a bicycle, and an overprotective goose named Gerald.

Readers can follow Amanda around the charming country of Holland, filled with colourful tulips, windmills, and more bicycles than can be imagined. Once again, intrepid traveller Amanda encounters danger and intrigue as she tries to solve more than one mystery in a foreign country.

Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!

Thank you for having me as a guest once again. Your questions are always thought-provoking and fun to answer.


Darlene Bio:

Growing up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world, and meeting interesting people. She also believed in making her dreams come true. It’s no surprise she’s now the award-winning author of Amanda Travels, a children’s adventure series featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places. Readers of all ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. When not travelling herself, Darlene divides her time between western Canada and the Costa Blanca, Spain with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.


Connect with Darlene:

website http://www.darlenefoster.ca/

Blog https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter/
Twitter https://twitter.com/supermegawoman
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/darlenefoster
Amazon author page https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/


Darlene’s Books:

Advertisements

Featured Author – Interview – The return of Darlene Foster

Welcome back!

You were a guest on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ before, where we learned about writing in your life and your projects.

Let’s see what you can tell us today:

1. Are you still writing in the same genre as you did before, and if not, why did you switch – or would you ever think to change genres?

I am still writing travel adventure stories for middle grade readers and probably will for some time. I enjoy writing for this age group. Tweens are no longer little kids and not yet young adults. They are just discovering life outside their comfort zone and are eager to learn more. I like to think my books will broaden their horizons and spark an interest in traveling.

I have, however, written short stories – memoirs, about growing up on the Canadian prairies, and plan to publish them in a collection soon. It´s always good to try different genres to stretch your writing muscles.

2. Please, tell us a little about your writing process.

It´s not a terribly organized process and I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone but it works for me. I get an idea, usually based on a location, and start scribbling. Once I get the first draft of the first chapter completed, I create a mind map. This mind map is divided into chapters and a location is allotted to each chapter. Then I add characters to the chapters. I use different coloured gel pens to do this. I add ideas and action as I progress with the story. I am very much a panster writer. This is a living map and gets changed a lot. It gets very messy and colourful. No one could ever make sense out of it except me. It’s as messy and confusing as my mind. Once I’m finished writing the first draft, which I edit and share with critique partners as I proceed, I then review the complete story and do some rewrites before sending out to beta readers. After more rewrites based on the beta readers feedback, I send it to my publisher who does a thorough edit. After a few more changes and rewrites, it is ready for publication and I have the book memorized. There is probably an easier way to do this but I don´t know it!

3. What is important to know for young, new authors and writers?

There is no right or wrong way to write a book. You find a way, usually by trial and error, and then you make it right for you. You can spend way too much time worrying about doing it right. Just write it down and polish it later. There will always be edits and rewrites. (see above)

4. Your experience in the writing world, do you think it has already taken you where you wanted to go?

Yes and no. I am astonished to have six books published in the series and more to come. I also have a bilingual book published and short stories in anthologies. So I am pleased with my production, especially since I started writing seriously later in life. I am happy to have a following and some devoted Amanda fans. So in some ways I have exceeded where I wanted to go. I would however like to be better at marketing and have my books more well-read internationally. I’m the sort of person who always raises the bar so I don’t think I will ever be completely satisfied.

5. In your opinion, are you a writer or an author – and what is the difference for you?

I am both. I have heard that a writer is someone who writes (that’s me) and an author is someone who is published (that’s me too). Perhaps the difference is that an author is someone who is in the business of writing. To be somewhat successful, you need to look at it as a business.

6. Please, tell us about your projects again. Was there progress since the last interview or are there even completely new projects?

Since my last interview on Writer’s Treasure Chest, I have completed and published the sixth book in my Amanda Travels series, Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind. In this book, intrepid traveler Amanda is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico where she visits many incredible sites including an ancient pueblo, a traditional hacienda and a haunted hotel. She learns about the wild and violent past of this rugged but beautiful landscape. Her classmate claims to see ghosts everywhere they go and Amanda can’t escape an eerie wind that follows her. This book is a bit spookier than the others but everyone seems to like it. One reviewer said it is fast-paced, spooky, and enough cultural reference to delight both readers and parents.

I am now working on book seven, Amanda in Holland-Missing in Action and have ideas for Amanda in Malta. Amanda has a more places to visit and interesting people to meet. If only she could mind her own business and keep out of trouble.

Thank you for being my guest once again. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!

Thank you so much for inviting me back to your wonderful blog!


Darlene’s bio:

Darlene Foster has dreamt of writing books, travelling the world and meeting interesting people for as long as she can remember. It’s no surprise that she’s now an award-winning author of the exciting Amanda Travels series featuring spunky Amanda Ross, a twelve-year-old Canadian girl who loves to travel. Readers of all ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another in unique destinations. Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Spanish Costa Blanca with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot. She believes it is never too late to make your dreams come true.


Links

Website: Darlene Foster
Facebook
Amazon author page
WordPress Blog
Goodreads
Twitter@supermegawoman


Find Darlene’s new book ‘Amanda in New Mexico’ here: https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-New-Mexico-Ghosts-Travels-ebook/dp/B01MT8LXAR/

All other books can be found on her Amazon Author Page

Author Spotlight – Darlene Foster

thWelcome!

 

Please introduce yourself.

 

Hi! I’m Darlene Foster, a writer of children’s books, travel articles and short stories. I grew up on a ranch in southern Alberta, Canada where I dreamt of travelling the world and becoming a published writer. I call the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca of Spain my home these days. Dreams do come true!

 

 When did you start writing? 

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. Putting words down on paper has always been a pleasure for me. I had a story published in a local newspaper when I was twelve. It was called Stretch Your Food Dollar. The crazy thing is that it is about an amusing experience two young girls have in a department store. Little did I know, all these years later, I would publish books about two girls having adventures and amusing experiences in various countries.

 

 What motivates you to write? 

I am motivated by boredom. If I feel I might be getting bored, I start a new writing project. Then I complain I’m too busy but I actually like it that way.

 

 What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre? 

For the most part, I write travel adventure stories for children. I tend to relate best with children. Some say I have never really grown up myself. Adulthood is far over rated. Tweens, kids aged eight to twelve are delightful. They are in the middle, no longer little children but not yet teenagers. There is still that sweet innocence but they are starting to question things and think for themselves. That sense of adventure kicks in and they crave more independence, at the same time like to feel safe in the familiar.

 

 What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you? 

My goal is to have many children (and adults) all over the world read and enjoy my books. My dreams are that schools will stick my books in their libraries and teachers will use them in the classroom.

 

 Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it? 

I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t suffer from writer’s block from time to time. Sometimes the words just won’t come. I often deal with it by going for a walk or reading a book. Chatting with a friend or family member, not even about the book, often unlocks the creative juices. Hanging around kids works as well. Once I was struggling with the ending of one of my books and getting very frustrated. My dear husband had given me a gift certificate for a massage for my birthday. While having the massage, the ending came to me as clear as could be. I raced home and typed it up! You just never know. But sitting in front of the screen doesn’t work, I have to leave it and do something different.

 

 What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors? 

If you have a dream of becoming a published author, never give up on that dream. It may take a while and it will take a lot of hard work, but it is worth it! Also connect with other authors. The writing community is so supportive and encouraging. You can’t do it alone.

 

 Please, tell us about your work. 

My books feature Amanda Ross, a 12 year old Canadian girl who decides that the only way out of her boring existence is to travel. In Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask, she makes a wish on her birthday for a chance to travel and gets an airline ticket to the United Arab Emirates to visit her Aunt the next day. She doesn’t even know where that is and has to look it up on the internet. Once there she meets Leah, an English girl, and before she knows it they are in the middle of an adventure that involves a runaway princess, bounty hunters, camels and a sand storm. She often finds herself wishing she were back home in her boring but safe life once again. Amanda travels to Spain to join Leah in Amanda in Spain – The Girl in The Painting, where they help a young girl, who looks like a girl in a famous painting, escape the clutches of a mean horse thief. She also visits Leah in Amanda in England – The Missing Novel, where they get lost in a maze, hide in an underground tunnel and ride the London Eye in search of a missing vintage novel. When Leah visits Amanda in Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone, they take in all the sights while trying to decipher the mysterious writing on a stone and keep it from getting into the wrong hands. No matter where Amanda travels, she can’t seem to stay away from danger. In the fifth book soon to be released, Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music, Amanda is given a precious violin to look after as she enjoys a cruise down the Danube with Leah. Things aren’t always what they seem and Amanda is not sure who she can trust. Even Leah is acting strange.

 

 

Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!! 

Thank you for having me as a guest on your blog. It has been fun talking to you about my writing journey. Life is an adventure, enjoy!!


 

Contact Darlene:


Darlene’s Books:

Amandaonthe Danube
(Click on the cover to get to the book)

 

AmandaBooks