January 4, 2010

Guest Author - J. Aday Kennedy

Today I'm welcoming inspirational and children's writer, J. Aday Kennedy.

1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
After my stroke I was completely dependent on others and bored. I had nothing to do. When I could not stand watching television a moment longer, I began to play on my computer cruising the Internet. I found some writing classes. The writing classes took me back to my childhood. I was always writing stories and drawing pictures when I was a kid. I loved it then and out of necessity I learned I still did. I regained a sense of independence and rediscovered my love for writing. That was in June 2006. I’ve taken fifteen classes since then. Today I’m a multi-published author. I’ve got four essays in Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, numerous pieces in magazines and five picture books under contract to be published by Guardian Angel Publishing.

2. Why did you choose to write for kids?
I love kids. My original goal was to become teacher. I became an author instead. The thought of getting a child to fall in love with reading excites me. The characters in books were some of my best friends when I was a kid.

3. What drew you to the subject of Klutzy Kantor?
My picture book idea started with a riddle a friend told me. I tried to submit it to over ten magazines, but had no takers. I set it aside. The idea of a clumsy, but intelligent Pegasus came from a sister. She is a total klutz, but lovable and smart. When I wrote the picture book I rolled the riddle into it. It won’t be out until early 2010. I can’t wait!

4. What was the name of the first book you wrote? Did you try to publish it?
“101 Ways to Torture a Quadriplegic: a Journey of Laughter Through Tears” is still being written. It’s a memoir of my stroke, rehabilitation and faith. I’m writing it for a young adult audience.

5. What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?
I think it’s my ability to write rich description wound around action and showing not telling. The way to do it is more than finding strong adjectives. You can do it without using any adjectives. Verbs are just as important when trying to convey a feeling. “The happy boy walked down the sidewalk.” or “The boy whistled and skipped down the sidewalk.” Have you ever seen someone sad skipping and whistling?

6. Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?
I use a program called Inspiration 8. It is for brainstorming. It is a great tool. If you’re looking for something it has a free trial. Check it out.
Another program I use is TextAloud. I use it to read what I’ve written back to me. It’s better than reading your work to yourself, because it only reads what is there (you don’t fill in missing words unconsciously.).

7. What’s your writing schedule?
Without a schedule, I’m a scattered brained mess. I write for three hours. I answer email an hour and a half. I work on whatever project I’m working to complete (now it’s book marketing) for 2 hrs. I read for research (picture books, how to write books or visit websites to educate myself about writing, publishing or promoting for an hour. I network an hour. Then if I’ve got more time I’ll work on my memoir or blog.

8. What place that you haven’t visited would you like to go?
I’d like to go to Poland and visit the concentration camps, to Russia to see the cathedrals and to London to visit parliament and see anything that has to do with Winston Churchill.
Since I’m on a ventilator I have a tracheotomy tube and can’t fly. I’ll have to take a European cruise to get there. I’ll need to take 2 nurses/caregivers. I’ll need to pay for them, too. I’ll have to wait until I’m rich and famous.

9. Who is your greatest cheerleader?
My caregiver, Jackie cheers me. When I get down and out and want to quit she won’t let me. When I’m sad we cry together. When I’ happy we laugh. She’s a great friend. Everyone can use a cheerleader from time to time.

10. What would you like to learn to do that you haven’t?
I’d love to learn to punctuate. I’ve read books, taken classes, and I still can’t. I’ve taught myself to do all sorts of things, but I can’t learn to punctuate correctly. It’s frustrating.

Author Bio:
J. Aday Kennedy, the differently-abled author, is an award winning multi published author of inspirational/Christian pieces and of children’s literature. Five picture books are under contract eagerly awaiting publication. She is a ventilator dependent quadriplegic making her dreams come true a story at a time. As a speaker, Aday entertains, instructs, motivates and inspires audiences of all ages. To learn more about her and her writing, visit her website and blog. http://www.jadaykennedy.com/, & http://jadaykennedy.blogspot.com/

Book Blurb:
When I agreed to do this interview, I thought the book would be available. It’s not, but here’s the description. Everyday Klutzy Kantor Pegasus practices solving riddles. A tricky leprechaun attempts to outsmart him by giving him a next to impossible riddle to solve. To end his clumsy ways he must solve it. Children learn the benefit of practice and to focus on their strengths.


Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Good morning. I'm so glad you joined us today and for sharing your life and writing journey.

Paige Ryter said...

Oh man...you're an amazing person, J. Aday!!! My dad had a stroke in 1997 and I wish he'd have taken his wonderful creativity and turned it into words, writing down his life's stories. He was a retired college professor--elementary education, but didn't have a computer. Sadly, he died in 2007, however, I still tell my kids the stories he told me. Some were fiction, and they would've been wonderful on paper. So my hat's off to you...you're doing a wonderful thing!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful inspiring blog!! Thanks, ladies!


Ginger Simpson said...

What an inspirational post. You give new meaning to courage and perseverance, and you helped put my whiny butt in perspective. I'm dealing with chronic fatigue right now and have spent the past few days feeling sorry for myself. I think I'll perk up and get a grip. You've inspired me!! I'm sure children who read your work will get the same infusion I got, but in a bigger dose. Congratulations on being such an awesome role-model.

Emma Lai said...

Very inspirational. Good luck with your children's books. Sounds like you have some great things to teach!

Hannah Howell said...

Love the sound of the new book! Will have to get it for my grandchildren. Take care, Hannah Howell

Virginia said...

Great interview! What an inspiring post! I love childrens books. I read to my son everyday when he was young! There is just nothing like books in a persons life. Thanks for sharing yours with us!

Margaret Tanner said...

You are an amazing person. Best of luck with all your books. I hope you eventually get your European trip, you deserve it.
Best wishes

Anonymous said...

Thanks for having me Anna Katherine. I enjoyed being interviewed and my head is swelling from the compliments. Thank you your comments are appreciated.

Turn those memories into books. I'm sorry they didn't have a lot of the technology that makes my writing possible. It's been such a blessing to me. I'd go nuts if I didn't write. I've never been one to sit still for long. I sit still now, but the wheels are whirring in my head.

Thank you for dropping by.

The way I look at other able bodied people is that many have it harder than I. My ghosts were laid to rest. One of the benefits of being paralyzed & on a ventilator is that I've had time to wrestle my demons, pray and contemplate my life while many are forced to clean house, cook dinner and tend to their husbands & children.

Thank you for your well wishes.

The book was soooooooo much fun to write. I've written the next two in the series & one has been accepted.

Reading to your children is one of the greatest gifts you can give them.

God willing my European vacation is around the corner.

J. Aday Kennedy
The Differently-Abled Children's Author
Coming this winter Klutzy Kantor

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