Angie Azur is a YA Sci-fi Writer.
Writer for PALEO Magazine.
Former Intern at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
SCBWI & COWG Member.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Interview with Donalisa Helsley: Award Winning Children's Book Author

I met Donalisa through Facebook. I liked the subjects she wrote about, and so I asked her for an interview. She happily agreed.

Donalisa writes for kids, about the issues kids have in their daily lives. And she's right on too. She's a social worker, and she knows what she's talking about. 

I think we all could learn from reading these books. I know I still have days where I feel like no one (no adult) is playing nicely together. 

Below are the questions I asked her:

1.      Why write for children?

Mr. Bruno Bettelheim, a psychologist wrote in The Uses of Enchantment : “A story that can truly help a child to grow, must give "full credence to the seriousness of the child's predicaments, while simultaneously promoting confidence in himself and the future."

That quote sums up why I write for children. As a therapist, my goal is to help children grow. What better way to do that than to engage them through a story?

2.      What is your blog – Wild About Reading – about?

Wild About Reading is a place you can go to learn more about me, my mission and also buy my books. My Wild About Reading FaceBook is a page where I share tips, encouragement, book reviews, interviews of other authors, book giveaways and trivia. The blog is a page where I post author interviews and book reviews. Stop by and visit! The goal is to re-ignite a love of reading in parents and encourage it in children.

3.      You won a Mom's Choice Award. What does this mean to you?

I was honored that they gave “The Day No One Played Together: A Story About Compromise” the Silver award. It was validation that someone besides my family and friends thought my book was worth reading!

4. What time do you get up and what do you eat for breakfast?

Hmmm, is this a trick question? Sometimes, I don’t even go to bed! I don’t eat breakfast! I know, I know, Shame on me! Once my feet hit the floor I am running. I’m lucky to remember lunch!

5. Why self-publish?

I chose to self publish because of the creative control I have. Other traditionally published authors complain about how once their book has been accepted they feel like they have no say in the illustration process. The illustrations are very important to children’s picture books. I want and need to involved in the process.

6. How long have you been writing?

I have been writing since I was in the 1st grade. I wrote my 1st big story when I was 9 years old.

7. Who is your biggest cheerleader?

My husband, daughters and one of my best friends, Audrea, tells everyone she meets about me and my books!

8. Where does your dog, Shadow, sit while you read? Does he ever end up in your stories?

Sadly, Shadow disappeared a couple of weeks before Christmas. L He is forever in our hearts and in “The Day No One Played Together”.

9. What one word best describes you?


10. You have two daughters. What books are they reading?

My eldest daughter, Jadyn, is currently reading the Liberty Porter First Daughter Series by Julia Devillers. Genesis, my youngest, and I read, You Can’t Go to School Naked! By Diane Billstrom, this evening.

11. Why did you become a social worker?

I became a social worker so that I could help families and children make positive changes in their lives. I want to be a life changer!

12. What authors would you recommend to your readers?

            Check out Gimme Jimmie by Sherrill Cannon. All of her books are wonderful ways to help your children learn good manners and life skills.

13. If a child is depressed, how can reading help?

Entering the world of fiction can offer children a form of escape. Also books such as “Blue Loon” by Julia Cook can help a child understand what they are feeling and help them find solutions in ways that talking to them cannot.

14. How can my readers help you to become an even bigger success?

I would appreciate if you would buy my books, The Day No One Played Together & I Love You Better than Chocolate Chip Cookies. Also if you like them recommend them to others and posts reviews to your blogs, Amazon and places like that. Those reviews are very helpful.

15. Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how has that helped your writing?

 I have a few author friends that I run ideas by and send them drafts of my story. They are so helpful in catching mistakes and silly things that I missed.

16. What is the one word of advice you would give a newbie writer?

READ. I know you said one word, but I am unable to stop at one word. Read, Read, Read. How can you be a writer if you don’t even read?

17. What is your favorite quote?

“There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children that have not found the right book.” ~ Frank Serafini

Watch for The Worry Glasses & My Warp Speed Mind coming soon!

Donalisa is an award winning children's book author. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, David, her daughters, Jadyn and Genesis. Donalisa has a Masters in Social Work and is a family and children's therapist. She has worked in behavioral health with children and adolescents for over 12 years. Her mission is to encourage a love of reading in our children and re-ignite the love in you. Check out her books “The Day No One Played Together” & “I Love You Better than Chocolate Chip Cookies”.

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