Present reading as an activity with a purpose; a way to gather useful information for, say, making paper airplanes, id... More

Author Showcase

Please Welcome Donna McDine

RT: Hi Donna, and welcome to The Reading Tub. I just finished reading The Golden Pathway, and I have to say it really startled me. In the first sentences you place the reader front-and-center with the sounds of a man beating a slave. What were your thoughts about the impact that would make on young readers? Did you ever think they might be afraid of going on?

Donna: Donna: When I initially wrote the first draft of The Golden Pathway I held back a bit on the opening and my instructor at the Institute of Children's Literature encouraged me to allow my research and feelings pour through. Without being true to the story, especially in historical fiction, your story won't ring true to the reader.

RT: I love this description on your website: "Be prepared for the adrenaline rush of escaping via the Underground Railroad, the slip of the ice beneath your skates, the harsh reality of the Royal Navy Press Gangs, or the discovery of whale poachers at the beach. The roller coaster action in each escapade will transport the reader into a specific time period."

In doing the research for books that take readers to different eras, could you share some of the things you learned? e.g., were there things you understood to be "fact," that turned out to be stereotypes / urban legend? Influential people whom you had never heard about?

Donna: I am thrilled to hear you love the description at my website. My aim for visitors is to learn my books are not just one specific genre whether historical fiction, sports, or modern day events. Specifically in my research of the Underground Railroad it pleased me to unveil that because a specific plantation owner had slaves it was not necessarily the viewpoint of the whole family. Hence, David's story came to life.

RT: In a related question, as you dug through the events and learned about the people in these different eras, did they spark ideas for other books? If so, can you give us an example of an untold or little-known story that you think deserves to be in the reader's view?

Donna: As a matter of fact, that has happened. Through my research of the Underground Railroad I read about the specific event of Major John Andre impersonating as a soldier in General George Washington's army, when in fact he was a British soldier attempting to deliver the secrets of West Point to the British. This is what sparked my interest in my middle grade manuscript, "Images of the Past."

RT: One of the other things I noticed on your website was that The Golden Pathway has earned awards as a children's book and also as a young adult book. Given the differences in those audiences, did you write two versions? If so, which came first? Which was harder?

Donna: Even though The Golden Pathway has illustrations it is geared towards children 8-12 years old. The young adult book category it originally placed in for the Writer's Digest Writing Contest was coupled together as children and young adult, so there are not two versions of the book.

RT: There are two more books on the horizon for you: The Hockey Agony and The Images of the Past. Can you tell us a little bit about those books, and your goals for them as published works?

Donna: The publisher and I have dropped "The" from "Hockey Agony." Like The Golden Pathway, this book is written with readers ages 8 to 12 in mind. The core of the story is that peer pressure and Honesty many times go hand-in-hand. The main character's name is Larry, and he has to decide what he's going to do when a teammate asks him to cheat when he is given the responsibility to run the clock during the big hockey game. Outwardly, it may seem he will follow suit, but his conscious tells him otherwise at the moment of truth. As I mentioned above, "The Images of the Past" is a work-in-progress manuscript for middle grade readers. It intertwines present time and revolutionary events dating back to the late 1700s. I live in the historical hamlet of Tappan, NY, and was inspired by the events of General George Washington and his troops stationing themselves downstream of the Hudson River from West Point.

RT: In addition to writing children's books, you also review them. I have a ton of questions about that, but want to save them for your visit to the Family Bookshelf. So I'll turn to the books you turn to "reading for fun." When you want a "comfort read" what do you enjoy?

Donna: I tend to lean toward Danielle Steel's romance novels. It is nice to climb in to someone else's world and escape.

RT: Is there a book - from your childhood or as an adult - that has stayed with you more than any other book? What is it about that book that made it so meaningful to you?

Donna: It would have to be Katherine Marsh's middle grade novel The Night Tourist. The author easily brings to life the wonders of New York City history through mystical storytelling of those gone before. Having traveled through Grand Central Station and New York City with my father growing up and as an adult the places came to life again through Marsh's book.

RT: Thanks for joining us here in the Reading Tub, Donna! I look forward to catching up with you again and reading your upcoming books.

Donna: Thanks for having me, Terry.

Website: http://donnamcdine.com


Copyright © 2003 - 2018. The Reading Tub, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The Reading Tub and Turning a Page ... Opening the World are registered trademarks of The Reading Tub Inc.
No use of these trademarks is permitted without written approval of The Reading Tub, Inc.
Privacy Policy.     Site developed by Sites2BeSeen.