Thanks for having me, and yes, it's exciting! Fearless Public Speaking was just published by SparkNotes, distributed by Sterling Publishing, on May 7, 2019!
What's the book about and why did you decide to write it for young people, ages 12 and up?
Fearless Public Speaking teaches young people how to plan, prepare and deliver a speech with confidence. Outlining, ad-libbing, composing, performing, writing and reciting-- everything you need is found in this fun yet practical guide. I wrote it because many people fear public speaking and a lot of time that fear starts when they’re children. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Actually, I believe that stage fright is your friend--that nervous energy you feel is the power-source that will enable you towards fearless public speaking!
How did you find your home for your book?
SCBWI was the secret ingredient in my success. I had been sending the project out for a long while on my own. But it was when I went to the SCBWI Mid-Atlantic Fall Conference that I had a turn for the better. I met an editor there and initially pitched her a picture book. She didn’t like that book but she said she did like my writing and encouraged me to submit something else. So I did.
What did you enjoy about working with your editor?
My editor was very patient and encouraging. I submitted two books to her before she said yes to Fearless Public Speaking. Although the first two books didn’t appeal to her, she didn’t make me feel like a loser. I felt that I should just keep trying. The third try was the charm!
Why do you hope young people will read it?
Not being afraid to speak in public is a huge advantage. As soon as you get comfortable with standing in front of an audience, you've locked into a powerful personal plus. Besides, if you learn to really enjoy it--it can be a love-and-money combination. To be able to do something you find fun, while boosting yourself professionally, impressing influencers, and even becoming a source of income....it doesn’t get better than that.
What are you working on now?
Currently, I’m shopping around a middle-grade novel about a girl who forms a double Dutch team. In real life, I started a double Dutch team--not as a girl but as an adult. In 2018, DC Retro Jumpers did a three-city tour in Russia as cultural ambassadors, teaching and demonstrating double Dutch! Check us out at dcretrojumpers.com.