Carol Behrman is the author of Freedom Passage, a historical MG published by Aerodale Press. Welcome Carol! We here at TheWritersbytheshore blog believe in BIC (butt in chair), but we also think that writing (and life) should take us and our readers to fun destinations. So here we go...
Tell us a little about your book. Will we need our passports?
No passport necessary unless there is a document required for traveling back and forth in time. Freedom Passage takes place in the summer of 1963, the height of the civil rights struggle. Thirteen-year-old Peggy and her family have just moved from their cosmopolitan neighborhood in Manhattan to the quiet beach town of Bay Point at the Jersey Shore. Peggy is fearful about starting junior high in a strange place with no friends. Things pick up when she finds a potential best friend named Julia living next door, but what will Peggy do when she discovers she will have to betray that friend to be accepted by a popular peer group. And what about that mysterious, locked closet in her attic room that gives off vibes of mystery and danger?
Wow! Sounds great. So, if I was going to have dinner with your main character, what exotic locale would we be dining at?
In Bay Point, dinner on the beach is an attractive option although it might lead to an ugly scene of racial hatred. An alternative might occur when Peggy and Julia undergo a frightening trip back in time to the days of the Underground Railroad before the Civil War. The food in the safe house (station) would be good, but how much could they manage to swallow before the evil slave hunters charge in with their heavy boots and deadly rifles?
Who is the character you would vote as "Most likely not to make it through customs" and why?
The runaway slave, Titus, has the least chance of making it through anything and his options for survival are slim.
If your main character was stranded on a desert island, what would be an essential travel item for them to take along?
If stranded on a desert island, Peggy would need courage, fortitude and clever thinking to survive and/or find a way out--the same qualities she needs in her predicament in Freedom Passage.
What advice would you offer to other writers embarking on their own writing adventure?
Speaking as a long-time writer (35 books for children and YA, the first ones written in the 1970's), I must point out that the publishing field is so different today, it is almost like living in an alternative universe. Some of my experiences are no longer relevant, but there are basic rules for writing success that never change. First, it helps to have a strong inner compulsion--a need to express yourself in writing. Most successful writers I know are great readers and have a deep love of language. Then, whichever story you choose to tell, be sure that the characters, the plot, the setting, etc. are REAL to you. If you can feel the characters breathing with every breath you take, if you can feel inside yourself their fear, their joy, their yearnings, etc., then you can possibly convey this to your readers. Work hard to hone your skills as a writer through books, the internet, and classes (and the best way of all--JOIN A WRITER'S CRITIQUE GROUP). Developing good writing techniques can be learned, but it takes work. Be open to criticism and comments. And above all, DON'T GIVE UP! I know wonderful writers who never succeeded because they gave up too soon. Persistence is the key!!!
Thanks, Carol and Bon Voyage!
Toni De Palma