Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Visit with Children's Author, Donna M. McDine

I'm so excited to have as my guest award-winning children's author, Donna M. McDine. I first "met" Donna online when I submitted to her my article about dreaming. She published it in her newsletter "Write What Inspires You." I subscribed to the newsletter and have been a fan of Donna's ever since.

Donna offered to write an article today about How a Book Comes to Be, so here it is. Be sure to scroll all the way down because Donna has a free offer for you.

One of the most popular questions children ask me when conducting author visits is “How do you come up with your ideas?” Today, I’m sharing just that…


The creation of a book starts at the basics, an idea…

·         Imagination

·         Playing Games

·         World History

·         Music

·         News Articles

·         Art

·         Playing Sports


The list is endless.


My ideas for my books come to me in different ways…

For example, my book Hockey Agony was created from my lifelong interest in sports and watching my children, nieces and nephews compete in one sport or another. I chose hockey because two of my nephews and a niece are passionate hockey players.



The Golden Pathway and Powder Monkey were created from a publishers call for submissions regarding the Underground Railroad and the Royal Navy Press Gangs.


View the book trailers for…




A Sandy Grave came to life from a newspaper article I read about a dead whale that washed ashore of a California beach. What fascinated me about this article was the police needed to guard the whale, until the local marine biology institute could arrive to determine what the whale died from. The reasoning for guarding the whale astounded me. Apparently, poachers would take the opportunity to steal the whale’s teeth to sell to artists to create scrimshaw on the teeth and then sell for a profit.

View the book trailer for A Sandy Grave



Once an idea comes to mind the research and outline begin…


It’s important to conduct research to stay accurate to the details of true life, especially when it concerns laws or facts.  Just because an author’s story may be fictional, accuracy is a must to make it entertaining and educational at the same time.

Create character profiles and conduct character interviews to learn how each character will respond to a certain situation.

Blending the facts with well-written characters and scenes using all the five senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste) will have an enjoyable story leaping from the pages.


In the creative writing process it helps to know what you want your character to accomplish even before you write the story…


ü      Write a beginning that makes your reader want to keep reading.

ü      The middle of your story should happen in the right order.

ü      The end of your story should make sense.


Once you have your first draft written now it’s time to share it with a fellow writer to have a fresh set of eyes to read through your manuscript. Writers often become so invested in their words they don’t see what can be reworded or deleted to make a scene stronger.


Editing Process…


Don’t be afraid to edit and cut portions of your manuscript. The tighter your manuscript the quicker your story will flow.


The road to publication is a long one. Now the waiting truly begins…


ü      Once the acceptance contract is received, more edits from the publisher begins with their editing department.

ü      After the final edits the publisher determines the break of scenes for the page layout.

ü      For children’s books an illustrator is then assigned, and the creation of the illustrations begin.

ü      The book marketing process begins well before the release date with the publisher’s marketing department and author.

ü      It is a complete team effort to see the final creation of the book.


From acceptance to publication it can take anywhere from six months to two years to hold your published book in your hands. It’s a long time, but oh so worth the wait.


Soak up the World Through Books…


Embrace the written word and suggestions your teachers may have for your writing. Explore the world at your fingertips through the adventures of reading and writing. The joy of immersing yourself in a good book is one to share with everyone.


Special offer, opt-in for my FREE newsletter, Write What Inspires You! and receive two FREE e-books:


·         The Story Behind the Book

·         Marketing Tips by Donna McDine



Multi award-winning children’s author, Donna McDine’s creative side laid dormant for many years until her desire to write sparked in 2007. With four early reader children’s picture books to her credit, A Sandy Grave (January 2014), Powder Monkey (May 2013), Hockey Agony (January 2013) and The Golden Pathway (August 2010) and a fifth book in the publishing pipeline with Guardian Angel Publishing her adventures continue as she ignites the curiosity of children through reading. She writes and moms from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI, New York State Reading Association and Family Reading Partnership.


Keep reading and writing,


Donna M. McDine

Award-winning children’s author


Janet, thank you for hosting me today. It has been a true pleasure and honor to be here.

Thank you, Donna, for being such a wonderful guest. I loved the book trailers, and your words should help a lot of would-be authors that might be viewing today.

I highly recommend subscribing to Donna's newsletter. It's chock full of helpful, inspiring articles. And what a generous free offer, so don't miss out on that.

Any questions or comments for Donna today?


Donna McDine said...

Hi Janet,

Thanks for hosting me as your guest author today! I'm honored. Have a great weekend!

Warmest regards,

Unknown said...

You have a good one, too. I sure enjoyed it.

Donna McDine said...

Hi Janet,

I'm delighted you like my post.


Unknown said...

Hi Janet and Donna! I so much enjoyed your post. I think there is something comforting and reassuring to know all writers go through the same basic process when writing/editing/submitting/marketing/selling their books! Thanks for a great article...I'm betting there are lots of kids out there who could benefit from this one too.

Donna McDine said...

Hi Sharon,

I'm over the moon you enjoyed my article! Thanks for taking the time out to stop by and to comment. Your support is greatly appreciated!


Unknown said...

Oh, I agree, Sharon. That was good info for kids or any beginning writer to read.