Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: J.K. Rowling

#MothersDay NewsFlash ~ Reading #HarryPotter Damages Your Mind !

I have it from a real “educator” who actually founded his own school that Reading Harry Potter books makes children MENTALLY ILL… 

Harry Potter

Home to the initial writing of Harry Potter ~

Graeme Whiting, headmaster of the school he actually founded has also said:

“…other fantasy titles such as Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games and Terry Pratchett encourage ‘difficult behaviour’.”

And, of course, since he founded his own school and installed himself as headmaster, I can share this further information:

“…Mr Whiting, head of the independent Acorn School in Nailsworth, Gloucester, thinks that people should have a ‘special licence’ to buy fantasy books.”

And, only because this man is the headmaster of the school he, himself, founded, I’ll add a quote of his to make things perfectly clear:

“Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games, and Terry Pratchett, to mention only a few of the modern world’s ‘must-haves’, contain deeply insensitive and addictive material which I am certain encourages difficult behaviour in children; yet they can be bought without a special licence, and can damage the sensitive subconscious brains of young children, many of whom may be added to the current statistics of mentally ill young children.”

And, finally, but only because it is Mother’s Day, and mothers need to know how dangerous books like these can be for their children; and, also, to prove the high level of education this man has reached by displaying a sentence that gets to the core of the dangerous issue while it shows his amazing “proficiency” with the English language, please ponder this exact quote carefully:

“Children are innocent and pure at the same time, and don’t need to be mistreated by cramming their imagination that lies deep within them, with inappropriate things.”

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Author Interview ~ Jessica Greene

I’m delighted to welcome Jessica to our blog today!

I met her at Little Bonobo’s Book Cafe :-)

Let’s begin, Jessica.

Where are you from and how old are you?

I’m from San Diego, California, but I’ve lived in England for a few years now. I’m 25.

When did you begin writing and can you remember how it felt inside, back then?

I kept journals starting from when I was really small, and I liked to write and illustrate poems about animals in them. When I was 12 I decided to write a novel. It was about giant anthropomorphic rats from outer space. Unfortunately I didn’t get very far with it. In high school I did a couple of really fun creative writing projects for my English and creative writing classes. For one of these projects we had to choose a picture of a person from a newspaper or magazine and create a character from it. Each week we would write a story about the character. It was so much fun! I think it was around then that I decided I seriously wanted to be a writer.

Was there any certain date or time you remember when you began to call yourself a “writer”?

The year I did my MA in Creative Writing in Authorship. The people on my program and I referred to ourselves and each other as “writers”. By the end of that year I had started to think seriously of myself as a writer, rather than someone who wanted to be a writer.

What are your hopes, or dreams, or goals for your writing?

I want to be able to write a novel with interesting, believable characters and a solid plot with good flow and tension in the right parts. I’m revising my first novel now, and I hope I can get it to that point. Like most writers, I’d like to be published some day.

Please tell us a bit more about your formal training in the art of writing?

I have a degree in English, which helps, although I don’t think you need a degree to be a writer. I studied abroad for a year at UEA Norwich, in England. It’s supposed to be the top university in Britain for creative writing, but to be honest I didn’t notice much difference in the creative writing classes there compared to other classes I had taken elsewhere. They were helpful, but most creative writing classes are helpful. And I returned to England after I graduated to do my MA in Creative Writing and Authorship, this time studying in Sussex. It was quite an adventure.

It does sound a bit like an adventure; my, yes :-)

What do you feel has taught you the most about “how to write”?

Reading. Reading widely from a very young age. Reading deeply within my genre (currently I write YA fantasy), and reading different genres as well. I think writers need to read as much as they write. Stephen King’s advice is to read four hours a day and write four hours a day, which I think is pretty spot on. The other thing that has taught me a lot about writing is writing itself. Like everything else, it takes a lot of practice. I write nearly every day and I’ve seen a ton of improvement in my work in the past couple of years.

Who are your favorite writers and why are they favorites?

My best friend is scandalized by the fact that the Harry Potter series is my all-time favorite work of literature. But it really is so close to perfect. The characters are so unique, believable, lovable, hate-able; the plot is exciting; the twists are perfect; and the world JK Rowling creates is just a delight to get lost in for a couple of hours. For that reason I would say JK Rowling is my favorite author. I also love the Brontës. I love that their books explore female autonomy at a time when women were so oppressed, and I love that each sister has her own voice—Anne’s writing is wild, Emily’s dark, and Charlotte’s just plain strange. Another writer I really love is Tad Williams. The worlds he creates, and the characters—you just want to live inside his imagination. I love his novel Tailchaser’s Song, and his science fiction series Otherland just blew me away.

Yes, I’ve read only one of the Otherland books. Once I get my book published, I should read the others :-)

Where and/or how do you get your ideas for your writing?

My imagination has always been overactive, and I spend a lot of time thinking in terms of stories. So when I learn something interesting or see something interesting, it’s bound to make me think of a story. I came up with story ideas quite frequently while I was in college, because I was always learning new things. Generally I find travel, exercise, and reading to be great for the imagination.

What’s your normal revision or editing routine?

I’m revising my first novel at the moment. The plan is to write a fresh outline including all the changes I want to make, and go through several rounds of revision to make the plot, characters, and fantasy world as good as I can make them. One thing I’ve found helps a lot in editing is reading aloud (it helps catch typos and awkward phrasing), so I’ll be doing a lot of that. Then I’ll do a final proofread and send it out to beta readers, who will in turn likely tear it to shreds.

Reading aloud is an awesome revision aid! And, I hope (and suspect) your Betas won’t be that cruel :-)

Tell us about your blog: its purpose, how you go about deciding what to post, and what you want to do with it in the future?

My blog called Little Bonobo’s Book Cafe and I post about reading, writing, and creativity. I love being part of the writer/blogger community. It’s a fun way to meet other writers, share ideas, offer encouragement, and learn new information. I’m still trying to figure out my posting schedule— whether I want to do certain types of posts on certain days, or focus more on reading or writing or book reviews. I’ve seen some amazing blogs lately, and I’m feeling inspired to improve mine.

Please say just a bit more about the book you’re working on.

My novel is a young adult fantasy about a teen-aged girl whose little brother has been kidnapped by a faerie magician. I love stories about magic, and it’s been really fun (and challenging) creating my own world from scratch. At the moment I’m also working on a second novel—a young adult science fiction set on Mars—but its still in the early stages, and I’ve got a ton more research to do.

Well, Jessica, I can only see bright omens ahead for you :-) Thanks ever so much for stopping by and I’ll see you soon at Little Bonobo’s Book Cafe.
Alright, dear readers, time to ask Jessica a few questions…
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Author Interview ~ Stacy Juba

Stacy, when did you begin writing and can you remember how it felt inside, back then?

I wrote my first story, a paranormal thriller, The Curse of the White Witch, in third grade. I remember the excitement of asking my parents to bind it into a folder. I started a mystery series in fifth grade about an amateur sleuth named Cathy Summers. I remember sitting in my bedroom, filling up lined notebook paper. Every sentence had to be perfect. If I made a mistake on the page and it looked messy when erased, I recopied the page.

Such devotion at such a young age

Was there any certain date or time you remember when you began to either think of yourself as or call yourself a “writer”?

My teachers and classmates started labeling me as a writer in fifth grade, and by high school, there were even rumors going around school that I had published a book. I actually hadn’t—my first book was accepted for publication shortly after graduating from high school. Back then, I resented the label as it made me seem different from the other kids. It’s ironic, as now, I work hard at branding myself as an author. That’s a big part of who I am. It’s interesting how we get more comfortable with ourselves as we get older.

Well, some of us do :-)

What are your hopes, or dreams, or goals for your writing?

My main hopes are to entertain people, and to make a steady income each year from my books.

Have you had any “formal” training in the art of writing?

A little bit, but not at first. I majored in exercise science in college as I didn’t know what kind of job I could get with a creative writing degree. I took one creative writing class in college and enrolled in an adult education class in creative writing. I participated in an intensive online mystery writers class through UCLA Extension and have taken about a half-dozen online classes offered through various professional organizations that I belong to, classes in the criminal mind, romantic suspense, pacing, character development, and synopsis-writing. I’ve also taken workshops at conferences over the years and have read multiple books about the craft of writing. Working as a reporter for a daily newspaper also honed my writing skills.

I’m sure it certainly would!

What do you feel has taught you the most about “how to write”?

I think just being in the business for so long and having received so many rejection letters. Many editors saw potential in my work and gave me ideas on how to rewrite to make various books stronger. I also had an agent for a couple of years who gave me similar feedback. For me, it wasn’t about learning how to write. It was about learning how to edit and fill in the gaps.

I hope a reader or two asks you more about your last two ideas in the comments :-)

Who are your favorite writers and why are they favorites?

My favorite author growing up was S.E. Hinton, the author of The Outsiders. I was inspired by her as she published her first book when she was a teenager and her books had a unique voice. As an adult, I admire J.K. Rowling because of the depth of her imagination and how she was able to carry on this huge series under a lot of pressure.

Where and/or how do you get your ideas for your writing?

I got the idea for Twenty-Five Years Ago Today because of my newspaper background. When I first started out in journalism, I was an obit writer/editorial assistant and one of my tasks was compiling the 25 years ago today column from the microfilm. I got the idea, what if an editorial assistant stumbled across an unsolved murder on the microfilm? For Sink or Swim, I didn’t really understand why reality shows were so popular. I wanted to explore why a regular person might go on a reality show and then weave a mystery story around what might happen after this normal person is thrust into the limelight. Ideas just pop into my head–some ideas keep persisting until I start writing, while other ideas just sit on the backburner as they don’t feel ready yet. I learned from my former agent to follow up on the ideas that have the most marketing potential.


So, what is your normal revision or editing routine?

I outline each book and refer to the outline as I write each chapter. I tend to write a handful of chapters, then go back and edit. Once I finish the manuscript, I use different colored highlighters to highlight description, dialogue, internal thought, action, etc. That way I can focus on tightening up or embellishing one aspect of the story at a time.

Please tell us about your published work.

My first book, the young adult novel, Face-Off, was published by Avon when I was 18 under Stacy Drumtra. It is long out of print as it was published in 1992, but I will be bringing it back in the next year or two and will also publish its never-before seen sequel Offsides. More recently, my mystery novel, Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, was published by Mainly Murder Press in late 2009 and Sink or Swim was published by Mainly Murder Press in January 2011. My children’s picture book, The Flag Keeper, was independently published last fall. My paranormal young adult thriller, Dark Before Dawn, is scheduled for release by Mainly Murder Press in January 2012.

Very impressive line-up of books, Stacy!

Tell us about your blog: its purpose, how you go about deciding what to post, and what you want to do with it in the future?

My blog ties in to my books. As a tie-in to Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, I invite guest authors to answer the question: What were you (or your character) doing 25 Years Ago? I also started a new feature called the Sink or Swim 6, where authors fill out a six-question “contestant application” interview from the perspective of one of their characters. The authors are encouraged to solicit comments from their friends and readers. At the end of the year, the three posts that drew in the highest number of unique commenters will be declared the winners of the fictional reality show, Sink or Swim. The features have been so popular that I’ve had to close submissions until mid-May. My blog can be found at

Wonderfully inventive idea, Stacy!!

Please tell us about the availability of your titles.

The mysteries are available in paperback and multiple $2.99 e-book formats. The picture book is available in paperback and will be released in multiple e-book formats in the near future.

And, synopses?

Sink or Swim: After starring on a hit game show set aboard a Tall Ship, personal trainer Cassidy Novak discovers that she has attracted a stalker. Soon, she will need to call SOS for real…

Twenty-Five Years Ago Today: For twenty-five years, Diana Ferguson’s killer has gotten away with murder. When rookie obit writer and newsroom editorial assistant Kris Langley investigates the cold case of the artistic young cocktail waitress who was obsessed with Greek and Roman mythology, she must fight to stay off the obituary page herself.

The Flag Keeper: This illustrated picture book teaches children about U.S. flag etiquette through a fiction story, flag facts, activity idea, and discussion questions.

Excerpts, books trailers and reviews of my books can be found at

And, where can we get the books?

Buy links to different retailers are available in my store:

Stacy, thanks, so much, for taking the time to stop by and share all this information about your writing career!

And, here come the questions in the comments :-)

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