Thursday, February 5, 2015

Introducing My First Ever Guest- Barbara Krasner

Barbara Krasner has been kind enough to host me on her blog, and I'd like to host her here so I'm diving in!

First a little bit about Barbara. When I say a little I mean- wow- she's amazing!

Barbara Krasner, is a writer and historian. She is the author of two picture books and more than 200 articles for adults and young readers. Her literary work has appeared or is forthcoming in Nimrod, Paterson Literary Review, Jewish Women’s Literary Annual,, Lilith, Poetica, and numerous other journals. She teaches expository and creative writing at William Paterson University. She holds a B.A. in German, M.B.A. in Marketing, M.F.A. in Writing for Children, and is now pursuing an M.A. in public history. She often writes about women and on Holocaust themes. She has most recently served on Association of Jewish Libraries’ Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee and is the editor and publisher of The Whole Megillah | The Writer’s Resource for Jewish Story. 

Her blog is remarkable so I asked her to tell me how it got started and what she is trying to accomplish with it. Here is her answer:

As a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), I’d been hearing for some time about the importance of having a blog. Problem was, I was wearing so many hats I didn’t know where to focus. I was a corporate marketer and copywriter, a children’s writer, a journalist, a genealogist, a poet, a fiction writer, and so on. Then one day in May of 2010, while my car was being serviced at the dealership, I was doing my daily Morning Pages ala Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and it came to me. I would create a service-oriented blog for Jewish children’s writers. I’d feature interviews with agents, authors, illustrators, editors, and publicists. I’d do book reviews. I’d talk about repositories for historical information. And I launched the blog that afternoon. In 2012, after attending the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) conference for the first time, I was inspired to expand the blog to include fiction, memoir, and poetry for adults. My blog led to an invitation to apply for a seat on the prestigious Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee (they liked the way I did book reviews). I am just finishing up my four-year tour of duty with that committee. I think the blog was also instrumental in my nomination last year for the first Groner-Wikler Scholarship in recognition of dedication to Jewish children’s literature. I’m delighted to say I received the award.

The blog continues to challenge me: what else can I offer to this market? The blog includes a page of author services provided by a number of professionals and a page of conferences. Followers have told me which services they’d like to see in the future, so I just launched an online fiction class and plan to offer it again late spring as well as an online memoir class. I will admit I took a break from the blog last semester when I was dealing with cancer and radiation treatment.

Some have suggested that I monetize The Whole Megillah. I am dead-set against it. I want the blog to continue to be pure service. Every conference I attend, every book I read (I continue to review children’s books—usually Holocaust-related—for both the Association of Jewish Libraries and Jewish Book World) stimulates my thinking about the blog.

I love the idea of writing history for young people and am just waiting for my copy of Goldie Takes A Stand to arrive.

I asked Barbara to share how she came to write her picture books. I asked if being a poet helped her while writing picture books for children. Here's what she had to say about that.

I was writing prose well before writing poetry, which I write only for adult audiences. My training as a picture book writer comes from two mentors: editor Carolyn Yoder and award-winning author Candy Fleming. I’ve worked closely with both of them in the past to learn how to create tension, how to create a dummy and then streamline, and how to craft a difficult story based on complex truth for young readers. I also receive lots of feedback from others who write and publish historical picture books and whose opinions I respect and value.

I don’t picture the book – I leave that to the illustrator. But in the case of Liesl, I had thumbnails of lots of photographs from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. My original intent was to write a nonfiction picture book, but it didn’t have the dramatic turns I needed so I fictionalized. Gihon River Press decided on the illustration. I’m a big fan of Avi Katz’s work and I’m delighted with his interpretation.

Both Liesl’s Ocean Rescue and Goldie Takes a Stand demonstrate a kid can take action, even if that action seems small.

1 comment:

  1. Carol, thanks for the interview. I'm delighted to serve as your first guest!


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