Donna L. Martin
Author of The Story Catcher, available January 2015
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a Fourth Degree Black Belt Certified Tae Kwon Do Instructor by day and a secret Ninja Writer by night. Lol, actually, that about sums up my life right now. I help run a martial arts school during the day and late at night I create picture books, chapter books and young adult novels a lot of the time based on dreams I’ve had. I’ve done some interesting things in my life like rock climbing to the Devil’s Punch Bowl in California and standing in the middle of a volcano. Oh yeah, and if the timing is right, you can even catch me talking like Yoda from Star Wars!
2. Tell us why we’ll love your book.
Hopefully I’ve managed to create a universal character in Addie. In my picture book, THE STORY CATCHER, Addie loves reading with her family. She comes from a long line of readers or “story catchers” as they like to call themselves. Now it’s Addie’s turn to become the next story catcher in her family but she is struggling to make sense of the letters on the pages of her favorite book. I think everyone, young and old, will be able to relate to the challenge of someone just learning to read. Unfortunately, the inability to read even the simplest story affects millions of children and adults all over the world. I wanted to write a book showing with just the right amount of encouragement, perseverance, and faith, anyone can unlock the adventures to be found in a good book.
3. What authors have inspired you to write?
I’ve been a voracious reader since I was about 5 years old and enjoy reading the works of so many talented authors. It’s rather hard to point out any one individual who helped lead me to a writing career because EVERY author I’ve read over the years has influenced my decision to become a professional writer in some way or another. But if I HAD to choose, I guess I would have to pick Mercer Mayer and Shel Silverstein for two very specific reasons.
I discovered Mr. Mayer’s LITTLE CRITTER series at a time when I began to realize how important illustrations or descriptive language was to creating the foundation of all great books. His talent fired up my imagination through his whimsical artwork and since I’m not an illustrator, I try to emulate him by working very hard to help my readers “see” the worlds I create through the words I write.
Mr. Silverstein has written one of my favorite books of all time. THE GIVING TREE is such a profound book on so many levels that every time I sit down to write a new story, I pray I will be able to touch the hearts of future readers of my stories as much as this one book has touched mine.
I even dressed up as THE GIVING TREE one Halloween, complete with brightly colored autumn leaves “falling” down my shirt and pants. I visited area elementary schools and read Mr. Silverstein’s story to the children while handing out tons of miniature candy bars as treats.
4. What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
The best writing advice I can give any writer, new or established, is to BELIEVE. BELIEVE in the writing talent God has given you and work hard to become the best storyteller you can. BELIEVE your stories will be the bridge between a reader and the magical worlds to be found in the pages of a good book. BELIEVE the time will come when your stories will be shared with others because there are readers out there waiting to hear what you have to say. And lastly, BELIEVE publishers like Anaiah Press WILL one day ask to publish your stories because if YOU don’t believe in yourself right now, how will you ever convince OTHERS to believe in you too?
5. Where can readers find you online?
Here are all the different ways people can reach me. I’m pretty easy to find and try very hard to always reply to any questions or comments people have for me.