We are excited to host our author, Jackie Minniti, today! Please read below about Jackie and her idea for her book, One Small Spark, which released this week!
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a retired NJ teacher enjoying the good life in Florida. In my former life, I taught grades K-3 and middle school reading, but I’ve always had one foot in writing. While I was teaching, I was also an education writer for a NJ newspaper, and after I retired, I spent about 10 years as a columnist for a local paper here in Florida. I enjoy journalism, but it can’t compare to the creative rush I get when I’m writing a novel. Even though I’m out of the classroom, my teaching background is a major influence on my writing. I want to write stories that will help young readers understand and love history because I’m one of those people who believe that what we don’t learn from history, we’re doomed to repeat. With that in mind, I’ve created extensive study guides for both Jacqueline and One Small Spark so teachers and home school parents can use the novels as teaching tools. I guess after 25 years in the classroom, it’s hard for me to take off my teacher hat!
How did you get the idea for your book?
It happened one evening while I was channel surfing and came across a program titled Legends and Lies: The Patriots. I’m not sure why the show caught my attention, but I put down the remote and settled in to watch it. The storyline focused on the period immediately preceding the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. And that’s how I met Christopher Seider. Without giving anything away, when the program ended, I was amazed that I’d never heard of this young boy. How could someone so pivotal to our country’s past become lost in history? The next day, I Googled his name and discovered that no one had written a book about him. Since he was the perfect age for a middle grade novel, I decided to tell his story. I hope it will be an inspiration to young readers, and I’m glad that they won’t have to wait as many years as I did to meet Christopher Seider.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Keep writing, and never give up. When I was going through the submission process, I’d often get discouraged and wonder why I was putting myself through all this stress when I could have been walking on the beach. Then came “The Call” from Anaiah, and that was worth all the frustration and anxiety. Nothing can compare to finally holding that published book in your hands. Believe in yourself, trust God’s plan for you, and someday you’ll get there too!
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences?
Absolutely! Since the book is historical fiction, and my main purpose in writing it was to help kids learn history, I did extensive research before I tackled the story so I could make it historically correct. While the Pembroke family is fictional, many of the other characters, including Christopher Seider, are true historical figures, and I wanted to portray them accurately. I also wanted to give readers a feel for what life was like in the 1770s, so I took great pains to research all the setting details. I even wanted the dialogue to be authentic, so I spent a lot of time looking up origins of words to be certain they were used during that period. It was quite an undertaking!
How did you come up with the title of your book?
Since Christopher Seider, an 11-year-old servant boy, was the spark that helped ignite the flames of the American Revolution, I thought One Small Spark summed up the premise of the story pretty well.
Where can readers find you online?
They can go to my website www.jackieminniti.com,
my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/jackieminnitiwriter/,
my Amazon Author page https://www.amazon.com/JackieMinniti/e/B0037ZHSKK/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
or my blog fabulousfloridawriters.blogspot.com.
Jackie Minniti is a former teacher and journalist. She is the award-winning author of Project June Bug and Jacqueline. Several of her stories have been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul collections. She lives in Treasure Island, Florida, with her husband and two noisy macaws.
More from Jackie Minnitti:
When ten-year-old Jacqueline Falna hears her mother’s scream, she is unaware that the axis of her world is about to tilt. Her father’s plane has been shot down by German fighters. In the midst of poverty, food shortages, air raids, and the grinding hardship of daily life under Nazi rule, she forms an unlikely alliance with David Bergier, a twelve-year-old Jewish neighbor who poses as her cousin after his family is “relocated” by the Nazis. When Rennes is liberated, Jacqueline meets an American soldier and becomes convinced that he has been sent to reunite her with her father.
Based on a true story, “Jacqueline” is a tale of family, faith, unusual friendships, and the resiliency of the human spirit set against the backdrop of occupied Rennes in 1944. With the drama of fiction and the authenticity of personal history, “Jacqueline” is both a story about family and a family’s story.