1)Tell us a little about yourself.
Would you believe this is always the hardest question for me to answer? I never want to be redundant. I'm sure it won't be a surprise that I'm an avid reader and always have one of my Kindles nearby. And yes, that was plural. After all, I can't risk my battery dying in the midst of a good story! In addition to being an author, I have my own company, which allows me the flexibility and freedom to pursue my interest as a writer. It can also make for long days balancing my two worlds. When not working, I enjoy spending time with my family and living a quiet lifestyle.
Now, for something new…I'm a bit of a gamer. I'm sure that was the last thing you expected me to admit! But just like burgers and fries, all things in moderation! My all-time favorite video game is The Last of Us. It has a great story-arc and it's the only video game that has ever made me reach for a box of tissue after completing it. My mind is always thinking, and gaming is a good way for me to zone everything out and just relax when I need to decompress. It is also a great ice-breaker when talking with children. Although it usually surprises them when they find out that I like to play video games, too.
An avid reader my entire life, it is understandable that the books I read as a child stirred my imagination. It wasn't long before I began to pen my own stories. One of my favorite school memories dates back to Parents’ Night. To prepare for the event, my teacher required us to write and illustrate a short story and bind it into a simple book. Mesmerized by the project, I made two. I can still recall the feeling of contentment when the teacher predicted I would become an author. I had no idea I would fulfill that prediction. Writing is akin to falling into a wonderful dream. You don't quite know where it is going to lead, but you can't wait to find out! This is what I love about writing. It can be spontaneous or a detailed outline prepared in advance. My favorite though is when I sit down in front of the computer and let the words flow naturally like water running downstream. It is so visceral. I am experiencing it for the first time just as my readers would when they open the book. (After a lot of editing, of course!)
The Dani P. Mystery series is a labor of love and I am thankful for the positive response I have received from my readers. To be honest, writing a children's series is much harder for me than writing young/new adult, which is my typical genre. It takes a lot of self-censorship. However, when I first decided to publish, I knew the book had to be Dani's story. Luckily, it has resonated with my target audience and the children are receptive to Dani and her mischief! I like to describe her as perfectly imperfect. She has faults, which children can relate to because they make mistakes, too!
The series originally started out as a short story. For those unfamiliar with the books, my protagonist is a fictional character based on, and written for, my daughter when she was a little girl. Dani, short for Danielle, is the honey-brown hair girl with the perpetual smile, big brown eyes, and big heart. Despite her best intentions, her curiosity and love of mysteries usually land her in some sort of dilemma. The books are also littered with 'Easter eggs' that would only be recognizable to a close family member. They are meant to bring a smile or jog a memory or two.
The Dani P. Mystery series has given me a wonderful opportunity to interact with educators and families. Words cannot fully express how grateful I am for this experience.
One of my all-time favorite ways to get children to read is to interact with them. My daughter and I would read the same books and then discuss them. For younger children, the books can be read together. For older children, allow them to read independently to strengthen their reading skills. Think of it as a mini book club. Not only does this give you the opportunity to engage with your child on a different level, but it gives you great insight on their thoughts and how their mind works. It also opens a dialog that will help in other areas of discussion, which is important between parent and child. Valuing your child's opinions and thoughts also helps to build self-esteem. One thing I would like to warn parents against when trying this approach is not to pick their books! Let your child make the decision on what books they want to read. Forcing a book on a child will never end well and will only make them resistant to reading. Outside of assigned homework, reading should be enjoyable.
Reading is the foundation for academic success, which is why I also encourage activity books, puzzles, learning games, and educational software. You can pick these up online or at educational/book stores---just make sure they are fun! There is no reason for learning to be boring. I carry this same principle into my books. Although they are a mixture of mystery and mayhem, I always try to incorporate a subtle message to help build self-esteem and to act as a spring board for open discussion between a parent and child.
Please, #PromoteLiteracy and give the gift of reading to a child today!
If you have questions and would like to contact author K. Lamb, click on the links below.
Author Website: klamb.net
Dani P. Mystery Website: danipmystery.com
For free downloadable activity sheets, please visit one of her two websites.
The Dani P. Mystery series is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other fine retailers.