Thursday, June 9, 2011

Children's author, Dawne Knobbe

Today, my guest is children's author, Dawne Knobbe.  Dawn is talking about her latest release, Runaway Storm.

Please tell me how long you've been writing, and why you decided to become a writer.
I wrote my first poem when I was about seven. I can still recite it to this day. I love to read and was fascinated to discover I could create my own pictures with words.

Are you a full-time writer or a part-time writer, and how do you organize your writing time?
I am a part-time writer, full time mother, and business owner. I have to keep myself disciplined or I find excuses not to write regularly. Last year I spent so much time on the publicity of Runaway Storm, that I found myself not writing much at all. I work best on a deadline, so I fool myself by creating imaginary ones.

What influences your writing?
Reading influences my writing. I am always learning from extraordinary writers. I also keep my senses alive where ever I am. life is full of moments that can be woven into my stories.

Is this your first published work?  What other types of writing have you done?
Runaway Storm is my first book, but I have a masters degree in professional writing. I worked in advertising for many years and then freelanced. I have written for the L.A. Times, Fairfield Source, and many other magazines and periodicals.

Why did you choose to write a children's story?
In my mind, I still think like a teenager. I am fascinated by the changes and challenges kids face as they struggle towards adulthood.

What was the process of creating this book from the first idea to the final published book?
Like the birthing of a child, the birthing of a book can be long, tedious and painful but after all the struggle something beautiful emerges making the struggles all worthwhile.

Runaway Storm was inspired by a boy I met when I was about fifteen. He was around the same age. My brother and I went to a place called Montague Harbour on Galiano Island, where part of the book is set and we met this runaway. He told us how he had to hide his gear under the root of a tree during the day so the park ranger didn’t catch him camping there and how his first night he slept to close to the ocean and the tide came up and soaked his sleeping bag. I got the feeling he was kind of lonely because he didn’t want us to leave. He invited us for lunch, but I couldn’t see any food around so I asked what he would feed us. He promptly donned a mask, dove into the ocean and came up with a huge crab in each hand. Anyway, I never forgot that boy, but writing the book tok two years and after many rejections another two years passed before it found a home.

What are your thoughts on traditional versus self-publishing?
I think that writers need to find their own way. Self-publishing has gotten a lot easier and a lot cheaper in the past few years. It is the marketing that takes time and effort, but if you are willing to dig in and learn, I think you can be successful. Traditional publishing is changing so quickly these days and it can take a very long time to see your manuscript become a book even after it is accepted. 

What is your marketing strategy?
I love to go to schools and libraries. I put on Creative Writing Fun-shops for Children and adults. I do fun survival presentations (picking up on the theme of my book) and help the students build mini survival kits. This is a niche that I have found that has opened doors for me at book stores and at recreational supply stores. I also zoom around the web and try to let the world know about my book.

What are your thoughts about children's writers needing an agent or not needing one?
Most of my well published friends have agents, but they have gone through different periods when they have represented themselves. I have had an agent, but she didn't sell anything for me. Agents can open doors for you, but SCBWI (the Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators) has helped more of my friends make connections that have led to publishing than anything else.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
Would love people to stop by my website

Do you have any tips for writers who are new to children's literature?
Read in the genre you want to write in. Use your favorite book as a model and guide. Join a critique group and SCBWI.

Please give us a brief synopsis about your current book and when and where it will be available.
You can find Runaway Storm by D. E. Knobbe, under Y.A. Survival/Adventure. It can be ordered  through any bricks and mortar bookstore if not in stock. It can also be purchased online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. (also available as an e-book).

The story—
Nate stole the kayak...sort of. His parents don’t know where he is, and that’s just fine with him. He’s made it to the chain of sparsely populated islands off the coast of Vancouver, his kayaking dream come true. So what could possibly go wrong?

For starters, he hadn’t counted on real runaways making him feel like a fraud or on the cops chasing him into a wild and deadly storm. Nate hadn’t planned to shipwreck on a deserted island either, or to have a run-in with a crazed smuggler, who drifted into the bay on a crippled sailboat, ready to protect his stash with a loaded gun.

Should Nate save himself or the Goth girl from Seattle who tried to rescue him? Between being chased by criminals, shot at, and almost drowned, their options aren’t looking good.

I love to hear from readers, so if you read Runaway Storm let me know your thoughts and questions at

Wriiter’s tips


Dawne (Ferguson) Knobbe is an author, editor, freelance writer and part time adventurer. She grew up in Vancouver but spent as much time as possible in the Gulf Islands, Cariboo-Chilcotin, Yukon, and Alaska. She has a degree in Creative Writing from U. Vic. and an M.A. in Professional Writing from MIU.

Runaway Storm, her first Y. A. novel, recently won Gold and Silver medals at the 2010 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards..Dawne has also written for the L.A. Times, Fairfield Source, Kite Tales, and many other periodicals and has a background in advertising.

An active Board Member for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators-Los Angeles (SCBWI-LA). She leads many other children’s authors on adventurous writing field trips and inspires students and teachers in her Creative Writing Fun-Shops.
If not off adventuring around the globe with hubby John and children Alexandra and James, she now hangs her hat in Huntington Beach, California.

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