Now that school's out, parents will want their kids to read a lot. Here's a fun book for summer.
I want children to be able to read good books for fun, and books that will teach them something positive in the process. Rowdy Raccoon is such a fun character, yet children learn things from his mistakes.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I am actually known for doing crazy things…such as wearing blue socks with black pants, or one blue shoe and one black shoe. (That’s why I had to write the chapter about Rowdy learning to laugh at himself!)
Driving up to Pikes Peak by myself was probably not very smart. I’ve also gotten to some unique places and called my family. For example, the Empire State Building in New York City.
While in NYC, I walked to the base of the Statue of Liberty and placed my hand there and thanked God for the opportunity to be there and see that wonderful sight in person.
One time I wanted our family to go on a picnic. My husband and sons were not impressed with the idea…but I packed the lunch and they had to come if they wanted to eat. Well, we drove and drove and ended up sitting in our mini van and having a picnic at a construction site where a tall bridge was building built. The construction crew wasn’t working on the weekend, so it was safe as long as we stayed in the van. Now that the bridge is complete, we love to drive across it, and remember our picnic.
Sounds like fun. When did you first discover that you were a writer or illustrator?
I’m definitely not an illustrator. But I do love to write. As an adult I took a writing class at our Junior College. The professor told me I should continue to write. When I sold some magazine articles, I was very excited. I also work for our newspaper and to write on deadline is fun and great practice.
Deadlines keep me going. I love them, too. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
My favorite book as a child was The Secret Garden. I love the idea of a quiet, secret place to run to, for the enjoyment of reading or writing. Plus Nancy Drew books!!!
I love to read good mysteries like Terry Blackstock and Mary Higgins Clark. I think I learned more from Gilbert Morris’s historical fiction than I did in history classes! I also love Janet Oke and tons of authors from Steeple Hills press and HeartSong Presents.
Then you've probably read some of my books. What other books have you written, whether published or not?
I self-published two, The Adventures of Rascal Raccoon and The Raccoon Gang many years ago. I’ve also had some short stories published in other books.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I must take time to focus on the main reason I am here on this earth. It’s my job to share what the Lord has done for me. I’m still here, because I haven’t finished the job He has given me to do. Whether it is to encourage a child to trust in the Lord, or encourage a parent to set boundaries for their children…whatever God has for me to do. I read my Bible every morning and realize my blessings come from Him and there are probably some things I should be learning during the hard times. When it is a crazy time, or nutty deadline…and I feel stressed, I try to stop, take a deep breath and most important…PRAY!! :-)
How do you work together as a team?
It’s just like working at the newspaper. I may have written a wonderful article, and taken a great picture. But if the advertising people didn’t sell the space, the press people print it, and the carriers deliver it…no one would read my article. It takes all of us to make a successful paper.
In the publishing world, it takes an editor with faith in you, and a team of their own to make a successful product. If the team is successful, so are the individuals.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of, besides family?
I am very proud of this book. God gave me the idea many years ago. When I would get discouraged and think it wasn’t going anywhere, God would send me a reminder that He was still in control and to trust Him.
Yes, God's timing isn't often our timing, but it's always right. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I probably have so much fun writing about Rowdy Raccoon, because I am a mischievous person at heart. I love to have fun, and sure don’t act my age at times. I can be in an adult situation, and the thoughts will run through my head…if Rowdy were here, he would do…… and then I have to grin to myself. Yup…That’s exactly what Rowdy would do…and get into trouble.
What is your favorite food?
I love Mexican food…Cheese enchiladas, salsa and chips to be exact!!!
I'm getting hungry. Is it hard to break into the children’s market?
In some ways I think yes yes yes. But I also believe all the years I spent trying to get the book published, it wasn’t God’s timing. When the time was right, things fell into place. In the mean time, I was hired by the newspaper and kept writing and writing! (And get paid for it!)
What advice would you give to an author wanting to do that?
Keep writing and getting better and better at what you love to do. Also keep reading.
What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
The Adventures of Rowdy Raccoon features a group of animals that live in the Harrison Hollow State Park. Rowdy is the main character, and Savannah Squirrel is his best friend. Savannah tries to keep him out of trouble, but somehow Rowdy still finds trouble to get into, and character-building lessons to learn. Rowdy has to learn things like respect, honesty, learning to work, learning to laugh at yourself, giving etc. All are character traits we want to pass on to our children. Sometimes adults, parents and grandparents get so busy…we have to make sure we stop and teach character on purpose.
The newspaper has partnered with Rowdy and we go into classrooms and service clubs all the time. I have a stuffed raccoon I take and for young children, I read the story and share the pictures with them. For older students, I have props that go with the characters and as I read/tell the story they act it out. The kids love to be actors and learn some character-building traits while have a great time. I’ve even had adults act out the story and that is funny all by itself. So the newspaper promotes literacy and building character in young readers. I put a page together each week that is just for kids, plus my other assignments. The Newspapers in Education program takes newspapers into classrooms for free one time a week. So I write a column about character, and feature lots of interesting activities for teachers and students to use the newspaper for fun and learning!
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Rowdy’s web page is www.RowdyRaccoon.com. It is kid friendly and has puzzles children can do with Rowdy. Plus there is a section of discussion questions for parents or grandparents. After they have read the book, they can talk about the choices Rowdy made, whether they were good or bad. What could he have done different? And what lessons did Rowdy learn? Rowdy loves to interact with children and will write them back, if they email him.
The book has a beautiful, colorful cover and pages children can color on the inside. There is also a full-length CD with a wonderful young lady narrating the story and a Rowdy theme song. So if children are not able to read yet, they can listen to the story and look at the pictures as they go.
The Adventures of Rowdy Raccoon is available at your favorite book stores or you can order from me by e-mailing DCBraymer@aol.com or calling toll free-1-888-55-Rowdy.
Thank you, Donna, for spending this time with us.
Readers, especially parents or grandparents, check out the Rowdy web site. But before you go, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book