Award-winning children’s author, Donna McDine writes and moms from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI and Family Reading Partnership.
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The Inspiration Behind A Sandy Grave by Donna McDine
Story ideas come to me in different ways… my imagination, daily life, news articles, and movies. Yes, I carry a small notebook and pen with me at all times for those wonderful times of eavesdropping and jotting down dialogue. Especially when it comes to little ones and teenagers. What better way to stay authentic to writing for children than from their own words?
Beyond the enjoyment of a beach vacation I never gave much thought to marine life. Sure we’ve gone on the typical whale or dolphin watching tours and were always delighted to see these creatures come up out of the ocean. But I never truly paid attention to what some humans do to marine life, until the day I read a news article about a dead whale that washed up on shore of a California beach. What fascinated me about this article was the police needed to guard the whale, until the local marine biology institute could arrive to determine what the whale died from. The reasoning for guarding astounded me. Apparently, poachers would take the opportunity to steal the whale’s teeth to sell for artists to create scrimshaw on the teeth and then sell for a profit.
This particular article pumped up my creative writing juices and before I knew it, I was researching marine biology, Endangered Species Act, and the Mammal Protection Act. Then came the creation of the fictional storyline and characters. Once I knew how I wanted the characters to be instrumental in propelling the story along with my research, the two blended into a beach adventure with a learning aspect without preaching to the reader. Hence, A Sandy Grave was born. The title was created from points in the article and research.
Through my writing and research of topics I find interesting, I often learn something along the way too. Making school and library visits more engaging with youngsters. Inspiration is everywhere, as long as we keep our eyes and ears tuned into our daily life. You will be certainly surprised what you can learn along the way.
Thank you for hosting me today. I enjoyed showing a glimpse behind the scenes of A Sandy Grave.
The anticipation of summer vacation can put anyone in a great mood with the excitement of the adventures to be had, especially at the beach. But what is a group of friends to do when they find themselves thrown into discovering the identity of the mysterious men at the beach?