Monday, March 10, 2014

Straight from the Mouth of 'Queen Vernita ' Dawn Menge

Dawn Menge has a Bachelors in Human Development, Masters in Special Education and a Clear credential as an Education Specialist. She is currently a doctoral student specializing in Curriculum and Instruction. 

She has worked with the Severely handicapped population for the past fourteen years. Her experiences include from teaching the elementary level up to adult education in special needs. She has been nominated for teacher of the year by SBCSS, awarded a Learning Leader by Leapfrog, served as a Lead teacher and has been a BTSA support provider. The disabilities she has experiences with include but are not limited to Autism, Visual Impairments, ADHD, Seizure Disorders, Cerebral Palsy, Intellectual Disabilities, Emotional Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairments, and Down Syndrome.

Dawn Menge has won fifteen national awards as a self-published author of the Queen Vernita's Educational Series. Queen Vernita's visitors has won; Reader Views, Readers Favorites, First Place Evvy, Scooter Award and A+ rating from the American Children's Book Society, and a Purple Dragonfly award. Queen Vernita Visits the Blue Ice Mountains has won Finalist in the Readers Favorite and a Purple Dragonfly award; Queen Vernita Meets Sir HeathyBean the Astronomer has won an Evvy, USA Best Book Award, Readers Views and a Purple Dragonfly award, Queen Vernita Visits the Islands of Enchantment has won a Purple Dragonfly award, Readers Views and a Silver in the Mom's Choice award.

Dawn Menge is the mother of three and the grandmother of five beautiful grandchildren.

Purchase her books on Amazon

Thanks for letting us interrogate you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author? Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

    Yes!  I love being a children's author. I have had some great experiences that I would never have had if I had not chosen to try this avenue.  I don't find it demanding, I only wish I had more time to invest in researching them.  I have six books lined up to write and many more I would like to write. I find it to be very exciting and fun.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?  

The demands are placed on myself as I am a self-published author.  I choose this route to begin with to have the freedom to write about whatever subject I would like to write about.

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

     My family is proud of me, they also do a lot of the traveling with me, so they are very supportive of my projects.  My mom just set up a trip to sail on a paddleboat to follow the Louis and Clark trails. She said "Happy Birthday and you can write a book about it!"  Also the characters in my books are my family and friends.  In my first book I included the children in my book, I figured they couldn't protest too much.  

Afterwards I had adults asking to be in the books.  I was really surprised and thrilled.  I have now included family, friends and co-workers.  In each book Queen Vernita travels though the twelve months of the year, each month she travels with a new friend, learns a new subject in a new region.

In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?

    Luckily my children are all grown and they can feed and water themselves :}. My grandchildren are very self-sufficient.

   I take breaks in between months as I am writing so I can think about what I am going to include.  I am the kind of person that I write and rewrite in my head for a long time before I attempt to put it down on paper.  The actual writing process is very short for me because I have already resolved most of the issues before I even start.

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

     I had a publisher from France contact me about my books. That was a great compliment.  I had an award winning author who is very reputable tell me that my books were incredible and I should get an agent.  My response was to stop writing the book I was writing and go watch the Disney channel with my granddaughter. I think she shocked me. My editor told me she loves Queen Vernita and enjoys editing them.   I think having people really like the books and ask what is next is the craziest thing I feel at this point. 

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

   I have a  facebook page and a website.  That is all of the social networking that I am doing at this time.  I also teach full time, have five grandchildren and am working on my PHD. 

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?

      My most successful books sales come from the author signings and presentations at the libraries. I am focusing more on my researching and writing now and am having time constraints getting out into the community and promoting my books.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

        I thankfully have a beautiful life.  I had wonderful parents growing up, my three children have all grown up to be people I am very proud of, I have five beautiful grandchildren, who I get to spend a lot of time with, I travel quite a bit, I love teaching severely handicapped students and I have a whole lot of really great friends.  You did say just one thing?

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

     I love traveling and researching new areas.  Each new place just adds more ideas and places I'd like to go and see. The draw is getting more intense the more books that I am producing.  I am currently working on three and have six already scheduled to write.  I will be exploring the Volcanic Islands with sea Captain Jeff, Paradise Reef, sailing with John Alden and walking the Cherokee Trail. I would like to write a second series titled "Where in the world is Grandma?" It would be based on the seven plus wonders of the world.  I would of course need to do all of the research personally.

       I love reading my books to the children when I am at a library or at a  school site.  I love including other people in my readings and writings.  I love the fact that other people think they are interesting and it gets them involved in trying new things or going new places.  I love when people suggest places for me to write about.  It's all just exciting and fun filled.

       I love the fact that my friends and family are excited to be in the books. Especially the adults, I was really surprised when they said that they wanted to be.  I love it when the friends in the book go to the book readings and read the book or they join in on the interviews.  I think that if there are any sacrifices they are minimal and its all just very exciting and fullfilling.

1 comment:

Evelyn said...

Congratulations, Dawn, on all your published books and on all their awards. Sounds like you're making a positive difference in a lot of children's lives.