Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Interview (Part II) and Giveaway with Clara Gillow Clark

As promised, here is Part II of my interview with children's author Clara Gillow Clark.






DBP: Your website mentions you are from a family of seven children; I am also from a family of seven children. How did coming from a large family influence you to become a writer?






CGC: Coming from a large family means that you have a lot of relationships and a lot of interesting dynamics among siblings. My parents both loved to quote long passages of poetry, we always had books around, and my older sisters were great readers, so I guess all of those things were influences.






DBP: What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?






CGC: It was actually from an interview with Judy Blume who wrote that if you keep at it [writing], you’ll start to catch on—I tell kids when I do workshops that it’s the sort of aha! moment of learning to ride a bike or even before that learning to tie shoes, zipper a jacket, or button your own dress/shirt for the first time. I’ve had several of these writing aha! moments over the years and it’s euphoric when it happens. The worst? If writing isn’t easy for you, you shouldn’t bother.




DBP: As a children’s author, you talk at libraries, schools, and conferences. What tips can you give to help other writers prepare to give presentations?






CGC: Always practice your presentation until you can do it without a script. Beyond that, once you arrive, forget about yourself—be friendly, be funny, and make eye contact.






DBP: You have a website. You also have an amazing blog http://claragillowclark.blogspot.com/ where you post about writing and books. I am a follower and a frequent visitor. On your blog you also sponsor contests and giveaways, as well as interviews with other children’s writers. How has the Internet changed the way writers connect with readers and other writers?





CGC: The Internet is time consuming and has challenged us to prioritize our time better, but it’s also created a much stronger sense of community for writers both in support of each other and in the craft, as well as being an amazing place to meet readers. Writing can often be a lonely life because we do need to have solitude for creating, but with the internet, we are always able to reach out and connect.



DBP: Speaking of contests on your blog: What can you tell us about your Spilling Ink Writing Contest going on right now?





CGC: Thanks for asking about that. I ran this contest last year for the first time when Spilling Ink, A Young Writer’s Handbook co-authored by my friend Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter, was released. The response was great so I decided to make it an annual event with cash prizes and autographed books for Young Authors in grades 4-8.



DBP: That is so cool! What a generous and thoughtful way to encourage young writers to achieve their dreams! Any last thoughts about writing or words of advice?



CGC: Write what you care about—it’s the internal conflicts not the external ones that matter the most.



DBP: Your advice about internal conflicts is so true. Now, final question: What is the best way for readers or writers to contact you with questions?



CGC: Message me on facebook or Twitter--@claragillow), leave a comment on my blog, or e-mail me: claragillowclark(@)gmail(dot)com



Thank you so much, Clara, for being so generous with your time and words of wisdom.



To all my visitors, thanks for stopping by and reading what Clara has to say. If you haven't already done so, be sure to leave a comment to be entered in a drawing to win a copy of one of Clara's books. Winners' names will be posted by the end of the week.

24 comments:

  1. I enjoyed part 2 every bit as much as part 1! I commented on part 1 and said there was no need to put my name in the drawing because I already have autographed copies of all of my dear friend Clara's books... but, on second thought, please DO put my name in, because I have a granddaughter who is also an avid reader and if I win, I will give the copy to her!

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  2. My grandson is trying his hand at writing so I'll be sure to have him check out the contest. And I have several grandchildren who would love reading the book. Enter me please!

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  3. I never tire of reading advice published author's give to other writers who plug (sometimes struggle!) away at their craft. Give up? Never! Even if the advice is something I've heard before, it gives me an inspirational boost to just keep writing. Fortunately, I have two of my granddaughters (age 2 and 4) who love books and being read to. I'm hoping as they grow older, I can encourage them to write as well! So thank you, Clara, for Spilling Ink.

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  4. It's great to learn a bit more about Clara. Thanks for hosting the interview, Donna! It's always a pleasure to meet more writers and lovers of books :)

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  5. Clara, I love your best advice came from Judy Blume! Thank you, Donna, for hosting a great interview.

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  6. Donna, You hit the nail on the head when you said Clara is generous and wise. I love her blog and her positive attitude. We have never met "in person" but she is a writing buddy I treasure. :) Thanks for the interview. And I think all teachers, parents, and librarians should definitely tell their 4th to 8th grade students about the Spilling Ink contest!

    Margo

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  7. Thank you everyone! You're so good to me that it's making me happily teary-eyed. I love you all!

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  8. Love the advice for presenters. Forget about yourself. Be funny. Humor does wonders!

    Would love to write funny!

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  9. Thanks again, Clara. I so admire you for doing the contest for the kids. I've judged for school writing contests in the past and they are brilliant! Brings back my days as children's librarian vividly too.

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  10. Thanks so much, Clara! I'm looking forward to more of your insights at the Bloomsburg University conference.

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  11. Fabulous! You are so right about the internet being both a boon and curse when it comes to writing. While it can be a major time suck, the sense of community it allows me, especially now that I live in the middle of nowhere, is invaluable.

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  12. I love that you're both from families of seven! And Clara, that best writing advice was wonderful and that worst writing advice was deliciously hideous! Thanks to both of you for posting a great interview.

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  13. A BIG THANK YOU TO BETTY, JOYCE, MARJORIE (I'll see you at Bloom!), Ghost Girl, and my dearest Poetry Buddy, Claudia for stopping to leave such wonderful comments! Love you!

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  14. Interesting and educational interview, Donna. Thanks to Clara for being so generous with her time and advice.

    Pat
    www.critteralley.blogspot.com

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  15. Great interview, Donna. I love her comment, "forget about yourself."

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  16. Thanks for a great interview, Donna. I'm a fan of Clara's, too! :)

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  17. Thank you for interviewing Clara. She is always so encouraging to even we "wanna be" writers. And to the library media specialist she gives us insight and professional knowledge into other writers through her blogs.
    As much as I like Hill Hawk Hattie,there is a very special energy in her writing of Nellie Bishop so to those who have not read it, I would encourage you to do so.

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  18. Thanks Donna and Clara for your time and talents.

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  19. K9, Lisa, Becky, Elizabeth, Shultzie(Annie), and Linda--Heartfelt thanks for being heartfelt friends! Love you! And DONNA, Thank you, too, for friendship and for hosting me! xo

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  20. Great interview. I enjoyed both posts.

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  21. Thanks for a great interview. Clara's advice to writers is very inspirational. Have fun in Bloomsburg! I remember those conferences - they were so much fun and so very interesting!

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  22. Chiming in late to say how much I enjoyed your interview with Clara. Her advice to young writers is perfect!

    Laurie Calkhoven

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  23. Hi Everyone,

    You are the best. I sincerely appreciate all the comments you've left for Clara. Your responses have been wonderful!

    Donna

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