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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dragonflies and Butterflies: Jewel Chats with Clea and John Adams

Recently I read The Dragonfly Secret: A Story of Boundless Love by John and Clea Adams. It is the continuation story of Lea from John’s first book The Dragonfly Door. Lea is now a Dragonfly, in her new world. Lea makes new friends and likes to play hide-and-seek with Tess who is a butterfly and a boy. As they play Lea wonders why the boy has not told her his name or where he lives. The boy offers to tell Lea a secret but first she must do three things for him. Lea wants very much to discover the mystery behind his secret, so she agrees to fulfill the boy’s requests. With each request Lea meets people who need her help and she discovers something about herself.

I also read The Dragonfly Secret to a group of first, second and third graders. The kids had some questions for John and Clea, so I decided to contact them for a cyber-chat.

John and Clea agreed to chat with me about writing for kids and to answer some questions kids asked when they read the story too. Here is what they had to say.

Jewel: Thank you John and Clea for meeting up with me to chat about what you have been up to lately and your new book, The Dragonfly Secret: A Story of Boundless Love. To start things off I would like to ask how you got started in writing.

Clea: For me, I got the writing bug early when I won a couple of writing contests while in elementary school. That motivated me to take writing classes.

John: That’s not to say writing is easy or comes naturally. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Carefully crafting a quality story takes perseverance and a willingness to have your work critiqued by a professional editor.

Jewel: Absolutely, hard work, determination, and the willingness to have your stories checked out by someone other than a teacher or a friend are important. Sometimes writing has to be fit into a crammed schedule. Do you juggle your writing with a job or other interests like volunteer work or a hobby?

Clea: John and I juggle both writing and running our publishing company. Because we are a two-person company, we have to wear many hats – from authors one minute to other areas such as marketing, finance, operations and mail carrier.

John: In addition to that, we have 4 children between us (2 adult boys, one high school student and the youngest is 10 years old). They keep us fairly busy. We are also volunteers at our church and at a grief support/outreach organization called The Dragonfly Project. In our spare time we also enjoy going on long walks or bike rides.

Jewel: Whew, running a book company seems to keep you two very busy. Scott, age 7, has a question for you. He asks: “Lea likes to play hide and seek. What was your favorite game when you were a kid?

John: When I was growing up, I loved playing catch with a baseball or football. I grew up on a farm in Kentucky so we had lots of space for outdoor games.

Clea: My neighborhood used to play a game called “kick the can” which is a little like hide and seek and a little bit of the game of “tag”.

Jewel: “Kick the Can” reminded me of the games I used to play too. We played “King of the Hill.” Playing outside was our favorite pastime. Alexie, age 9 would like to know, “Did you tell secrets when you were a kid? If you did, then how did you keep the secret when other kids try to trick you into telling it?”

Clea: What a great question! I grew up with 3 sisters, so we were always telling each other secrets. When you are young, it is tough not to give a secret away. I think once or twice I told the secret to someone else, and I felt horribly about it! The best thing to remember is that someone has put a lot of trust in you and trust is tough to win back once it has been broken.

Jewel: Lea discovers a secret by trying new things. What writing secrets do you have for new writers?

Clea: Writing takes persistence. You have to be patient because crafting a story takes time and work. Never give up trying though.

John: Yes, read other good literature, especially some of the classics that have been around for generations. Our editor frequently refers to Charlotte’s Web as one of the best stories to help writers understand the use of good story structure, problem solving, obstacles, character flaws, and life lessons.

Jewel: In The Dragonfly Secret Lea goes to her new home. Jason, age 8 asks, “Where do dragonflies sleep and what do their houses look like?”

Clea: Dragonflies typically have homes near lakes, ponds or wetlands. Some will return to the same habitats where they were water nymphs. They rest on trees, tall grasses and plants. Dragonflies also like to land on rocks that are warmed by the sun.

John: There are lots of other interesting facts about dragonflies. Dragonflies are found all over the world (except Antarctica). In fact, there are over 4,500 different species. The largest dragonflies lived with the dinosaurs in prehistoric times and had a wing-span of 24 inches (about the size of an owl or hawk).

Jewel: Wow! The dragonflies that lived with the dinosaurs were big. I wonder if you could hear their wings flap. Emily, age 6 has our last question. She asks, “Do you have a dragonfly coloring sheet?”

Clea: We plan to add some coloring sheets soon to our website. Please check back. In the meantime, Jewel has a great dragonfly ring art project on her website that we think you will enjoy.

Jewel: Thank you so much Clea and John Adams for stopping by “Jewel of A Book” and sharing a little about yourselves. Please stop by anytime and shout a “howdy” to us.

To keep up with Clea and John Adams visit them at Feather Rock Books.
Dragonflies are amazing insects to study. To view real dragonflies up close and personal from around the United States visit The Digital Dragonfly Museum.


terri.forehand said...

What a nice interview. I was not familiar with the books or the authors so thank you so much for such up to date information. I also love your new site.


Jewel Sample said...

Thank you Terri for stopping by and letting us know our interview was of great value to you. Stop by anytime and shout us a howdy.
Kind regards,