Thursday, April 17, 2014

Interview: Kaylee The “What If?” Game by Christine Dzidrums

Please share a little about yourself, your genres, any other pen names you use.

I was born and raised in Southern California and still live there to this day. I’m married to my best friend, and we were blessed with three small children. I primarily focus on three genres: Young Adult, Picture Books and Children’s Biographies of inspirational, notable figures. I don’t have any pen names, but if I did I would use Sandy Zuko for my pen name.

Tell us a little about your latest or upcoming release.

In 2010, I wrote a book entitled “Cutters Don’t Cry,” about a teen named Charity who self-harms. In that book, there’s a chapter about Charity’s best friend, Kaylee. It was my favorite chapter to write in “Cutters” because I found Kaylee so intriguing and fascinating. After I finished writing the chapter, I still wanted to learn more about her. That’s when I knew right away who my next book would be about. 

“Kaylee: The What If?” Game tells the story of a teenage girl who attempts suicide after experiencing debilitating panic attacks. While in the psych ward of the hospital, she begins examining the recent events in her life that led to her emotional and physical breakdown.

Are you a mom ? 

Yes. I have a 5-year-old son, 3-year-old son and 22-month-old daughter. They keep me very busy!

If yes do you find it hard to juggle writing and parenting? 

It’s not easy. I find time to write while being a full-time mom. When I’m writing a book, I spend the day with my children and write furiously when they go to sleep for the night. I’ve always been a night owl and have always done my best writing while the rest of the world sleeps, so it works out. I’m lucky that I can sometimes go a month at a time on about 2-3 hours of sleep a night. Toward the end of a book, I’ve been known to pull several all-nighters to get more work done, but I always regret that decision in the morning!

Have you ever based your book or characters on actual events or people from your own life?

 – Oh sure…all the time. Charity in “Cutters Don’t Cry” was based on my personal experience with cutting. Charity’s life wasn’t mine but many of her thoughts and insights were. A lot of the supporting characters in “Kaylee” were partially based on people I know, but Kaylee wasn’t based on me. I’m not that cool.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

I was diagnosed with a moderate level of ADD about ten years ago. I always suspected I had it, especially because getting through school and even college was extraordinarily difficult for me. I’d feel like I was crawling out of my skin during my classes and couldn’t wait for them to end. I have a horrible attention span from everything from carrying on a conversation to being very forgetful in my day-to-day activities. People often think I’m aloof but it’s because I have to force myself to stay focused and actively listen in every situation. It can be a challenge sometimes. And yes, I’m sure there’s a book in me somewhere about it. J

When you’re not writing what do you do? Do you have any hobbies or guilty pleasures?

If you’d have asked me six years ago, I would have said that I love long drives, read all the time and try to see a stage musical every month. Life has changed since I’ve had children. Now when I have free time, I take them out somewhere, like a picnic, museum or an animated movie. The other day we went to the drive-in. There were three children in the front seat of the car watching Mr. Peabody & Sherman, and my husband and I sat in the back seat. It was quite the experience. By the end of the night, our car had popcorn everywhere!

Which series do you wish you had written?

Does Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli count? I absolutely loved the first book especially. The author nailed the pain of adolescence in middle school and how your actions, or lack of actions, can haunt you the rest of your life. It’s a heartbreaking book.

Is there a genre(s) that you’d like to write that you haven’t tackled yet?

I am in the beginning stages of writing a juvenile mystery novel. Mysteries were my favorite genre when I first became an avid reader as a young girl. I really liked Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew and the Meg series. I’m so excited (and scared!) to tackle that genre next.

What is next for you? Do you have any scheduled upcoming releases or works in progress?

I’m working on my third SoCal book, “Life Before Elmo”, right now. It’s the story of a teenage mother who make a connection with someone online. Other than that, I’ll be appearing at a few different book festivals throughout the year and enjoying time with my family.

Kaylee: The “What If?” Game
The SoCal Series
Book 2
Christine Dzidrums

Genre: Young Adult

Publisher: Creative Media

Date of Publication: 03/05/2014         
ISBN: 978-0983539346
ASIN: 1394180171

Number of pages: 172
Word Count: 27,114

Cover Artist: Joseph Dzidrums

Book Description:

“I play the 'What If?' Game all the time. It's a cruel, vicious cycle.” In the follow-up to Cutters Don't Cry, meet free spirit Kaylee McMathews, the most popular girl in school. But when the teenager suffers a devastating loss, her sunny personality turns dark as she struggles with debilitating panic attacks and unresolved anger. Can Kaylee repair her broken spirit or will she forever remain a changed person?

Amazon Print      Amazon Kindle     BN     Kobo

 About the Author:

Christine Dzidrums holds a bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts from California State University, Fullerton. She has written biographies on many inspiring women: Joannie Rochette, Yuna Kim, Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, The Fierce Five, Gabby Douglas, Sutton Foster, Kelly Clarkson, Idina Menzel and Missy Franklin. Christine’s first novel, Cutters Don’t Cry, won a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. She also wrote the tween book Fair Youth and the beginning reader books Future Presidents Club and the Princess Dessabelle series. Ms. Dzidrums lives in Southern California with her husband, three children and two dogs.

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