CMA is Publishing a Book! Meeting the Authors (Part 2)

Remember that book CMA wroteeditedpublished, AND partied over? Well not only can you buy the whole thing at Amazon: you can check out Part 2 of our Q&A with the 19 people who wrote it. In case you’re still not sure how a book with that many authors gets written in the first place (Part 1 of the Q&A is here!).

Here you go!


THIS book

What inspires you to want to write for children?

To be honest, I am writing for myself.  I just happen to be pretty childish. — Danny Friedman. Chapter: Patty (1959)

I believe childhood reading has the potential to become part of a young person’s life landscape and would love my writing to be a part of inspiring a young mind to wonder, wiggle, and wink at life. — Debi Holliday. Daily Eagle Op-Eds

Wow this is a hard question.  In my personal work, I don’t normally write for a children’s audience but there are a lot of books I admire such as The Graveyard Book and Coraline by Neil Gaiman and my all time favorite, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  For children, there is so much that is beyond their control.  I wouldn’t say they are powerless but so much is decided for them: where they live, where they go to school, how they spend their time, etc. So given all of these parameters it is powerful to see how a child can take control of their situation even in a limited fashion. — Mary Tai. Chapter: Chen Kai (1979)

I’m inspired to write for children because I was inspired by stories as a child. Stories helped me see the world as a place of opportunity and gave me the hope and boldness to think that maybe the big, amazing things I was reading about could happen for me, too. I want to give other kids that same opportunity. That’s why I write. Also Batman. — Laurie-Anne Vázquez. Chapter: Omar Jenkins (1991)


Who are you most looking forward to sharing this book with?

I would love to introduce the idea of journaling to middle-schoolers and high-schoolers using our book as an example of how personal history can be recorded and utilized as a tool for discovery and dreaming…  I think our book is a powerful tool that can be used to inspire critical thinking as it engages the reader and inspires the idea of beginning a personal journal as a record of their own experiences. — Debi Holliday. Daily Eagle Op-Eds

My eight year old son. He is a great reader and I love that he is curious about the world. — Mary Tai. Chapter: Chen Kai (1979)

I’m looking forward to sharing this book with family and friends especially those who have children in the age group. I love talking about books and shows with my friends’ kids and my nieces and nephews, and seeing their excitement and reactions make it all the more worth it. — Anna Ly. Chapter: Mirabella MacDonald (1949)

I’m most excited to sharing the book with my co-authors.  We worked very hard on it. —  Danny Friedman. Chapter: Patty (1959)


What drew you to the “Dear Journal You’re Freaking Me Out!” project?

I like the idea of 20 people holding me to a deadline!  Writing is such a solitary process and sharing your work is pretty frightening but I enjoyed meeting all of the other writers and reading their stories. — Mary Tai. Chapter: Chen Kai (1979)

I was looking to explore writing in a media new for me like an ebook, and to address it to a new age group I had never written for, 10-11 year old children. — Marta Marcos. Chapter: Isabella Schiller (2014)

Marta's Headshot

Marta Marcos

What was your greatest reward and challenge?

The biggest challenge was working with over 20 writers with many different viewpoints. Sometimes it was hard to get consensus and we often changed course throughout the process. But in the end, I recognized that challenge was also the greatest reward. It was so amazing to collaborate with such a great group. I have made friends through this project who are a wonderful support system and sounding board for our own individual writing projects. — Melissa Dino. Chapter: Daisy Gertrude Van Wyck (1913)

My greatest reward was getting feedback on my writing. I’ve never written for 10-13 year old audience and sitting together with the other members and hearing their perspective was invaluable. The challenge was wrapping my head around everything that was going on since it was such a large group. There were quite a few emails flying around about the plot, chapters, other things that needed to be done. Quite overwhelming but exciting nonetheless! — Anna Ly. Chapter: Mirabella MacDonald (1949)

I think the greatest challenge was letting go.  After our first meeting, all of the writers came back with 20 very different stories about a haunted house.  Later on there was a narrative framework that was designed to create a spine or thread for all of the stories.  The biggest challenge was aligning your story to the larger narrative and cutting things out that no longer worked for the greater whole.  It was kind of sad because the writers wrote some wonderful, far out stories but I can see how it no longer fit into the larger structure. — Mary Tai. Chapter: Chen Kai (1979)


How do you think co-writing supports the writing community?

The co-writing process has offered a tremendous learning opportunity for everyone involved. We have all become better crafters of unique stories, advocates for our ideas, not to mention better writers! I have enjoyed meeting with this creative group of amazing writers each month to share our ideas and build the world of Daisy. I look forward to future collaborative opportunities in my writing life. — Corey Nascenzi. Chapter: Umi MacAuliffe (2004)

I think with co writing you have to walk in with a certain outlook, that it’s all one giant experiment.  Enjoy the ride, meet new friends and learn a little something about yourself. — Mary Tai. Chapter: Chen Kai (1979)

I can speak from my experience on this co-writing project that I have found a clarity in my own voice that supports my efforts to speak to my audience with my writing.  I would love to share my experience with other writers and hope to use the CMA model to create a writers group for young people in my Jersey shore neighborhood. — Debi Holliday. Daily Eagle Op-Eds

Debi Holliday

Would you want to be involved in another co-writing project?

Well for me, I am now part of a small writing group that grew out of this CMA project. We are a sort of spin-off from this project and we meet almost once a month to beta read our works in progress. I am inspired by the discipline and talent of these writers so thank you CMA for inadvertently putting us together! — Mary Tai. Chapter: Chen Kai (1979)

Sure. Collaboration is great. Next time, though, I think I’ll collaborate with 2 or 3 people instead of 19 or 20. — Danny Friedman. Chapter: Patty (1959)