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Bookloads Interview with Author Marti Dumas

(Reposted from Bookloads.)

Bookloads: What inspired you to write your first book?

Marti Dumas: You’d think this question would have a straightforward answer, wouldn’t you? Lol. No such luck.

Jala and the Wolves is the first book I’ve published, but it isn’t actually the first book I’ve written. The first book I wrote was inspired by my 2001-2002 fifth grade class. They were an awesome group of kids—really thoughtful and artsy and literary. They gobbled up every good book I put in front of them. Our classroom book clubs took on a life of their own, and many of them even went so far as to begin the process of converting favorite books into movie scripts. Math was their fatal flaw. At least it was until I realized that if I turned the mathematical concepts we were learning into fantasy stories, they remembered them and applied them better. As a teacher, I usually worked really hard to make math *real* so that the children would understand it. Making math fantasy was something new. That year I told them oodles of stories that began with a magical river that fed itself in a loop (the number 0), and the lands that stretched out on opposite sides of the river (negative and positive numbers). The ideas stuck with them, and a few years later I wrote a book called The River Rien that takes place in that land.

Bookloads: Is The River Rien also for sale?

MD: No. Not yet anyway. It is one of the many stories I have written that still lives on a flash drive in my pocket. When I finished writing it I printed a copy and mailed it to my best friend, but that was about it. I’m toying around with the idea of pulling that one out again, but I haven’t quite made up my mind yet.

Bookloads: Is your writing based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

MD: Everything that I write is based on some experience I’ve had or person I’ve known. I wrote Jala and the Wolves for my daughter as a Christmas present when she was in first grade. I printed a copy on Blurb so it would be "fancy" and like any of the other chapter books she was reading, just with the added twist of her being the main character. Since this story was for my Jala, I knew right off the bat that there would be wolves involved. And magic. Like her mama, Jala has always been a sucker for fantasy adventures, so my first joy came in writing it and imagining what her response would be to all the tiny magical elements as I composed them. Then, when it finally came in the mail she was delighted. That was joy number two. But nothing compared to snuggling down under a blanket on the sofa and reading it together. That was the best mother-daughter time ever. It made the process totally worth it.

Bookloads: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

MD: You’ve already learned the hard way that succinct is not my strong suit, but I think I can keep this answer pretty short.

Message #1- Little girls are problem solvers.

Message #2- Knowledge can literally make you powerful. [Shout-out to my bookish peeps. #NerdPride]

Message #3- Mamas are awesome.

Bookloads: What books have most influenced your life most and which writer would you consider a mentor?

MD: This question is almost cruel. I spent most of my childhood tucked in a corner or monopolizing our single bathroom reading a book. Then as a classroom teacher I read aloud hundreds of books to children, not to mention reading every book before it could be a part of our classroom library. That’s a lot of amazing writers, and it doesn’t even include books for adults!

Since you obviously intend to press me here (I forgive you), I’ll actually answer the question, but I’ll keep it short to be clear that it’s not all-inclusive. ;-)

C.S. Lewis

Madeleine L’Engle

Marion Zimmer Bradley

Katherine Paterson

Mildred Taylor

Bookloads: What book are you reading now? What are your favorite movies and what book genres do you like reading/writing the most?

MD: I love fantasy stories. Fantasy is definitely my go-to genre. I just finished reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, and I started China Mieville’s a few days ago. It’s full of the most fabulously purple prose. I’m eating it up.

Bookloads: What are your current projects?

MD: I’m working on two things. One is a series for young readers called . It’s about a little boy with a giant afro and an even bigger brain. Grown-ups keep trying to convince him that, even though he’s really smart, he doesn’t know EVERYTHING. The problem is that he kind of does.

The other project is a little darker and more fantasy-like. It’s about a teenage boy who learns that he can train to be one of the protectors of a weak spot between dimensions. The working title is , but that definitely might change.

Bookloads: Do you see writing as a career or as a hobby?

MD: Truthfully, I see writing as something I love. Being a kind of introverted person, it has taken me a long time to decide to put some of my stuff out there. Somewhere in the back of my mind—in that dare to dream part of myself—I have always wanted to be an author. Now that I have taken some steps toward that my conscious mind is free to admit that I would be thrilled to make my living as a writer.

Bookloads: Where can readers connect with you?

MD: Find me at my website:

Connect with me on Goodreads:

Or Follow me on Twitter: @MartiAndreDumas

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