Welcome to Kala’s Quick Five, where I chat with fascinating authors, artists, teachers and researchers and ask them five questions about their work. My guest today is Maureen Crane Wartski, author of over 13 children’s books, including the topic of our discussion here, Yuri’s Brush with Magic.
Kala: Maureen, you’ve written over 13 children’s books. Did you always know that you wanted to write children’s books and how did you begin?
Maureen: I have always wanted to write, and my first attempt, at age five, was a ‘magnificent’ story called “A Fish On a Dish.” My books have been across the age spectrum, but I always seem to gravitate toward books for young people whose imagination is always so vast and wise.
Kala: The description of the book states ‘… Tammy’s and Ken’s spooky old aunt from Japan is headed to North Carolina for the summer. Sure, they’ll be staying at the beach, but something’s not right with Aunt Yuri. Is she magic? Or a witch?’ Witches are written about in many children’s books and fairy tales, typically they are typecast into being bad women. Do you think that the title of witch is changing and that wise women will begin to be written about as positive women, rather than the old patriarchal descriptions meant to discredit powerful women?
Maureen: I think that perceptions about powerful women are changing in positive ways. They certainly have changed since the days of Hansel and Gretel’s witch in the woods! Nowadays, fiction is rich with strong female protagonists. As for Aunt Yuri, I never identify her as a witch. Is she magical? Does her brush have magic? This is left to the reader’s imagination. After all, the world around us is full of magic… if we allow ourselves to see this.
Kala: The book is based in North Carolina. What about North Carolina inspires you when writing?
Maureen: We live in North Carolina, so this is home turf. Also, we have a small house on the Crystal Coast, and ‘beach house’ has always been a part of our grandchildren’s vocabulary. The ocean is a powerful and ever changing force… and it has shaped a great deal of my writing and other art forms.
Kala: As a former high school English teacher, you’ve spent many years connecting and educating our youth. Do you find that children love to read and what tips can you give to parents who are trying to encourage their children to read more?
Maureen: Children will read books that interest them. What inspired us when we were young doesn’t necessarily have the same pull for today’s youth. I have learned this from my former students and from my own grandchildren, so now I read not only my own favorite authors but the genres and topics that interest the younger folk. This opens a wonderful dialogue… and it inspires them (and me!) to read and explore.
Kala: Maureen, beyond the work that you do, how do you ‘Explore Your Spirit’?
Maureen: When I work on a new art quilt or painting, when I write a haiku after my morning walk, or when I stroll along the ocean’s edge, there is always that edge of awareness that, I believe, reaches into the human spirit. It always amazes me that when that awareness is reached there is always a wellspring of insight and imagination waiting to be explored.
Kala: Maureen, thank you for joining me here on Kala’s Quick Five. More about Maureen and her book can be found at www.sleepyhollowbooks.com
Booksigning Information: You can Meet the Author on Saturday, December 4, at 3:00 PM at The Regulator Bookshop in Durham, NC. Maureen Wartski will be reading from her book and signing first-edition copies of Yuri Brush with Magic – a great holiday gift for pre-adolescent girls and their Moms.
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More about Kala Ambrose: Kala Ambrose is an award winning author, intuitive and talk show host of the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show. Her thought-provoking interviews entice listeners to tune in around the globe! Described by her guests and listeners as discerning, empowering and inspiring, she speaks with world renowned authors, artists, teachers and researchers delving into metaphysical, holistic and paranormal topics. Kala’s book, 9 Life Altering Lessons: Secrets of the Mystery Schools Unveiled delves into the mysteries of ancient Egyptian mystery schools and explains their wisdom teachings. Kala Ambrose is a highly interactive teacher on a mission to educate, entertain and inspire. She lectures on the Ancient Wisdom Teachings of Egypt and the Mystery Schools, Working with Auras, Chakras and Energy Fields, and Wise Woman Wisdom.