Performed by Carina Cojeen
Get to know the writer:
1. What is your novel about?
This is a heart-written, tweens-and-up fiction book for the ages, set in the innocence and freedoms of early 1960’s rural Iowa. It is a poignant, personal experience-based tale of love, friendship and loss; a delightful journey of both human and spiritual growth, which took me fifty-two years to write!
The main characters are Sharley, who died too young after battling leukemia, and Kate, who recounts Sharley stories from their childhood that helped broaden her perspective on life and encourage her to do things she otherwise would never have done. A grieving Kate struggles with her best friend’s illness and her ultimate death, coping in part by way of Sharley visiting her after her passing with the promise of an afterlife, as seen by a child. I invite you to enjoy this 52-year-old story!
2. What genres would you say this story is in?
3. How would you describe this story in two words?
4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?
Easy! A Christmas Story
5. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)
“High Hopes” made most famous by Frank Sinatra.
6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?
My favorite children’s novel is My Daniel by Pam Conrad. I have definitely read it more than once.
7. What motivated you to write this story?
American children will never again experience the innocence and freedoms of Midwest farm life to be had in the 1950’s and 60’s. It was a hard-fought, yet simpler life; perhaps not so easily understood by today’s standards. It is my hope that I have provided a glimpse into that way of life, and that through my writing, I can allow readers to relive that treasured time.
According to the American Cancer Society, in the 1960s, the 5-year survival rate for children diagnosed with leukemia was less than 10%. The current survival rate has increased to more than 90%. I have lived long enough to witness that monumental improvement. I also witnessed the passing of my own father in 2009, who devastatingly became yet another statistic in the fight against leukemia.
8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?
Laura Ingalls Wilder
9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
I am passionate about recycling, honeybees and other pollinators, birds, anti-bullying, preserving local history, my new state, South Carolina, and my old states in the Midwest.
10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?
I usually have a “movie” in my head as I write scenes. So, naturally, I would like to see a performance of my writing!
11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
Read. Write. Share. Learn. Grow. Repeat.
Seek instruction through the modeling of successful authors.
Read their products and learn through their craft.
Write with your own, true voice. Write from your heart.
Share in a writing group or with a mentor or editor.
Learn from the feedback.
Grow your skills as you implement that feedback.
Repeat the process in an ever upward spiral of writing progress, development and evolution.
Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com
Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson
Camera Operator: Mary Cox