Meet Author Jewel Kats
Welcome to Day 1 of the virtual tour for my new book Reena’s Bollywood Dream. My name is Jewel Kats and let me tell you a bit about myself.
Some people refuse to grow up. Well, I happen to be one of them. I can think like a kid. I can cheer like a kid. I can express myself like a kid. Only, I’m an adult! I also happen to be an adult who loves to write. It’s only natural these two abilities of mine would cross paths.
However, I don’t want to give you the wrong idea. I didn’t start writing for young children right off the bat. My words initially began entertaining their counterparts. Think: teens. My first crack in the art world came in the form of co-writing and performing in, “Swept Away,” a touring musical about youth homelessness.
Thereafter, for six years, I began reaching out to teens in a syndicated advice column for Young People’s Press. That job was fun, fun, fun. Oh, and of course, rewarding, rewarding and rewarding. Unfortunately, it came to an end because of cutbacks.
In the back of my mind, I always wanted to write fiction for kids. It wasn’t until I lost my job that I finally sent out my first manuscript. Needless to say, agents and publishers didn’t gobble up the story right away. I still had to refine my skills. As you may have guessed, I didn’t give up. I refused to walk away from my dream. Why was I so fixated on becoming a children’s author? My answer is simple: I always have and always will love kid’s books. In short, I wanted in on an industry that makes a difference for generations to come.
Eventually, while taking college-level children’s writing workshops an important storyline popped into my mind. The young protagonist, Reena, represented every real-life South Asian woman who’d confided in me that they’d experienced childhood sexual abuse. Suddenly, images of my future book, “Reena’s Bollywood Dream: A Story About Sexual Abuse,” overtook the cinema in my mind. I felt Reena’s desperation to become a Bollywood star. I heard her parents’ disapproval. I saw Uncle Jessi devise a cunning plan. Soon enough, I had a powerful manuscript in my hands. With a big gulp, I sent it out. The result? I’m happy to report it sold in 24 hours flat. Now, that’s some way to make an entrance into a tough industry!
Find out more about me and my book at the National Writing for Children Center, where the book is showcased all this month.
Follow Day 2 of my tour tomorrow at http://www.donna-mcdine.blogspot.com Leave a comment every day of my tour and your name will automatically be entered to win a Gift Box Bundle – filled with books and other goodies – at the end of the month, provided by the National Writing for Children Center.