Interview with Dotti Enderle, reviews of The Lost Girl
and Hand of Fate
school year is winding down and most of us have our eye on summertime
fun. One thing you might want to consider is your local library’s
summer reading program. Not only are libraries a great place to
sample new writers without blowing your book budget, but signing
up for these summer reading programs can give you incentive and
earn you some minor loot. Many libraries give fun (if a bit silly)
prizes every time you read a set number of books. And the reading
program may wrap up with a party. We all love parties -- right?
So check our your library and mix a few books into your summertime
plan. Let me know what you win.
Enderle is the author of the Fortune Tellers Club series
(Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.) She’s also a professional storyteller,
a skill that comes in handy for all the school visits she does.
And she’s written an educational book series, Storytime
Discoveries, as well as picture books and even ebooks. She
lives in Texas with her husband and two teenaged daughters.
Fortune Tellers Club series is a mystery with a unique twist
-- how did this series come about in your head? How did you go about
finding a publisher for such a unique concept?
my oldest daughter was twelve, she had a birthday sleepover, and
the first thing the girls did was pull out the Ouija Board. That
reminded me of my childhood, and my two best friends, Pamela and
Debbie. The three of us were a lot like the Fortune Tellers
Club. We’d spend hours asking the Ouija questions, or
trying to read the future with cards. Preteen girls are both curious
and impatient. They want to know what will happen to them, and they
want to know NOW. We were no different. As the memories of my childhood
came pouring back, so did the concept of the Fortune Tellers
Club. Pamela and Debbie and I never solved any mysteries with
our divination, but I loved the idea of three girls who could.
I really had a lot
of problems finding a publisher at first. The mainstream children’s
publishers rejected it on the grounds that they couldn’t put
it in the book clubs because of the occult content. One day I happened
upon a YA novel published by Llewellyn Publications, which totally
shocked me because I didn’t know they published fiction. I
sent in the first novel, The Lost Girl, and became their
pioneer in children’s publishing, writing their first middle-grade
kind of reaction have you had from your readers? Do you get much
fan mail? Does the input of fans (and not so fans) affect your writing
readers are great! I do get lots of fan mail, and it’s always
positive. One girl told me that her mother loves my books so much,
she gets first dibs on the new releases, then passes them on to
her and her sister. And a mother from France emailed me that her
daughter speaks English, but her comfort level for reading is French.
The Lost Girl, was the first book in English that the girl
had ever read straight through without putting down. That made me
But my fans don’t
offer much input for my stories. One girl did mention that she’d
like to see the girls visit the new age store more often, so I wrote
it into the book I was working on at the time. However, most of
the influence for my books comes from my own real life occurrences
or those of my daughters.
us about your in-person visits -- what can readers expect if they
get Dotti Enderle to come to their school?
of laughter and great stories. I do several presentations, depending
on grade level, but I always include a few stories. I was a professional
storyteller before becoming an author, and when I’m telling
stories, I’m guaranteed a quiet, attentive audience. I also
love participation from the kids, and incorporate it in both my
stories and my presentations. I often pose questions to the audience
during my talk. That keeps them alert, and quite frankly kids like
the opportunity to raise their hands to give an answer. My favorite
is when I ask the audience if they think all authors are rich and
famous. I get lots more than just a yes or no with that one.
Jan: Do you
have a favorite character in the Fortune Tellers series or a favorite
book? Slip us some inside information on these fortune telling girls.
can’t say that I have a favorite character because all three
represent some aspect of myself. Juniper is mystical, Gena is zany
and a real fraidy cat, and Anne is level-headed, yet constantly
curious. I always know which part of my psyche to pull from for
each one. Originally I was going to center the entire series around
Juniper, the main character in the first book, but a friend urged
me to rotate characters. I’m so glad she did. I learned a
lot about myself, and the other two characters by doing that. And
I think it’s more fun for the readers.
I do have a favorite
book though. It’s The Magic Shades. Mostly because
I love the idea of taking a mundane object like a pair of sunglasses
and using them to see the future. Now, if only I could invent some!
done educational books, electronic books, picture books, magazine
writing, as well as the Fortune Tellers series -- what's your favorite
kind of writing to do?
my favorite kind of writing is the genre in which I’m still
waiting for publication – historical fiction. I’ve written
two historical midgrades that are being considered by major houses
right now. One is set in 1883, and the other in 1961. And I plan
to start another one very soon that takes place in 1931. All three
are set in Texas because that’s where I’ve lived my
entire life. I’m not sure I’d know how to write about
us about the books you have upcoming. I see you've got a picture
book that is very Texas -- what should Dotti Enderle fans be watching
picture book is called The Cotton Candy Catastrophe at the Texas
State Fair. The cotton candy machine goes berserk, and the
state fair is overrun with the sticky menace. It’s a fun book
that not only tells the story of Jake and how he’s set the
cotton candy on the loose, but it also incorporates some amazing
features of the State Fair of Texas, like The Texas Star –
America’s tallest Ferris wheel, and Big Tex, the 52-foot tall
statue that greats visitors at the front gate.
I’ve also been
exceptionally lucky to have Chuck Galey as my illustrator. He’s
done a phenomenal job on bringing the state fair to life, and covering
it with clouds of cotton candy. The pictures truly make the book.
Also be on the lookout
for three more Fortune Tellers Club books, and Storytime
Discoveries: Math, the fourth in my Storytime Discoveries series
from Teaching & Learning Co.
young readers dream of being writers, how would you suggest they
begin now to end up where you are -- a published author?
most important way a writer can prepare is by reading. Read everything.
Not just how-to books, but books on the genre in which you wish
to write. Although classes are a great help, there is no teacher
quite like your favorite author. Enjoy the story, then reread it,
taking note of how it’s written. What strong verbs does the
author use? How much description…emotion…inner dialogue
is used. How often does the author interrupt dialogue to insert
thoughts or feelings? These are the mechanics for telling a compelling
story. A fantastic idea won’t make a great book unless it’s
well written. Also, write whenever you can. Just like anything else
in life, it takes lots and lots of practice. Be patient and enjoy
things have been most important in shaping your writing career?
What do you credit with the transformation from Dotti Enderle, butterfly
mom, to Dotti Enderle, multi-book author?
most important thing for me was, and still is, having contact with
other writers and professionals who put me on the right track. I’ve
been a part of a few listservs for several years, and I can honestly
say that I’ve learned more by reading the interaction of both
published and unpublished writers than anywhere else. Those contacts
opened an amazing new world for me. Between that and finding my
own voice, a revelation that came about by doing what I suggested
above, I’ve been genuinely blessed.
your favorite part of being a writer?
an outlet for all these ideas that have taken residence in my head.
I love putting them on paper and seeing how they turn out. When
I start a novel it’s like an adventure. I never know where
it’s going to take me until the end.
Jan: Who are
your favorite authors and why?
is only one author whom I read consistently and that’s Kimberly
Willis Holt. I adore her books and her writing voice, and I’m
usually the first in line when her latest gets put on the shelf.
Other favorites include
Mark Twain, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Linda Smith.
us what you were like as a kid.
may be surprising, but I was painfully shy and withdrawn. I was
afraid to speak out loud, and spend the majority of my school days
in fear of interaction, from the first day of the first grade until
the day I graduated high school. I preferred living in a dream world,
and my mind stayed in an alpha state for half my life. I think now
that it was not only an escape, but also the only place I could
be where I felt important. I developed a sense of humor as a teenager,
but would only open up at home, never in public. I think I was well
into my mid-twenties when the public starting wishing I’d
withdraw into myself again!
But those daydreaming
days eventually paid off. Had I spent those childhood years in the
real world, I wouldn’t have anything to write about now. I
had an overactive imagination, and though it’s never really
stopped pumping, I’ve learned to function in a duel existence.
And I think I’m safe as long as I can distinguish between
thank you for taking the time to share so much with our readers.
I wish you the best of fortune with your writing and I hope one
of your historical middle-grade novels finds a publishing home soon.
For next time, we’ll
have a review with Linda Zinnen about her new fantasy novel and
how her books have run the gamut from sassy YA to sports to dragons….
Fortune Tellers Club, No.
Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd - September 2002
ISBN: 0738702536 - Paperback
Juvenile Fiction (ages 9-12)
by Jan Fields, MyShelf.com
growing up on Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon, I found The
Lost Girl to be a kicked-up version of the kind of books
I loved as a kid. The main character, Juniper Lynch, and her
friends Anne and Gena are fascinated with fortune telling --
any kind of fortune telling. Since I remembered trying to read
tea leaves from burst tea bags and trying to see images in the
crystal on my birthstone ring, I could really relate to this
fascination. But this book isn’t some kind of enticement
to the New Age -- it’s pure middle-grade mystery at its
heart. I was caught up in the plot and sailed through the story’s
fast pace. And Gena made me laugh out loud -- readers will enjoy
how different these characters are portrayed. I could see how
some parents could be uncomfortable with the paranormal aspects
of the story but I think this book would capture the attention
of any girl who loves magic in her books. It definitely whetted
my appetite for the series.
Tellers Club, No. 5
By Dotti Enderle
Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd - May 2004
ISBN: 0738703907 - Paperback
Juvenile Fiction (ages 9-12)
by Jan Fields, MyShelf.com
of Fate is the newest release of The Fortunetellers Club.
I have to admit, it featured my least favorite character --
Anne Donovan. Not that Anne’s not cool, she’s going
to cheerleading camp and I’m sure lots of girls relate
well to that, but I like my character’s a bit wacky. The
mystery itself delivers, though, with all the tension and excitement
of the previous books. As a summer read, this book is fast and
exciting. Plus, what could be more enticing than the search
for an answer when something bad (in this case a car accident)
happens. By giving the characters the means to move that search
to the paranormal, I believe this book pulls on something inside
us that wants to believe there are answers for everything if
we just had the tools to find them.
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