Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Interview with children's author Rita Avaud A. Najm

Children’s author Rita Avaud A. Najm joins me today to talk about her series of stories, La Petite Rita, Volumes 1 & 2.

Welcome, Rita. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am an American-Lebanese mother of two amazing loving boys, Leonid and Mark. Moving with the family to Houston, Texas in 2007 made us do lot of absolute changes. One of them was changing my career as a registered nurse, and going back to college to study business management.

Wonderful things started to happen. Working as a library assistant was one of them. This rich and joyful experience made me change my mind on working in health care management. I even decided that my graduation project should be a teacher and parents’ guide to encourage elementary students to read more non-fiction and poetry books.

My life path brought me to Utah, where I found out that many public schools have dual French immersion program. Being multilingual (French is my second language), created in me the desire to write stories about a 7-year-old girl named “Rita.”

Yes! Rita! Since some of the stories had to do with my childhood, I wanted to share them with you. Young readers will enjoy Rita’s daily life experiences, her cute funny adventures, as well as learning some French words from her short conversations with her parents.

I will keep writing and will make my collection bigger; hoping that one day my children won’t need to buy books for their children to read.

What do you enjoy most about writing short stories?
Writing short stories is like arranging a bouquet of flowers; each flower has its unique smell, color and shape. Short children’s stories are usually fun to write, since the message is clear and the end is cute. Children love to jump from an adventure to another without being bored.

Can you give us a little insight into a few of your short stories – perhaps some of your favorites?
Most of my stories have to do with my childhood. My joyful moments, that I made stories about, are all my favorites. I was and still shy because of my accent, even though many of my friends think it’s cute, same way with Rita’s friends at school (Coming to America, Volume 1).

I even bought a white Christmas tree for my children; because I loved the one I had long time ago, and still remember how I felt the first time I saw that sparkling, beautiful tree (A White Christmas Tree, for Rita Volume 2).

What genre are you inspired to write in the most? Why?
I love to write morals stories that hold a message or a simple lesson that teaches children about love, honesty, virtues and courage, while entertaining them and showing them how blissful their innocence is while experiencing life. 

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am working on my 3rd volume of La Petite Rita.

I also have 5 other stories ready to be published yet needs illustrations, with no human characters and some tales and fables that everyone will enjoy.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Once I decided to publish my books, I felt the responsibilities of a writer. Being creative as much as I can while expressing my ideas using the right words is not easy. I have to write about interesting things and funny ones, since my audience is basically children, while taking into consideration all reviews and comments to succeed and make my work better each time.

How do you research markets for your work, perhaps as some advice for writers?
Promoting through blogs and creating websites,
Joining Facebook pages that promotes new releases,
Making trailers on YouTube, as well as taking advantage of all social media sites by talking and sharing publicly everything about my books (Google+, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter).

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I actually don’t have one, but I usually laugh if what I am writing is super funny.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to become a lawyer to defend women’s and children’s rights. I studied political law for one year, but I felt that my time would be wasted, since I was born in a country where, even now, these rights are still not guaranteed because they are religiously-based with little or no government oversight.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
My books are not just about a little girl. They are about every single person who comes to the USA and struggles with the language. It’s for everyone who likes to learn a foreign language too, since most of the dialogues between the main characters are In French. Easy short and common French sentences (translated to English on the bottom of each page) will make these books unique and entertaining.

I would like to share my Instagram link where followers will find lots of beautiful quotes about life, and of course info about my books.

Thanks for being here today, Rita!

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