Title: I Swam with An Angel
Synopsis: Initially from Jamaica, ten-year-old Cornell was born with a rare disease that made it impossible for him to walk. After the divorce of his parents, he was then sent to his aunt’s house, something nine-year-old Jaime thinks is a wrong idea. When Cornell first arrived to his cousin’s house, they were like water and oil. Jaime did not like the idea that he bragged to much about things he could not do, like swim or sail a boat. But when Cornell starts to get sick, will Jaime realize the real meaning of strength and how strong Cornell really is?
Author: Vastine East
CH: Welcome to my blog Vastine East. Vastine is a children’s author with great stories for children and their parents.
CH: Please tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book.
VE: It is a powerful story that teaches diversity, humility and the power of love.
CH: What inspired you to write this book about children with special needs?
VE: While vacationing in Montego Bay, Jamaica in 2006, I witnessed a young boy in a wheelchair frantically trying to keep up with two girls that appeared to ignore his call to slow down. The two girls continued moving at a quick pace dodging pedestrians on the narrow uneven sidewalk. I stood watching to see if the boy in the wheelchair would eventually catch up with the two girls. The boy and the two girls soon disappeared amongst the crowded people on the sidewalk. I do not know if the wheelchair bound boy ever caught up with the two girls.
For the rest of the afternoon I could not get the image of the boy in the wheelchair trying desperately to catch up with the two girls who seemed to be avoiding him out of my mind. Later that week before I left Montego Bay, to return home to Houston, the story was born. A boy in a wheelchair from a tropical island, he cannot walk, cannot run, and he wants to swim more than anything he can imagine. He leaves his island home because of his parents’ divorce. He comes to live in Houston, Texas.
CH: How did you find an illustrator?
VE: I chose my illustrator from a list of illustrators Xlibris my publisher presented to me.
CH: Can you tell my audience a little about reading your book to small children?
VE: I find that reading my book to small children is an extremely moving experience. The story begins with a problem between my two major characters. My audience of small children hears the anger from the antagonist; they learn the name and condition of the boy in the wheelchair. From that moment, the children sit and eagerly anticipate what is going to happen next. It is not long after the stories beginning, my little audience is at odds with the antagonist. I can since their leaning quickly to the side of Cornell the protagonist. They appear to identify favorably with Cornel as he deals with his moody and angry cousin from one episode to the next. I experience giggles, smiles, silence and compassion from my young audience from beginning to the story’s emotional ending.
CH: This story involves helping other children to deal with handicap children. Was this problem an issue in your family?
VE: No, my family never had to deal with a handicap child.
CH: What inspired you to begin writing for children?
VE: I guess my mother’s love of telling my siblings and me stories when we were young planted the seeds of storytelling in me.
CH: Does being an adult give you a different perspective on writing children’s literature? If so, how?
VE: Yes, being an adult does give me a different perspective on writing children’s literature. I naturally see the world from a different perspective, as I grow older. Unlike writing for an older audience that see and understand most things like myself, sharing thoughts and images in book form to young people forces me to find ways to give them thoughts they can digest. The miracle of words paints a different sound of things we see in the world. A child sees a yellow butterfly floating in the air. An adult see the same butterfly floating on the air. How do I convey that image to an adult and a child? To a child I might describe the flight of the butterfly as floating on the breath of God. To an Adult I might describe the butterfly floating, as free at last from being a caterpillar.
CH: You’ve written other stories for children. What do you find to be the hardest part of writing for children?
VE: The hardest part, I would say, is maintaining a since of simplicity. By that, I mean. Write the way we talk to children. They have allowed me into their world. I must respect it. When in Rome do as the Romans do. Staying honest to their stage in growth is very important.
CH: Why did you decide to self publish?
VE: I dreamed of writing books for years. I am approaching the end of and engineering career and rather than have to go through the rigors of finding an agent and publisher which could be quite time consuming, self-publishing seemed the right choice. Self-publishing has given me a great shot of confidence by having my writing available to the public, encourages me to pursue my writing with more passion and expectation.
CH: Is it hard to write a story on a child’s level?
VE: It is a challenge. The hardest part is getting out of my own way. I have too many thoughts, sometimes.
CH: How do you come up with the ideas for your children’s stories?
VE: I am a people watcher. I had a great childhood, which I remember very well. I hid many stories in my mind when I was growing up. Ideas were and are all around me. All sorts of story ideas from the loss of relatives, friends and people I knew from a distance. Happy times watching the world around me. I glean from an endless carousel.
CH: Do you have a website?
VE: Yes, I do. My Web site is www.vastineeast.com or you can visit http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-0063848017/I-SWAM-WITH-AN-ANGEL.aspx
CH: Where is your book sold?
VE: This book, and my other book, Masai Man, are both sold on Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, and of course on my web site www.vastineeast.com Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/I-SWAM-ANGEL-Vastine-East/dp/1465350594/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1431042927&sr=1-1&keywords=i+swam+with+an+angel
CH: Any closing remarks?
VE: Cheryl, I am honored for you inviting me as a guest. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my book and the passion I have for writing. I have spent forty years in the oil and gas industry as a Structural Designer. I have given it my best. I will give my writing a greater effort!
I will continue to write. I will continue to put my best efforts forward as a storyteller by writing as best I can!
CH: Thank you so much Vastine for joining me and my audience.
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