Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Welcome to Featured Guest Blogger, Monica LaSarre

Welcome to Featured Guest Blogger, Monica LaSarre.

I am grateful to the very talented Mary Adair for the opportunity to share a few words on her blog. I’ve enjoyed her Passion series immensely and am honored to have her as a supporter of my recently published children’s novel, Japer Penzey: International Boy Detective, The Ruby Brooch of Atlantis.

Let me cut right to the chase regarding what I hope you’ll take away from this blog post: I’ve discovered the fountain of youth and it’s not at the gym, or in a bottle of wrinkle cream, or hidden deep in the jungles of Africa. It’s at your finger tips. Its name is “Children’s Literature”.

I’m almost 40, writing is my second career (I worked in non-profit health care and transfusion medicine for decades), I’m a mom of two really great kids, and I love to read. I’m not different from many of you, most likely. We are adults, we have responsibilities, reading is a good way to relax and squeeze some extra joy out of life, but we read adult books (adult fiction, romances, non-fiction). I was in that boat too.

For many reasons, a few of which I’ll share momentarily, I found I had a burning desire to write a novel for kids. And I have to say, writing it has become a fountain of youth for me in so many ways. Since writing this novel, I laugh a lot more, I look at the world through a simpler gaze, and I’m a bit more unencumbered and gravitate towards adventure and learning with the wide-eyed expectation of a child. Through the experience, I’ve learned an amazing fact: children are simpler, happier beings and the way they look at the world is beautiful and enviable. Now, one of my favorite things to share with my reading friends is how I’ve come to appreciate mixing in children’s literature as a reading choice for myself. Beyond my book alone (which many adults are enjoying as a fountain of youth as well!), I enjoy reading classic children’s literature and books geared towards younger readers. I challenge you to try it. You will feel younger, I promise you.

A few things about my book: First, I wrote it to be read-aloud friendly. Sadly, so many children’s chapter books aren’t. I would see my kids’ eyes glaze over at long, descriptive, beautifully written passages in the books I would read to them, and wish there were more chapter books that kept them engaged. I found so few read-aloud friendly books; I decided to write my own. As an author, I’m compelled to share in my stories some valuable tools for helping our children grow into conscientious, thoughtful, compassionate people. Through my own love of culture and travel and sharing those passions with my kids, Jasper Penzey’s story was born.

A 9-year old international boy detective, Jasper has never known his mother. He moves to Greece with his history professor father and for the first time in his young life he has the opportunity to view another culture and another part of the world. He is pulled into a mystery involving the location of the lost civilization of Atlantis, which surprisingly exposes him to clues indicating his mother is out there somewhere in the wide world, and he would give anything to find her and know her. Filled with age-appropriate morals and quips, Jasper’s tale illustrates the power of bedtime stories, that people worldwide are different and special in their own way, and that history and mystery can be a lot of fun.

Ideal for readers aged 7-12 and for all adults wanting to discover their own fountain of youth, I’m pleased to share Jasper Penzey’s story with you. The first in an 8-book series, Book 2 takes place in Panama and will be published in early 2015. I hope you’ll join me on this adventure and share Jasper’s story with all the readers in your life, young and old. I give away a free book (children’s literature) daily (on average) on my Facebook page, so join me there as well. I love fan mail and dialogue with readers via my website, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I hope to get to know you and interact with you based on our shared love of reading and all things books.

These photos were taken while on a family vacation. Both were taken on the island of Santorini, both in the exact spots that became scenes in the book. One  taken on a boat to the temple island, the other one in Amoudi where Jasper saw the best sunset.
M.A.A.    Thank you, Monica for guesting my blog today. I agree with you totally, nothing brings back the feeling of youth like the antics and laughter of children. The whole world is a new and wonderful place when seen through the eyes of a child. I loved book one and will be waiting anxiously for the book two. Please come back and share with me when Jasper's next adventure is published.


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