Featured Book of the Month:
Dealing with Stress: A How-To Guide by Lisa A. Wroble (Naples, Florida, www.lisawroble.com) is a YA nonfiction book. Everyone feels stressed out sometimes. School, extracurricular activities, and family obligations can take their toll on teens. But you can learn how to keep your life from overwhelming you. Dealing with Stress: A How-To Guide, explores what causes stress, how your body handles it, what happens when you have too much stress or don't deal with it correctly, and surprisingly, when stress can be a good thing. Learn how to deal with stress before it leads to serious physical, emotional, and mental health problems. Real teens share their experiences and offer tips that have helped them deal with stress.
Learn more about it and buy this book at: Amazon or the Publisher's website.
Our conversation with the author:
Writers-Editors Network: What inspired you to write this book?
Lisa Wroble: Personal experience. I work with children and teens through writing workshops targeting at-risk students, and I was amazed at the stories they shared. As a teen myself, I recall exploring ways to better manage my time (a huge source of stress for young people as well as adults) and tips for coping with stress. As I heard about the stresses today's teens were trying to deal with, I thought a book on this topic would be valuable. Not a lot exists that targets teens. When my editor at Enslow contacted me about another project, I mentioned my interest and she had an upcoming series the topic fit into, so I pitched my outline.
Writers-Editors Network: Do you plan on writing more books on this topic?
Lisa Wroble: I won't write specifically about stress, but may do a book or workbook on time management for teens. Since so many adults have also read this book, I know there's interest in the topic for them, but there are also a lot of books already out there on the subject. Still, it is an incredibly fascinating topic so I might explore writing articles instead of another book.
Writers-Editors Network: Where is your favorite place to write books?
Lisa Wroble: I actually write in several places. I have a home office and tend to compose directly at the keyboard (as opposed to writing longhand as I did when I was starting out). After a solid block of time at the computer, I'll take a break to walk, exercise, or run errands. Often I'll use my laptop and sit on the lanai or in another room to continue working. If I get stuck (or feel the beginning of writer's block) I take a pad of paper to the pool or Starbuck's – anywhere outside my "normal" work area. Once the words are flowing, I'll switch back to the computer and continue writing.
Writers-Editors Network: Did you outline this book first? Or just start writing?
Lisa Wroble: I outline and do preliminary research and interviews before I begin writing. Once the editor approves my outline, I actually then create a bullet list of key points I intend to cover in each chapter. Since I juggle a lot of different projects (other writing obligations, editing and book-doctoring, teaching local writing workshops and college-level classes) I can look at my bullet points outline and quickly pick up where I left off.
Writers-Editors Network: What was your favorite chapter to write and why?
Lisa Wroble: I don't have a favorite chapter but a favorite part of the process. It was interviewing the teens for the book. I enjoyed meeting them, though many were not even face-to-face meetings but long-distance interviews. The most fun interview was a group situation. I met with the youth group a friend's daughter belonged to. I enjoyed watching them interact, fill out questionnaires, then meeting with each to add to his or her comments. While I did this, they were talking with each other about their answers and they were excited that a book targeted to their needs was going to be published. It felt gratifying that I could share tips to help them deal with stress but to also see their excitement for my project.
Writers-Editors Network: What was the biggest challenge in bringing this book to publication?
Lisa Wroble: The publisher put it on hold several times due to the economy. Unfortunately, that meant I needed to find fresh adolescents to interview each time I returned to the project. In the end, we used a sampling from two different drafting periods. Then at the very end of final revisions, my editor left the company and I was sort of an orphan while the book went through the remaining stages in the publication process. Despite that, I am very pleased with the outcome, and this was one of the first of my Enslow books to be published in both paperback and e-book versions.
Writers-Editors Network: Do you have any writing rituals?
Lisa Wroble: Not rituals, just a routine. I like to get up and sit outside to drink coffee and write in my journal every morning. Nature centers me and I begin my day with a feeling of gratitude. This helps me gently wake up and record any ideas bouncing around in my head. Journaling helps clear my mind so I can focus on the project for the day. I then do stretches and head to the computer. I take a break for breakfast later and then plan my day – when I'll take a longer break, exercise, run errands, do household tasks – then back to writing until that longer break. On teaching days heading to a workshop or class is the longer break.
Writers-Editors Network: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Lisa Wroble: I was eight years old and an avid reader. Mysteries were my favorite and I think my friend Kay had just received the entire Nancy Drew series. We were reading our way through it. I loved to make up stories and share them with my friends. Kay and I put on puppet shows for the neighborhood kids. (They were hand puppets make from lunch sacks.) The next year I attended an "open classroom" school and for the science center I had a project to create a unit on the oceans. The skills I learned became the basic process I use in writing my nonfiction books.
My brother, an aspiring artist, had taken me to visit the Detroit Institute of Arts and his "guided tour" was much better than the school field trips I'd been on. My plan was to write about art, music, and dance for children when I grew up. I didn't do that except for articles on those topics in children's magazines and reference publications, but my writing career has focused mostly on nonfiction for children and teens. I also work with at-risk youth blending writing with art and storyboarding to help change their attitudes toward writing, just as my older brother changed my attitude toward art.
Writers-Editors Network: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Lisa Wroble: Read. I generally have at least two books going at once and balance between fiction and nonfiction. I read mostly genre fiction (mystery, fantasy, science fiction), but my nonfiction tastes are varied - though psychology and life-coaching are current favorites. When I'm not reading, I like to watercolor paint, explore nature and take numerous photos, visit nature trails and the beach here in southwest Florida, and explore historic sites.
I'm also a movie buff and like to watch a variety, from old black and white movies to recently released movies. Favorite genres include horror, action adventures, and comedies.
Writers-Editors Network: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Lisa Wroble: Read widely. Look closely at how any book or article you enjoy is constructed. Find authors you admire and "dissect" what they write. Then try to apply what you've learned to your own writing. Also, find topics that you are so in love with that you won't want to give up and work on something different halfway through the project. You'll reread and rewrite the same chapters over and over. The real work of writing comes during revision so you have to be dedicated to your nonfiction topics.
Writers-Editors Network: My teen's stress is stressing me out, so how can a book help?
Lisa Wroble: First, the book targets adolescents and teens and the specific things that cause them stress. Adolescence is the most stressful period in a human's life because of the natural changes the body is undergoing compounded by the inexperience of dealing with stress. I've interviewed real teens for suggestions that help other teens. The book is also designed to explain what stress is, what it does to the body, and the warning signs.
Second, there is a section on second-hand stress. That's what parents are feeling when their teens' stress stresses them. While the information and suggestions are geared toward adolescents and teens, adults will benefit from understanding the different types of stress and the warning signs. Additionally, parents will find the results of not coping with stress helpful, especially if their teens are engaged in destructive behavior because they don't understand that they are stressed or how to adequately deal with it. It's a fascinating topic that doesn't need to add to anyone's stress.
Learn more about it and buy this book at: Amazon or the Publisher's website.