Susan L. Womble – Newt’s World: Internal Byte

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

Newt’s World: Internal Byte
This book is the second book in the Newt’s World Series, Internal Byte. Follow the continuing adventures of Isaac Newton “Newt” Willis and the rest of the Willis Charter School class as they attempt to thwart another attack on Newt’s holographic world. Newt is still trying to fit in and dealing with the school bully who makes his life miserable.

The first in the series Newt’s World Beginnings is described as follows: Following a car accident, twelve-year-old computer whiz Isaac Newton (Newt) Willis who uses a wheelchair adapts a NASA computer communication program developed by his father into a holographic game, a virtual world, “Newt’s World.” But when he shares the game with his two new best friends, an international espionage ring learns about the program and holds Newt’s school hostage. The story has underlying themes of fitting in and bullying and is set in Tallahassee Florida.

Tell us something about yourself.

I am teacher who has been writing stories since kindergarten. I have lived in Florida all of my life. My stories are set in Florida. I decided to write about what I knew. I looked around at my students in my classroom and wrote my book with themes that students seemed to find interesting or wanted to know more about: video gaming, computers, texting, technology, virtual worlds, bullying, cyber bullying, tolerance, and fitting in issues. My book is a story of friendship. I am an award-winning author. The first in this series “Newt’s World: Beginnings” won the 2008 Gold Medal Florida Book Award. “Newt’s World: Beginnings” is also on the 2009 Just Read Florida Recommended Reading List. Along with “Newt’s World: Beginnings” my writing credits include “Newt’s World Beginnings Workbook” (teacher’s and student’s editions), the 2nd in the series entitled, “Newt’s World: Internal Byte” and accompanying workbook. I live in Tallahassee, Florida with my family. I am a National Board Certified teacher with a career of teaching grades K-12th in the areas of reading, special education, language arts, math, social studies and the profoundly handicapped.

What inspired you to write this book?

I felt the message of tolerance and how to handle bullying was a story that I wanted to share. I decided to write this book and try to make it interesting to open up the conversation about how everyone wants to fit in and how all students no matter what their station in life have something to contribute. They must look within themselves and find what they are good at and nurture that particular strength. Too often our young people dwell on the negative. I wanted to send a positive message.

How did you choose the title?

My son helped me pick Newt’s name. It is Isaac Newton Willis and we decided to call him Newt for short. Newt’s World is his holographic world he has made up for himself because he has been a recluse since his automobile accident. The first book is called beginnings because it is the beginning of the series. The second is called Internal Byte because of the computer undertones and because the students must look within themselves to solve the problems of the second book.

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

I got a lot of rejections. I just never gave up and kept sending queries out. I wanted my story read and the only way to do that is to keep trying. The trick is to find a person who reads your book and connects. A reader of my book found himself identifying with the bullying aspect of the book and he told the publisher and that is why the book is published. It was a personal connection with the story.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I love to tell stories. I have been writing and creating stories since I was a little girl. A few years ago I just thought up an idea for a book and sat down to see if I could finish writing an entire book. I finished it, but after going to a writer’s conference and learning about writing style, etc., I realized the first book really needed to be completely rewritten. I decided instead of doing that I would write the next book that had been on my mind and that book was “Newt’s World Beginnings.” I am now in the process of rewriting my first book and I see all of the mistakes I need to correct.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I think about a story for a long time. I use sticky notes to jot down some ideas that I have about the story, plot and the characters. Then I write like crazy every day. The story comes to me from beginning to end. Sometimes, it ends up a lot like the first organizer in terms of character, plots, etc and sometimes it goes way off that plot line. As I flush out the characters, they take a life of their own and when that happens things change in the story that I do not expect. As I get closer to the end of the story, I do another organization sticky note chart to try to finish all of the plot lines, tie up loose ends, and to find an end to the story. After I finish with the first draft of the story, I go back and do spot edits. I edit for specific things: first the arc of the story, then writing style, (repeated words or phrases or dialogue), and other aspects of my writing. I spend a lot of time editing. I also enlist the help of a writer’s group who help find other errors in plot line, etc.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

A lot of times my characters start out as Boy A, Boy B or Girl A or Girl B. The characters get their name when I know more about them. I usually know the main character’s names before I start. Sometimes, I use names for a hidden meaning. I also use family or student’s names if they fit the character’s personality.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

* Research find out what’s out there just like a business entrepreneurship like Names of books, Subject areas, Style, What’s vogue
* Search titles: Put in your main ideas for your story, Think of a new way to tell it, Make it fresh, Dialogue, Write with action, Have your characters do something and say something—let us know who they are by what they do and how they do it
* The Writing Process is like a fingerprint. It is different for everyone. I make outlines and notes and then write straight through.
* Pitches & Synopsis –After you write your book- spend time on pitches and synopsis—sometimes this is harder than writing the book
* Getting published is a lot of Luck!! Luck!! Luck!!

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

I would start earlier in my life writing books and write more.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?

I like books that tell a good story. Being a school teacher, I love CS Lewis, Wizard of Oz, Bridge to Terabithia, the Outsiders and anything by Carl Hiaasen. I also love Harry Potter series. I enjoyed the Twilight story. I read a lot. I like to study books. I love the classics, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Shakespeare, and Dante’s Inferno.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

Yes I am in final edit on Leah’s Prism. I am hoping it will be out at the end of 2011. It is my first young adult and my first written in first person.

Description: Teen/Romance LEAH’S PRISM inspiration description is “Twilight meets Narnia with a touch of Hogwarts.” Leah comes of age while discovering her role in an obscure tribal prophecy.

According to legend, descendants of five original ancient clans, geographically separated for centuries because of betrayal, will unite and discover their utopia through a “special-one” only if the right path is followed. A newly, formed school in Berry, Florida provides this contemporary setting.

Leah, a direct American tribe descendant, is given an heirloom ruby on her fifteenth birthday awakening her unique abilities of heightened senses and the power to locate a magical fountain hidden for centuries. Florida’s Fountain of Youth? She’s guided by a voice only she can hear. Conflicts arise when arranged marriages and birth-order rules are presented to twenty-first-century teenagers.

Leah meets and falls in love with sixteen-year-old Z who is then banished back to his Alaskan home because he’s promised to another. Z’s forced to obey his tribal customs and forbidden to contact Leah to preserve the sanctity of the prophecy. Enter high school senior Heath, a rich descendant of another clan family. Leah is torn by feelings for both and uncertainty about her destiny. Should she follow this path or pursue her dream of becoming a doctor?

Inner clans believe Leah’s brothers are threats igniting power struggles within tribal hierarchy. A perilous journey commences as Leah learns about her powers, the prophecy, and her place in it from an elder clan descendant.

The prophecy’s vague interpretation causes upheaval, mayhem, life/death choices. Who’s the “special-one?” Does anyone really know what it all means? Who’ll survive?

LEAH’S PRISM is a 77,300+ word/novel about hope, love, following dreams, fulfilling a destiny and making your own choices.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

The most important thing about being a writer is to be a voracious reader. Read the books that are similar to what you want to write. See what the masters do and then write a book and make it your own. Don’t ever be afraid to be turned down. Expect the rejection. Let others’ read your work. Write blogs and articles to hone in on your craft. But most of all READ!!! Then WRITE!!! Then don’t forget to EDIT!!! Happy writing to all of you.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

The Newt’s World Series is written for a middle school student ages 9-14. The video gaming aspect would appeal to those interested in video gaming.

Students will like the book because of the themes: about friendships, bullies, school, video gaming, inventions, pets, sports and imagination.

Parents and Teachers will like the book because it is rich in vocabulary, addresses real life problems and solutions, has workbooks aligned with benchmarks for each book, and it encourages students to be creative and imaginative and to think outside the box.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

The following web pages:

www.susanwomble.com

Or to order the book, go to

Amazon.com

To order e book go to: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/19823 or http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/19596