Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Interview with J. Aday Kennedy, author of "Klutzy Kantor"

J. Aday Kennedy was born and raised in McKinney, Texas. On and off as she grew up she lived in Northern California. Aday disliked school and quit in the eleventh grade. However, it did not take long to realize she needed an education. Aday had always been bored by her teachers. When she decided to complete her education she was determined to become a "different" kind of teacher that instructed, entertained and inspired.

In 1989, she moved to Walnut Creek, Ca. and started junior college. After three years she completed her general education credits and was admitted to the University of California at Davis. She earned her bachelors degree in twentieth century European history. After she attained her degree she returned to Texas and researched graduate schools to pursue a teaching credential.

Before she applied to graduate school, she caught spinal meningitis. Due to complications, Aday suffered a respiratory and cardiac arrest and stroke. She fell into a coma. Two hours after the doctors pronounced her brain dead she regained consciousness as a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic.

After several years of intense therapy she grew bored. She had recaptured partial use of her left arm and hand, but one day after another consumed with physical therapy left her unfulfilled. Her cognitive brain function had been unaffected by the stoke. It clamored to be used. Aday began speaking at seminars for registered respiratory therapists on spinal meningitis and patient advocacy. They opened the door to motivational and inspirational speaking engagements, but she wanted to do more.

She found writing classes on the internet. Her creative mind and love for children manifested in essays, articles and children's books. Three years and fifteen classes later she received a picture book contract. Aday had grown into "The Differently-Abled Writer" making her dreams come true a story at a time.

J. Aday was kind enough to answer some questions about her writing life and also share information about her new book, Kluzty Kantor!

What is the best advice on writing you've ever received?

When you have written something let it rest. Do not look at it for weeks before you begin the editing process. Then you can look at it with fresh eyes.

Tell us about your family.

I have three older sisters. Their names are Tomorrow, Yestraday and Taday. Among them they have eleven children. I'm Aunt Squeaky to them and adore them all. I live with my mom, Lee Kennedy and my adopted father, Steve Kennedy. The thought of living with my mom and dad forever horrified me when I was younger, but they are my best friends. Age and circumstances supplied me with a new perspective.

Can you share the origins of your disabilities?

In 1998, I caught bacterial pneumococcal spinal meningitis. It began with an earache. I visited two doctors. Neither diagnosed the disease. Within one week I was rushed to the emergency room; correctly diagnosed; suffered a respiratory arrest and brain stem stroke; descended into a coma; pronounced brain dead and regained consciousness a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic. It was a busy week.

Did you always want to be a writer?

No. When I was a little girl I wanted to be Big Bird. I'm tall enough and my feet are big enough, but my beak and feathers never grew. When I got older I wanted to be a history teacher, but luckily I had a stroke and fell in love with and discovered a talent for writing.

Describe your working environment.

I am blessed to have my house on 4.5 acres of land on a private lake in East Texas. I have only to look out the window to be inspired. I'm a legally blind ventilator-dependent quadriplegic. (It's a great excuse to stay in bed.) When I began to fall in love with where my computer could take me, I found a computer desk that slides over my bed at Ergoquest. I have my goals, inspirational sayings and Herb, my trusting writing bug, attached to the edges of my computer monitor.

Tell us about your children's books.

I have six picture books under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing. They are a mixture of humorous fantasy and Christian stories. All include a teacher's guide, send a positive message and are geared to attract reluctant readers.

That is the perfect tie-in to your latest book, Klutzy Kantor! Here is more information for our readers:

Klutzy Kantor
Available for purchase online through www.amazon.com and through local bookstores.
Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc (April 14, 2010)
ISBN-10: 978-1616330511
ISBN-13: 978-1616330514
Price: $10.95

Kantor, a young flying horse, wishes he wasn't so clumsy. The crone Agra tells him that the leprechaun Cobbledom McSweeney can grant that wish, but only if Kantor can answer his riddle challenge. His friends Rabbit, Fox and Bear help by quizzing him on riddles before the fateful day. Will Kantor solve the riddle and end his clumsy ways?

Children learn the benefit of practice and to focus on their strengths.
• Reluctant Reader Friendly
• Laugh Out Loud Funny
• Character Building

What Reviewers are Saying:

The marriage of J. Aday Kennedy's words and Jack Foster's illustrations make a magical combination and a delightful read. - Susan J. Berger

In this story of a Pegasus who is determined to change his klutzy ways, J. Aday Kennedy draws readers in with a charming and delightful story filled with characters they’ll love. I look forward to the next book in the Klutzy Kantor series. - Cheryl C. Malandrinos, The Children's and Teens' Book Connection

J. Aday is holding a contest to celebrate the release of Klutzy Kantor!

Win 1 of 5 Prizes (You get to choose it!)

No purchase is necessary.
You must be 18 to enter.
Prizes can only be mailed to winners in the continental U.S.A.

For More Chances to Win:

* Leave a comment at a stop on the tour and get a separate entry for each.
* Follow J. Aday Kennedy's or Klutzy Kantor's blog for a separate entry for each: http://www.jadaykennedy.blogspot.com/
* Blog about the contest (leave link: http://www.jadaykennedy.com/)
* Tweet about the contest (leave link: http://www.jadaykennedy.com/)
* For an additional entry announce the contest on social networks like Live
Journal, Jacket Flap, Book Marketing Network, LinkedIn or another social network
(leave link: http://www.jadaykennedy.com/)

For every 13 participants another winner will be selected. The first winner named will have first choice of prizes, the second gets second choice and so on. Up to 5 winners can be named.


Virginia S Grenier said...

What a great interview. Jessica, I just love learning more and more about you. You are an inspiration to all those who know you. I'm glad to be one of them. :)

Congrats on your new picture book and the others soon to be released.

Janet Ann Collins said...

Jessica seems like a feisty gal and I've enjoyed reading some things she wrote very much. I wonder if some of her books under contract are about history for kids.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

I love that you live your life the way you see fit, Jessica. I'm sure your flexibility and open mindedness make you a better writer.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Katie Hines said...

I have read Jessica's first chapter of her autobiography. And, having read this interview, I am very much impressed with the can-do outlook that Jess has. And SIX picture books?! That's incredible. Good luck to you on your blog tour.

Kim Baccellia said...

Great interview! Congrats on your new picture book!

Mayra Calvani said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful interview. I wish you the best with your new picture book series, Jessica. It looks like a winner!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Super interview. I love your sense of humor, Jessica. Congratulations on your book and those to come.

Accountant, Author & Freelance Writer said...

Wonderful interview! I've enjoyed learning more about you and your writing.

I am hosting Jessica on my blog tomorrow. A visit will give you another chance to win her contest http://www.writersinbusiness.blogspot.com

elysabeth said...

Fascinating interview. It's always great to see people overcome obstacles such as yours, J. Aday.

My question is this - what are the prizes? You are having a contest and don't say what the prizes are? It's also something I can think of doing for my books - no worries, I'm entering by leaving a comment here and I'll follow your blog and I'll tweet and repost about the contest - E :)

Elysabeth Eldering
Author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad, 50-states, mystery, trivia series

Where will the adventure take you next?


NancyCL said...

As always, it's wonderful to learn more about my very talented and inspirational GAP colleague. Thank you Jess, for being you!

Martha said...

Great interview! Loved learning more about you. Good luck with your new book. It sounds wonderful
Martha Swirzinski

Donna M. McDine said...

Terrific interview. Everytime I visit with Aday I learn something new about her! Fascinating!

Anonymous said...

I show I dropped by, but don't see my comment. Grrrrrrr! Thanks for comby. To see prize options visit Klutzy Kantor's Event page on his blog. I'll keep dropping by in case we've got any late readers. Thanks for hosting me, Dalla.
J. Aday Kennedy
The Differently-Abled Writer
Children's picture Book Klutzy Kantor
Coming Soon Marta Gargantuan Wings

Anonymous said...

KLUTZY KANTOR Drawing winners
And the Winners Are.....................

1. Cheryl C. Malandrinos
2. Margot Finke
3. Kathy Stemke
4. Suzanne Drazic
Drop me an email at aday@jadaykennedy.com with your top 4 choices of prizes.