Dr. Dawn Menge has won forty-one International awards as a self-published author of the Queen Vernita's Educational Series. Her published works also include: THE SIX FEDERAL INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PLAN GOALS AND THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THEIR IMPLEMENTATION IN PREPARING FOR TRANSITION.
Dr. Dawn Menge has a PHD in Education. She specialized in Curriculum and Instruction. A Master's and a Clear Credential in moderate/severe disabilities and a Bachelor's in Human Development. Dr. Dawn Menge has been teaching severely handicapped students for sixteen years.
Dr. Dawn Menge is the mother of three and the grandmother of five beautiful grandchildren.
Author Writer Interview Questions 1.What inspires you most to write? My inspiration for Queen Vernita’s visitors educational adventures comes from my real life adventures and friends. Each book is based on an actual event in my life. Queen Vernita’s Magical Christmas Train Ride is a PreK-1st grade read based on a train trip nineteen of our family members took on a train ride from Williams, Arizona to the Grand Canyon and then the Polar Express. Queen Vernita Visits the Blue Ice Mountains is centered around Alaska and includes kayaking to the Glaciers and snorkeling in the icy waters of Sitka. Queen Vernita Meets Sir Heathybean the Astronomer was written with my little brother who is an astronomer at JPL. Queen Vernita Conquers the Volcanic Islands is based on Kona, Hawaii where we swam in a shark cage, sailed around the islands and made fragrant Leis. Queen Vernita visits Baja Quails is in Baja, Mexico and includes kayaking to the La Bufadora, riding Quads down the beach and eating at a German Eatery. You can travel along the coastline and play in tide pools and swim with Octopus in Queen Vernita travels on the Oceaneers Coastline. The newest adventure is a prek-1st grade read that is based on camping at Jalama beach. In Queen Vernita sleeps by the Sandy fireside she makes s’mores, visits an Ostrich Farm, learns to fly kites and watches the raccoons. 2. What is your favorite genre? I have been teaching students with severe cognitive delays for over twenty years and am a lecturer at a local university. My favorite genre to write in is children’s literature. I have twelve books in the Queen Vernita’s series and another book titled Dragon’s Breath. Many of my books include disabilities to help educate my readers.
My favorite books to read are thrillers and criminal court books. 4. How do you overcome blank writing spells?
As my books are based on my real life and I love to travel I don’t really have blank writing spells. It might take my illustrator several months to a year to complete the illustrations for a book. She takes pictures that are taken during a trip and add an image of a real friend into the picture. Each story has twelve new friends, one for each month of the year with a new subject. Each subject gives seven facts, one for each day of the week. The stories run from Prek-1st grade to 6th grade reading levels. 5. What legal publishing advice can you give? 6. How many books have you written, are any a bestseller yet?
My series has won forty-one International literary awards including most recently the special recognition Champion award from the Conquering disabilities with film. Each book has won a Purple Dragonfly, Royal Dragonfly, Mom’s choice, Story Monster approved, Readers favorite, readers views and EVVY awards. They are included in classrooms and libraries all over the world. 8. What are some difficulties you've experienced in your writing career; how do you handle book critiques/criticism?
The real difficulties are having time and energy to attend author events. I write book reviews and judge literary contests for Story Monster Magazine and attend many of their author events in Tempe, Arizona.
When I am given a suggestion on how to improve my writing skills I take it into account and decide if I believe it will be helpful to the series and to my readers. I just received a perfect score from the Writers Digest literary award.
Entry Title: Queen Vernita Conquers the Volcanic Islands
Author: Dr. Dawn Menge
Entry Category: Early Readers/Children’s Picture Books
Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5
Production Quality and Cover Design: 5
Plot and Story Appeal: 5
Character Appeal and Development: 5
Voice and Writing Style: 5
Excellent structure! Organizing the story to progress along a line of visits with friends gives us a reliable pattern, and author energizes it by making sure that all stories remain approximately the same length. I loved the different voices in these mini stories: the respect given to the queen, the directness of the queen, the positivity and best wishes as the queen moves on to her next moment. These stories anchor into a science- and nature-eccentric focus, with a wonderful added element of nature’s beauty. I had never heard of the Hawaiian sunsets formed by scattering, and having seen those sunsets years ago, I appreciated the science of them. Very well done. Author put a great deal of effort into educational segments beautifully embedded in the child-friendly story of a queen visiting her young, bright friends on an extended adventure. Each story flows into the next in a natural and easy-to-follow path, and author differentiates these characters with well-chosen details and voice. Nice work. I would have loved for the queen to get a section at the end where she muses on the totality of her adventures, to remind the reader of the wealth of lessons and friend connections. We would get a growth moment in the queen’s character. Even with the ‘drove off’ ending as it stands, the book and its collection of co-learning and co-observing experiences stands out as an original and enlightening story-line. Well done, and kudos to the illustrator for the scenic imagery, lovely colors, movement and character expressions. Nice work.
9. What are your best experiences in your writing career?
My best experiences are the author events. I have been the featured author for the Young Author’s events at our local school district for over the past ten years. I love reading all of their published books and having the families come to me and tell me they read my books every night and want to know what new book I’ve written since our last conference.
Having an impact on young lives and encouraging them to go outside and explore. Knowing that families take the books and use them on their travels to learn about the areas. I had an adult interviewer take Queen Vernita Visits Gator Country which is based on New Orleans on her trip with her. In this adventure the Queen holds a baby alligator in the bayou and she visits several plantations. 11. What are some encouraging words you'd give to another author/writer?
Always write on what you have a passion for and your real life. It helps for the flow of the story and brings your experiences to life encouraging others. I joined many writing groups and attended conferences. This was very helpful as I increased my author journey. Joining the Society of Children’s book authors and illustrators (SCBWI) and the United States Board on Books (USSBBY) and being on the committee to choose the Outstanding books for/about people with disabilities has increased my knowledge base in the publishing world. I also judge romance book for the Rone awards.
12. How did you decide the pricing of your material; how did you go about promotion/advertising and distribution of your work?
The publisher sets the price for the books and they do a lot of the advertising and promotion. I have several social media accounts and attend as many author events as possible. 13. Why should anyone read your book?
The Queen Vernita’s adventures are enjoyed by readers of all ages. They are fun adventures that encourage exploration and new experiences. They encourage friendships, love, curiosity and bravery. 16. Are you self-published or have an established publishing contract elsewhere?
I started out self-published and now have a hybrid publisher. They have published my last five books and are wonderful at promoting my series and giving me a voice in the writer’s community.