Interview and Book Review With Author Debralynn Fein – Author of Aaron and Me, Works in Progress
I had the pleasure of reading Fein’s latest novel. Below you will find my honest review and an interview with the author. The interview is entirely in the author’s own words.
About the Author
(Copied from the author’s page.) I’ve been writing professionally since 2002. My articles and stories have appeared in The Wee Ones Magazine, and Hackwriters.Com, run from Falmouth College of Arts. I also published a short story in the Greenwich Village Literary Review, entitled Family Pictures and articles in Early Childhood Examiner. I attended Stony Brook University in 1978 and 1979 with a major in English Literature, and, also earned a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Queens College, City University of New York, in 1987. I have a fresh voice, readers will enjoy.
The sense of place I write about is from the New York metropolitan area since it is where I am most familiar. I’ve read my work before audiences at the New York Public Library and Montclair Library. All stories have been well received.
On a personal note, I have been happily married for the past thirty-eight years, and have two grown sons. I had been a kindergarten teacher for many years and more recently taught English as a Second Language to adults. For hobbies, I like to do needlepoint and knit. Reading is a big focus as well.
Like most children, I learned to read around age six. I became an avid reader in elementary school, and that’s continued throughout my life. In the fifth or sixth grade, I began writing poetry—awful as it was. Through my seventh grade English teacher, Mrs. Beatrice Moskowitz, I gained an appreciation for better literature. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes and Dibs in Search of Self by Virginia Axline were among my favorites. My friends were my first reviewers.
My own creative process begins with a story rattling around in my head. Once I organize my ideas and meld them together, creating the first draft is easy. I present the ideas to my writers’ critique group, listen closely, accept comments I believe with strengthen my vision, and craft a second, third or fourth draft.
I prefer to write in the first person because it lends itself to immediacy. It’s easier to draw in the reader. Writing fiction is my preference. I call the genre in which I write, realistic fiction. I create situations that could happen to anyone and are more believable because of that. The characters must be credible–not just the main characters but everyone in the book. Important elements are the personal difficulties encountered by the characters, a climax and, hopefully, a successful resolution.
My writing is self-therapeutic: I’m able to get certain thoughts and feelings out into the open. I have always liked writing, witness my many journal books over the years. The biggest item on my bucket list is to see my novels published. Fulfilling my dream includes sharing lessons learned with parents, teachers, and children.
The Synopsis of “Aaron and me, Works in Progress
KIM SEGAL, the main character in Aaron and Me, is faced with one of the most horrendous experiences a parent can endure during a baby wellness checkup. A clinical observation shows a couple of innocent café au lait birthmarks which could indicate a possible diagnosis of Neurofibromatosis for her 18-month old son, AARON. Kim feels ill-equipped to cope with the indefinite nature of the diagnosis and begins to spiral out of control.
Overall Rating 3 stars I have mixed emotions about this book. I think it’s great that the author is bringing awareness to Neurofibromatosis. A disease I’m sure many people have never heard of. The reader also sees how it affects the parents, not knowing if their child has the disease. The emotional roller coastal can truly be felt throughout the story. But unfortunately I did not find it engaging and I think it is because I am not the right audience for this book. I believe mother’s with young children would appreciate this book much more and also those in the medical field.
1 – How long have you been writing and why do you enjoy it?
I’ve been writing since my college days when I attended the Stony Brook University. However, I’ve been writing professionally since 2002. In some ways, writing takes me out of my world, and into another one, where other lives live. I enjoy it, in part because it’s cathartic for me.
2 – Other than writing, what else do you like to do?
When I have the time, I knit or do needlepoint. I’m also a voracious reader.
3 – What inspired you to write “Aaron and me, works in progress?”
I met a student and family whose story is similar to that depicted in Aaron and Me. I also thought it important to shed light on Neurofibromatosis, which is a little-known disease.
4 – Who as an author, inspires you and why? You may mention more than one.
It can be any number of people who I come across. When a story draws me in, that compels me to want to write about other things that inspire. There’s this book called Blind by Cath Weeks, about a mother and her blind son. The mother struggles to come to terms with his blindness. So that made me think back to how I would write about a mother and child with a different illness, but a similar struggle.
5 – Name three of your favorite books. Explain why these are your favorites.
God, I read so much it would be hard to say. Recently, I read The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson, which was a very interesting read. It was a debut novel, but I really liked it. Also, the Scavengers Daughters series by Kay Bratt really drew me in, especially her stories about Willow. I also like classical literature. Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles is one of my favorites of all time.
6 – What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Continue to write. Read a lot. Go to writer’s critique groups and take the advice that you’re given seriously. Remember that it’s not about you, but the work.
7 – What common mistakes do you see new authors make.
Too many tag endings. Be careful of that, because it does interrupt the flow of the piece of work.
8 – Are you currently working on anything now? If so, tell us a little about it and when it can be expected to be available.
I’m working on a prequel to Aaron and Me. What my main characters, Kim and Hal are like before they have Aaron. What their challenges are then, and whether or not those issues get resolved. There is an explanation for Kim’s extreme nervousness. She had some experiences earlier in life that plague her, and it is only through helping a student in school, that she is able to find solace and peace.
9- What genre do you normally write in?
My books so far are all Women’s Upmarket Fiction.
10- Other than Amazon is there anywhere else, readers can purchase your book?
For now, that’s about the only place.
11- Do you have a website, Facebook page or any other social media page where readers can follow you? If yes, please provide links.
My blog and website are https://www.debralynnfein.org
12- Is there anything else you would like to say?
I’d love to interact about my novel’s content.
A question from the author for the readers.
How would you react if a pediatrician sent you to the library to look up a condition? Would you be able to postpone the anxiety of going through the diagnosis process while going through with your young child? Do you find Kim to be a sympathetic character? Why or why not?
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