Q & A with Claudia:
About the Book:
1. As succinctly as possible, tell us why someone should read your book.
Between the Lines is similar to a Disney movie, there's something for both young people and adults. For adults, nostalgia plays a significant role—readers will be transported back to their childhoods. For students, they will be drawn into the characters, especially Crackers, the fearless, unfiltered tomboy (voted by readers as their favorite character) and the tugging emotions of the story. Friendships, family, values of tolerance and acceptance are all addressed—timeless topics with a universal theme.
2. Where did you draw your inspiration from for your characters?
Hattie, Beverly Jo, and Crackers are all related to friends I made over forty years ago. When deciding to write a book with prejudice and racism as the backdrop, I drew on the first relationship I had with a member of another race. I interviewed her, and immediately knew that I had to tell her story as well as my own. The decision to base a character on a real-life friend led me to create Crackers, a zany tomboy also based on a friendship I made in college. The cast of characters became the Dream Girls and although I didn't know these friends until I was much older than the characters in Between the Lines, I knew them well enough to be able to write them as children.
3. When did you first start writing your book and when did you finish?
I first started writing the book during NaNoWriMo in 2013. From start to finish, Between the Lines took fifteen months to hit book shelves.
4. What is YOUR favorite part of the book?
When I’m able to talk about it with my readers! Rich discussions about particular scenes in the book and how they moved a reader thrills me!
5. What is the main message you want to convey to your readers in your books?
Between the Lines is a story of the power of friendship in the face of intolerance and bigotry. The main message I’m conveying to readers is that we can change the world with kindness, one simple act at a time, and that life should be a celebration of differences, along with a compelling desire to learn more about the diverse backgrounds that make us unique.
6. Can we expect more books from you in the future?
The fourth book in The Samantha Series, Inherited Issues, will be out June 2015. I'm currently writing a sequel to Between the Lines as well. The working title is Beyond the Lines.
About Being an Author:
7. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? What inspired you to choose to write books?
I knew from the time I was ten years old and saw The Miracle Worker that I wanted to become a special education teacher, but always loved to write. Many friends told me I should write a book over the years, and once I'd raised my five children, I decided to give it a go. Since writing Identity Issues in 2008, I’ve written eight books. Guess I was born to write!
8. What has been the best compliment you received as an author?
As a reader, I love it when a book sweeps me away and takes me into another world. I also love characters, and when I hate for a book to end.
The best compliment I received was that I’ve touched someone’s heart with my writing, made them laugh or cry, or they related to my character in a way that opened their world and made them feel like they weren’t alone. When a reader tells me they hated for the book to end and want more, that makes my world!
9. How do you handle criticism given to you as an author?
Although it stings, I’m open to criticism, but weigh the words with what I know about writing and what I hope to learn. If the criticism is valid, I try to address the issues in my current WIP and always strive to produce a well-crafted, engaging story each time I write. Writing is a craft in which I constantly grow and improve, and I know that my work reflects that. At the end of the day, I only take criticism to heart when it’s meant to help me to hone my craft. I’ve worked with various editors and learn something new from each of them. Without constructive feedback in anything I do, I worry I’d remain stagnant, so am careful to listen and learn from each critique.
Between The Lines by Claudia Whitsitt
Genre: kid lit (9+)
About Between The Lines:
Between the Lines tells the story of three girls who become friends during the racially-charged aftermath of the 1967 Detroit Riots.Source: Info in the About Between The Lines was from the press kit from the publicity team.
Hattie Percha is crushed when the riots start on her tenth birthday, and when she must move away from her treasured childhood home and friends, attending public school for the first time, she’s afraid her life is over. Then, she meets Beverly Jo Nichols, her first black friend, and Crackers, a fearless tomboy. Despite opposition from Hattie’s mother and a racist teacher, the unlikely friends join forces. As the self-proclaimed Dream Girls, they challenge bigotry and intolerance, willing to do whatever it takes to hold onto what’s most precious to them all, their friendship.
“Between the Lines is a powerful piece of historical fiction that must be added to the reading list of every middle grade student.“~ 5 Stars, Lori L., Goodreads
“Teachers and parents need to purchase this novel… Parents could use this novel to engage their kids in discussions to help develop a sense of social responsibility, friendship, and morality… Ultimately, this story is inspirational.” ~ 5 Stars, Amazon Customer
“This book is a must read for everyone, no matter what age … I would recommend it highly to be in the curriculum of every 5th and 6th grade classroom. ” ~ 5 Stars, Sandra W., Amazon
“My daughter and I read this book together and loved it. It is a story that will stay with both of us for many years to come!” ~ 5 Stars, aleblanc, Amazon
“Between the Lines tells a really heartbreaking but uplifting story, about race and loyalty and friends, in a way that any kid will relate to. A perfect gift book for that hard-to-please youngster!” ~ 5 Stars, Jimmy, Amazon
Meet The Author
About Claudia Whitsitt:
Claudia Whitsitt spent a lifetime teaching special education and writing before becoming a full-time author. She believes in the power of friendship, small acts of kindness, and paying it forward. Nothing makes her happier than spending time with her children, which includes not only the five she raised but the countless students who touched her life over the years.
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"Between the Lines" Blog Tour Schedule (2015)May 18
* Blog Tour Giveaway *Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or $25 PayPal cash prize, winner's choice
Contest closes: June 7, 11:59 pm, 2015
Open to: Internationally
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by Claudia Whitsitt and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.