Day 14: 2012 Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway: Heather Vogel Frederick

by @thewritermama on May 14, 2012 · 38 comments

I recently hosted Heather at the Northwest Author Series in Wilsonville, Oregon and she gave a terrific presentation on mastering setting, character and plot. I am also thrilled to share that for my daughter’s first mom-daughter book club book, we have selected Heather’s book, The Mother-Daughter Book Club (both suggested to me by our Day 12 author, Cindy Hudson). Heather has released two new books within that past six months, which is quite a feat. No matter where you are in your publishing journey, it’s always such a treat to be in the presence of such a seasoned, versatile author. Please help me welcome, Heather!

About Heather Vogel Frederick

After a 20-year career as a journalist, Heather Vogel Frederick decided it was high time to fulfill her lifelong dream of writing fiction for young readers.  Today, she’s the author of more than a dozen books for young readers, including the popular mother-daughter book club series, and hot-off-the-press ONCE UPON A TOAD, which School Library Journal pronounced “a gem.” Heather’s work spans many genres, from historical fiction to fantasy and contemporary realism, and has been honored both nationally and internationally and translated into numerous languages.  A former staff reporter and children’s book review editor for The Christian Science Monitor, Heather has also written for the New York Times, Child, Family Life, and Publishers Weekly, where she was a contributing editor for many years.

About Once Upon A Toad

Once upon a time, Cat Starr lived with her astronaut mom in Houston. But when her mother gets sent on a last-minute space mission, Cat is shipped off to a faraway land—her dad’s house, halfway across the country—to share a room with her real-life evil stepsister, Olivia. Just when Cat can’t take it any more, Great-Aunt Abyssinia comes to the rescue. And things go from bad to worse.

Out of nowhere, toads start appearing whenever she opens her mouth. At the same time, Olivia spouts precious gems and flowers when she speaks. How unfair is that? Before you can say “happily ever after,” the girls are on the run from jewel thieves and a secret government agency. Can Cat save the day—and get rid of all those toads?

The Very Short Interview

When did you know for sure that you were a writer and that writing would be a major energy focus in your life?

The year I turned 12, my parents sent me to summer camp thinking it would be a big treat.  I was a shy girl whose favorite things to do were read and write, activities not in abundance at most summer camps!  Homesick and miserable from the moment I arrived, my coping mechanism for surviving the seven weeks away was to retreat to my bunk and write during rest hour.  Over the course of the summer, that story grew into an entire novel (never published, of course, but oh, the sheer joy of working on it!), and the process of writing it ignited a spark in me that has never been extinguished.

Who has always been behind your writing career and who helped pull you up the ladder of success?

My husband.  We’ve been married for 30 years now, and he’s been my cheerleader every step of the way.

What is the most frequent comment you hear about your book (or books) from readers? Tell us a little story about the response to your work.

Readers often tell me they wish they could step into my books and live there, with my characters for their friends, which is catnip to a writer, of course.  Probably the best compliment I ever received, though, was from a girl who wrote and said, “Your books make me feel happy and safe.”  Does it get any better than that, I ask you?

And Now, Your Turn

Now it’s your turn. You remember how this works right?

I ask you a question. You answer in the comments for your chance to win a book each day.

Please just respond once, even if you make a typo. ;)

Answer in the comments in 50-200 words (no less and no more to qualify to win one of today’s books). Please read the complete rules at least once!

Thanks for participating in the Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway! I hope to see you here every day this month. Bring your friends!

Yesterday I asked you to share the qualities you appreciate about your mom. Today, I’d like you to share the qualities you appreciate about yourself. They can be related to writing or anything else.

Ready, set, comment!

Like this post? Subscribe to my Feed!

  • I appreciate my willingness to do the hard work it takes to create a career I love. I’m fortunate to have a “why not me?” attitude about success, even in a new field. I’m sure my parents had something to do with that. When other people might shy away from a pursuit because they don’t believe they can achieve it, I charge ahead. Sometimes I fail, and when that happens, I lick my wounds and regroup. But I simply continue to believe that I can do anything I set my mind to doing. If I do the learning and leg work required.

  • I appreciate my ability to be organized because it ensures I get the work done, done well and done on time. Meeting client expectations is very important to me and being organized makes it possible. I also value being able to connect with clients in a personal way because it makes the work more enjoyable knowing I do it for people I like.

  • Many years ago I gave thought to what I wanted my epitaph on my grave marker to be: “She kept on keeping on.” More recently I decided that I want to be cremated and I have also changed my desired epitaph for the vase my ashes will be in: “She danced to the music of a different orchestra — but first she had to hear the music.”  My family knows I would like all but a few of the ashes to be scattered into the water from an Outer Banks, NC, ocean beach. The vase will be aqua, one of my favorite colors, the same as the sea.    

  • I appreciate my ability to handle ongoing challenges, often
    with a smile and an appreciation for the ridiculousness of life. I am proud of
    my commitment to mothering and am starting on the writing path. My dream is
    that my children will be proud of their writing mama and that my son will
    actually one day read a book by me.

  • Pingback: Set sail for adventure , Archive » Win a copy of ONCE UPON A TOAD!()

  • Heather L. Lee

    I appreciate my optimism.  It is a perfect match with my husband’s ridiculous pessimism, so we laugh and balance each other out. Unless I am particularly stessed, I can see that problems will be short-lived or that I need to look at things from a new angle to achieve success; or even that I have veered off in a direction that is wrong for me at the time. It took many years to realize, but I can also see that when I feel like I am grasping desperately ahead to a dream of the future, it is time to stop and consider what is wrong right here, right now and to relocate myself in the present.  I think both of these will help me as I bring my writing out into the world.

  • Suzanne Holyde

    Oh, how much easier it is to comment on someone else’s qualities. However, I do appreciate that I am a diligent worker. I don’t shy away from something just because I don’t like it. I see things through to the end. Also, I am always learning. I am not afraid to admit that I still have much to improve on and I enjoy the adventure of becoming better. I think this is one reason I love reading so much!

  • Mar Junge

    Last month when I accepted my “2012 Silicon Valley Woman of Influence” Award, it made me appreciate my role as a mentor. Honorees got to tell the 900 people in the audience the best 10-words of advice we’d been given. Mine were from Eleanor Roosevelt: “Women are like teabags. You find out how strong we are when you put us in hot water.” I appreciate that I’m a good public speaker and networker. I appreciate that I’ve been given a talent for writing and had the tenacity to continue writing while raising my children. I appreciate my open, understanding and supportive nature that helped me survive my kids’ teenage years and now makes it possible for us to enjoy each other’s company as adults. And I appreciate that I’ve been able to be with my high school sweetheart for 41 years – which takes negotiating skills, determination, a lot of love and a little luck, too.

  • MaribethPGraham

    I think the quality I appreciate most about myself is I am able to truly see someone’s character. I can feel their energy and despite their appearance I know almost immediately whether they are a genuine good person or someone to be careful of. It has nothing to do with how much money they make, what kind of car they drive, what they do for a living or any of the other stuff many people look at first. I think this quality helps in my writing.

  • Lorraine Wilde

    I inherited some perfectionism also known by the more positive terms: detail-oriented, organized, motivated, and good at folow-through. Despite driving my hubby and me a little bonkers, perfectionism has helped me through high school and college, excel in paid positions, efficiently manage my household and our lives, and accomplish the writing goals I set for myself. Perfectionism is such a part of me that I wonder who I would be without it.

  • I appreciate my tenacity, commitment and focus. I appreciate that I’m a positive person and give most of that credit to my mom, who was the eternal optimist (since I didn’t respond yesterday, I’m weaving her in here…). I am proud that people enjoy my company and organizational skills, and are intrigued with my perspective and wit. I am finished here now, because I appreciate the fact that I do not like to talk much about myself, so this makes me deeply uncomfortable. 😉

  • guest

    I like how I can just make a line on a piece of paper a work of art. The way I start my drawings is by drawing a random line and working off of that. I see what it looks like and I change it. I love art and I am so glad I am good at it and that I have a way to make wonderful drawings/paintings off of one little line.

  • onceuponatoad is awesome :D

    I appreciate my love for sports. I know it sounds stupid, because most people doing this contest are saying how they appreciate how smart they are, or how organized they are, or how they can write well. I would rather say what I love most, which is sports. I love ice skating, and I started figure skating about 4 years ago. I love feeling the air rush against my face as I skate, and when I’m skating alone, I can think anything I want, without anyone interrupting my thoughts. I love baseball too. It is my favorite sport, and I love everything about it. Playing it, watching it, everything! It is awesome. 🙂 I also love football and soccer and hockey! I keep track of the scores, and statistics and i just lovee it. I know I won’t win this contest, because I’m not really a writer, but it was fun for me to just tell you how sports is the best thing in life for me.

  • Like many people I have both introverted and extroverted traits, but I’m starting to appreciate my introverted side much more. I appreciate that I look internally instead of externally for acceptance, direction, and motivation. I also appreciate my resourcefulness, and it’s really helped me in journalism. If I don’t find what I need, I keep digging!

  • Hmm–I agree that it’s much
    easier to put into words others’ good qualities. I like that I’m a calm
    person–in the throes of deadlines and family crises (minor and major) I rarely
    lose my cool. I’m also really good at multitasking, and I like to think that I
    maintain my objectivity pretty well. I can see the big picture and I’m very
    resilient (hallmark of a difficult childhood, but it has served me well in

  • Connie F.

    I appreciate my sense of commitment (to family, friends, work); my ability to laugh and be joyful, even in the midst of trials and tears; my tender heart and compassion; my love of books; my curly hair; my hazel eyes (like Betsy Ray’s); and, my smile (with thanks to Mom for the braces!).

  • Talia

    I have many qualities that I enjoy about myself. For one, I love my writer’s voice. I also like the way that I relate to my friends and family. Along with those qualities, I like the way I craft. Such as making envelopes out of old catalogs/magazines. And, how on earth could I forget my eco-friendly attitude!? Whenever someone is walking towards the trash can with something that can be recycled, I yell out “recycle!” 🙂

  • Ann-Marie

    I appreciate my ability to multi-task, stay organized and muscle through when things get crazy. I have a tremendous ability to prioritize tasks, stay focused while doing multiple things at once, and most importantly – stay organized so the details don’t get overlooked. Even when I am over extended, I am determined to see things through to completion.

  • Colleen

    I love the process of exploring new ideas.  It’s like a treasure hunt with one foot or idea in front of the next not really knowing the way but willing to explore.  I treasure hunt new spiritual ideas, insights all the time.  I’m persistent, consistent and expectant.  I feel an inner strength and joy that’s at the center of my being.   I live to explore. 

  • JenLapaUT

    What a thought provoking question!  I seldom stop to appreciate myself, and I bet the same thing is true of most women, especially moms!  I appreciate about myself the ability to be many things to many people – wife, mother, employee, coworker, friend, etc – while not losing sight of myself.  I also appreciate the opptimism that I  have cultivated in myself over the years and how I’ve managed to achieve a happy life with those that I love.   

  • Leedorl

    I love my ability to turn annoying, stinky boys into warthogs, and how I can make grown ups eat all the vegetables on the table so the kids don’t have to eat them.  Can’t forget how proud I am to be able to make all things ooey, gooey and phooey mysteriously (yeah, right, mysteriously) sprout flowers and tiny rainbows.  I’ve always appreciated the pixies in my sock drawer who help me match my shoes to the bird of the day.  I feel so thankful every time I see a woman in toe shoes when nuthatches show up.   I could go on and on, but I’m beginning to get irked by that stinky boy over there.  I hope he gets bored with annoying me before his permanent tusks start taking hold.

  • Riv

    I appreciate the quality of being a good friend. I try always to be there when a friend needs a listening ear, or some advice. I also try to make sure never to forget an important day in their lives, and when it comes to things like birthdays i try to bake a cake and buy a cute card. being a good friend is important to me, because if i know im a good friend, people will be good friends to me.

  • Theresa

    I appreciate the fact that I never give up, and I keep trying until I achieve my goal. I persevere through hard times with a positive attitude and work hard to do my best. I am also an encouraging friend. I cheer my friends on and support them in what they do. I compliment people and try to make them feel better about themselves. I also appreciate that I am a very good listener. If someone needs to talk, I’m there to listen. I’m kind and help people whenever I get the chance. I’m generous and give up my time for service work at church and at school. Those are qualities that I appreciate about myself.

  • Ducttappers

    I appreciate my ability to adapt to situations.  Plus I can help others adapt as well.  Also I am very patient, you would understand why if you knew me.  These are all qualities that help me in life.  I am sure that they will also help me in the future.

  • Jaymie Dieterle

    I appreciate my enthusiasm for my work. For the last 10 years I have wondered what I should be when I grow up, even though I am in my 40s. I stumbled into my dream job (elementary school librarian) last fall and it has changed how I feel about myself – how I feel about getting up in the morning. I love having something to pour myself into every day. I love interacting with students about books, even if we don’t like any of the same ones.

  • Christa Hines

    Unless it’s jumping out of a plane (barring it’s making a nosedive to the ground), I’ve always been proud of my ability to face my internal fears head on. For example, public speaking terrifies me so I majored in speech communication in college and graduate school and joined Toastmasters. Like many people, rejection frightens me, but I force myself to press on and to believe in myself by continuing to send out my writing knowing that without experiencing rejection I won’t fully appreciate the sweetness of success. New situations make my stomach curl up in a ball, but over time, I’ve learned to manage my shyness and meet some extraordinary people in the process. 

  • ML Gomes

    What I appreciate about me-I was raised not to be a follower, a sheep as my Dad would say. I have now reached an age where I’m grateful for that advice everyday. Shy as I am, I can be a rebel.  I’m a do-gooder, with causes I can help and with helpless causes. When I see or hear about injustice or other people’s pain I feel it deep inside. I tend to speak out about things that make others uncomfortable. I can’t stand by while my friends or neighbors speak in a derogatory manner about the poor, people of color, immigrants, those less fortunate……  It doesn’t make me popular and that is ok with me. It makes me feel good about  me. I appreciate that although some times it is scarey I continue to be strong enough to be different.

  • Isabel S

    I like that I can remember things. This may seem like a weird quality, but as an aspiring writer and as a person who loves memories, I like that I don’t have to worry about forgetting most things about my life or the people I care about. I remember what I wore at my 11th birthday party and what the dog I had as a six-year-old felt like 🙂

  • Renee

    I appreciate that I’ve overcome great odds to become the
    person I am today, such as humble beginnings, two different broken homes, a
    college education I paid for mostly by myself and depression. While I studied
    communications in college, I am a self-taught freelance writer with a special
    gift for conducting interviews and writing human-interest stories. While I
    might seem shy, or maybe even snobby if I don’t know you well, once we strike
    up a conversation I think I bring a lot to the table. I also appreciate my
    ability to meet deadlines, no matter what obstacles are thrown at me, and that’s
    usually where you’ll find my best work.

  • Rachel♥

    I appreciate my  very creative imagination. Once, I was drawing a picture and it was nice, but when I was thinking of what to add and when I had a head full of ideas and I looked down at my paper, it was filled with all the things I was thinking about. A quote I always enjoyed that is probably familiar with a lot of people is, “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can
    think up if only you try!” ~Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Thinks You Can
    Think!  It talks about how you should use your imagination when you do your things. Throughout  everything I’ve done I’ve always listened to Dr.Seuss’ quotes about using your imagination. I love coming up with crazy, fun, and other ideas. If there is ever a project I need to do I use my imagination all the time. Even if the project is due like 2 weeks later I always do that first even before all my homework because I love using my imagination. I even use my imagination when I read books. I always imagine the characters and other stuff. Another quote I love about imagination is , ”  asoul without imagination is what an observatory would be without a telescope.”

    I am very thankful for my imagination:)

  • Abagaylebostek

    I appreciate that I am very organized with my schoolwork and life and writing. I’m very happy with all that I’ve learned since I have become a writer and a reader. Everything that I’ve written couldn’t of been what it is without my creativity, something of which I appreciate very much. I appriciate everything I have been blessed with from my organization to my writing.

  • What I appreciate about myself is that I was born with the gift of writing but I didn’t know about it until in my twenties. I love that I can come up with any theme for a story. I also like that I love family life, being with them and getting along with them. Not many people are that fortunate.

  • Pingback: A Litany of Traits « Prose Posies()

  • In my writing life, I try to be: hardworking, organized,
    motivated, supportive of others, and reliable.

    In my day to day life, my aims are to be all of the above, plus
    considerate, trustworthy, helpful, fair, honest, upbeat, a good listener, and
    open minded.

    If this sounds a bit like a litany of the traits from the Scout
    Law, perhaps it’s because I was a Scout leader (Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts) for
    a 14 years!

  • Angiea

    I am very objective.  This has been a cultivated characteristic, as I used to be very emotional and subjective.  Life is easier now, and I like the rewards of objectivity.

  • Ennivek

    I appreciate the fact that I never give up, not totally. I may berate myself or not writing enough, for taking breaks that go on for months sometimes. But in my heart, I know lies a story and the ability to draw it out.  I work in a high school and I see possibilities in every senior who comes to me for advice on what to do after high school; college, community college, military, job, mission, whatever.  Those students who still want to be doctors but forgot to study and are leaving high school with 1.2 average?. Never mind, I tell them. Who wants to peak early? Better to make mistakes early, learn from them, and move on. It may take you a few more years than your classmate with the 4.0, but you can still reach your goal. Just work hard, keep the goal in sight and never give up. Works for novel writing too. No chance of me “peaking early,” now, but that is no reason to give up.

  • I appreciate my ability to listen well, ask probing questions and give helpful feedback. I enjoy my ability to create stories out of the ether and to continue to pursue my lifelong dream of writing fiction regardless of the outcome. I am especially grateful for my ability to mentor my daughters. I’m also loyal as heck unless someone betrays me. 

  • Addy

    I appreciate my ability to defuse an awkward situation. It comes
    in handy a lot since my friends are usually the ones who made it awkward in the
    first place. My friends always look to me when something happens like when,
    Maryann accidently asks if a slightly chubby lady is pregnant or when
    Diamond kinda-sorta *she still denies it* accidently pushes a lady in to the
    pool when she walked by her. Yup… its usually me plastering a smile on my face
    and saying something to make the moment less awkward for everyone.

Previous post:

Next post: