An Interview with Tina Turbin | Toronto Teacher Mom

An Interview with Tina Turbin

Friday, March 05, 2010

Earlier this week, I posted my book review on Tina Turbin's Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy. I now have the pleasure of sharing with you my interview with Tina Turbin herself. For more information about Tina, you can visit Here is what she had to say:

What inspired you to become a children's author?
I was always very imaginative and into the Arts from as far back I can recall but I wrote my first children’s story at age 16. I had made a decision when I saw on my first born child, that I wanted to set aside my personal goals like writing. I found being a mom so wonderful, satisfying and fun. I soon had three children, we loved to read and play games with books and ideas were rolling around in my little head.  I always knew that as they got older I would someday get back into writing again. When the time came I just started creating my characters, how they looked and knew their exact personality.

Where did you get the idea for Danny the Dragon?
I have a load of ideas and this one is only one for this series. When the time came to write my Danny books, I just started creating my characters, how they looked and knew their exact personality. I had this concept of Danny (the Dragon) and that was it! I was on a roll. I knew kids would love him and they do.

How long did it take to finalize the story with illustrations as well as the CD?
The first book about 2 years or a bit more, then the audio-book came well after this- that alone took almost 9 months as a part-time project and with a lot of help. 

What is the message you are hoping to convey to your readers?
In this series and this first book which we are speaking about, I can not say I have this dead set idea of conveying something to the readers. I can say this though:  I do know I wanted and want this book series to supply young readers with books void of the bad guys and good guys idea, without “bad” things happening to overcome to them in a story to then have a “win” in the end. The Danny the Dragon books are written displaying pleasure, sincerity, honest communication, manners, real life experiences that are good and that have some imagination in them.

All children deserve to have their imagination kept alive and enjoy the pleasures of life.   

How have your own personal experiences influenced your writing?
My daily life influences my writing in all areas. I write a lot and not just this series. 

When you were a child, what was your favorite storybook?
I have many but I did read Charlotte’s Web far too many times, though the ending was sad. I was thrilled the animals could care and love one another. It amazed me but then again I loved the TV show, Mr. Ed the Talking Horse. I had my own horse too so this was all just fun to me. 

As a mother, what are some tips you may have to instill a love of reading and writing in today's youth?
Read and write in front of the kids, read to them, make going to the book store, library and the idea of books FUN! Write with them, make reading a game- give them ideas and write a story, cut out pictures for it or even draw their own. There are even on-line sites to send away to have your kids stories and pictures made into a book, I did this with my kids.

Aside from writing literature for children, what other work have you published?
Show Biz Kids East Coast Guidebook- as I worked in the Entertainment Industry for many years in Hollywood, California. My DVD is being released in April and I write at least 3 Articles a week for publication all over, I write for other people and groups, such as the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness’s newsletter every month- Tid Bits is my section and Everyday Health News.
What sparked your interest in researching Celiac disease and gluten-free issues?
I went for many years not being able to find out what was wrong with my body and went to many doctors. I then resorted to searching for my own answers, like many undiagnosed celiac. I came upon this subject called Celiac and gluten and the lights went ON.  I presented this topic to my doctor and asked for the proper test. I FINALLY had the test I had needed and there is my story in a very short version.

I soon learned more such as the many adverse effects that gluten produces in many children and adult bodies- and even animals! One in every 120-130 people have this disease which means about 2.35-2.85 Americans to this date have not yet been diagnosed. It takes an average of 4-10 years (depending on who your reference) to be properly diagnosed and in the meantime other auto-immune diseases can begin and a whole mess evolves.  People find out about celiac or gluten intolerance and start researching it themselves and bring the topic up to their doctors like I did after many years of tests and troubles to no resolution. Also, many kids with autism are taken off of gluten for a very good reason. I am now reading Jenny McCarthy's touching story about this issue with her son who is autistic. It is an amazing book and I have now decided I want to meet her and work with her in some capacity on something. I hope I can, and soon.

Much more is on my resource site  about these topics.  

After all this, I was left with a yearning desire to help others not have to go through the endless years of misdiagnosing like I did and like many others do. I am now passionate about raising awareness to Celiac Disease and the many adverse effects that gluten produces in many children and adult bodies- even animals! 

Can you tell us what other work you do?
I am a busy woman, like so many of us. I love so many things but am passionate about my writing, celiac disease and raising awareness of it as well as the topic of education ( below you can read a bit more about this). I am also very interested in the topic of family and children in general. I really care so much about others having a good life, kids being happy and moms enjoying their children and growing with the experience of mom-hood, as these kids have so much love in their hearts. I write about these areas often-at least three times a week and speak about them on the radio more a number of times a month:

Then there’s interest I my interest the area of deaf children. This all started with my visiting the Blossom Montessori School for a reading of my Danny the Dragon book. The school works with kids from very young all through High School and they had a number for deaf children students. Carol Downing did the sign while I read to these lovely children. These kids amazed me, the staff inspired me and I walked away from that day with a new view on many aspects, and so did my photographer who came with me for the reading. I got in the car and my ideas starting rolling away on how I could help or do more. I first attended a fund raiser and donated to that and that was just not enough. I fell in love with the kids and the staff. So now we have the DVD of my book with Carol’s sign language as well, being released in April.  I am donating part of the profits to this cause- educating the deaf with hopes to raise awareness to the statistics broadly in this area. Most high school deaf students graduate with a 4th grade education. How could I ignore that!

I care about people and  I like to do things about things I feel need some help- I consider myself a humanitarian and have been called that many times. I guess I have to agree at this stage in my life.

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