I'm not new to talking, sharing ideas, or stating my opinion, especially stating my opinion! After all, I taught elementary school for 30 years! However, my audience has typically been smaller,just family, the classroom, or just talking to myself!

My blog has two goals: be an outlet for sharing thoughts on writing children's books and the path to publication (got my fingers crossed that I'll get there) and a place to chronicle my journey of losing my sight. Sometimes I imagine these two paths will overlap .

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

            "Random Acts of Publicity" week - Wednesday

     Three years ago, author, teacher, speaker Darcy Pattison created a program for writers to help other writers with publicity. A writer can choose any other writer friend to promote during the week following Labor Day. I decided to choose a new friend of mine, Fiona Page.

       Fiona is one remarkable woman. She is a professional storyteller, a motivational speaker, a radio show host, as well as a writer of a children's book and an adult memoir. Busy woman, right? Did I mention that Fiona is blind?

     Some 20+ years ago, Fiona went to the hospital to have some routine surgery. She left the hospital  sightless. She had to relearn how to do practically everything as a blind individual. That means dressing, grooming, cooking, cleaning,meeting and talking to people, and figuring out how to get around, just to name a few. I can totally sympathize and empathize with her as I am going through the lose-your-sight-journey myself.

      Fiona seemed like the perfect recipient for "Random Acts of Publicity". Let me begin by introducing you to her children's book, BETTINA THE BOLD.

       Bettina is a butterfly who discovers, upon leaving her chrysalis, that she is blind. This creates problems for Bettina, especially in making friends until a blind bat shares strategies for overcome challenges.  BETTINA THE BOLD is available in paperback and as an audio book. A portion of the cost goes to Vision Rehabilitation Services in Marietta, Georgia, a wonderful organization that helps individuals like Fiona (and me) with mobility training and other skills needed for daily living. 

       I asked Fiona to answer some questions for me and I think I wore out her fingers! Part I of the interview is today and Part II will be on Thursday. Fiona has generously offered a copy of her book for a giveaway. All you need to do to win is leave a comment after the post (today, tomorrow, or Friday) with a contact email included. A random drawing will be held Friday evening and the winner announced Monday morning. (Sept 12th)

Welcome Fiona! Thank you so much for joining me.
Gail, I am delighted to be here. Thank you for thinking of me with a "Random Act of Publicity"!  

Okay, a few questions:  

Was the transition from being an oral storyteller to being a teller of written stories easy or difficult for you?

A storyteller uses so much facial expression and gestures that I found writing difficult at first. Showing in print is so different from showing in person, on a stage, with an audience.

 Did you want to be an author before you lost your sight or was it a way to adapt your skills?

I've always respected writers and love to read. I never dreamed that I could write. I found, at first, that organizing the paragraphs was frustrating for me. Writing started out  for my own "venting" and entertainment. When I lost my voice, it was a natural thing to turn to the computer to keep my mind occupied. It became cathartic as I wrote of my experiences. Soon I realized i wanted to leave a legacy for my family. From there it grew.

You lost your voice as well as your sight? What a terrible double whammy!
Yes, I had severe bronchitis and needed to "rest my voice" (translated that meant no talking) for two months! Can you imagine anything worse for a storyteller? Or someone who was trying to cope with sudden blindness?

Are you still doing storytelling? If not, do you have plans to go back to it?

In 2007, I cut back storytelling a lot, only going to the schools who had asked me back year after year prior to my blindness. The past four years I have been writing two books and telling stories more in a volunteer capacity. Now I will take Bettina the Bold on the road. My storytelling buddy who recorded the audio version with me will drive and I will demonstrate to the students the process for writing as an individual who cannot see . (Hint: I use a talking computer!) Then we will read the story

There are more question and answers from Fiona, but I think they will need to wait until tomorrow.

Remember to leave a comment here, and your email address, and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of BETTINA THE BOLD. 




  1. Interesting interview, Gail. Fiona sounds like a wonderful writer and friend. Thanks to both of you for sharing.

  2. What an inspiration for all of us!

  3. Doraine: so glad to introduce you to another author!

    Allison:Fiona IS so inspiring!