What I Learned Writing “Taming August”

The third entry in this series about the experiences of newly published authors is from Pam Olinto, whose amazing history has given her a host of life experiences — good and not so good. She has chosen to use what she’s learned in a series of books for our youngest generation. While her protagonist is a most contemporary youngster, her attitude and adventures recall a time when our lives and those of our children weren’t driven by cell phones and gadgetry. It’s refreshing to know kids can still be kids. Here’s what Pam has to say about her journey into the land of writing and publishing:

Taming August, the first in three books about the Girl Power Detectives, is a chapter book for middle school students. It began as an experiment to see if I could follow the whole writing process from the beginning to fruition–a novel to hold in my hand.

Non-fiction writers often ask how a fiction writer finds material. As with any work, an author draws on incidents from his or her own past. I wove my story around my experiences with teaching mildly delayed children, my knowledge about frequent moves and how they affect a family, and the redeeming quality of friendships at any age. Most importantly, I needed the story to be told with a sense of humor, usually in the form of three-year-old Auggie’s antics. And, of course, I had to include animals, which are my passion and the source of many laughs in my household.

As much as my descriptions of the settings, the talent shows, and the mystery are fiction, I soon realized I had based twelve-year-old Maddy’s reactions on both my knowledge of middle school students and on me as a young person. Growing up in the Army and moving so often I learned early on not to get too close to friends because we would soon part. And many of three-year-old Auggie’s capers I owe to my four-years-younger brother who survived his childhood to retire as a full colonel in the Air Force.

Solving the mystery of a stolen necklace and describing the characters who lend their help allowed me to stretch my creativity. But again, I recognized my own personality creeping into the story when Maddy’s determination to find the answers overrides her parents’ rules and her own sense of caution. At some point, Maddy, Auggie, and the other characters took over and told their own stories. All I had to do was be present to take notes. The same applies to my pending second book where my years spent in Sweden learning about its culture give Maddy a new friend from another country whose overpowering personality leads her into more adventures.

Taming August is available now from Amazon.com. You can get your copy right here!

About joshlangston

Grateful and well-loved husband, happy grandparent, novelist, editor, and teacher. My life plate is full, and I couldn't be happier. Anything else I might add would be anticlimactic. Cheers!
This entry was posted in Guest posts, novel writing, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to What I Learned Writing “Taming August”

  1. Doris Reidy says:

    Pam, what a neat post. Having shared this journey with you, I couldn’t be happier to see the finished product. May it find the readers it deserves.

  2. Fine job, Pam. I’m proud of you!

  3. An-l says:

    I’m far from being middle school age, but I’m enjoying reading Taming August. You are a great writer and I’m thrilled that you finally decided to get something published. It should become a best seller during this holiday season. Congratulations!

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