Three Times A Charm with Deborah Baldwin and Bumbling Bea

Welcome to Three Times A Charm. I love to introduce readers to the people involved in children’s publishing. Today we welcome middle grade author, Deborah Baldwin. Deborah, we’d love for you to tell us a little about you.

I am an award winning drama teacher and director, professional actress and youth theatre administrator. I graduated from Stephens College with a BFA in theatre performance and a MED from Lesley College certified to teach drama, speech and English/language arts in Colorado and Missouri. I have created seven youth theatre programs and serve as a consultant to several theatre companies in the mid-west. Many years ago I co-developed a national playwriting contest for youth theatre plays which is still in existence today. I have directed over 250 full length productions, plays and musicals alike and have inspired many of my students to become professional actors, dancers, directors, playwrights and teachers. My husband and I have recently retired from our teaching positions and reside in Kansas to be nearer to our family. I have two daughters who are the best of friends, a wonderful step son and two quirky cats, Spats and Lala.  

Let’s hear more about Bumbling Bea.  

Purple Dragonfly Award Winner for Excellence in Writing and Publishing:  

Beatrice thinks she has no acting talent but that doesn't stop her from auditioning for the annual middle school play. Easy! Except Michiko, a new girl from Japan, shows up and ruins everything. So begins Beatrice's diabolical plan to scare away Michiko. But Michiko has goals of her own with no plans to leave soon. And then there’s that “other” girl—what a blabbermouth.  What’s a girl to do?  Plenty.   

“Hilarious! Entertaining! Extremely true! A great read for anyone who enjoys theater!” RM Amazon reviewer  

“In addition to being a fun read, this book does what so much fine literature does— helps us to see we are not alone.” MM Amazon reviewer  

“Bumbling Bea by Deborah Baldwin cannot fail to become a favorite with pre-teen readers, and very likely teenagers too, because the mixture of pathos and humor is so realistic.”  SS Readers Favorite reviewer  

I recommend my book to readers who like:  

5,6,7, Nate by Tim Federle 
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
 Wonder by R.J. Palacio  

Now let’s move on to the threes. Give us your top 3 responses to the following to help us get to know you better.

· Top 3 books you recommend reading and why you recommend them.  

To Kill a Mockingbird  by Harper Lee I have beloved this book for many years as have many other readers.  The plot is terrific and I enjoy that the story is told from a girl’s point of view.   

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrick Backman I picked up Backman’s book earlier this year and appreciated every part of it. If you haven’t read any of Backman’s books, I’d suggest you do so.   I enjoy stories that are heavy on characterization, because my background is in theatre and when I direct plays, I help actors create characters all the time.    

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  Hmmm.  I’m seeing a trend here—I’ve chosen all books about girls told from their point of view. Ha! This book writing is poetic and it’s a wonderful story.  It’s an interesting perspective to read a story about the average German citizen living through WWII.    

· Top 3 tools of the trade you couldn’t live without.  

I think indie publishing is a fabulous tool for any writer and it suits me perfectly. It isn’t necessary to have a publisher in order to be successful in this business. One can publish her book herself!   I’ve always been a trail blazer—the kind of person that takes matters in her own hands when she sees a need or problem. I noticed that we have a dearth of books on whatever subject is popular the time, but stories about the arts (especially theatre) are very few in number. When I share my story’s plot with readers of various ages, they were so appreciative. “Oh good.  Not another book about Zombies or wizards.  Bumbling Bea is something unique!” they say.    

There are countless sources writers can utilize to attract readers.  I particularly like which is a student book review website.  They give student readers an opportunity to learn how to review under the tutelage of an adult.  And the books are free to any student who would like to learn to review.  What a deal! is an excellent, and very useful website for indie publishers.  They have a monthly newsletter with many helpful articles concerning self publishing, lists of book reviewers who are seeking books to peruse, etc.  If you complete your personal page and profile with Bookworks, you have the opportunity to be featured by them which is great exposure for you and your book.     

· Top 3 professions you wanted to be when you grew up.  

My aunts, mother and sister were teachers so becoming a teacher was a natural choice for me as well.  It’s one of my greatest gifts.  Kids energize me and fulfill my need to share my knowledge of the dramatic arts.  Even after thirty-eight years of teaching, my students continue to teach me something about myself that I didn’t know.  It’s very humbling.   

Early on in my life, I wanted to become a professional actress.  I didn’t really know what that meant at the time. When I graduated from college in the seventies, there weren’t as many opportunities for young actors to be employed as there are now.  My choices were pretty much limited to moving to New York or Los Angeles.  I wasn’t ready for that jump.  Over time, I found that I wasn’t willing to struggle as much as the occupation required.  I was just as happy acting or directing in community theatre, occasionally working as a voice over actress, etc.  I’m a doer—I like to “do” and not sit around waiting for life to happen to me.  Because of this particular gift, I have had opportunities to create many projects I don’t think I would have been able to otherwise.  I’ve formed youth theatre programs, co-developed a national playwriting contest, presided over the construction of a theater, written winning grants, introduced companies to radio theatre, directed just about any play or musical I wanted and guided  two programs concerning diversity for Martin Luther King celebrations.  And, I’m not even finished yet!   

I was created to be a theatre artist, period.  I knew it as a young girl when I’d play dress up on our east front porch of our home.  It took about ten years for me to admit my interest to my parents.  My father understood immediately.  Although he chose to be a physician, he acted in plays in college and loved it.  I think my mother and siblings thought I was crazy or at least “unusual”, but they tried their best to understand or merely tolerated me. However, my immediate family is heavily involved in the arts and appreciate my creativity.     

· Top 3 personal mantras or inspirational phrases.   

 “People of integrity expect to be believed.  When they are not, time proves them right.” --Unknown  

“Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”  ― Winston Churchill  

“Eighty percent of all choices are based on fear. Most people don't choose what they want; they choose what they think is safe.” --Phil McGraw    

Wow – that last one! Finally, please share with us where our tech savvy readers can find out more about you and your book.     

Thanks for joining us today, Deborah. It was great to get to know more about you and Bumbling Bea.



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