Interview With Author Robin Jones

Interview With Author Robin Jones

Taken from Robin’s blog on iUniverse

 

My book takes place in 1949 in Toronto, Ontario.

My father took me to the hospital when I was five years old because I was very sick. It turned out that it was pneumonia.  My Father used to come to the hospital and read me stories every day. He read me Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer many times. He loved to read. I loved to listen.

In December I received a letter from Santa Claus and it helped to make me better and I arrived home from the hospital on Christmas Eve.

I am the middle child of five. I have three sisters and a brother. I am from a mixed heritage family. My father has a first Nations mother and a West Indian father. My grandfather was the first black teacher in East York (Toronto) in 1923.  My great grandfather was a slave from Gambia Africa and was smuggled up through the United States via The Underground Railway to Ontario in the 1800s.

My mother is Irish and came to Canada via the United States when she was a teenager.  My mother and father moved in next door to each other and fell in love even though my mother was already engaged. They ended up eloping and went back to their respective homes without telling their parents.

In the 1930’s mixed marriages were frowned on…a lot more than today. I love the African-American heritage that my family holds.

I have been married twice and divorced once. My second wife has dementia and does not know who I am. She would love the fact that her father- in-law’s influence is being carried forward in book form.

I have six children, seven grandchildren, and one great grandchild. My second wife and I moved to Victoria British Columbia in 2013 so that she would be near her family when she was put into a long-term care home. That happened in 2015.

I try to write a poem everyday if I can and I try to meet a new person each day if I can. It seems to be working for the most part. I belong to a storytelling group in Victoria, British Columbia.

I enjoy the stories and telling my story as well. I enjoy art, live theatre, music and cooking. I love to host and go to dinner parties and take my apple pie with homemade pastry.

My father always read to myself and my brother and sisters around the kitchen table.  He had a great vocabulary and tried to instill in all of us the love of language and of sharing words and stories. He succeeded. Many of the stories he read us were classics such as Winnie the Pooh, The water Babies, nursery rhymes, A Christmas Carol and other books of similar nature.

Inspiration

Three years ago I was in my attic and found a scrapbook that I had made when I was six years old. It was full of get well cards, valentines, Christmas notes, and a letter from Santa Claus that I received when I was six years old.  It was written in red ink and has stickers on it as well.

I was in a children’s hospital in Toronto and was very sick with pneumonia. A six-page letter from Santa Claus and the great care of the nurses and doctors was a large part of my getting well.

I showed some friends the letter and also told the story at the Storytellers Guild in Victoria British Columbia.

My Mother and Father are both dead, but my older sister had some pertinent facts to add to the story. She remembers how scared she was for me when I was taken to the hospital. She still remembers my father carrying me out to the car to go to the hospital. My little thin legs were dangling over the edge of my dad’s arms and the little red boots were flashing in the sun. She was not sure if I would return or not. In 1949 children were not allowed to visit sick patients, only their parents and sometimes a few other adults.

The more I told the story, the more it seemed like it should be published.

The Message

A father’s love for his child and the belief of Santa Claus are a big part of healing. Reading to your children on a one on one basis is like magic for the closeness that it can bring.

I am working on a sequel and just about have it ready for artwork. I will wait to see how well this book does on the market before I go ahead.

I am going to visit book stores, libraries, hospitals, and schools in my area once I have the books in my hand for signing.

I have shown the book to about 50 people and have had excellent feedback about the story and the fabulous artwork by Mar Fondos.

 

About Susan McCaskill

Susan (or Sue, as she prefers to be called), was born in post war England, and lived there until the age of nine, when she and her mother emigrated to Canada. Her father died when she was nine, and left a huge impression on her. Both her parents encouraged her to read, and learn. She has always believed in fairies and elves, and probably always will, and as a child, she saw things many others didn't, and as a result she was thought to be a little strange.

Sue currently lives on beautiful Vancouver Island with her husband and three demanding cats.

Although she has been in Canada for so many years, she still misses the English and Welsh countryside, and because of this, her novel is based in the ancient, picturesque town of Betws-Y-Coed.

About herself, she says:

"I think I was born a writer, and got more confidence thanks to my grade five teacher, who was wonderful, and fostered my love for writing. I didn't write for almost 40 years, because of raising kids, life happenings, the usual drama. I started again sporadically ten years ago, and finished my first Mid Grade fantasy in 2013. Currently working on book 2.

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