Tell us briefly about your new book, STAINED GLASS SUMMER.
STAINED GLASS SUMMER is the story of twelve-year old Jasmine who adores her photographer Father and wants to be an artist just like him. But when Dad abandons the family, Jasmine is sent to spend the summer with her Uncle on a Pacific Northwest Island. Soon, Jasmine is learning stained glass from island glass artist, Opal, mentoring five-year-old Sammy, and thinking she might just be developing a crush on island boy, Cole. But, can Jasmine truly let go of her Father and call herself an artist by her own terms?
What led you to use the vehicle of an artistic mentorship to carry your story? Are you an artist?
I am an artist in terms of writers are artists! I also work a bit in collage, mixed-media art journaling—but it’s nothing that I show professionally or sell! Artistic mentorship was something I became interested in during my study at Vermont College. While I was working on my MFA in Writing For Children and Young Adults, I was mentored each semester by a different children’s writer including: Lisa Jahn Clough, Sharon Darrow, Liza Ketchum , and Kathi Appelt. After I graduated from Vermont College, I began facilitating a writing workshop with teens in juvenile detention. I also did some mentoring with local high school kids who were working on their final senior projects in writing. I saw how important mentoring was to the creative process. My role as a mentor for young writers feeds so well into writing for tweens and teens. Mentoring is a win/win, and I really encourage other writers to get involved with mentoring.
You mentioned you took a stained glass course as part of your research for this project. How was the experience for you?
Frustrating! Geometry has never been my strong suit, and all those measurements and fitting the glass to the pattern was hard for me. But, I do think that taking the class helped in writing the story. Jasmine makes a sun-catcher, just like the one I made in my class, and knowing how the process of stained glass works helped me in the writing of those scenes.
I noticed on your website that you use art and writing in your work with detention center youth. How do you think creativity affects young people in general? How does creativity affect your main character, Jasmine?
Art heals is the motto of Jasmine’s story and also for the kids in detention. Creativity gives kids an outlet to express emotions, ideas, and thoughts that they might not be able to express in words. There is a scene in STAINED GLASS SUMMER where Jasmine is snapping glass and five-year-old Sammy is breaking her crayons. Both girls are expressing their emotions about larger situations which they can’t control—namely that their Fathers have either left or died.
Jasmine is the child of a photographer, with the desire to be an artist herself. Does she ever suffer from creative self-doubt? Are there ever moments where she feels like her work just isn’t good enough. I ask this, because I see my own art students struggle with these feelings.
Yes, she suffers from self-doubt. This is a huge part of her story! Jasmine is always comparing herself to her Father. She believes that in order to call herself an artist she must win awards like he does. But, Jasmine can never seem to win an award. Part of Jasmine’s art journey is about learning that she doesn’t have to win awards. Jasmine discovers that her definition of an artist is someone who contributes to her community.
How and when can we find you and STAINED GLASS SUMMER?
STAINED GLASS SUMMER will be released on December 30. It’s available as an e-book, in all formats, at Musa Publishing, and all your favorite on-line bookstores.
A free reader’s discussion guide is available for download at: http://www.mindyhardwick.com/books/stained-glass-summer/
Readers can find me at: