Thursday, October 16, 2008

Chicken of the Sea Author Says Surfing Saves

"God gave me surfing to save me," says Paul Hayden, author of Chicken of the Sea. What almost drowned him as a child saved him as an adult. He tried numerous times over the years to write the book, but today it's a reality.


When he lived in Long Island, Paul's friends used to call him the "Chicken of the Sea" because he was afraid of the surf after a near-death experience in the water. Not only did he overcome this fear, but surfing has become one of his passions. Paul says that surfing gives him strength--that the ocean is cleansing. Paul chose to publish this book with Tate, a partnership publisher.

Paul encourages writers to have the faith and conviction not only to write, but also to publish. It takes courage to write about your own life and the people you know, but it's also healing to do so.

After his book was published, one of the teachers from his high school wanted to add his book to her curriculum, but shortly after, she left the school so it didn't work out. What a great idea, however, for schools and colleges to use the books of their graduates!

Paul is currently working on a faith-based novel which he hopes to title, The Nonconformist. He also has a children's book, Byron the Lonely Christmas Tree, coming out very soon. He doesn't use scripture in his faith-based books. He tells his story just like it is from the joy and pain in his life--this is how people can see his faith.

"Write from your heart. Write what you know." Paul writes in a conversational style, no big words.

He writes all his first drafts long-hand. He picked up this habit when he was traveling a lot. He learned to make the most of his time whether he was in an airport, hotel or restaurant. He burned through quite a few ink pen refills and he saves the empty ones to quantify his progress.

"If you don't have a name, it's difficult as a first time author, but don't give up. Be patient. God has a plan for you. It's really great when people write to you and tell you that  you've made a difference in their lives."

"Don't let anyone talk you out of following your dream," says Hayden. "And be sure to set deadlines, or you'll never get anything done!"

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wood Brings Books into the Classroom

"If the story is in you, it will come out," is what Jane learned from a UNF professor. Jane used to outline her writing and plan everything out before she wrote. But today she prefers not to worry much about outlining and structure, but focuses on letting the stories happen more organically.


Jane's books are for readers age 9-14. To be sure that she doesn't lose touch with her audience, Jane keeps up with movies and activities targeting children 9-14.

"My husband is a good sport, he'll see the movies with me," says Wood.

She has found her niche among teachers and students. Most of her presentations are in schools.  Her books tell a story and provide history and other lessons for students. Jane also provides teachers with resources to use in the classroom: vocabulary words, discussion questions, an electronic scavenger hunt and more.  Jane's first three books have been a great success and she's working on two more to add to her collection.

About Jane:

Jane Wood was born in Astoria, Oregon, a community rich in Scandinavian heritage. Jane’s family moved to Cocoa, Florida, when she was ten. She grew up near Cape Canaveral and watched America’s journey into space first-hand. During two of her college summers, she worked at the Kennedy Space Center.

She graduated from the University of Florida with a major in history and a minor in English. She taught junior high and high school in Central Florida, but left the classroom when her first son, Jonathan, was born. Three years later, along came Brian.

Jane remained a “stay-at-home mom” while her sons were growing up in Jacksonville, Florida. She was involved in school parent groups, Boy Scout activities, and their athletic associations. Jonathan played baseball, soccer and ran cross-county in high school. Brian played baseball, soccer and football in high school. Today Jonathan lives in Jacksonville Beach with his wife Jennifer, and Brian coaches college baseball and conducts clinics for coaches and young players.

When the boys were older, Jane spent three years writing part-time for a local newspaper. After earning a Masters degree in Education in 1988, she went to work at the local cable company as the Educational Programming Coordinator. During her 12 years there, she produced numerous television shows relating to education, including many that involved local youngsters in the productions.

Jane has also been involved in many international activities in her community. She is active in the Jacksonville Sister Cities Association and was elected to the board of directors for Sister Cities International. She has traveled to three of Jacksonville’s sister cities in Russia, China and France. Jane lives in Jacksonville, Florida, with her husband Terry. They like to travel and spend time with their family and friends.