Meet Dr. Dawn Menge and Her Grandmother Queen Vernita
Jacquie’s notes: Writing was not Dawn’s first vocational choice. Yet, happenstance, shock of recognition, or just plain fate caused her to move on a new and exciting path. The following is an account of Dawn’s journey into writing and may offer an inspiration to the young writers who follow this blog.
I was assigned to write a book in one of the math classes required to obtain my teaching credential; therefore, writing the “Queen Vernita Educational Series” was purely accidental. I chose to compose my book on the days of the week, months of the year and the seasons and included those closest to me as characters in my story. I wove the content into an adventure that I truly hoped all would enjoy, both young and old.
I titled the book written for this assignment as Queen Vernita’s Visitors. Queen Vernita is named after my grandmother Vernita, who was an impressive business woman and a world traveler. Her adventures consist of twelve friends, one for each month. The twelve friends are named after the children in my family. I assumed that they wouldn’t mind and couldn’t protest too loudly anyway.
I wanted to promote imagination and being active. Each new visitor to the castle learned something new.
As it turned out, Queen Vernita’s Visitors received first place in the EVVY awards within the first few months of its release date. Additional awards received at later dates are the Scooter Award, an A+ rating from the American Children’s book society, as well as awards from Reader’s Favorites, Readers’ Views, purple Dragonfly, and a silver in the Mom’s choice Awards.
My Next Book?
I soon began participating in interviews in which I was asked when my next book was coming out. “Next book?” I hadn’t thought about writing another book. However, after receiving so much encouragement from teachers, parents, other authors, family, and the children who read Queen Vernita’s Visitors, I decided to use my travels and experiences of my family, as the basis continue the Queen’s adventures.
When Queen Vernita met Sir Heathy Bean the Astronomer, I drew upon the expertise of my brother, and co-author Heath Rhoades. Heath’s character wears a lab coat and bunny slippers. In real life Heath is an astronomy team leader, at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Wrightwood, California. He participates in asteroid and comet astrometry. Astrometry is the area of study that focuses on precise measurements of the positions and movements of stars and other celestial bodies, as well as explaining these movements He also conducts research in light curve studies. (I don’t believe he wears bunny slippers at work- at least on most days) Sir Heathy Bean came from the nickname I used to call him when we were growing up. This twelve-month adventure through the solar system has won a USA Best Book, Purple Dragonfly, Readers’ Views, EVVY, and silver Moms’ Choice Awards.
My most recent book, which will be published in the near future, is based on a journey up the Snake and Columbia River in an old fashioned paddle boat. Queen Vernita saw beautiful waterfalls, rode in a jet boat, learned about jazz music, waterways and the Salmon run.
To view the complete series and to learn about my adventures, travels, and additional awards please visit my author's page.