Monday, January 15, 2018

A Sandy Grave ~ "Thar she bloats on Rockaway Beach"

One of the most frequent questions I receive as a children's author is... 

"How do you come up with your story ideas?" 

"Everywhere and everything. From real life, newspaper articles, watching and listening to children play, etc. You name it, inspiration is everywhere." 

For a Sandy Grave, my inspiration.... 

Beyond the enjoyment of a beach vacation I never gave much thought to marine life. Sure we’ve gone on the typical whale or dolphin watching tours and were always delighted to see these creatures come up out of the ocean. But I never truly paid attention to what some humans do to marine life, until the day I read a news article about a dead whale that washed up on shore of a California beach. What fascinated me about this article was the police needed to guard the whale, until the local marine biology institute could arrive to determine what the whale died from. The reasoning for guarding the whale astounded me. Apparently, poachers would take the opportunity to steal the whale’s teeth to sell for artists to create scrimshaw on the teeth and then sell for a profit. 

This particular article pumped up my creative writing juices and before I knew it, I was researching marine biology, Endangered Species Act and the Mammal Protection Act. Then came the creation of the fictional storyline and characters. Once I knew how I wanted the characters to be instrumental in propelling the story along with my research, the two blended into a beach adventure with a learning aspect without preaching to the reader. Hence, A Sandy Grave was born. The title was created from points in the article and research.

A Sandy Grave was inspired by a news article back in 2014 and in April of 2017 the same type of incident occurred on the Rockaway Beach in Queens, NY...

Curious about my inspiration for my other award-winning children's books...

The Golden Pathway
Hockey Agony
Powder Monkey
Dee and Deb Off They Go ~ Kindergarten First Day Jitters

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Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

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Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters ~ December 2015 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2016 Purple Dragonfly Honorable Mention Picture Books Five and Under and Story Monster Approved
A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014 and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review
Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Historical Fiction 1st Place, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review
Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Honorable Mention Picture Books 6+, New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist


  1. Poachers are everywhere. Terrible people.
    You really do have to keep your eyes open for ideas!

    1. Hi Alex, thanks for dropping by. Yes indeed ideas are everywhere!

  2. Whales die, but it's always sad to see it. Hopefully the kids learn from your book without even realizing it.

    1. Thanks Diane for your always wonderful support!

  3. Great book and author! Ideas are everywhere. Kudos to you for turning yours into terrific books!

    1. Karin, thanks so kindly for your warm words of support. Much appreciated :)


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