Starr Burgess worked as an elementary teacher and school counselor for a total of seven years. She has a Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling from Texas State University. Starr is busy working on her second children’s book: Counselor Dynamite Befuddles the Bullyville Crew.
Thank you for this interview, Starr. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I live with my husband, Clyde, and our daughter in Pflugerville, Texas. I have been working on writing books for five years and finally created the main character, Counselor Dynamite, whom I lovingly refer to as the pioneer super hero of schools.
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
This book is about Counselor Dynamite, who is the superhero of schools. The story takes place the day before Christmas break. Teachers and staff members are tired and running low on patience and the students are full of unbridled energy. Counselor Dynamite notices that something is amiss and quickly jumps into action knowing that if something isn’t done soon, students, teachers and staff will never be the same once chaos is unleashed.
Why did you choose your particular genre?
I choose this genre because I worked as an elementary school counselor and had the wonderful opportunity to work with a diverse group of students. I learned that a lot of students had difficulty in the areas of conflict/resolution and problem-solving, and boundaries. As a result I began writing stories that are amusing but instilled and reinforced positive character traits. I know that many children connect with and hold superheroes in high regard so I decided to create the first superhero of schools, Counselor Dynamite.
Where do you write? Do you have a favorite place?
I write in areas of my home where there is an abundance of natural light. My most favorite place to write is in my living room by the window.
What was your greatest challenge writing this book?
My greatest challenge was not in the writing of the book but in how to market the book.
Are you a disciplined writer?
I am somewhat of a disciplined writer, however most times I prefer the spontaneity of being in the moment.
Are you published by a traditional house, small press or are you self-published?
I am self-published.
Was it the right choice for you?
Absolutely! I appreciate the fact that I retain control of the creativity and direction of the writing and how Counselor Dynamite is portrayed.
How are you promoting your book thus far?
I am a vendor at the Texas Counseling Association conferences; I participate in author readings/book signings in book stores and private schools; I utilize social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and I work with an online book promotion company, Author & Book Promotions.
How is that going for you?
It’s going very well; I really enjoy meeting people with inspiring feedback and hearing about their ministry and journey.
Do you have another job besides writing?
Yes, I am a licensed professional counselor. My private practice is LifeMenders Counseling.
Have you ever gotten an inspirational book-related moment at work and had to go run and write and it down?
No, those moments usually come in the middle of the night.
Do your co-workers know they have a star among them? What has their reactions been? I don’t know if my co-workers think I’m necessarily a star but I do believe they think I am a visionary and a go-getter. My colleagues have been a great source of support; they have given me words of encouragement, purchased my book and supplemental guide, and promotional products from my product line.
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
Utilize as much social media as possible, in addition to an online book promotion service company such as Author & Book Promotion.
What’s next for you?
My next book will focus on bullying and will be available in the fall along with a supplemental guide which contains lessons plans and activities for children. In the near future I will be publishing more Counselor Dynamite books, I would love to go on a book tour, be a regular on a talk and/or radio show discussing challenges children face and parent resources, and eventually partner with companies and build the Counselor Dynamite brand, maybe one day turning the adventures of Counselor Dynamite into a cartoon for children.
Thank you for this interview, Starr. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?
As well as my website, you can find me on facebook.com/counselordynamite and Twitter.