Friday, August 01, 2014

Writer/Blogger World Tour: Cleo Lampos Explains How She Writes

Today author Cleo Lampos joins the Writer/Blogger World Tour. 

Cleo Lampos is a retired teacher who has developed her writing and speaking skills into a ministry. With 26 years of special education under her belt, she enjoys preparing for lecture series based on the lives of teachers. She brings one granddaughter to Open Mic at the local library where they participate in the fun. The Teachers of Diamond Projects School is a series of novels about urban teachers that she has written. Teaching Diamonds in the Tough is her narrative nonfiction based on her years of journaling. One historic fiction, A Mother's Song, is a tribute to the mothers of the orphan trains. All her books are published by Oak Tara.

Connect with Cleo!
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What am I working on?

Right now, the third book in the teachers’ series is ready for proofreading. The working title is Cultivating Wildflowers, and, of course, highlights an urban teacher who falls in love with an unsuspecting hero. In this case, Alana is court mandated to teach summer school to a group of foster children who are nature deficit disordered among other emotional issues. Her co-teacher is straight from Outward Bound, a survival camping experience for teens with behavior problems. But baggage from Alana’s past and her lack of forgiveness create an atmosphere that dooms the very things that she desires. Will her fledgling faith be enough? The release date for this novel is Fall, 2014.

How does my work differ from other genres?

Writing what I call “teacher romance” is unique. The teacher in each book is at a different assignment in the district, Diamond Projects School. The unifying person is Ginnie Hoekstra who manages special projects for the administration. An urban school with the challenges and triumphs that only urban teachers experience is paramount to the series. The educators develop their faith as they learn the lessons inherent to their class. Falling in love is just the apple on the desk.

Why do I write what I do?

One historical novel has been published by Oak Tara. When I visited my brother in St. Cloud, MN, we went to the Stearne County Museum where I discovered books on the orphan trains that stopped there. My fascination with this little known bit of history developed into five years of research, attending the Little Falls Orphan Train Reunion, meeting four riders, and going to the Orphan Train Museum in Concordia, Kansas. The result is A Mother’s Song, an historic novel which tells the story of a mother who loves her children enough to give them life, and the mother who receives them in the west. Ava Rose, the daughter who loves them both, becomes a teacher in Nebraska. I wrote the book to give the reader an insight into the courage and despair of mothers in Five Points, as well as the strength of the women on the frontier. Underlying the entire book is the enduring faith of the people involved, which research indicated was important to the orphan train experience.


How does your writing process work?

Every book that I write is carefully researched and events taken from newspaper clippings, magazine articles, real life experiences, books, or other first-hand accounts. In Miss Bee and the Do Bees, the school bus is hit by bullets from gangs. Two incidents happened during the writing of the books in the streets of Chicago just like the one in my novel. I create an outline of events for the book, then start writing. Guess that structure is important to me. Never could write from the seat of my pants. When I am writing, each week has a goal of so many words. I try to stick to that goal. Getting the first draft done is important, then the revisions start. It takes a while to get things the way that I want. I belong to a critique group who comment on the chapters that I bring to the group. They give helpful feedback. Writing five days a week helps my mind to keep fluid. Sometimes, my blog is the goal of the day, or getting a speaking engagement written out, but writing almost daily is imperative.


A Note from Carol


Many thanks to Cleo for sharing a little about her writing process today. Check back for more links to authors in the blog tour.