Dagmar Jacisinova was born in a country that does not exist anymore and moved to the USA as wide-eyed, barely English-speaking “youth” at the age of 25. She perfected her English by watching soap operas (yeah, no kidding) and talking to two-year-olds while babysitting. Dagmar never spent a day without reading and she started to read kids' and YA literature while trying to force the love of books on her twin sons. That twisted path also led her to writing this book, as she felt that most of the middle grade books out there were for “chicks.” Dagmar still spends her “free” time watching her teenage kids dishing out and receiving punishments on various soccer fields and carpooling six sweaty Neanderthals to and from soccer games, while listening to them with her ears wide open.
SIX MINUTES WITH DAGMAR JACISINOVA:
Joining LitPick today for a Six Minutes with an Author interview is Dagmar Jacisinova. Dagmar wrote the book, Tournament with her co-author Jennifer Goebel. Arriving in the United States when she was 25, and barely speaking English, Dagmar’s English improved by watching soap operas and talking to two two-year-olds while babysitting. Tournament is the first book by Dagmar and Jennifer.
How did you get started writing?
Being an avid reader myself, I tried to instill a love of books in my twin boys. I read them stories every night from the time they were just a couple of months old until at age 9 they started to read on their own. I still tried to look for interesting books for them to read, and often read the same books so we could discuss them. When they entered middle school, we hit the tough spot, as most of the books for that age bracket seemed to be for girls and my sons wanted to have nothing to do with them. So I had an idea that I shared with Jennifer, my friend, neighbor and mother of two boys herself. If we couldn’t find enough good books for our sons, maybe we could write one that would have everything they like —soccer, war, and dystopian society. Thus the idea of Tournament was born.
Who influenced you?
During my sons’ pre-teen years, I read a lot of YA books. Suzanne Collins, Orson Scott Card, Maggie Stiefvater, Kristin Cashore are some of my favorites, as I loved their stories and writing.
Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?
I really love sci-fi, fantasy and dystopian fiction, so Ender’s Game and the Hunger Games trilogy are my all-time favorite YA books.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
Have fun with it, and don’t get discouraged by rejection.
Where is your favorite place to write?
Jennifer, my co-author, and I would meet weekly at my house, drink red wine, brainstorm and write, but my favorite place to write was at Jen’s father’s Cape Cod vacation house, where we were alone and spent whole weekends writing, taking only little breaks to walk on a beautiful deserted beach to clear our heads and stretch our legs.
Dagmar, thank you so much for spending six minutes with LitPick! We loved hearing about why you and Jennifer decided to write this book. How wonderful to write a book with someone who is both a friend and a neighbor! We are looking forward to your next book.