Daina Krumins is an artist, filmmaker, and children’s fiction writer. Her Asperger way of seeing the world is unconventional and the world has taken notice! Her work has received several film and video awards. A creative person to her core, Daina has also penned, “Marion and Stella,” historical fiction for young readers featuring two sisters with Aspergers growing up at the turn of the century.
How did you become a children’s author?
I always knew that making a living from anything creative would be impossible for me because my point of view is unique and therefore not commercial. Actually, working as a legal secretary has been beneficial because it has been good to get away from my creativity during the day and to work with all sorts of interesting people.
After retiring from working at law firms five years ago, I moved from New Jersey to a little house in the Poconos with some help from my NT son. And then, for no reason that I can articulate verbally, the beginnings of a book started to appear. It’s like Ingmar Bergman said about starting a film, “I see a thread hanging out of the black sack of my subconscious. I grab it and follow.” That’s really how the book started.
For me, creativity is necessary for my life, for meaning, for happiness, for almost everything.
What inspired you to write Marion and Stella?
I am an Aspie, I have Aspie friends, both men and women, and I’ve also met many, many, AS folks to this has a lot of meaning for me. We are all interesting, each different from the other. All of these people are living in the present. I think it would be great to know an Aspie woman in ancient Greece, in a Viking tribe, or as an American Indian. Unfortunately, I don’t have a time travel machine so the next best thing was writing a book.
I don’t know why I chose the time around 1900, but it’s a period in history I’m interested in. My “understanding” of ancient Greece is so limited that I would be unable to imagine it, “I Claudius” with Derek Jacobi is probably the limit of it.
Who helped you create visual images of the characters, Marion and Stella?
Creating Marion and Stella was definitely a visual experience for me. The images were done in tandem with the writing. I found two photographers online who were willing to do the base photos for me. Maria Petti has two daughters who were the right ages for the two sisters.
For the two girls as teenagers, Lauren Mulder, a high school student at that time, made the photos of two of her friends who are sisters.
I sewed the costumes and mailed them to each photographer, with instructions on the poses. I think they enjoyed doing the photos.
Who is the ideal reader and how do you see the book being used?
Ideal reader? All readers are great. I hope that more people write books with autistics characters, especially historical books. Nancy Springer’s Enola Holmes books are great, by the way.
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