Karin Steyn (Children's Author) - Pop-In Jay Pomp
I am so delighted to see that my dream is now a reality. I feel like a parent with a firstborn again. I don't have enough words to express my gratitude to Schiel & Denver, my editors and everyone that has worked and still continues to work hard with my book, Pop-In Jay Pomp. A super-special thanks to the marketing department, for your commitment with all the publicity coordination!!! I truly appreciate the response and support I am getting. I hope all at Schiel & Denver's weekend was as blessed as mine.
South African schoolteacher and children's author, Karin Steyn, has been able to share her Christian philosophy and love of teaching, with a global audience of thousands of children through Schiel & Denver's Children/Teen imprint, Heirloom.
An English Literature schoolteacher writing to help others
I have spent many years writing my memoirs. I started writing in 1980 after an emotional journey out of my beloved country, Rhodesia. I continued writing about the trials I had to face as a teenager in a new country – with a new culture and language.I spent my first years in South Africa writing to twenty-five pen friends across the world. My letters were likened to short stories and none of them were shorter than seven or more than fifteen pages.
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When I finished school in 1982, I was nearly two years younger than the rest of my friends who were heading off to college and university. I decided to work for a year before studying to become a teacher.
In 1983, I enrolled at Lyceum College in Johannesburg and studied for a diploma in a freelance course, the Art of Writing. I wrote many poems during that year. Unfortunately, when I went off to study, the poems and I were separated somewhere between Potchefstroom and Heidelberg, during 1987.
As a student in Potchefstroom, my four year battle was on the field of reading, writing and studying in my second language, which was haphazardly the greatest enemy I had at that point in my life.
Studying subjects like psychology and learning mathematical terms in Afrikaans was a whole new ball game. At times I found myself ready to give up. During those four years there was very little time to write or express myself on paper … in English. In 1986, I joined the campus newspaper and started writing articles on beauty and fashion for the women’s editorial, and even this I had to do in Afrikaans.
In 1986 and 1987, I started working as a volunteer with children from an orphanage. I spent two afternoons a week helping children to overcome academic challenges.
I started teaching at foundation level in 1988 and spent my first six years teaching “little people” to read and write. We sat on the floor and sang songs with my guitar guiding the way. I wrote short stories for them and they enjoyed listening to the tales. Everything was done in Afrikaans.
The next twelve years were spent teaching English as a second and home language at junior high level. Keeping my memoirs up to date, I still had very little time to write. My last written piece was in 2003, a first reader at foundation level, which I wrote for a private school – in Afrikaans.
One afternoon in October 2003, at the start of a ten day school break, I visited my mother. I complained of having little to do. Over the years my mother has constantly been encouraging me to write a book. When she suggested it again that afternoon, I decided to take up the challenge. I had enough confidence to write short stories, but I never had the courage to write a book.
Writing my first novel was the most exciting thing I have ever done. I enjoyed playing with the words and sounds so much that I had no idea where I was taking the story. I had no idea for which genre I was writing. At the end of the school break, ‘Pop-In Jay Pomp’ became a nine-month-after-hour project. I finished the book during the winter holidays (June/July) of 2004. I printed the work and left the manuscript in a drawer of an antique wardrobe my husband had inherited.
I joined Ezine Articles in July 2007 and started writing articles online. I concentrated on topics that inspired me. In December 2008, I saw an advertisement of Schiel and Denver Publishing Limited online. I sent an email to the publishing house and today I can proudly say, ‘Pop-In Jay Pomp’ is no longer just a manuscript in the drawer of an old wardrobe.
I spent my life looking after other people’s children while they were socializing, shopping or working. I dedicated my life to teaching children. I find that I am able to communicate easily with any child from toddler to teen. My sense of humour and wit has a way of drawing them closer. My life has been a tapestry of words and now at the age of 43, I have come to the conclusion that my days as a teacher, standing in front of a classroom, must come to an end.
If I am fortunate enough to make it possible, I want to spend the rest of my life devoting my time and energy to my first love: the art of writing.
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