The Story Behind A Sandy Grave by Donna M. McDine

Story ideas come to me in different ways… my imagination, daily life, news articles, and movies. Yes, I carry a small notebook and pen with me at all times for those wonderful times of A Sandy Grave covereavesdropping and jotting down dialogue. Especially when it comes to little ones and teenagers. What better way to stay authentic to writing for children than from their own words?

Beyond the enjoyment of a beach vacation I never gave much thought to marine life. Sure we’ve gone on the typical whale or dolphin watching tours and were always delighted to see these creatures come up out of the ocean. But I never truly paid attention to what some humans do to marine life, until the day I read a news article about a dead whale that washed up on the shore of a California beach. What fascinated me about this article was the police needed to guard the whale until the local marine biology institute could arrive to determine what the whale died from. The reasoning for guarding astounded me. Apparently, poachers would take the opportunity to steal the whale’s teeth to sell for artists to create scrimshaw on the teeth and then sell them for a profit.

This particular article pumped up my creative writing juices and before I knew it, I was researching marine biology, the Endangered Species Act, and the Mammal Protection Act.  Then came the creation of the fictional storyline and characters. Once I knew how I wanted the characters to be instrumental in propelling the story along with my research, the two blended into a beach adventure with a learning aspect without preaching to the reader. Hence, A Sandy Grave was born. The title was created from points in the article and research.

Through my writing and research of topics I find interesting, I often learn something along the way too, which makes school and library visits more engaging with youngsters. Inspiration is everywhere, as long as we keep our eyes and ears tuned into daily life. You will be certainly surprised what you can learn along the way.

Thank you for hosting me today. I enjoyed showing a glimpse behind the scenes of A Sandy Grave.

Donna McDine HeadshotDonna McDine is an award-winning children’s author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions, Literary Classics Silver Award & Seal of Approval RecipientPicture Book Early Reader, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention, Global eBook Awards Finalist Children’s Picture Book Fiction, and Preditors & Editors Readers Poll 2010 Top Ten Children’s Books ~ The Golden Pathway.

Her stories, articles, and book reviews have been published in over 100 print and online publications. Her interest in American History resulted in writing and publishing The Golden Pathway. Donna’s 2013 releases of Powder Monkey and Hockey Agony and the 2014 release of A Sandy Grave will be joined by an additional book to be published by Guardian Angel Publishing, Dee and Deb, Off They Go. She writes, moms and is a personal assistant from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI, Children’s Literature Network, and Family Reading Partnership. 

Visit Donna online at or her blog at

Donna McDine is giving you a chance to win a $50 Barnes and Noble Gift Card.

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $50 Barnes and Noble Gift Card
  • This giveaway begins March 3 and ends on April 25, 2014.
  • Winner will be contacted via email.

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One thought on “The Story Behind A Sandy Grave by Donna M. McDine

  1. Thank you hosting me during my A Sandy Grave virtual book tour. I’m delighted to be here. Good luck to all in entering the $50 Barnes and Noble gift card giveaway.

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