What was your inspiration for writing Cooka?
Originally, COOKA, THE BIRD WITHOUT WINGS, began as THE THREE MUSKETEERS several years ago. I had rescued three birds from their nest in the backyard lawn. I brought them in and nursed them with eyedroppers, baby food, and cream of rice cereal. The day finally came when I had to set them free. I will always remember this day. As time went on, I had moved to Florida and had not written the story. I decided to tell a story about one bird living with a challenge of limited wings. Cooka came to life right here in Florida, as well as the characters in this picture book.

Is there really a "Cooka" bird?
Yes, Cooka is alive and well and lives in our home in Loxahatchee, Florida. She sits in her cage next to the front door and looks outside all day. In the evening when we are home, she comes out from her cage and walks around on the tile floor. Cooka is able to use her "sleek beak and sharp talons" to climb up on the kitchen chairs and visit.

Where did you get your characters for COOKA, THE BIRD WITHOUT WINGS?
I created the characters that I am surrounded by in my own backyard. Daily, I see the red ants, beautiful white Ibis, and listen to the frogs sing at night after the summer rains here in Florida. These animals are a part of my life and now have become the characters in Cooka's story.

Do you plan out your writing or do you just sit down and write?
I always plan out my writing. It first starts with a thought, followed by a lot of thinking. I develop my characters during the thought process and then I begin to lay out the rising action and climax using a graphic organizer, usually a web. As I write, I cross out parts of the web as they are written about and sure enough, a rough draft of a story emerges.

Where do you get your ideas to write?
I listen to other people and their stories and then combine them with my life experiences. I also look at the world around me. More often than not, I really don't have to create a new character; I simply combine characteristics from several people and those become characters in my stories.

What are you writing now?
Right now, I'm working on another animal picture book for children called, BOONIE, FREEDOM RUNNER. It is about a young boy who is on crutches and wants to be able to walk and play and have fun like every other young boy. Boonie, a Black and Tan Coon Hound Dog, gives little Timmy his freedom. Boonie walks by Timmy's side one afternoon and stands by him while on crutches. Propped up by Boonie, little Timmy drops one crutch and takes his first step of freedom. It's a delightful story written in rhyme. BOONIE, FREEDOM RUNNER, will be released in the fall of 2010.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?
First, I'm always writing in my mind. With that, I like to travel and see new places. I like to shop at swap meets and garage sales. I also enjoy spending time with friends and entertaining, and I like to craft; anything from making floral arrangements to painting. All of my books are available for purchase here at dburgg.com or at www.Amazon.com.


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