May 2020 – I found another author that I want to bring to your attention. He just published his first book. I became interested immediately, as his book presents an idea that I think many parents and teachers have had to deal with since the crisis of the pandemic caused by the Coronavirus has affected everyone, everywhere: how to tell our younger kids about the situation that’s going on in our communities, in the world.
The thought of dealing with the health crisis that COVID-19 has caused brings many of us adults to feel stress and anxiety. With having to stay safe, not being able to visit family, towns in lockdown, kids not able to go to school, and many of us working from home or losing jobs, it brings a lot of worrying to most of us. I wrote a post about living with anxiety, read here https://fullofcoffee.blog/2020/04/05/living-with-anxiety/.
If you are a parent or a teacher, and you are worried, imagine the kids that understand enough of what’s happening around them. They start to worry too. You must find a way to address children’s concerns about this situation. They notice what’s going on around them. They rely on us adults to explain to them what’s happening. We, as adults, have to answer their questions in a way that doesn’t cause stress. We have to be cautious so that our children don’t worry too much.
Meet Dr. Robert DeFinis, author of “How to Defeat the Icky, Filthy, Creepy, Slimy CORONA MONSTER!“. He started playing games with his kids, and looking for the right way to answer all of their questions. That’s when he came up with the concept for his book.
Dr. DeFinis received his Doctorate in Organizational Leadership and Development and a Masters in Education while acquiring several certifications in Sports and Performance Psychology. He recently launched his web page and is working in self-publishing his stories. He created RDF Books in 2020, and he has been writing children’s books about how to deal with contemporary issues.
He is the Men’s and Women’s Head Soccer Coach at Cecil College in Maryland. He is also a Mental Performance Consultant, creator of Total Optimal Performance Solutions (TOPS), and host of Rising to the TOP Podcast. Here’s our conversation:
The name of my blog is Full of Coffee, so first question: do you like coffee? If so, how do you like it?
- Thank you for the opportunity to share my story. Interestingly, I just started drinking coffee during this whole pandemic. Before, I might have had a cup of coffee after dinner once in a blue moon. However, now I’m actually selecting different brands and trying new ones each day. At the moment I’m going through a bag of French vanilla. I don’t take cream with my coffee, but I like two packets of sugar. For some reason I never finish the whole cup either. I’m a coffee rookie, what can I say.
Interesting indeed! I drink coffee since I was a child (family upbringing, a Puerto Rican thing). I’m always curious if others like coffee and how they like it. French vanilla is a great option (I love French vanilla flavor). Where did you grow up? Do you have any siblings?
- I grew up outside of Philadelphia, in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Great little blue color town where my four siblings (three sisters and one brother) still live. We also have some really terrific schools in the area.
Did your childhood have any influence in your interest in reading or writing?
- For me, I had difficulty reading at a young age. It prevented me from really enjoying books. That changed however around fifth grade. Shel Silverstein, Judy Blume and Jerry Spinelli were some of my early favorite authors. I think I could still recite verbatim most of the works in “Where the Sidewalk Ends”.
When did you decide to give professional writing a try? Did it affect your personal life, your profession?
- Writing has been something that I’ve always enjoyed. The personal side… the expressive side, is the fun side of writing. When I entered my doctorate program, the academic side took over and that can be draining. After my dissertation, I felt like I didn’t want to read or write anything, so I took a break. Worked on other projects, and more recently started to revisit my writing goals once again.
- Some of my writing projects intertwine with my professional and personal passions. I work in education, have my own business, and coach. I keep a very active schedule and decided long ago to pursue all that life has to offer. I think many people negotiate internally with what they will and won’t pursue. I choose to pursue it all.
Oh, I understand the draining feeling. When I completed my Master’s Degree, I thought I’ve had it with writing, so many papers and essays I had to write. But then, I started missing it. I recently decided to give professional writing a try. I love reading and I’ve been loving the writing process. And I agree with you: I think everyone should pursue all that life has to offer, or at least find one thing that produces inspiration and go for it. Now, tell me about your first published book! And you also have started your own publishing adventure (self-publishing)! How has that experience been?
- Yes, the Corona Monster is my first published book. I was working on two others, and then the pandemic hit. After a few days of playing around with some rhymes with my son and daughter, I decided to put something to paper. It was fun! That’s when you do your best work. When you aren’t trying to appease others and you’re just having a good time making your own children laugh, think, and take action!
- The nature and timelines of the book required self publishing. I wanted to get the message out to educators, parents, and children quickly. Having complete control in doing so was important. There were a few bumps and bruises, but then it took off and had over 10,000 downloads in the first three weeks. I get requests everyday for it to be recorded, read aloud, shared, and distributed to groups from all over the world. Just recently, a college student from Spain asked to translate it into Spanish and Portuguese for children in their community. I don’t say no, and I offer it to anyone wanting to support the central theme – assisting children with understanding their role in COVID-19.
Any other future project you want to tell us about?
- I feel like I’m always in a project. Yes, I actually have two other books in different stages. The first is called Lady P’s First Day. It tells the story of a very independent little girl on her first day of Kindergarten. I had it almost finished, but now I’m revisiting it because there might be another way to tell the story based on everything that is happening.
- The other project is due out next year, in 2021. It’s called Dexter and Dalton Play Baseball. It’s the first in a four part series that will introduce children to the fun, and challenges, of trying a new sport.
I cannot wait for these projects to be released. I think that both are very interesting topics. To find out more about Dr. DeFinis and his projects, visit and contact him on his web page www.drdefinis.com; find him on Twitter https://twitter.com/DeFinis @DeFinis or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DeFinis.
I asked Dr. DeFinis if he had any special offer, and he kindly announced that he is offering a free copy for teachers! Visit the website https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1015010 (you’ll have to create login name and password). Use Free Coupon Code: BN37K
The book is also available on Amazon here https://amzn.to/2ZcpkZV.
I hope you all enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed writing it. It’s a great deal for me to get to know all of these amazing writers. Getting to know other writers helps me find my own inspiration and create my own process.
I’ll keep reading, I’ll keep writing, I’ll keep dreaming! Thanks for reading. Until the next one! It’s time for my tacita de café. Salud!
Para versión en español, vea https://fullofcoffee.blog/2020/05/18/una-tacita-de-cafe-con-el-autor-robert-definis/.