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Teen Roundtable #1

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With Daniella Shames, Elisabeth Wilhelm, and Robert Zbedi

Top, from left: Daniella Shames, Elisabeth Wilhelm.
Bottom: Robert Zbedi


How many of you started writing as kids? Whether or not you started early, you may just recognize yourself in this group of dynamic teens, who face many of the same issues as adult writers, and then some.

Daniella Shames is an American-born aspiring novelist living in Israel. Currently nineteen years old, she is fulfilling her second year of national service (instead of army service), volunteering in an afternoon program for children from welfare families. Last year she volunteered with OneFamily, an organization that assists victims of terror, and during that time wrote many articles for the OneFamily Web site. Daniella will write nonfiction, but her real passion is fiction. She has written a few full-length novels and is in the advanced stages of finding an agent to represent her work. She also writes poetry and the (very) occasional short story.

Elizabeth Wilhelm is the editor-in-chief of online young adult writing community Absynthe Muse, which was awarded a Best Website for Writers 2006 by Writers’ Digest, co-founder of the Little Owl Mentoring Program, and youth correspondent for Voice of Youth Advocates magazine. She started writing seriously after completing a homework assignment for US History which involved stained “old” paper and acrylic blood artistically spattered across old style print. Today, she spends far too much time arguing in third person in Model United Nations and other youth conferences around the world and writing articles on sex, stories about Greek myths gone horribly wrong, editing artsy-fartsy things, and working on so many projects she has a hard time keeping them straight and her friends have declared her insane. At every turn, she has run into barriers as a young writer and feels that convincing adults that short, pimpled writers can be as good as, if not better than, writers than people three times their age is a whole ‘nother enchilada.

Robert Zbedi is a 16 year-old junior living in Atlanta, Georgia. He is Lebanese by bood, American by birth, and Bavarian by adoption. He’s been writing all his life, starting with short but complex adventure stories as a kindergartener. Prose has been a constant in his writing since then, but he was introduced to poetry in the fourth grade, and since then it has always taken a more primary position in his life. The classical poets, notably the romantics, have always been a staple in his poetic diet. He’s a traditionalist in almost all fields, and poetry is, naturally, no exception, so that his passion for ‘classical’ form poetry often displays itself as dogmatic disdain for more modern forms, though he does his very best to keep an open mind. When he does write prose, he is constantly alternating between classical influences and more modern, innovative, and experimental styles. If anything could describe him, it would be simply passion–for writing, for beauty, for truth, for glory, for life.

Join us as this energetic threesome discusses:

  • How they got started writing
  • What they like to write
  • How they feel about being teenage writers in an adult world
  • How they feel about creative writing classes
  • How their parents and friends (and teachers) feel about their writing
  • What they find most difficult about writing
  • How they work
  • What they feel their greatest writing strengths are
  • What inspires them
  • What would help their writing and their careers the most.

Interviewees: Daniella Shames, Elisabeth Wilhelm, and Robert Zbedi
Host: Paula B
Date: September 25, 2006
Running time: 01:14:17
File size: 54 megabytes
Rating: G

One Response to “Podcast: Teen Roundtable #1”

  1. Zonie Says:

    Hello again Paula, I am continuing to plow through your many podcast interviews (and the sad, sad story of your online bookstore). Your interviews and your online bookstore story have been VERY interesting!

    I have some ideas about some future interviews you might do for the writing show. I personally have been a technical writer for the last 15 years and have done quite well in that field and in training, and would be very happy to talk to you about the field of tech writing, how it has changed since the early days of DOS and Windows, about online documentation, writing tools, etc. I’ve worked for AT&T, American Express, Elizabeth Arden Salons, Washington Mutual and am currently working a highly technical contract job for PetSmart… if you wanted my resume I’d be happy to send it.

    Besides that, I have some other interview ideas you might find intriguing (I have four completed novels but that’s not the point); there are some other sites or potential interviewees you might find useful for your blog, and I’ll share those with me if you contact me at [vdavisson (at) gmail (dot) com].

    Best wishes and thanks for your podcasts!