Interview with Doris Baker

What motivated you to become an indie author?
I didn’t start out as an indie author. I am coauthor of the textbook Cryptography Decrypted published by Addison Wesley in 2000. I wrote historical snippets to reinforce the technical concepts explained. Also, I made sure that the technical explanations in the book were easy for me – a newbie to the subject – to understand. Almost 16 years later this technical book continues to sell. Its basic concepts are still the underlying foundation on which secure encryption is built, and it is easy to understand.

A few years later I decided to teach myself the Hebrew alphabet. But when I tried to memorize the symbols there were so many visually similar letters that it was just not as easy as I would have liked it to be. So I came up with little stories that helped me remember the differences. I turned the stories into the Storybook Hebrew books and ebooks for English speakers and created a one letter at a time system of memorizing the letters.

I knew this would be a quick way for dyslexics and really all types of learners to more easily memorize the Hebrew letters and sounds. I had spent years homeschooling my dyslexic son and figuring out ways to help a right brain learner hold onto and more easily retrieve noncontextual information. The book Dyslexic Advantage helped me understand why this system would work well for anyone.

Then I tried unsuccessfully to market Storybook Hebrew. I was laughed at or ignored. I was told you can’t teach the letters this way because people will confuse them if you group similar letters together. Yet this method is what helped me remember the letters when I made sure to add a memory hook. But I couldn’t prove it. I didn’t have a Ph.D. I had never taught Hebrew; I had just taught myself the alphabet very quickly. This system was not designed to teach Hebrew, the language – just the alphabet. Storybook Hebrew did have a brief trial at a Sunday school that showed promise but temple politics were against it.

I was not deterred. I still wanted to make these books available to parents and others like myself who wanted it to be easier to learn letters and sounds. Not many found the coloring books I had created at lulu.com. So I decided to turn the system into a series of affordable ebooks and began to research how to make ebooks.

In 2012 I launched ebooks on Amazon and slowly began to get positive feedback. In April of 2015 I finally received the review that verified what I had suspected to be true. Someone with two graduate degrees and a law degree who had a hard time learning languages was delighted with and grateful for my system. Others had written how Storybook Hebrew helped them learn but this reviewer went into detail. I was ecstatic and inspired to trudge on.
Why did you put so much time and energy into teaching the Hebrew alphabet?
It was not my original intention. I really wanted to create a method like this for English. But English is not as phonetically regular as Hebrew. So doing this with Hebrew was just easier, and I was so amazed that I learned these random letters so quickly this way that I wanted to see if it would help others.

I did create a program for English that taught the alphabet sounds and spelling patterns with stories and pictures. It is my Picturing English ebook series that I also published on Amazon. I created this series after working with English as a Second Language (ESL) adults who were having difficulty remember the letters, sounds and spelling patterns of English.

Again, I used pictures to help these adults remember the sounds and stories to help with common spelling patterns for each sound. I wanted teens and adults to have an easy way to learn these patterns on their own. Learning to speak English as teens and adults made it more difficult to identify these patterns because the words they were learning were often not very regular.
Why did you create ebooks to practice multiplication? Aren’t there enough of those out there?
I figured if I turned the multiplication facts into rhyming puzzles it would slow people down and they would pay more attention to the answer. I knew that paying attention was key because when something is boring it is harder to learn. Someone I knew was tutoring an adult in math so he could pass a basic test to get into a heating and air conditioning training program. The adult needed to be accurate and fast on multiplication, and he had not memorized his multiplication facts. I figured an ebook that helped him practice and pay attention without making him feel stupid was needed. That’s how my Picture It! multiplication ebooks at Amazon were born.

I created these ebooks to allow anyone to easily review multiplication facts with rhyming picture hints. They are designed to help people easily memorize each fact individually and practice enough on their own that the answer becomes automatic. Automaticity on multiplication facts is key to passing timed math tests and understanding multiplication math patterns is the foundation that is necessary for progressing in Algebra.
What are you creating now?
I continue to help teach the basics of computer encryption - see docrypt.com - as well as spreading images and messages of joy, gratitude and self awareness through Sunshine Greetings ebooks at Amazon and products at zazzle.com/sunshinegreetings.
Published 2015-08-24.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Storybook Hebrew 1: Picturing the Alef Bet
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 2,010. Language: English. Published: August 24, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Language Instruction » Hebrew, Nonfiction » Reference » Foreign languages
Learning the Alef Bet Has Never Been So Easy! Want to help a child or an adult with little time to spare quickly learn the Hebrew alphabet? These alliterative clues with pictures are sure to speed the process.