Interview with Author Artie Knapp
Welcome back Readers to 2012 on Mymcbooks Blog. We start the year off with Artie Knapp author of Living Green: A Turtle’s Quest for a Cleaner Planet.
Biography: Artie Knapp is the author of many published works for young readers. A frequent contributor to the Detroit Free Press’ Yak’s Corner, his children’s literature has been featured in over 100 publications across the world. Artie finds inspiration for writing from the woods behind his home. A lot of the characters he writes about are there everyday and frequently stop by to say hello. He likes that. Artie is a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and graduated from Ohio University. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with his wife and daughter. http://www.artieknapp.com/
I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog
What is the last book you read? I recently finished reading The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern. It’s a short book and was the basis for the movie It’s a Wonderful Life.
What were your earliest memories of writing? The passion for writing didn’t come to me until my mid-twenties. My first writing project was a screenplay titled Pluto’s Plight. It’s a low budget science-fiction comedy, and former boxing champ Buster Douglas played an FBI Agent in the movie.
Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural? My passion for independent film ultimately led me to writing and producing my own movie. From there, my writing career developed and indirectly led to my writing children’s literature. I believe writing comes natural for me, but it’s certainly a craft that one must work hard to nurture and develop.
What was your favorite children’s book? As a young child my favorite character was Pinocchio. But my favorite book was Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. I liked the story and the drawings are exceptional. It won the prestigious Caldecott Medal in 1942 for best illustrated picture book.
What inspired you to write ‘Living Green: A Turtle’s Quest for a Cleaner Planet’? My employer KPMG LLC has a Living Green program, so the inspiration started there, and was coupled with my passion for the environment.
I notice that Living Green – A Turtle’s Quest for a Cleaner Planet was illustrated by MJ illustrations. Tell us a little about MJ Illustrations. MJ Illustrations is a two man team consisting of the talented artists Mike Jackson and Dan Goffredo. They work out ofSanta Fe ,New Mexico . In addition to large publishing houses such as Scholastic, they also do projects for Nintendo andHollywood studios, such as Disney.
Are you working on a new book? My latest children’s story titled, Light on a Snowy Day was published in close to 70 publications this past December. That story will be fully illustrated and published in the fall of 2012 as a paperback & hardcover book.
What is the most difficult part of writing? I would have to say bridging the gap between writing fresh & unique work, but still staying within the realm of today’s business market. If publishers don’t feel that your book is marketable, no matter how much they may like the content, they simply won’t publish it.
What do you do when you’re not writing or promoting your books? I am the proud father of a two year old daughter, and she keeps me and my wife quite busy. I enjoy reading about history, traveling, and taking in a movie whenever possible.
Who are some of your favorite authors? I am a big fan of Rod Sterling, best known of course as the host of the original Twilight Zone series. Mr. Sterling wrote the vast majority of the stories for the show, and I admire his talent. I also enjoy the writing of E.B. White, Ernest Hemingway & J.D. Salinger.
What author inspires you the most and why? The late Jerry Boyd, who used the pseudonym F.X. Toole, really inspires me. Mr. Toole had received rejection letters for forty straight years, before finally getting his first story published in a literary magazine. That story led to a collection of his works being published by HarperCollins. One of stories in that book was Million Dollar Baby, which would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Mr. Toole’s perseverance is something that will always inspire me.
How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block? When someone doesn’t enjoy your work it’s a bummer, but no writer in the world is going to bat a thousand percent. I believe it’s important to feel a sense of pride & fulfillment in your work. Because if you really believe in what you’re doing, then a bad review shouldn’t sting to the point where you second guess yourself.
I do hit roadblocks sometimes when searching for content, and when I do, I’ll take a walk or a drive to find inspiration. I also find that listening to classical music helps me get in the zone.
What do you hope that readers will take away from your book? I especially hope that it helps kids realize the impact that they can personally play in helping the environment. One of my favorite responses to my book was from a young reviewer for the Albuquerque Journal, who stated that it inspired her to pick up trash in a grocery story parking lot for Thurman. (The main turtle character in the book)
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.? When I finish a new story it’s a great feeling. That carries me for awhile, and then my internal clock starts reminding me that it’s time to get back at it. I choose to write when I “feel” it, versus just sitting down and typing away. I know a lot of writers do the latter every day, but I like to find my inspiration, first, and then let the adventure begin.
What advice you would give to new writers? Don’t get discouraged about the submission process. Be patient. Always remember that there are many reasons why a story doesn’t get published; it doesn’t necessarily mean a publisher didn’t enjoy your work. To that end, do your homework on finding the most appropriate outlets for your work. That will greatly increase your chances of success; plus it will save you a lot of frustration and money on postage. Be persistent. Just have fun and follow Winston Churchill’s advice: “Never, never, never, never give up!”
Thank you for this interview.
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My name is Ella Johnson. I started Mymcbooks to promote reading. As a former teacher, I know that making basic education fundamentals interesting to children can be challenging. Education can be fun, exciting and captivating for children with the right learning tools. So my goal is to “make learning interesting and fun” for the children while they learn, by introducing them to fun books with colorful and captivating illustrations.
In 2009, I start the giveaway program giving away free school supplies at random to 2 winners each year. I also started a monthly free giveaways for books and gifts.
August 2010, I extended the free school supplies from 2 to 5 winners at random on my blog and also give away 20 bags full of school supplies to familes in need at Chick-fil-A in Brandon, Florida during their family nights. And in 2012, I beat my that number and gave away a lot of school supplies to needy families. Hopefully, I can continue to do this each year.
In 2011, I started writing reviews on children’s books then giving these books away free on Mymcbooks Blog. I increase the number of books we giveaway free to help support parent. My goal is to give away as many as I can each year. This is also a great way to introduce parents to new books.
Mymcbooks blog is always looking for other ways to give kids free books. So I started Mymcbooks Birthday Library http://mymcbooksbirthdaylibrary.wordpress.com/
My goal is to giveaway at least 300 books to children each year.
Books Given in 2011: 315
Books Given in 2012: 380
Book Given in 2013: 330
Book Given in 2014:
Read Interview about Ella Johnson, http://melangeofcultures.wordpress.com/2011/07/31/interview-with-ella-johnson-founder-of-memorable-children-books-gifts/ Interviewer: Nicole Weaver
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