Interview with Author Mandi Tillotson Williams
I was born and raised in North Florida. I have always had an extensive imagination. At an early age, I was able to convince some my classmates that I had traveled to Earth on an enormous bubblegum slide from an undiscovered candy-coated island. This is where the idea for Mortimer’s Sweet Retreat stemmed from. I have three amazing children and I love them more than anything. Following a personal tragedy-turned-miracle, I decided to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a children’s author. My youngest son was born at only 28 weeks, weighing less than 3 pounds. We were told that he may never walk or talk due to a Grade IIIIVH (brain bleed) He is 5 years old now. He is walking and talking and he is doing excellent in school. This is part of who I am and why I am pursuing my dream of writing. I also love making children happy and seeing their little faces light up when I share my stories with them. http://www.mortimercrump.com/
Interview with Mandi Williams author of The Many Adventures of Mortimer Crump Mortimer’s Sweet Retreat
I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog
What is the last book you read? At this moment I am reading The Duke and I by Julia Quinn, it is really entertaining thus far.
What were your earliest memories of writing? I began writing around 8 or 9 years of age. I still have a book that I had written on copy paper. I cut it into pages and stapled them together. It was about a circus pig named Herb. Lol. It is really funny to see the words I misspelled back then being so young. Now I save anything my kids write or draw so they will be able to look back on their work too.
Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural? It came natural to me. I enjoyed it because I was able to share my thoughts with others. I had a big imagination back then and still do.
Are you working on a new book? Yes, I have the second book in the Mortimer series completed. I just have to complete the illustrations. Those are the most difficult for me.
What inspired you to write Mortimer’s Sweet Retreat and how did you come up with each character? I actually came up with the character several years ago, well before my youngest son was born. What’s funny is now my youngest is 5 and he was a preemie so he is a skinny little thing with blue glasses. He reminds me of Mortimer without the red hair. I tell him he’s my little Mortimer.
If you were to chose a character from your book, which one would it be? Mortimer of course, he is full of adventure.
What was your favorite children’s book? I am really not sure, I love so many of them. When I was young my favorite books were
What is the most difficult part of writing? Probably deciding on how to end the story.
What do you do when you’re not writing or promoting your books? I am a professional photographer and have my own business. I am also a full time mom to three wonderful kids.
How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block? So far I have gotten really good feedback as I only have one book out. I would guess that it would hurt my feelings some but I feel that as long as the person was trying to help me and not just being unkind it would be ok and I could come away from it stronger and with more knowledge.
What do you hope that readers will take away from your book? I hope that they will see that no matter what someone looks like on the outside, they can still be kind and become a friend if you just give them a chance. Everyone needs a chance in this world and you never know how a simple smile may change someone’s day.
Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with? Probably Beverly Clearly as I always loved her books.
What author inspires you the most and why? ProbablyBeverly Clearly and Shel Silverstein. I used to absolutely LOVE the poetry in Where the Sidewalk Ends. I read every poem in there hundreds of times growing up and even now to my kids.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.? I try to make sure that no matter how much I have to do, I still make time for my children and family. Nothing is more important than family.
What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read? I would say read them first. I always like a book that flows well with a good story line.
What advice you would give to new writers? Being that I am still a new writer I don’t have much advice, however, I do believe that you can do anything you put your mind to so never give up. Research through the internet has really helped me a lot.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? Yes, I would like to share with everyone the reason I picked up writing again after several years. I summed it all up in a poem. My youngest was born at 28 weeks and was in NICU for 73 days with many complications. He is now 5 years old and doing amazingly well. He is a true miracle and the reason I am pursuing my dream. I am hoping that one day I will be able to share his story with the world.
MY ANSWER AS TO WHY
I woke up this morning with a really clear view.
My answer as to “Why?” I hope you see it too.
Several years ago, I had a two pound baby boy
12 weeks premature… I felt anything but joy.
He wasn’t doing well, his life was hanging by a thread
Not knowing why this happened, my heart was filled with dread.
The doctors said he may not walk, his brain was full of blood
He wouldn’t learn, he may not talk, none of this was good.
I sat and wrote that very day, an email to my friends
Asking all of them to pray and then to please hit send.
Within a week, to my surprise, I had an inbox full of letters
Strangers sending hope our way, praying he’d get better.
They sent him home after 73 days but again, with not much hope
We had no clue of what may happen on this scary uphill slope.
On this day, he’s five years old and no one would never know.
He’s doing great, he’s really smart. He’s anything but slow.
As I said before, I woke today with an answer as to “why?”
I came to my desk to try and type and then began to cry.
My child was saved so I’d spread the word of what Jesus did for me.
I feel that’s why I rhyme so well. I want all the world to see.
Something big will come of this, I can feel it in my heart.
For now I’ll spread to my home town, but I know it’s just a start.
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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
Books Given in 2013: 330
Books Given in 2014: 257
Books Given in 2015: – 127
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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