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Keepsake that Educates!

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.

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.



January 3, 2012 - Posted by | Meet the Author | , , ,


  1. Great interview! I have never heard of his favorite book before Make Way for Ducklings. Will have to check it out.

    Comment by Liz | January 3, 2012 | Reply

  2. I hope my kids have want to pick up trash for Thurman too after reading this book. That is really a wonderful compliment!

    Comment by Amy W. | January 3, 2012 | Reply

  3. I also love some of his favorite authors: Salinger and Hemingway.

    Comment by domestic diva | January 3, 2012 | Reply

  4. As an employee of KPMG, I’m impressed that this author had time to publish a book! 🙂 I am going into the world of public accounting soon and from what I hear it is work, work, work!

    Comment by Amanda | January 3, 2012 | Reply

  5. love that this book is teaching the little ones about keeping a greener planet!! what a great idea to use a turtle too!

    Comment by lisa | January 3, 2012 | Reply

  6. Thurman is a great character. It is outstanding how much influence a child’s book can have on a child. Like you said Thurman influenced the young girl to pick up trash just from reading your book. I wish you great success with yours and Thurman’s quest for planet earth.

    I did not know there was a book related to the movie It’s A Wonder Life. I will be sure to try and find the book.

    Comment by It's Time To Read Mamaw | January 3, 2012 | Reply

  7. Very interesting interview. I find it interesting that he found his interest for writing in his twenties, it’s very impressive.

    Comment by Naomie | January 3, 2012 | Reply

  8. I enjoyed reading about the influences and process of writing in Artie’s life.
    Make Way for Duckling and Blueberries for Sal are two of my favorite children’s books too – I can still hear Captain Kangaroo reading them in the morning.
    I look forward to checking out your stories & sharing with my grandkids.

    Comment by Teresa Young | January 3, 2012 | Reply

  9. I really enjoyed your interview. I loved Rod Sterling . A very talented man. This story is a great example for children to follow and the illustrations are so vibrant. Thurman looks like just the Turtle to get the kids moving and helping to clean up the environment. Thnaks for the interview.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

    Comment by Carol L. | January 4, 2012 | Reply

  10. My youngest son loves to read books about recycling and green Earth so he would love to read this one.
    I love the advise, Never Never Give Up.

    Comment by Daily Woman | January 10, 2012 | Reply

  11. I really enjoyed this author interview – and I learned so much! I plan to seek out the book that It’s a Wonderful Life was based on and I’m also going to see if I can find some of Rod Sterling’s work. I never really looked at the credits for The Twilight Zone and had no idea he wrote a majority of the episodes.

    And I have to commend someone who up and writes his own screenplay and then creates a film from it, especially a first-timer!

    Comment by Alicia C. | January 14, 2012 | Reply

  12. I found it interesting that Artie Knapp started as a screenwriter before going into children’s literature and felt that F.X. Toole’s perseverance was very inspiring.

    Comment by Lily Kwan | January 17, 2012 | Reply

  13. Great interview! I love the book Make Way for Ducklings. 🙂 I am all about getting kids started early in taking care of our environment. They have to be taught the importance of that!

    Comment by Leanne | May 31, 2012 | Reply

  14. Great interview; very inspiring author!

    Comment by lisa | June 3, 2012 | Reply

  15. I also enjoy the original Twilight Zone series. I like that many of the characters he writes about are based on ones that he encounters in the woods behind his home.

    Comment by likwan | June 15, 2012 | Reply

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