Mymcbooks Interview Author Stephen V. Masse
Stephen V. Masse was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He wrote his first practice novel at age 13, handwritten into a school composition book. Educated at the Universityof Massachusettsat Amherst, he studied creative writing, and was author of a weekly newspaper column, “Out of Control.” His first novel for children, Shadow Stealer, was published in 1988 by Dillon Press. He also runs a home remodeling business in the Boston area, and is active in the Santa Claus Anonymous charitable fundraiser. http://stephenvmasse.com/
Stephen V. Masse is the author of The Taste of Snow.
I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog
What is the last book you read?
Around Christmas I try to sample what’s new in holiday stories. This year’s favorite was The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski.
What were your earliest memories of writing?
In fourth grade, I wrote a composition near Halloween about witches flying around and having to stop for red lights. I was enjoying it so much the teacher asked me to go to the front of the class and share it with everybody.
What was your favorite children’s book?
Such a difficult question! I’d have to say the first book that comes to mind is Bullwhip Griffin, by Sid Fleischman. It was full of adventure and intrigue, perfect for a slighly hyperactive boy.
Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?
Writing came naturally to me, so naturally I never thought that reading should have anything to do with it. My mother would laugh to see my writing away at some chosen project, and say, “How can you write when you read so little?”
Are you working on a new book?
I have two adult trade fiction projects that are waiting for my attention, both of them stopped at chapter one while I take some time to decide whether I should first write down another adventure story that began with telling a story to a child. Last summer when my cousins visitedBoston, nine-year-old Ruth asked me to tell her a story while we were waiting to go on a whale watch.
What inspired you to write The Taste of Snow and how did you come up with each character?
The Taste of Snow started at a Christmas party. My friends Lew and Irina stage a lavish open house each December, and in 2010 after most of the guests had left, their daughter Nicole took me by the hand and asked if I would tell her a Christmas story. At ten years old, Nicole had read all my other books, including A Jolly Good Fellow which is an adult trade title. I told her a story about a girl and a magic candy cane, and she sat close with a blanket wrapped around her, asking, “What happens next?” until I had told her a more complex tale than I imagined I could come up with in an hour. A few days later I received a Christmas card from her which read: “Make that story a book! Your books rock!!” So I got right to work on the book. The characters of Nicole and Ashley are a composite of Nicole and her sister Ashley, and my young cousins Samantha and Lauren, whose personalities very much influenced the story. Max Brunheim is a composite of a few boys I grew up with and myself. The scar on his eyebrow is directly borrowed from my cousin Samantha’s eyebrow, with her knowledge and approval.
What do you hope that readers will take away from your book?
I would love to know that any reader, child or adult, will find a much more satisfying experience of the Christmas season because of this book.
What is the most difficult part of writing?
For me, the most difficult part of writing is not having enough time to write. Having a full-time business means that writing takes second place. The reality is that very few writers make a living at writing, even if we wish someday to be among the lucky who do make a living at it.
Do you write full time or do you still have a day job?
I run a home remodeling business which usually keeps me busy — thankfully last winter things were slow and I was able to spend a lot of time with The Taste of Snow.
How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
A bad review doesn’t bother me much, as I understand that no book could be everybody’s cup of tea. I don’t really know what writer’s block is, unless it has something to do with needing to be somewhere else when you’d prefer to be writing.
Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with?
I’d get a kick out of dining with William Goldman or John Nichols (living), or with Mark Twain, Jane Austen, or Louisa May Alcott.
What author inspires you the most and why?
Without a doubt, Mark Twain, who had an uncanny perception of the human condition and an energetic ability to write it all down.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
When I’m hot on a project, I try to keep it going every day until it’s finished. I’m not afraid to work weekends and late into the night.
What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read?
Read with and to your children. A teacher once told me, “If kids are reading it, they’re ready for it.” If you have strong reservations about certain reading matter, then it would be best to provide good alternatives.
What advice you would give to new writers?
Keep the day job, and keep writing!
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
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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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