Mymcbooks Interview Author Maggie Lyons
About the Author: Born in Wales, brought up in England, and emigrated to the USA, I’ve zigzagged through a motley range of professions from playing unofficial British spy—yes, really!—while keeping a troupe of touring ballet dancers happy—oxymoron?—to editing a course on everything you wanted to know about astronomy. I’ve herded cats—oops! I mean I’ve worked my passage in orchestral management, and I’ve taught piano and music theory—amazing how many people ain’t got rhythm. Every step in this career maze was fun—well, sometimes only in retrospect—and full of opportunities to write on a wild range of topics from business law to Beethoven.
After my curiosity was piqued by the streets paved with gold in the United States—well, that’s what they tell foreigners they’ll find over here—I gravitated to Virginia where I threw myself—not literally of course—into editing and writing nonfiction, mostly for adults. To read more click on the link to the author’s website http://www.maggielyons.yolasite.com/about-me.php
I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog.
What is the last book you read? Jerry Spinelli’s Loser—vintage Spinelli, with its mastery of the English language, its heart-wrenching depictions, its humor, and its memorable story.
What was your favorite children’s book? When I was small, I loved Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey.
What were your earliest memories of writing? I was not a big writer when I was small. That came later at high school, college, and my subsequent professional career in orchestral management, when I wrote program notes for the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, DC.
Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came naturally? I guess I instinctively chose a career that involved a lot of writing.
Do you generally get a story idea first or does the main character develop first? The idea for the general gist of the story comes first. After that, the characters move the action along.
What inspired you to write Dewi and the Seeds of Doom? For several years, now, I have been acutely interested in how what you eat affects your health. I became aware of the fact that genetically modified organisms (GMOS) are dangerous to health, yet they pervade 80 percent of the food found in any supermarket. I wanted to get the message out about GMOs in the least complicated way—a child’s adventure story. I have wanted, for some time, to contribute my two cents’ worth to putting Wales on the cultural map, so to speak. So, a story about a Welsh dragon who discovers a plot involving GMOs popped into my head.
Can you give us an insight into Vin and the Dorky Duet? Vin is a seventh-grader who takes up a challenge set him by his devious sister. Mayhem ensues as Vin’s brilliant plan to meet the challenge goes awry.
Are you working on a new book? I’m doodling around with a sequel to Vin and trying my hand at picture books.
What is the most difficult part of writing? Putting words on a blank page. Frankly, everything is difficult for me. I don’t write quickly, nor do ideas come thick and fast. It’s a labor, but a labor of love.
Do you write full time or do you still have a day job? I’m a fairly busy freelance copyeditor with clients around the globe.
How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block? I don’t read reviews that have less than three stars. That way I keep my heart rate and blood pressure at the right level.
What do you hope that readers will take away from your book? From Dewi and the Seeds of Doom, I hope children will learn that being inquisitive and asking questions, lots of questions, is important. I hope parents do not try to squash their children’s curiosity about life, even though children’s questions can, often, be quite exhausting!
From Vin and the Dorky Duet I hope children get the message that life is full of challenges and they should try to meet them but not worry if they don’t succeed at all of them. Having a go is what is important.
Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with? Roald Dahl, Jane Gardam, Jerry Spinelli, Dan Gutman, Jeff Kinney, Khaled Hosseini—the list goes on.
What author inspires you the most and why? I don’t have a favorite. There are many authors I admire, for different reasons, including all the authors I mentioned above. I’m inspired by Roald Dahl’s mordant wit, in both his children’s and adult fiction. I’m bowled over by Jerry Spinelli’s ability to move and engage me with just the right words—and the right number of words, and I love his talent for creating memorable storylines and life-like characters. I love the humor of Dan Gutman and Jeff Kinney, and I’m intrigued by Khaled Hosseini’s ability fo whisk me off to foreign cultures and make them come alive and spell-binding. I adore Jane Gardam’s astonishing mastery of the English language, in which every single word has been carefully chosen.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.? Alas, I’m entirely undisciplined regarding any sort of writing schedule. I do have the goal of improving my writing, which means writing more. I also would like to see my published books reach many children and I work quite hard to promote them.
What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read? I’m developing a blog site designed to help parents find good books—as well as help writers who want to write good children’s books. The site refers parents to other websites where they can search lists of recommended books, including lists of award-winning books. My blog site is at: http://www.maggie-lyons.blogspot.com.
What advice you would give to new writers? Join a critique group, read as many of the works of great writers as you can, read books on the craft of writing, and write, write, write.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? My books’ website is at: http://www.maggielyons.yolasite.com.
Thank you for this interview.
Thank you, Ella, for having me as a guest. I enjoyed talking to you.
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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: 257
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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