Mymcbooks Interview Author David Anderson
About the Author: David Anderson is a kids’ chapter book author who also doodles pictures. He enjoys reading and collecting vinyl records. http://www.charliesparrowandthesecretofflight.wordpress.com
David Anderson is the author of Charlie Sparrpw and the Secret of Flight.
I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog
What is the last book you read? The Umbrella Man, a collection of short stories by Roald Dahl. Dahl is famous for his children’s books, but his stories for adults have the same genius, only with darker subject matter.
What was your favorite children’s book? I’m embarrassed to say that as a child I did not read many books. Yes, I grew up to be a writer, but only started loving books when I was in my teens. That said, I’m still allowed to have a favorite children’s book, even if I came across it late. It’s a toss-up between The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and Matilda by Roald Dahl.
What were your earliest memories of writing? My earliest memory of writing is being about five and filling blank foolscap pages with chains of deliberate scribbles. I felt I was writing, even though it was illegible nonsense. My next earliest memory is of writing a one-page fiction piece for a Seventh or Eighth Grade class. It was called “Nightmare” and I still have it. Writing that piece was the first time I ever felt a rush of enjoyment from writing a story.
Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural? I had the idea to take up writing on my own, with little influence from outside, including from books, since I didn’t read much. I just decided I wanted to write, and began working on a novel for a year without telling anyone. I was sixteen and really should have been doing so many other things besides trying to write a novel. I was secretive, and I was determined, and I was a very bad writer.
Do you generally get a story idea first or does the main character develop first? I get the story idea, then develop the characters as I go. I don’t usually know much about my characters until they’re written down.
What inspired you to write Charlie Sparrow and the Secret of Flight? In 2007, I took a children’s book publishing class from Michael Katz, the publisher of Tradewind Books, in Vancouver, Canada. He tasked us with writing a children’s picture book that could fit into a standard 32 page spread. I had the idea to do my book about a city of birds that don’t know they can fly. Mike liked the idea, and he encouraged me to develop it into a longer work – a chapter book. That took a few years and many drafts to do.
Are you working on a new book? I’m working on a middle-grade sci-fi/fantasy thriller called The Maker. It’s kind of a Jim Henson’s Labyrinth meets Star Wars (the original Star Wars) type of thing. I’m also working on a second Charlie Sparrow book, because I keep getting the comment from readers that they want to see more of Tree City.
What is the most difficult part of writing? Have you ever felt that the only thing keeping you from feeling joy all the time is the fear of feeling joy all the time? Well, for me the most difficult thing about writing is something similar. I love writing so much that the hardest part about it is getting up the courage to go to that wonderful place, probably because the freedom and the thrill of it is frightening.
Do you write full time or do you still have a day job? I have a full-time job, so I write in the gaps between all the other stuff going on in my life. I did recently quit a PhD in English Literature so the gaps between other stuff wouldn’t be filled with academic work and I could fill them with writing instead.
How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block? Reviews are one kind of feedback that it’s useful for a writer to have, whether they’re bad or good. It’s an ongoing struggle to keep from taking reviews, or any feedback, too much to heart. The trick is knowing which parts to listen to and make use of to improve one’s writing, and which parts to ignore. Writers are kind of forced to learn this skill, and it’s a tough one.
I haven’t had writer’s block.
What do you hope that readers will take away from your book? I hope readers will be entertained by the story and connect with the characters. Charlie, Fanny, and Doctor Percy are my very good friends, and I hope they will be friends to other people too. Particularly to children.
Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with? In February, I attended the annual Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) conference in New York City, where Mo Willems, author of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, gave an electrifying speech filled with hilarious tidbits of advice for writers. Now that I’ve seen him speak, I think Willems would make excellent company at a meal. He’s just so full of energy and humor, and he’s got an infectious kind of genius that is fun to be around.
What author inspires you the most and why? Without a doubt Roald Dahl. Dahl’s brand of storytelling is something I crave. I’ve tried to put my finger on what it is that he does so well but can’t. All I know is it’s genius and it makes me want to be better at writing stories.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.? I tend to create short-term goals for myself, and meet them if I can. I wish I had a writing schedule and stuck to it. Say, one hour every day. But I don’t, and have never been able to keep one for an extended period of time.
What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read? I’m not a parent, so I don’t know. If I did have kids, I would probably start by giving them stories I loved, and then seeing what they liked and getting them more of that stuff.
What advice would you give to new writers? I’ve been writing for almost twenty years now, but I still consider myself a new writer. Charlie Sparrow is the first book I’ve ever finished to the point where I felt I could share it with others. I guess my advice would be: if the urge to write won’t go away, then go on, write. Also, stay open and attentive to the feedback of others and to your own instincts about your work. I’ve found that writing is learning about two things: what my reader wants, and what my voice is.
Thank you for this interview. Thank 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
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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