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Keepsake that Educates!

Book/Author Spotlight: Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome.


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About the Book: “This is LIFE, people! You’ve got air coming through your nose! You’ve got a heartbeat! That means it’s time to do something!” announces Kid President in his book, Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome. From YouTube sensation (75 million views and counting!) to Hub Network summer series star, Kid President—ten-year-old Robby Novak—and his videos have inspired millions to dance more, to celebrate life, and to throw spontaneous parades.

In his Guide to Being Awesome, Kid President pulls together lists of awesome ideas to help the world, awesome interviews with his awesome celebrity friends (he has interviewed Beyoncé!), and a step-by-step guide to make pretty much everything a little bit awesomer. Grab a corn dog and settle in to your favorite comfy chair. Pretend it’s your birthday! (In fact, treat everyone like it’s THEIR birthday!) Kid President is here with a 240-page, full-color Guide to Being Awesome that’ll spread love and inspire the world. http://www.harpercollins.com/9780062358684/kid-presidents-guide-to-being-awesome

 

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (February 3, 2015)
  • Cost: $21.99

 

My Review: This is one book all kids should have and read.

 

FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from HarperCollins in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion in any way.

 

 

 

Reviews: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22552567-kid-president-s-guide-to-being-awesome

 

 

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About the Author: Robby Novak is known to millions as Kid President. He is 11 years old. He loves corndogs and basketball and has kissed Beyoncé. Together, he and his brother-in-law, Brad Montague, are on a mission to inspire kids and grown-ups to make the world more awesome. Robby has osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), a brittle bone condition that has resulted in his having more than 70 breaks since birth. His condition doesn’t keep him from living large, busting out sweet dance moves on a daily basis, or honoring his presidential writing duties alongside Brad. This is their first book. http://www.kidpresident.com/whoweare.html

 

 

 

 

 

November 28, 2015 Posted by | Author and Book Spotlight, HarperCollins Book Review | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog Tour/Book Spotlight/Giveaway: The Tree of Water by Elizabeth Haydon. Ends Dec 6th


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About the Book: The epic voyages continue in The Tree of Water, the fourth adventure in bestselling author Elizabeth Haydon’s acclaimed fantasy series for young readers, The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme.

As Royal Reporter of the land of Serendair, it is the duty of young Charles Magnus “Ven” Polypheme to travel the world and seek out magic hiding in plain sight. But Ven needs to escape the clutches of the nefarious Thief Queen, ruler of the Gated City, whose minions are hunting for him. His friend, the merrow Amariel, has the perfect solution to his dilemma: Ven and Char will join her to explore the world beneath the sea.

As they journey through the sea, Ven finds himself surrounded by wonders greater than he could have ever imagined. But the beauty of the ocean is more than matched by the dangers lurking within its depths, and Ven and his friends soon realize that in order to save thousands of innocent lives, they may have to sacrifice their own. For everything in the ocean needs to eat…

“A delightful epic fantasy that will attract a readership both older and younger than the target audience.” —Booklist (starred review) on The Floating Island.

  • Age Range: 10 – 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 – 9
  • Series: The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Cost: $13.16 @ amazon.com

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About the Author

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/57461.Elizabeth_Haydon

Interview with Elizabeth Haydon, documentarian, archanologist and translator of Ven’s  journals, including The Tree of Water

Little is known for sure about reclusive documentarian and archanologist Elizabeth Haydon. She is an expert in dead languages and holds advanced degrees in Nain Studies from Arcana College and Lirin History from the University of Rigamarole. Her fluency in those languages [Nain and Lirin] has led some to speculate that she may be descended of one of those races herself. It should be noted that no one knows this for sure.

Being an archanologist, she is also an expert in ancient magic because, well, that’s what an archanologist is.

Being a documentarian means she works with old maps, books and manuscripts, and so it is believed that her house is very dusty and smells like ink, but there is no actual proof of this suspicion. On the rare occasions of sightings of Ms. Haydon, it has been reported that she herself has smelled like lemonade, soap, vinegar, freshly-washed babies and pine cones.

She is currently translating and compiling the fifth of the recently-discovered Lost Journals when she is not napping, or attempting to break the world’s record for the longest braid of dental floss.

We had the chance to ask her some questions about the latest of Ven’s journals, The Tree of Water. Here is what she shared.

  1. Dr. Haydon, can you give us a brief summary of The Tree of Water?

Certainly. Ven Polypheme, who wrote the, er, Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme, lived long ago in the Second Age of history, when magic was much more alive and visible in the world than it is now. His journals are very important finds, because they tell the story of ancient magic and where it still may be found in the world today.

In the first three journals we saw how Ven came to the mystical island of Serendair and was given the job of Royal Reporter by the king of the island, a young man named Vandemere. The Royal Reporter was supposed to find magic that was hiding in plain sight in the world and report back about it to the king. As you can imagine, this could be a fun but dangerous job, and at the beginning of The Tree of Water, we see that Ven and his friends are hiding from the evil Thief Queen, who is looking to find and kill him.

Amariel, a merrow [humans call these ‘mermaids,’ but we know that’s the wrong word] who saved Ven when the first ship he sailed on sank, has been asking Ven to come and explore the wonders of the Deep, her world in the sea. Deciding that this could be a great way to find hidden magic as well as hide from the evil Thief Queen, Ven and his best friend, Char, follow her into the Deep. The sea, as you know, is one of the most magical places in the world—but sometimes that magic, and that place, can be deadly.

The book tells of mysterious places, and interesting creatures, and wondrous things that have never been seen in the dry world, and tales from the very bottom of the sea.

  1. The main character in The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme series is Charles Magnus “Ven” Polypheme. Tell us about him.

Ven was an interesting person, but he really didn’t think so. He and his family were of a different race than the humans who made up most of the population where he lived, the race of the Nain. Nain are an old race, a little shorter and stockier than most humans, with a tendency to be on the grumpy side. They live about four times as long as humans, are very proud of their beards, which they believe tell their life stories, don’t like to swim or travel, and prefer to live deep inad grown in by the time The Tree of Water took place, when he was fifty years old [around twelve in Nain years]. He had a great group of friends, including thmerrow and Char, who were mentioned earlier. It is believed that his journals were the original research documents for two of the most important books of all time, The Book of All Human Knowledge and All the World’s Magic. The only copies of these two volumes were lost at sea centuries ago, so finding the Lost Journals is the only way to recover this important information.

  1. What kind of research do you do for the series?

I go to places where Ven went and try to find relics he left behind. Usually this is with an expedition of archaeologists and historians. I am an expert in ancient magic [an archanologist] so I don’t usually lead the expeditions, I’m just a consultant. It gives me the chance to learn a lot about magic and lets me work on my suntan at the same time, so it’s good.

  1. What is/are the most difficult part or parts of writing/restoring the Lost Journals?

Here’s the list, mostly from the archaeological digs where the journals have been found:

1] Cannibals

2] Crocodiles

3] Sunburn

4] Sand flies

5] Dry, easily cracking parchment pages

6] The horrible smell of long-dead seaweed

7] Grumpy members of the archaeological expedition [I could name names, but I won’t]

8] Expedition food [when finding and retrieving the journal for The Tree of Water, we ate nothing but peanut butter and raisin sandwiches, olives and yellow tea for six months straight]

9] When salt water gets into your favorite fountain pen and clogs it up. This is very sad.

10] Unintentionally misspelling a word in the Nain language that turns out to be embarrassing [the word for “jelly” is one letter different from the word for “diarrhea,” which caused a number of my Nain friends to ask me what on earth I thought Ven was spreading on his toast.]

  1. What do you enjoy about this series that cannot be found in any of your other books?

Getting to write about a lot of cool magic stuff that used to exist in our world, but doesn’t anymore. And getting to travel to interesting places in the world to see if maybe some of it still does exist. Also getting to show the difference between merrows, which are real, interesting creatures, and mermaids, which are just silly.

  1. What do you hope readers take away from this book?

I hope, in general, that it will open their eyes to the wonder of the sea, which takes up the majority of our planet, but we really don’t know that much about it down deep. There is a great deal of magic in the sea, and I hope that if and when people become aware of it, they will help take care of it and not throw garbage and other bad stuff into it. I have a serious dislike for garbage-throwing.

Probably the most useful secret I learned that I hope will be of use to readers is about thrum. Thrum is the way the creatures and plants that live in the ocean communicate with each other through vibration and thought. As Ven and his friends learn, this can be a problem if you think about something you don’t want anyone to know about when you are standing in a sunshadow, because everyone gets to see a picture of what’s on your mind. Imagine how embarrassing that could be.

  1. Are there more books coming in this series?

Well, at least one. In the archaeological dig site where The Tree of Water was found was another journal, a notebook that Ven called The Star of the Sea. We are still working on restoring it, but it looks like there are many new adventures and different kinds of magic in it. The problem is that it might have been buried in the sand with an ancient bottle of magical sun tan lotion, which seems to have leaked onto some of the journal’s pages. This is a very sad event in archaeology, but we are working hard to restore it.

As for other books, it’s not like we just write them out of nowhere. If we haven’t found one of Ven’s journals, there can’t be another book, now, can there? We are always looking, however. We’ve learned so much about ancient magic from the journals we have found so far.

  1. You are a best-selling author with other books and series for adults. What made you want to write books for young readers?

I like young readers better than adults. Everyone who is reading a book like mine has at one time or another been a young reader, but not everyone has been an adult yet. Young readers have more imagination and their brains are more flexible—they can understand magical concepts a lot better than a lot of adults, who have to deal with car payments and work and budget balancing and all sorts of non-magical things in the course of their days.

Besides, many adults scare me. But that’s not their fault. I’m just weird like that.

I think if more adults read like young readers, the world would be a happier place.

  1. Tell us where we can find your book and more information about where you are these days.

You can find The Tree of Water anywhere books are sold, online and in bookstores. There are several copies in my steamer trunk and I believe the palace in Serendair also has one. I also sent one to Bruno Mars because I like his name.

At the moment, I am on the beautiful island of J’ha-ha, searching for a very unique and magical flower. Thank you for asking these interview questions—it has improved my mood, since I have only found weeds so far today. I am hoping for better luck after lunch, which, sadly, is peanut butter and raisin sandwiches, olives, and yellow tea again.

All the best,

Dr. Elizabeth Haydon, PhD, D’Arc

Giveaway Rules

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There will be 1 winner  

This Giveaway is Open to the USA Only!

Winner will be selected by Random.org

Giveaway Ends Dec 6th, 2014

Comments like these would be deleted – Great contest, please enter me, Love to win this! This is so cute!

Mandatory: Leave a comment about the review below. Leaving a helpful comment relating to this book would be appreciated and valid to the giveaway.

Giveaway Guidelines and Disclaimer  

Winners are selected via Random and notified by email. You have 48 hours to respond;

If no response, the prize is forfeited and an alternate winner is chosen.

This Giveaway Has Ended

Winner is #9 – Rebecca Swenor

November 19, 2014 Posted by | Author and Book Spotlight, Blog Tour | , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Book Spotlight/Giveaway: How Long Will You Love Me? Ends Oct 24th


 Love Me cover
About the Book: Whether it’s a question from a child to a parent or an adult to their  significant other, that question probably gets asked more than you  think…even if it just stays in your head and you are the only one who  hears it. Patti Brassard Jefferson’s creative first book starts with the question and each page gives a warm, rhythmic reassurance — “I  promise I will love you ’til…” Along the way to the definitive answer, you will see shopping frogs, tanning dolphins and blues-playing  bunnies. The sun drives a fancy car, an octopus writes love letters and  baseballs grow on trees! (All of these silly characters are also hiding a heart for you to find on each page.) So just how long will I love you?  The answer is perfectly clear in this book!

Hardcover

ISBN: 9781612441658

Publisher: Halo Publishing, Int.

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About the author: Patti Brassard Jefferson is an author, illustrator, mosaic artist,  graphic designer, bubble-blower and palm tree hugger. She lives in  Florida with her two rescued mutts and a husband who loves her enough to tell her she shouldn’t sing in public. She always defers to her inner  child when making big decisions which is why she writes &  illustrates children’s books that have a little something for adults  too.
Mini Interview:
Like all authors, you have had your fair share of rejection letters. You obviously did not let the letters deter you. How did you keep your determination without getting discouraged?
At some point you have to just say to yourself – “does the world really need to hear what I have to say?”  Hopefully as an author, the answer there is a resounding “yes!”. I actually got some very encouraging feedback from someone in the industry fairly early on in my process who was interested in my book. They didn’t feel it was “complete” yet so I was asked to add more to it. It took me almost a year to get it to the point of feeling it was finished and when I resubmitted, that particular contact person was no longer there and, in fact, that publisher was no longer taking any outside submissions. I was pretty down after that disappointment but I learned that the good things rarely happen in slow motion. Luckily, I knew that I had an important message to share so I started researching the possibilities of self-publishing which has turned out to be one of the best decision I ever made.
It has been my experience, some things come quite easily (like creating the setting) and other things aren’t so easy (like deciding on a title). What comes easily to you and what do you find more difficult? 
I write in rhyme and I write for children so sometimes it is a challenge to get not only the cadence of the sentences just right but also use vocabulary that is easy enough for the audience. I don’t want anything to sound forced. The easy part is being a little goofy. It seems that comes pretty natural to me.
Please describe to us your relationship between you and your editor. What makes an author/editor relationship a success? The personal process of creation tends to leave a lot of writers, artists, musicians and other creative types in a vulnerable place emotionally. We put so much of ourselves into our work that when we are done, we feel that our work is the best that it can be. An editor’s job is to take a fresh, neutral look at the work and make it even better all the while dealing with a fragile creative ego. The ideal relationship between an author and an editor is one of symbiotic balance.
WOI Banner Jefferson small

http://storiesforchildren.tripod.com/worldofinknetwork/patti-jefferson-sept-13.html

Giveaway Rules

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There will be 1 winner  

This Giveaway is Open to the USA Only!

Winner will be selected by Random.org

Giveaway Ends October 24th, 2013

Comments like these would be deleted – Great contest, please enter me, Love to win this! This is so cute!

Mandatory: Leave a comment about the review below. Leaving a helpful comment relating to this book would be appreciated and valid to the giveaway.

Giveaway Guidelines and Disclaimer  

Winners are selected via Random and notified by email. You have 48 hours to respond;

If no response, the prize is forfeited and an alternate winner is chosen.

This Giveaway Has Ended

Winner is #4 – Jieru

October 1, 2013 Posted by | Author and Book Spotlight, Free Giveaways | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Book Spotlight/Giveaway: Milton the Square Shell Turtle. Ends Oct 5th


Milton the Square Shell Turtle

About the Book:

Milton is a story of a turtle. Unlike other turtles with round or oval shells, Milton has a square shell. One afternoon, and being new to the area, he decides to take a walk to the pond to relax.

Just when he thinks he finds the perfect spot, he can’t stay. Not wanting to cause a problem, he goes further up the pond, only to discover, home is the best place to relax.

Title: Milton the Square Shell Turtle

Author: MaryAnn Tatro

Illustrator: Diane Lucas

Publisher: Halo Publishing, Int.

Genre: Children’s Picture Book

ISBN: 978-1-61244-103-1

Publication Date: June 2013

$11.95

Places available for sale:

http://www.halopublishing.com/bookstore

Amazon.com

Maryann Tatro

About the Author:

MaryAnn Tatro attended Southern Ohio Business College and received a degree in Office Administration and Communication. She also attended Cooper School of Art for one year and took with her a love to create, design and color. She worked several years for a publishing company in Cleveland while raising her son Ryan.

Tatro grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, but her heart is in the country. She currently lives in Wadsworth, Ohio with her husband Dennis of 20 years and their cat. She and her husband enjoy nature walks, antiques, yard sales and being with family.

Mini Interview:

Like all authors, you have had your fair share of rejection letters. You obviously did not let the letters deter you. How did you keep your determination without getting discouraged?-

I self-published my book, however, when it came time for the review, I honestly felt sick.

I was always told if one door closes, another will open and that’s what I stuck with.  I have strong faith in God and I must say to me, prayer is the key.

It has been my experience, some things come quite easily (like creating the setting) and other things aren’t so easy (like deciding on a title). What comes easily to you and what do you find more difficult? –

What comes easily to me is giving my characters personality.

What’s difficult is naming them.  I have to choose the right name to fit the personality or otherwise, my stories will not work.

Please describe to us your relationship between you and your editor. What makes an author/editor relationship a success? –

Because I self-published my book, I never met my editor.

Giveaway Rules

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There will be 1 winner  

This Giveaway is Open to the USA Only!

Winner will be selected by Random.org

Giveaway Ends October 5th, 2013

Comments like these would be deleted – Great contest, please enter me, Love to win this! This is so cute!

Mandatory: Leave a comment about the review below. Leaving a helpful comment relating to this book would be appreciated and valid to the giveaway.

Giveaway Guidelines and Disclaimer  

Winners are selected via Random and notified by email. You have 48 hours to respond;

If no response, the prize is forfeited and an alternate winner is chosen.

WOI Banner Tarto small

http://storiesforchildren.tripod.com/worldofinknetwork/maryann-tarto-sept-13.html

This Giveaway Has Ended

Winner #5 – Paula

September 18, 2013 Posted by | Blog Tour, Free Giveaways | , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Mymcbooks Interview Author Hugh Willard


Hugh Willard

 

Hugh Willard is a writer and psychotherapist living and working in Holly Springs, NC. He has two daughters, two dogs, and two minds (one serious and one
silly), all of which keep him busy and happy. You can learn more about Hugh at http://www.hughwillard.com/About_Hugh.html

 

Hugh Willard is the author of The Goodwill Vultures Club: A Day of Heroes.

 

I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog

 Thank you.

 

What is the last book you read? I just finished Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  A great, great story about a boy with significant facial deformities who bravely navigates moving out into the hard world of middle school. I saw some overlapping themes with my own book: notably, rejection born of fear that comes from ignorance.

 

What was your favorite children’s book? From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by  E.L. Konigsburg, who just died in April.  I loved (and love) the pace, the interplay between the brother and sister, and the just-on-the-edge-of-plausibility of their adventures.  I would label the story “realistic escapism”.

 

What were your earliest memories of writing? Aside from very bad four line love poems to my girl crushes in elementary school, I remember writing a story in the sixth grade.  This was not a class assignment.  Rather I just got the urge to do so.  I remember it was heavy on very useless detail.

 

Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural? I wish I could say that I was encouraged to write when I was younger but that was not the case.  I had many interests so it was easy enough to concentrate my energies in other areas.  I started hearing more positive feedback and encouragement as an adult as I began to revisit my joy in writing.

 

Do you generally get a story idea first or does the main character develop first? Primarily story lines form first, although my characters typically catch up quickly and do the heavy lifting in carrying the narrative along.

 

What inspired you to write The Goodwill Vultures Club: A Day of Heroes? I had a remarkable dream several years ago about vultures that gave me a whole new way of looking at these much maligned creatures.  I came to appreciate how they do their jobs as nature’s refuse collectors with no fanfare, but also no complaints.  And their flight is quite beautiful.  Using the vulture character as a target for the fear and rejection that arises due to lack of information and understanding felt like a great means to highlight the experience that we humans face at times given our own differences.

 

Are you working on a new book? I’m in the end stages of working with my editor on the second book in the Goodwill Vultures Series.  I’m very excited for this one to come out as it introduces the characters in the first book to a soldier returning from the war in Afghanistan.  I deeply feel that this book will be an important resource for children of our veterans.  I also have just begun the third book in the series.

 

What is the most difficult part of writing? Turning off the inner critic that wants to write the perfect phrase or sentence in the initial draft.  It’s very freeing to remember that I can just write and trust that I will come back to edit and improve upon what I have written.

 

Do you write full time or do you still have a day job? I do.  I am a psychotherapist in private practice.  My work is rewarding at times and tough at times.  In one respect, I see my writing as an extension of my work as a therapist.  It’s important to me that my stories offer perspective and help my readers to grow healthier emotionally.

 

How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block? At this point in my life, I have a fairly healthy sense of myself.  If I receive a negative review, it may sting a bit, but I can take a step back and consider it with some objectivity. I truly want to improve as a writer.  I want constructive feedback.  Regarding writer’s block, (knock on my wooden head) I’ve never really experienced an appreciable period of it.

 

What do you hope that readers will take away from your book? Fear and the subsequent rejection that fear often causes is the result of not understanding people and things that are different than us; persons in wheelchairs, persons with autism, people of different color or culture or experience. The answer to improving our interactions lay in presence, which is antithetical to ignorance and intolerance.  We still have much work to do in overcoming a lot of the reflexive conditioning we have that says that difference automatically equals threat.  I hope my book encourages all of us to think more broadly.

 

Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with? Barbara Kingsolver, Sue Monk Kidd, Jane Goodall, Judy Blume, Malcolm Gladwell.

 

What author inspires you the most and why? Judy Blume.  I’ve long, long admired her writing for children.  To my mind, she is a pioneer and master in seamlessly melding the silly (read: entertaining) with much more substantive themes.  A true observer and teacher of the human experience.

 

What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.? My publisher has really helped me with this as we have a formal schedule/structure for finished drafts.  As I work full time and also am a single parent, the many demands on my time force me to be discriminating and judicious with my time and priorities.  I typically look at my schedule a week at a time and designate blocks of time for writing and editing.

 

What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read? Read these books yourselves!  You know your children better then anyone else.  Be active in this process.  An added bonus is that you can then have more engaged and targeted conversations with your kids once they have read the books.  Research and follow a few established blogs focusing on children’s literature as well.

 

What advice you would give to new writers? Allow yourself to write potentially poorly at first.  Try to suspend the inner critic and find a way to invite him/her back into the process when you start the editing.  To this point, once you finish a draft, put it away for a few weeks and direct your attention elsewhere.  This will allow you to come back to it with fresh eyes.  Most of all, remember that if you are choosing to write, you have a love of this art form.  So remember to love it in all of it’s unevenness.  It is it’s own reward.

 

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? I really appreciate their time and interest in reading this interview, and I am hopeful that they will enjoy my books.

 

Thank you for this interview.

 

Thank you for your time, interests and efforts on behalf of children’s literature.

 

 

June 22, 2013 Posted by | Meet the Author | , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Book Spotlight and Interview: The Grimm Chronicles, Vol. 2 by Isabella Fontaine and Ken Brosky


The Grimm

The Grimm Chronicles, Vol. 2 by Isabella Fontaine and Ken Brosky

About The Grimm Chronicles: 200 years ago, the Brothers Grimm made a horrible mistake. With the help of a little magic, they brought all of their beloved fairy tales to life. But there was a problem: the longer the fairy tale characters remained on earth, the more Corrupted they became. The big bad wolf. Heroic princes. Millers’ sons. Cinderella. Evil consumed all of them because they didn’t belong. Every generation, a hero emerges to remove the Corrupted and fix the mistake of the Brothers Grimm. Enter: Alice Goodenough, who’s just turned 18 and is about to finish up her junior year of high school. After finding a magic pen in the basement of her library, her happy little life disappears. Now, she hunts down the Corrupted … With a little help from a giant talking rabbit named Briar. http://www.thegrimmchronicles.com/

Ken Brosky

About the authors: Isabella Fontaine lives a quiet life on a farm in rural Wisconsin. She enjoys reading Grimm’s Fairy Tales and writing on a typewriter, which annoys her cats. This is her first book collection.

Ken Brosky received his MFA from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He’s written a number of books and regularly publishes short stories. He also helps out at Brew City Press whenever possible. This is his first young adult collection.

http://www.thegrimmchronicles.com/about.html

I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog

Thank you for having me!

What is the last book you read?   I started reading “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” but only got about halfway through. It felt a bit like an ode to Google’s Awesomeness and started really bugging me. Very subjective opinion, though. From what I understand, it’s a pretty well-liked book.

What was your favorite children’s book?   Calvin and Hobbes, no doubt. For a while, I really got into the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, too. I had Roald Dahl phase, too. Oh, and “White Fang” was a big one for me, too. Made me terrified of wolves for awhile, though.

What were your earliest memories of writing? I used to write and draw comics with my friend when we were really young. We made it a business and sold the comics to our parents. And they bought them, too. We learned early on how to be entrepreneurs. We pocketed a little of the profit, then spent the rest on more comic book paper and special pens to make everything really shine.

Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural? My parents thought I was a good writer. That meant a lot. Don’t dismiss the power you have over your kids. All it took to set me on the path to writing was a single compliment from my parents.

Do you generally get a story idea first or does the main character develop first? Usually, the story comes first. Characters tend to come more difficultly. I try to avoid the most common clichés, but that doesn’t mean I’m always successful. To make things interesting, I try to pick and choose qualities from real-life inspirations, then throw all those qualities into a blender and see what it turns into.

What inspired you to write The Grimm Chronicles?   We wanted to write a Young Adult series, and we wanted to use the stories of the Brothers Grimm. But we also wanted to explore the hero’s journey in an unconventional way. Also, we wanted to write something that would actually be read by more than a dozen people. And I was getting sick of pouring my heart and soul into writing projects only to see them rejected a hundred times by agents and editors. So we went a different way and haven’t looked back.

What was special about Alice Goodenough, the newest hero of the book? Alice is like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, only she needs to use her brain to think her way out of situations. She’s limited in what she can do with her magic pen because it requires her to have knowledge. So she has to learn. She has to be smart in order to survive.

Are you working on a new book?   We’ve been toying around with a science-fiction series, but I’m not going to start it until this series is finished. This is a 12-episode series, and we’ve already released 7. So this entire year will be spent on The Grimm Chronicles.

What is the most difficult part of writing?   Staying focused. I can write a couple pages, then my mind starts to wander. It’s really annoying, but that’s the way we’re programmed now, I guess! Still, it has its advantages … writing for hours on end can be a pain in the wrists. So far, the ideas are coming to me pretty easily. And when they don’t, I can always consult the outline.

Let me tell you something about the outline, because it’s pretty important. When an idea hits you, just plot out some basics. Let your mind really wander. Then, once you actually start writing the dang story, you always have something to draw upon when you’re feeling stuck. It’s saved me more than once.

Do you write full time or do you still have a day job? I teach college English classes at various Wisconsin universities. It’s a great job. I don’t think I’d stop even if The Grimm Chronicles was a best-seller.

How do you react to a bad review? Art is subjective. Some people will like something while others will hate it. You can’t let it get to you … unless there’s something specific that you can improve. For instance, we once got a review that pointed out some grammar issues. That was something we could fix (and thought we HAD already fixed before publication), so we went back and fixed it.

But some people just plum won’t like a story. And it’s not anyone’s fault. It’s just a matter of opinion and taste and interest. No big deal. Can’t take those things personally.

What do you hope that readers will take away from your book? That knowledge is power.

Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with? I’ve often thought it would be fun to dine with Ernest Hemingway. But what if he’s in a bad mood? What if he starts drinking a bunch and gets all rowdy and annoying? That would spoil the dinner, I think.

So maybe Stephen King. He seems all right. Still, I haven’t read any of his recent stuff, so what if he asks about it? Then it would get awkward. I’d lie, of course. But then he’d catch me lying and it would get even more awkward. Then what? I’d have to politely excuse myself to the bathroom and make a getaway through the window. But what if he lives in a gated community and I can’t escape? Then I’d have to go ring his doorbell and calmly explain that I was trying to escape his home but the front gate won’t open and could he please open the gate!

As you can see, most writers are quite insane and should eat alone whenever possible.

What author inspires you the most and why? Right now, no one in particular. I need a new author to latch myself onto. The last few books I’ve read have been real disappointing and so now I need to reinvigorate myself and find someone new. If that doesn’t work, I’ll go back to reading P.G. Wodehouse.

What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.? Write whenever I have a free moment. Utilize my time as efficiently as possible.

What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read?   Let them pick.

What advice you would give to new writers? Find an editor who can give you a fresh perspective. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without my partner.

Thank you for this interview.   No, thank you! Bloggers are the people who make 21st-century literature breathe.

May 7, 2013 Posted by | Author and Book Spotlight, Meet the Author | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mymcbooks Interview Author David Anderson


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.

April 2, 2013 Posted by | Meet the Author | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Mymcbooks Interview Author Sibel Hodge


Sibel Hodge

 

About the Author: Sibel Hodge has 8 cats and one husband. In her spare time, she’s Wonder Woman! When she’s not out saving the world from dastardly demons, she also writes books for adults.

Her other books include Fourteen Days Later, My Perfect Wedding, The Baby Trap, The Fashion Police (Amber Fox Mystery), Be Careful What You Wish For (Amber Fox Mystery), Voodoo Deadly (Amber Fox Mystery), A Gluten Free Taste of Turkey, and How to Dump Your Boyfriend in the Men’s Room (and other short stories). Her work has been shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Prize 2008, Highly Commended by the Yeovil Literary Prize 2009, Runner up in the Chapter One Promotions Novel Comp 2009, and nominated Best Novel with Romantic Elements in 2010 by The Romance Reviews. Her novella Trafficked: The Diary of a Sex Slave has been listed as one of the Top 40 Books About Human Rights by Accredited Online Colleges. It’s a Catastrophe is her first children’s book. http://www.sibelhodge.com/

 

I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog

Thanks so much for having me!

What is the last book you read?

Easy by Tamara Webber

What was your favorite book?

That’s so hard, but my favourite growing up was To Kill a Mockingbird. I’ve re-read it so many times.

What were your earliest memories of writing?

Ever since I was old enough to scrawl my first word, which was Halibaaaaa, I knew I wanted to write books. OK, so the word didn’t actually make sense, and it might take a little longer for me to string a whole sentence together, but that didn’t put me off. I was going to write a novel and no one would stop me. After discovering the wonderful world of books, I thought I’d have a go myself, and remember scribbling down stories whenever I had a spare moment. Shame I was only six, and there was no way anyone would publish a book with “I Want Big Girls’ Knickers” in the title.

Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?

I was encouraged to read, and I think that’s where my love of writing came from. Being able to make stuff up and get paid for it is fantastic! Your imagination is a wonderful thing.

Do you generally get a story idea first or does the main character develop first?

I usually get an idea for a story first then my main characters develop around it.

What inspired you to write “It’s a Catastrophe”?

People often ask me where I get my ideas from for my books, and the truth is, they can come from anywhere – a snippet of conversation, a film, a book, a story someone told me, a news headline, or something that’s happened to a friend. Anything can get the “what if that happened” thought escalating into a plot for a book.

One night, I was sitting on my terrace with my hubby and my friend, and we made a random comment about wondering what cats say to each other when they meow. Then we proceeded to have fake conversations between my 8 rescue cats, which rapidly turned more and more stupid as the night wore on, but gave me an amazing light bulb moment. It’s a Catastrophe was born that night and developed into the story you’ve just read, so I’d like to say a big thanks to Brad and Becky for planting the seeds of ideas into my brain. The BBC’s A Walk on the Wildside also had a big influence on the book. If you haven’t seen any of them, look them up on YouTube – it’s hilarious!

I also wanted the cats to face problems that children (and adults) face in real life, such as dealing with differences, bullying, helping others, and overcoming fears.

Is “It’s a Catastrophe” story about your cats?

I have 8 rescue cats and some of the cats in the stories are based on their personalities and looks. All of them have individual, funny little quirks that I wanted to add in. I’m sure pet owners will know what I’m talking about! Now I can’t look at the book cover without seeing my cats. Now they’re famous, though, they’re getting a bit demanding, asking for smoked salmon and caviar for dindins!

Can you tell us a little about the cast Buster – Mog Father?

Buster is the leader of the Katz Crew bunch of cats belonging to Ma Katz. He’s seen hardship and had to live on the streets so he knows all about overcoming adversity. He’s a firm but fair leader who is so grateful to Ma for taking him in that he tries to keep the other cats in line when they misbehave. He tries to teach them valuable life lessons  to help them get along with each other.

Are you working on a new book?

I’m working on ideas and research for a New Adult coming of age novel.

What is the most difficult part of writing?

Writing about something you know nothing about. I want the story and characters to be authentic so research takes time.

Do you write full time or do you still have a day job?

I’m lucky enough to write full time now.

How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block?

Chocolate definitely helps with a bad review.

Yes, there are times when I hit a brick wall and the best thing for me is to step away from the laptop and take a break. I swim, walk, or meditate, and stop thinking about it. Then I usually through ideas around with my hubby and I’ll get back on track.

What do you hope that readers will take away from your book?

Unfortunately life isn’t always fair, but I hope that readers will recognize positive messages that deal with bullying, compassion for each other and treating each other with fairness, and how everything we do has a knock-on effect to others.

Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with?

Janet Evanovich

Sophie Kinsella

Ian Rankin

Lee Child

John Connolly

I could go on forever!

What author inspires you the most and why?

There are so many fellow authors that I’ve had the pleasure to get to know online over the last five years, and they are all hard-working and so helpful. I believe in paying it forward in life, so helping each other out whenever we can, giving advice or bouncing ideas around, is great because writing can be a lonely profession.

What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?

I’m very focused when I’m writing. Sometimes my hubby will ask me a question when I’ve got my head buried in the laptop and half an hour later, he’ll get a “Huh? Did you say something?” reply. I try and get the first draft done within a month, then editing and polishing will take a couple of months.

What advice you would give to new writers?

Read, read, read. Read to know what good writing is. Read everything you can, including different genres.

Write, write, write. Every word you write is a step to improving your craft.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Follow your dreams. Anything is possible if you just take a chance.

Thank you for this interview.

March 17, 2013 Posted by | Meet the Author | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mymcbooks Interview Author Shoba Sreenivasan


Shoba Sreenivasan

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shoba Sreenivasan is a forensic psychologist. She earned a doctorate in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and is a clinical professor at the University of Southern California. She has published several papers and co-authored a motivational book. This is her first work of fiction.

My American experience begins with my parents’ memories of Midwestern American decency and kindness towards two young people in the 1950s who were a world away from their home — Bombay, India.  I was born in Columbus, Ohio where my father was a scientist on a post-doctoral research fellowship at Ohio State.  We then moved to Peoria, Illinois and then back (for them) to India when I was three. http://www.mattiespyglass.com/index.php/about-the-author/

 

I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog.

 

What is the last book you read?
The Way We Live by Anthony Trollope

 
What was your favorite Teen book?
I don’t remember having a favorite Teen book- I read widely as a teenager- romances, historical novels, I remember loving The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and re-read them just to experience the journey again and again.

 
What were your earliest memories of writing?
Probably in the fifth grade when I had to write a short story, though I can’t remember what it was about!

 
Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?
It came from reading which inspired me to write. I also like escaping into fantasy, considering what if questions like if certain evil people could have been prevented from wreaking havoc on the world, what would have happened? Writing Mattie allowed me to do.

 
Do you generally get a story idea first or does the main character develop first?
As a psychologist people interest me, so I am generally driven first by a main character’s inner motivations and drives, and this leads to the story.

 
What inspired you to write Mattie Spyglass and the 8 Magic Stones? 
A sign on the 101 Freeway going North from L.A. to Atascadero. I had to drive that way quite a bit for work over several years. I kept seeing Mattie Road and Spyglass Road, and put that together and began thinking about Mattie Spyglass. Who was Mattie? What was the Spyglass? I’ve always had stories in my head and this just spun out.

 
Is there a connection between yourself and Geeta in the book?
Yes, I’m a bookworm like Geeta and of course also Indian. But Geeta is quieter than I am, more reflective and influenced by her grandfather (ThaTha) than I am.

 
Why did you pick Dan Ungureanu to illustrate your book?
Dan’s Romanian and immediately connected to the Old World feeling of the book. Mr. Herman Biddle a main character in the book is actually from Russia, and as the cover illustrations show, Dan captured his character well, down to the old fashioned whiskers and cape. Also, he had a good feeling of Siberian winter (a setting in the story), the gypsies, as well as the look and clothing of Mattie, Eddie and Geeta.

 
Do you believe in magic and why? 
Yes. But, maybe not in the way that one ordinarily thinks of magic. I believe in considering experiences beyond the ordinary. Jung, a psychoanalyst, called this memories from our collective unconscious, that is the ancient memories and fears that we carry from generation to generation, that make up the stuff of myths.  So, maybe the answer to the question is this: I believe in the force of myths.

 
Are you working on a new book?
Yes, a sequel to Mattie Spyglass.

 
What is the most difficult part of writing?
Getting beyond a roadblock, which invariably occurs and has to be overcome.

 
Do you write full time or do you still have a day job?
I have a day job as a psychologist.

 
How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
I’ve published a lot of academic articles in what is called a “peer-reviewed” process. You can’t engage in peer reviewed publications without developing a thick skin to bad reviews (actually, many are scathing). So, I just take the nuggets of good in the review and move on.
I have suffered from writer’s block, and deal with it by just stopping the writing for the day and moving onto something else. Writer’s block is temporary and I believe a way of your creative forces saying, “take a break.”

 
What do you hope that readers will take away from your book?
Many things: the mythical story of the time-travel journey, the battle between good and evil, the lessons from history that are in this book, an interest in learning about ancient Babylonia, and the moral lessons posed by the Path of the Virtuous, and how ordinary people (like Mattie, Geeta and Eddie) can be catapulted into extraordinary responsibilities.

 
Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with?
I think I would have loved to have met Steinbeck, he had such a keen understanding of many different people.  Also, I love Anthony Trollope and it would have been fun to discuss things with him such as the role of women and control of their destinies in Victorian England. Leo Tolstoy is a moral inspiration for me and I love the lyrical nature of his writing.  I would love to have met Margaret Mitchell as Gone with The Wind was an early favorite of mine.  I would have loved to have met Helen Hooven Santmeyer who published her first book “And Ladies of the Club” at age 89.

 
What author inspires you the most and why?
Leo Tolstoy- he was such a great thinker and moralist. His short stories in Walk in Light are moving pieces that can provide a moral framework for all.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
I am very disciplined by nature and set a time for writing and accomplishing my goals.

 
What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read?
I would suggest selecting books that have a good lessons in them: like the Tolstoy stories, also ones that have a great story (C.S. Lewis), but also read anything that helps get a child interested in reading. My niece became motivated to read because she loved cartoons and wanted to be able to read them herself in the newspapers.

 
What advice you would give to new writers? 
Write and don’t criticize yourself. Everyone has a story, tell yours (even if it is fiction).

 
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Mattie has been a great mythic journey for me traveling as she, Geeta, Eddie and Mr. Biddle do through the Space Between Two Seconds backwards into time, with the evil snake Uri Gneezy ever at their heels. I hope that your readers will be intrigued and pick up Mattie Spyglass!

 

 

Thank you for this interview.
Thank you for the opportunity to consider these questions, thought-provoking indeed!

 

 

March 14, 2013 Posted by | Meet the Author | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Mymcbooks Interview Author Eric Walls


Eric Walls

About the Author: Eric Walls’ work is well-known to animation audiences, having had a career in family feature film animation for over 20 years with extensive experience in both traditional hand-drawn and computer animation. He has contributed animation to to many classic films of Disney, DreamWorks, Paramount and Warner Brothers.

Before starting his animation career, Eric attended the world-renowned California Institute of the Arts, where he extensively studied animation, art, story, and film. In his second year of enrollment he received a partial scholarship from Disney.

After completing his studies, Eric began his career at Disney where he helped create memorable character performances in “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” “The Lion King,” “Pocahontas,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” and “Hercules.” During his time at DreamWorks, he collaborated on the character of Moses in “The Prince of Egypt.” Returning to Disney, Eric animated on “Meet the Robinsons,” “Bolt,” and “The Princess and the Frog.” Currently he is expanding his depth of knowledge and skills as a pre-visualization artist on numerous high-profile live action feature film productions including X-Men: First Class and the upcoming Oz: The Great and Powerful.  http://www.horizonlightmedia.com/author-biography.html

What is the last book you read? I enjoy reading a variety of subjects, fiction, biographies, and other works. I recently finished reading, “It’s Kind of a Cute Story” by Rolly Crump. Rolly is one of the original Disney “Imagineers” who helped create classic Disney theme park attractions like “It’s a Small World” and “The Enchanted Tiki Room.” It’s a great insight into the creativity that brought these immersive experiences to life.

What was your favorite children’s book? I don’t know how I remember this, but my favorite books as a child were a number of the “Arch Books” like “The Boy Who Saved His Family (The Story of Joseph)” and “Jon and the Little Lost Lamb: The Parable of the Good Shepherd.” They are great retellings of Bible stories with beautiful illustrations.  Another favorite book that was a tremendous influence on my artistic development was “How to Draw Cartoons” by Syd Hoff.

What were your earliest memories of writing? My first love is drawing, so my early memories are more vivid in that regard. But I do remember writing a play that my brother and my friends performed for the neighborhood.

By the way, when I was 7, my first “serious” drawing was of Mickey Mouse, and I decided right there that I wanted to be an animator.

Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural? I believe I have a natural interest in writing, but it wasn’t until a high school teacher, who required students to keep a daily journal, really sparked my interest and encouraged my exploration of storytelling.

Do you generally get a story idea first or does the main character develop first? When I develop a story, an idea of a message or moral I’d like to convey comes first. Then, I look for a metaphor that can most clearly illustrate that idea to a child.

In working toward illustrating the bible verse, “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only,” I discovered “Silent Sally,” a character who never talks about doing, but jumps at the chance to be a DOER.

What inspired you to write Silent Sally?  In telling the story, I wanted to demonstrate that having a quiet personality is not a hindrance in life, and has a worth of its own. I wanted to encourage kids to be themselves, and know they are important. It’s what we DO in life that is essential, not what we say.

How was it like creating character performances on Disney animation, and what is your best one yet?   Being a Disney animator was my dream since I was a child, and I was incredibly fortunate and blessed to have realized that dream. All though I don’t currently work directly for Disney, I have fond memories of my time there.

I’ve enjoyed working with many talented artists as a team to help create character performances. Some of the most notable were my first hand-drawn animation in “The Lion King,” as well as work in “Hercules,” and more recently, a career highlight for me, “The Princess and the Frog.” In the computer animation realm, I contributed to “Meet the Robinsons” and “Bolt.”

Are you working on a new book? I have several ideas for future books in various states of development. Several are children’s picture books, and one is a novel for older readers.

What is the most difficult part of writing? Waiting for that “Aha!” moment, the instant that everything you are trying to say “clicks” and becomes cohesive.

Do you write full time or do you still have a day job? I continue my career as a feature film animation artist. The most recent film, of which I’m proud to have been a part of as a “pre-visualization” animator, is “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” in theaters this month!

In my off hours, I enjoy pursuing my writing interests.

How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block? I take bad reviews in the context they are written. If the reviewer is obviously serious about their criticism, I try to evaluate their thoughts. Does the reviewer have a point, or do I disagree with their comments? What can I learn from the review?

As far as writer’s block, it happens from time to time, as in any of my creative endeavors. But I try to see it as an opportunity to step back, and evaluate the challenge at hand from a new perspective.

What do you hope that readers will take away from your book? When I develop a story, I have a main, obvious point I want to tell, but I also work hard to weave in other related ideas and observations that the reader can take away upon pondering the story further. Some of the supporting points I explored in “Silent Sally” are selflessness, attentiveness, respect, honor, and humbleness. It’s my hope that I’ve conveyed properly these points to the reader, while at the same time entertaining the child.

Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with? Ray Bradbury, Mark Twain, and a number of others.

What author inspires you the most and why? By far, Ray Bradbury, who passed away last year, is my favorite writer and biggest literary influence. Fortunately, I had several occasions in my life to hear him speak in person. He referred to himself as an “optimal behaviorist,” believing in a proactive, positive outlook in life, doing all we can, with enthusiasm. We can rise beyond our challenges, and make the world a better place for ourselves and those around us.

What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.? I don’t necessarily set a specific schedule or goal. Every story takes on a life of its own, and it’s hard to know how long the creative process will take on a particular aspect. I try to be flexible, but still, it’s important to me to feel like I’m progressing at a timely pace. The important thing is to keep at it.

What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read? There are many children’s books that are really about nothing. They can be a lot of fun and silly, but books that can teach a lesson while still being fun, and without being forced or condescending, those are rarer. I’ve strived to strike the right balance in my books.

What advice would you give to new writers? Learn, and DO.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? When I write, the first audience of my story is me. So not only am I trying to say something, I also need to learn something. With “Silent Sally,” I learned that I need to strive toward becoming the person that Sally is. I fail miserably at times, but the story reminds me that I need to proactively be on the lookout for ways to serve others.

Thank you for this interview.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak your readers!

March 3, 2013 Posted by | Meet the Author | , , , , , | 5 Comments

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