Thursday, December 12, 2019

Author Spotlight - Nelda LaTeef on her Award-Winning Book, Animal Village



HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
As an undergraduate at Harvard, concentrating in Anthropology, I was awarded a grant to do field research for my senior honors thesis in Senegal. After completing my research, I traveled to Niamey, Niger, to visit friends. We would often travel into the bush to enjoy the sight of giraffes roaming free in the savanna as they grazed on thorny acacia trees. On the return trip, we would often stop at a small Zarma village to visit an elderly woman who was the village griot. Soon, there would be dozens of children and a few adults gathered and she would tell stories in her native Zarma language. On the way back, my friend, who spoke Zarma, would give me a recap of the stories in French—a language we shared—and I would take notes in my little blue notebook. Years later, when I became an aunt, I always loved reading bedtime stories with my nephews and niece.

One day, cleaning out a closet, I came across my old blue notebook. This notebook has been the source and inspiration for two award-winning children’s books: Animal Village (Sub-Saharan Publishers, 2018) and The Hunter and The Ebony Tree (Moon Mountain Publishing, 2002). The idea of gathering threads from an old story from West African oral tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation and then weaving the threads into a new tapestry relatable to my audience is very exciting. Always take notes. You never know when they will come in handy!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY?
“The moon moves slowly, but it crosses the sky. Everything is possible, by and by.”

I find the visual aspects of this line inspirational. It is sung throughout the story by the main character and captures the essence of the book: how a tortoise, through sheer will and perseverance saves her village from the ravages of drought with wisdom passed down from an “old story.”

WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE IS MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?
I share with my main character, a tortoise named Timba: patience, stubborn perseverance and utter confidence in the merit of my story. Like Timba, who was certain water could be found by digging deep in the earth, I, too, was certain stars would align and a publisher for Animal Village would emerge.

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
The message I would most like readers to glean from Animal Village is that with determination and the power of perseverance you can accomplish anything.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?
The question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” inspired me to write my first book interviewing outstanding female achievers entitled, Working Women for the 21st Century: 50 Women Reveal their Pathways to Success. This was an exciting book to work on because I had the opportunity to meet and interview so many extraordinary women who forged careers in a wide range of professions such as Geraldine Ferraro (politician), Debbi Fields (entrepreneur), Wendy Wasserstein (playwright), Joan Goody (architect), Jeana Yeager (pilot), Jacqueline Barton (chemist), Cathy Guisewite (cartoonist), Judith Jamison (dancer/choreographer), Susan Seidelman (film director), Ellen Goodman (journalist), Alice Rivlin (economist), Kay Unger (fashion designer), Diana Walker (photojournalist), and Anita Flynn (scientist). I sought their advice on how best to pursue and to prepare for a career in their particular profession and they were generous in sharing their knowledge and wisdom. Researching and writing this book, I discovered my calling as a writer! The book, published in hardcover and paperback, was recommended by the New York Public Library as one of the best career books for teens and those interested in second careers.

WHO HAS HAD THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR WRITING STYLE?
Freshman year in college my expository writing teacher returned one of the first assignments I submitted with a sobering message scrawled on the top of the page in red ink: “Nelda, more women are ruined by Roget’s thesaurus than by drink.”

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:
Quotes taped to the wall next to my computer that I glance at for comfort as I am working include:
“Easy reading is damn hard writing.” –Nathaniel Hawthorne
“I spent all morning taking out a comma and all afternoon putting it back.” –Oscar Wilde

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR WRITING PROCESS:
Writing is easy; editing is the hard part! When I am done writing my children’s story, I read the story over and over again and always out loud to hear how it sounds. Each time I read the story it amazes me how much I delete. When I think there is nothing more I can add or delete I like to set the story aside. After a couple of weeks, I pick the story up again and read it anew with fresh eyes for yet another round of edits. With each new round of edits, the wonder is seeing the story evolve.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE AS A WRITER?
Being ruthless with a red pen and the delete key! Not so much for deleting words and sentences but for deleting whole paragraphs and entire pages that I have grown attached to having invested time and effort.

HOW DID YOU GET PUBLISHED?
The mantra “persistence pays off” and Winston Churchill’s exhortation: “Never, never, never give up!” both apply to my getting published. I was persistent. I believed in my work. And I was unwilling to give up.

CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
My advice to writers is the same exhortation directed my way by my wonderful editor Bob Holzman (and yes, this is taped on my hallowed wall): “Book sales will depend on your efforts. Ask friends for reviews. Get on social media and talk it up. Send copies to friends in the media. Solicit signing and reading opportunities, etc.”

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
After receiving a starred review by Kirkus Reviews, Animal Village was selected by the editors of Kirkus Reviews as one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Indie Books of 2018. Also, a Spanish edition has just been printed by a Chilean publisher who will be distributing the book not only in Chile but in Mexico where the government will be purchasing Animal Village for inclusion in their public school curriculum and for their public libraries.

WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ASPIRATIONS?
To keep writing and continue to get my works published and recognized!

TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT THEY MIGHT FIND INTERESTING:
When I write children’s picture books I am both the author and the illustrator.

WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?

The Hunter and the Ebony Tree (Moon Mountain Publishing, 2002)

Working Women for the 21st Century: Fifty Women Reveal their Pathways to Success (Williamson Publishers, 1992)

Women of Lebanon: Interviews with Champions for Peace (McFarland & Company, 2012)

DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?
Yes! Always!





LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Author Spotlight - Lisa Anne Novelline on her Award-Winning Books





HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK? Each of the books in this book series takes place during one of the seasons. Even though it may be read in any season, each book usually integrates the environment into the story to encourage young readers in this technological society to stay connected with the outdoors. For Piccadilly and the Jolly Raindrops, the target season was spring. Developing the story around the rain followed very naturally. Integrating the deeper metaphor of rain as representing adversity and offering reframing suggestions to strengthen resiliency again followed naturally. Situating these themes into Piccadilly’s magical world to empower the young readers while also helping them play with possibility and continue to strengthen their fantastic imaginations was truly the final impetus that led to this story.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY?
            “Nobody will believe us,” said Otis.
            “They don’t have to.” Piccadilly smiled.
I love this line because it supports the aura of safety so necessary to encourage young children to explore and create, the idea that caregivers love and support them even when they don’t necessarily understand them. This deceptively simple but powerful concept helps to encourage emerging young problem solvers to take intellectual risks without fear of judgment.

WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE IS MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY? I think there is a bit of me in all of my characters. 

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK? I want them to feel safe and supported and then to let their super, duper imaginations soar! If they also gain insight into strategies to increase resiliency that would be marvelous.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER? I loved to write as a very small child. I began writing poetry and keeping a journal at the age of six. I never lost my love of writing even throughout other pursuits. Returning to this passion full-time was a very natural circling back for me.

WHO HAS HAD THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR WRITING STYLE?  As a children’s book author, I have been most influenced by Beatrix Potter, Margaret Wise Brown, Maurice Sendak, Madeleine L’Engle, and Shel Silverstein. I think Potter helped me to feel comfortable with trusting young readers with sophisticated and often witty language. Wise Brown helped me focus on the importance of the small special moment. Sendak helped me to giggle and keep it imaginative and fun! L’Engle helped me to stretch my mind and integrate the power of possibility. And Silverstein helped to strengthen my resolve to cherish the beauty, elegance, and poetry of the actual words. Beyond children’s books, my writing is probably most heavily influenced by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Frost, and Shirley Jackson.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER: Besides actually creating new stories, the most fun I have as a writer often comes from meeting my readers and their families. For example, last year a family told me that her daughter recreated Piccadilly’s outfit from Piccadilly and the Waltzing Wind and wore it so she could “play Piccadilly.” Another young reader asked me at the end of a school visit what I was doing for the rest of the day, and if maybe I could stay at the school with his class instead. These are the moments that mean everything. These are the types of joys that keep me going, not necessarily “haha” funny, but as Piccadilly and her brother Sam would say, “funny as in unexpected!” (Piccadilly and the Fairy Polka)

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR WRITING PROCESS: I generally write my first drafts very quickly, within one week. Then I rewrite and edit and rewrite and edit and rewrite and edit… you get the idea! With both of the last two of my books, I threw the working drafts away after months of work and rewrote the entire stories, reusing some key elements but discarding the rest. I did this because of the tendency to defend and hold onto phrases. I wanted sweeping tonal changes, so I challenged myself to relook from the beginning, having already immersed myself in the stories. After that, rewriting and editing began again. Finally, when I thought I had taken it as far as I could, I hired a very seasoned professional children’s book editor and started the process again, incorporating her experience and helpful suggestions. Each of my books took about a year to get to the stage where I felt ready to publish, and then I moved to the next steps: working with the illustrators, editing the images, formatting the pages, working with the printers, etc. Two years of diligent work preceded the publishing of each of my first three books.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE AS A WRITER? I think being a self-published author is so filled with challenges that they are almost impossible to list. Tenacity is the key.

IF YOU COULD BE COMPARED TO A WELL-KNOWN AUTHOR, WHO WOULD YOU MOST WANT THIS TO BE AND WHY? I appreciate kind comparisons to any admired author. But I also know only too well that I can never outshine someone within their distinct arena and using their parameters, so I cherish the notion that I have created my unique style as well, and perhaps in this small way, I, too, cannot be surpassed.

HOW DID YOU GET PUBLISHED? I only sought an agent/publisher for my first manuscript and even then only queried a few. I became enamored with the degree of control I could have over my finished product, and once used to it, was tremendously reluctant to relinquish it. I have been approached since then by several publishers. Perhaps one of these days I will agree, but it is probably more likely I will enter into a distribution arrangement and maintain control over my words, illustrations, print quality, intellectual property, length of time in-print, etc.

CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK? I believe in social media, not as a panacea or a guaranteed way to make sales, but as a means of developing relationships with readers who understand and appreciate one’s work. Additionally, I think mailing lists are very important. They correlate more directly to sales.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT? I am not sure how to qualitatively compare those accomplishments of which I am most proud. I think the completion of each of the three books, after two years of diligent effort per title, being able to see and hold each of the finished products topped most anything else.

WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ASPIRATIONS? I will finish the “Piccadilly and Her Magical World” Book Series with at least one more book. I am also writing a young adult novel, but beyond that, I plan to keep writing. I do suspect a spooky tale or two to be in my future!

TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT THEY MIGHT FIND INTERESTING: If you look around my writing room you will see I surround myself with books, small felted animals, puzzles, statues, etc., things that inspire me, but what you might not expect to find is Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z! I love his character design. I keep him right in front of me on my desk. The determination on his face inspires me to press on through adversity.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS? I want to thank anyone who invested the time and energy into reading this and other author interviews. There is so much wonderful literature being self-published these days, and yet there remains an unfair stigma that being self-published is second-rate. I think the mainstream industry is less willing to take risks on unknown, innovative artists, in favor of playing it safe with what they know will sell. The self-publishing book scene seems somewhat comparable to indie music and indie movies, offering fresh voices and points of view to those willing to look a little deeper.

WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED? 


     

DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS? At the moment I am focusing on promoting Piccadilly and the Jolly Raindrops, as it just came out. I am also brainstorming Piccadilly’s next adventure, and continuing work on my novel.



LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Author Spotlight - Cynthia T. Toney on her Award-Winning Book, The Other Side of Freedom





HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
I was inspired by the Italian-immigrant farming communities in the southern U.S. and the lesser-known criminal activity of mafia-like criminals that plagued those areas.


WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY?
"Her expression scared him. It was defiant. Same as when she took a whack from Sister Mary Theresa’s ruler rather than snitch on Sal for throwing a pecan at her."
I like that description because it epitomizes the character Antonina’s personality and her loyalty toward her best friend, Sal.


WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE IS MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?
No one particular character in The Other Side of Freedom is very much like me. However, I share characteristics with a number of them: Antonina’s stubbornness and persistence, Sal’s tendency to weigh both sides of an issue (but still worry), Uncle Enzo’s temper when witnessing injustice toward loved ones, and Mama’s faith.


WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
That freedom often requires sacrifice, and doing the right thing does not always bring personal reward.


WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?
Every person who implied—or said outright—that I couldn’t write. Any time someone says I shouldn’t or can’t do something, that makes me try even harder to prove them wrong.


WHO HAS HAD THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR WRITING STYLE?

Betsy Byars and her Bingo Brown series for humor. Judy Blume for dealing with controversial topics. Wendelyn van Draanen for her handling of mystery, young romance, and struggles for acceptance. All three authors create relatable, memorable characters and write to evoke the emotions.


TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:
To gain experience writing, I wrote non-fiction for free. Articles for newsletters, for example.


TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR WRITING PROCESS:
It starts with a spark from a small thing. Then I think about how I’d use that for the opening scene of a story. From there I progress to how I’d want a story based on that incident to end. Then I try to figure out what would make an exciting middle.


WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE AS A WRITER?
My writing starts out succinct but too brief. I have to work hard to fill it out.


IF YOU COULD BE COMPARED TO A WELL-KNOWN AUTHOR WHO WOULD YOU MOST WANT THIS TO BE?
I’d want to be compared to Wendelyn van Draanen.


HOW DID YOU GET PUBLISHED?
I never could find an agent who was very interested! I received recommendations from other authors for my first publisher and my current one.


CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
If you have a small publisher, the marketing will be like a full-time job.


WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
The Other Side of Freedom has been honored with numerous awards, but I am even more pleased when I learn that the book has been selected for use in a classroom.


WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ASPIRATIONS?
I’d like for any child or parent to be able to walk into a library and find at least one of my books.


TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT THEY MIGHT FIND INTERESTING:
I salvaged building materials to help my husband construct a man-cave building on the cheap!


IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
Teach your children kindness to animals and how to care for them. If they learn, they will treat their fellow human beings better.


WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?

8 Notes to a Nobody

10 Steps to Girlfriend Status 

6 Dates to Disaster

3 Things to Forget



DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?
I have been working on an idea for a combination prequel/sequel to The Other Side of Freedom.



LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Author Spotlight - D.E. Partridge on her Award-Winning Book



The CLAIMED (The Dimension Chronicles – Book One)


HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK? Years ago, I began writing a story about a girl in an orphanage in New York who was taken away by a mysterious woman named Jerra. Like most stories that I have not planned out, this story snippet went on my shelf and was forgotten – until one day, when I was cleaning off my shelf, just before I turned thirteen. I found the little notebook, and, intrigued by the beginning of the story, brainstormed for ideas as to where I could take it. The CLAIMED, as well as the books that follow in my series, are a result of my brainstorming.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY? “‘Magic…’ Hazel’s voice sounded dazed. ‘I would say you’re crazy—that’s an absolutely ridiculous answer.’” (From “Chapter 21: The Last CLAIMED”.) Hazel’s bewildered statement encompasses much of the emotion felt by the characters throughout book one. In this book, many of the CLAIMED are yanked away from everything they’ve ever known into another Dimension, where they become part of things they could never have imagined. This often makes them confused and/or doubtful.

WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE IS MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY? All of the characters, to some degree, are based on me (otherwise it would have been impossible for me to write them). This said, the character most like me is probably Grace.

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK? Throughout the book (and the series), Grace is often plagued with things she does not understand. In spite of her intense desire to know what is going on, she rarely discovers the answers immediately – and some answers are never given to her. Even though the book is centered around Grace, she doesn’t know what everything is pointing to until quite a ways into the story. This is the way it is with us, too. The Lord has a plan for our lives. We may not know where He is taking us all of the time, but everything in His plan is working together for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER? I have always loved to read, so writing came naturally to me. I attempted to write my first “book” when I was six, waiting for our vehicle to be fixed at a car repair shop. Ever since, I have been writing, but The CLAIMED was my first published title.

WHO HAS HAD THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR WRITING STYLE?  Probably K.B. Hoyle. She is an author that not everyone knows about, but ever since I first read her series, The Gateway Chronicles, she has been my favorite author. I have read all of her books multiple times, often in a row, so my style has gained some similarities to hers.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER: All of the pictures on the covers of my books were taken at my house by my father. We then uploaded them to the computer, where we used Photoshop to turn them into book covers.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR WRITING PROCESS: I begin every story with a three-part outline. The first part contains the setting and characters, the second part contains the main problem of the story, and the third part contains the resolution. Only after I have figured out these three main points do I fill in the details and then write my story.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE AS A WRITER? I have found that it is much easier to begin a story than to wrap one up – especially a series. However, I do use an outline, something I was very thankful for when finishing The Dimension Chronicles.

IF YOU COULD BE COMPARED TO A WELL-KNOWN AUTHOR WHO WOULD YOU MOST WANT THIS TO BE AND WHY? C.S. Lewis. I love his work (especially The Chronicles of Narnia, which I have read countless times), and his writing style has heavily influenced mine.

HOW DID YOU GET PUBLISHED? I am self-published through Kindle Direct Publishing. When I was looking into ways to get published, KDP was what I needed at the time.

CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK? Promotion is one of the hardest parts of being an author (especially a young author, like me), but I have found that talking to people face to face can be a lot more powerful than connecting on social media. Talk to people about your books!

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT? Publishing my entire trilogy in one year was definitely a big accomplishment. Each of the books took at least one year from the time I first put pen to paper until the publication date, but I was able to overlap the process of writing each book, so that while book one was being edited, I was writing book two. In this way, I was able to publish them all in the same year.

WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ASPIRATIONS? I want my books to do well (as every author does), but I would rather have the few who read my books enjoy them than have innumerable people read them and think them dull. Because of this, I put a great deal of energy into my writing and editing, trying to make my stories as captivating as I possibly can.

TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT THEY MIGHT FIND INTERESTING: In addition to writing, I love ballet and crocheting. I may spend up to twenty-two hours in the ballet studio a week working on my technique and artistry.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS? My books are written for a middle school/early high school audience, but if you have an advanced younger reader, there is nothing in my series that is inappropriate for a younger audience.

WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED? The CLAIMED is book one in my trilogy, The Dimension Chronicles. Books two and three (The Lost Script and The Destiny) are now also available on Amazon.

DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS? I am currently working on a historical fiction novella set before and during World War One. The book is written as a series of letters between several girls over the course of eight years (1910-1918).



LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Author Spotlight - Marc Remus on his Award-Winning Books



HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOKS?

“The Language Thieves”: I have studied many languages in my life, and I often wondered what happens when languages die out. So I came up with an alternative explanation in my book “The Language Thieves.” Having travelled to Ireland and Scotland a few times, I combined my love for these places with my passion for languages. All this mixed together with some science-fiction and fantasy allowed me to create the world of the Cerebrals, a tribe that steals languages out of people’s minds on a remote island in Scotland.
“The Golden Maple Tree” is the second book in the Magora series. The entire series was inspired by my job as a painter. I often wondered what would happen if you could jump inside a painting. This became the premise for this series that has won over 15 awards already.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY?

“Painting and writing are both products of creativity. Even though the two seem different, they are more similar than we think.” The Gallery of Wonders (Book 2, Magora series)
I enjoy both, painting and writing. Over the years I have discovered that there are more similarities between the two than expected. This quote sums up nicely the underlying theme of the series.
WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE IS MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?

There is no particular character that is exactly like me, but each character contains features similar to mine, just like each character has traits of some of my friends and family.
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?

I think anybody who loves languages or has grown up bilingually will find “The Language Thieves” interesting. It tells the reader that you can equally enjoy two languages without having to give up one for the other.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?

I started as a painter and illustrator. It was only through picture books that I realized I was also gifted enough to tell stories with words and not just through pictures. One of my art college instructors was the first to inspire me to go into writing.
WHO HAS HAD THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR WRITING STYLE?

Most of my teachers and editors have influenced me. I had my first children’s literature classes at the Institute of Children’s Literature. Starting over 15 years ago, I was influenced by their edits.
TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:

I am working on translations of the Magora series. I just finished the German version and worked with a Mexican translator on the Spanish version. The Mandarin version is almost completed as well. This made me realize how difficult translations can be. A good example is the name of one of the magic stores in Magora: “The Wrinkle Dimple Skincare Shop.”
Keeping both, the rhyme and the funny meaning is really difficult and can’t be literally translated. In German it turned out to be “The Wrinkle Smiling Beauty Salon,” in Spanish the “Beauty Salon for the Pretty Woman with Grandness,” and in Mandarin it became, “I-want-to-be-so-beautiful makeup shop.”
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR WRITING PROCESS:

I am a big planner. I usually don’t start writing until I have a detailed outline. This can turn out to be longer than some chapters. Once the outline is completed most creative work is done. After that, I feel that it is more about execution and craftsmanship than about creativity.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE AS A WRITER?

Marketing and business! As a painter and writer I have never studied marketing or business. However, this is a very important part in an independent writer’s life. Since I don’t really understand well how things in this field operate, it is one of my biggest challenges in this industry.
IF YOU COULD BE COMPARED TO A WELL-KNOWN AUTHOR WHO WOULD YOU MOST WANT THIS TO BE?

Doctor Seuss has always been a big inspiration to me. I think his creativity is unrivaled in children’s literature. It would be an honor to be compared to him. However, my middle grade series “Magora” is mostly compared to Harry Potter.
HOW DID YOU GET PUBLISHED?

I didn’t find an agent because I never invested much time finding an agent or publisher. With Amazon having taken 50% of the American book market, there is no need for agents or publishers anymore. I self-published my books under “Misty Moon Books” and have been selling through Amazon. However, I am always open to agents and publishers. But so far I have not been approached by any.
CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?

Promotion is a real challenge. As I have mentioned above, I am not an expert in marketing and business. Most of my promotions go through Amazon and Social Media. So I don’t really know more than anybody else does.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?

Having finished the middle grade fiction series “Magora” has been my greatest literary accomplishment. The six volumes of the series build upon each other. It required 20 years of planning and writing to complete it. The fact that the series has won so many awards added to the accomplishment of this series.
WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ASPIRATIONS?

Being a full-time painter, it is a challenge for me to find time to write as all. So my literary aspirations are mainly about finishing up the six children’s books that I still have in my mind.
TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT THEY MIGHT FIND INTERESTING:

I lived in the US, Germany, Japan and Honduras. I spent a long time with the Native Indians in the Mosquito Coast, studied Cultural Anthropology and have traveled to over 60 countries. I love parrots, have no children and love eating chocolate.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?

If you like to stay updated on my latest project or get free promotions of the latest books before publication, please sign up to my newsletter.
WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?
German edition of “The Gallery of Wonders” translated by myself into German
DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?

I am currently working on a young middle grade book with the working title “The Giant Chocolate Clouds.”
“The Giant Chocolate Clouds” is about Henry, a boy living in a town called Chocolocoville, where his family owns clouds made out of chocolate. One day these clouds have disappeared, and Henry goes on a journey through a world of candy to find them.
You can always check on my website to find updates or sign up to my newsletter.



LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org