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Mikey+Pic+1.jpgChildren book authors are some of the most fun people on the planet. They know how to connect with young readers with words and illustrations.  But very few authors can illustrate and write their books too. Mikey Brooks is right near the top of the list of talented authors. Here are some fun facts about him. Mikey Brooks has a degree in English from Utah State University. His love of art is his passion. He works full-time as a freelance illustrator and cover designer.  He has had several awards for his work. In 2014 he won the Huge Howey Award for Best Children’s Book Author and recently won the Best of State 2016 for his artwork in Ice Cream U.S.A. One other fun fact about Mikey is that he was an indie author for a few years before he landed an agent at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC. He is also a member of The Emblazoners – http://embazoner.com/. A website devoted to writing on the hearts of children.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

“Definitely energizes! If writing ever exhausts you then you might be doing something wrong (maybe working on the wrong project? wrong genre?). I feel empowered when I write. I do it first thing in the morning (I wake up at 4:30am well before the kiddos get up) and it really starts my day off on a high note.”

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

“The biggest one is comparing yourself to other writers. We’re all on different levels. Some writers can crank out book after book, month after month, and some seem to trudge along at a snail’s pace maybe finishing one manuscript in a year or two. Both are great! Both are writing. Never compare yourself to others. Write at your own pace. Write the way God intended you to write. He meant you to be YOU, not someone else.”

If you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be?

“Just write, Mikey. And write what you love!’ I could’ve saved myself years (and thousands in tuition) if I’d just headed these words back then instead of writing to please my professors. It doesn’t take a degree in creative writing to write creatively. I’m not saying school is bad, but universities have a tendency to try and make you the type of writer they think you ‘should be’, instead of allowing you to be the writer you are meant to be.”

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

“It didn’t change it much. I mean I had deadlines, which I never had before, but I pretty much wrote the same way. I’ve tried different approaches to try and speed up my writing process but I always go back to what’s familiar.”

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

“I’d have to say, The Stone of Valhalla. It’s a standalone so it doesn’t get the hype that some of my other books get because of their sequels. It’s my favorite because it was actually the first story I ever wrote. I started it when I was 17 and it was written as a YA fantasy. After finishing it, I sent it out to several publishers but never got any offers (except some interest from Harlequin Romances who was disappointed in the lack of adult themes—yikes!). I put it in a file and forgot about it for ten years or so before I pulled it out, rewrote it, and published it as an MG book.”

What’s the best way to market your books?

“The best way to go directly to my readers, which are kids, so I do a lot of school visits. My favorites are to do classroom sizes because it’s a little easier to keep them involved, but I also enjoy doing large assemblies. Visiting schools is the best part of my job as an author. I love kids. I love working with them and seeing how reading can bring magic into their lives.”

How many hours a day do you write?

“I’m a stay at home daddy and work part-time as an illustrator and cover designer so I have to really make time to write. I get up super early and get about 2 hours a day, Mon-Sat. I take Sundays off to sleep in (if you call sleeping in until 6:30-7am sleeping in). Sometimes my wife will take the kiddos to their grandma’s and I can get more writing time in then.”

What is your favorite childhood book?

“I’m super jealous of the kiddos nowadays—they have so many awesome children’s books to choose from. When I was a kid there wasn’t a middle-grade genre (oh, how I wish there would’ve been). The first book I ever read cover to cover was Stephen King’s Eyes of the Dragon, which is a YA fantasy and probably as “children’s book” King ever got. It was illustrated and I was drawn to the pictures in the book. It was that book that gave me my love of fantasy books.”

Could you give us a list of your books?

                    The Dream Keeper         The Dreamstone        The DreamMakers

 

 

 

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The Stone of Valhalla

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The Gates of Atlantis: Battle for Acropolis (book 6 in the Atlantis series written by 6 other authors).

download (4)

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Museum Adventures: The Maya Mystery    Museum Adventures: A Night in Nottingham

 

 

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The W.H.O. Files: Potions in the Pizza

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“I also have picture books. 3 which I author/illustrated and 9 more I illustrated for other authors. Ice Cream USA won 2016 Best of State as well as a finalist in the 5th Annual Beverly Hills Book Awards. Princess Pricilla Enough is Enough took finalist in the 6th Annual Beverly Hills Book Awards.”

What can your fans look forward to next?

“I have several projects in the works and one book with my agent right now. As of now, I don’t have anything scheduled to release this year but I hope that changes soon. I am transitioning from an indie author to a traditional author and I have come to find the traditional route a lot slower than I’m used to. Don’t worry, everyone, I have books coming—I promise!!”

For more information on Mikey Brooks and to see his complete portfolio please visit his website at http://www.insidemikeysworld.com/

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6 Reasons To Fall In Love With Maggie Stiefvater’s “Raven Cycle”.

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YAFEST 2012 table signing

There are not a lot of authors who can write a horror story with poetic prose and still kick butt.  So who is Jonathan Maberry?  Here are a few fun facts about him:  He first started writing while working as a professor at Temple University.   “Jonathan is an 8th degree black belt in jujutsu and a 5th degree in kenjutsu. In 2004 he was inducted into the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame.  Jonathan was scouted to write for Marvel Comics after Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso read his novel “Patient Zero'”. (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3044026/bio) His first novel, Ghost Road Blues, won the 2007 Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel.   He is a speaker for the National Writers Union, a writing mentor for the Horror Writers Association and the Mystery Writers of America, a member of the International Thriller Writers and president of the NJ-PA Chapter of the Horror Writers Association.[10]  Maberry is also a contributing editor for The Big Thrill,[11] the monthly newsletter of the International Thriller Writers, and a founding partner of The Liars Club, a networking group of professionals in publishing and other aspects of entertainment.

QUESTION: Could you give us a list of your books?

JONATHAN MABERRY: I’ve been cranking out a lot of books in a bunch of different genres and categories. Some of the older nonfiction books are long out of print, notably the textbooks I wrote while teaching at Temple University and some training manuals I created for martial arts schools.  That said, here’s the more recent list:

  • NOVELS:
    • THE PINE DEEP TRILOGY (Pinnacle Books)
      • Ghost Road Blues
      • Dead Man’s Song
      • Bad Moon Rising
  • The Wolfman (Tor)
  • THE JOE LEDGER THRILLERS (St. Martin’s Griffin) n287418
    • Patient Zero
    • The Dragon Factory
    • The King of Plagues
    • Assassin’s Code
    • Extinction Machine
    • Code Zero (2014)
    • Predator One (2015)
  • THE ROT & RUIN (Simon & Schuster)
    Rot & Ruin Cover

    • Rot & Ruin
    • Dust & Decay
    • Flesh & Bone
    • Fire & Ash (August 2013)
  • WATCH OVER ME (Simon & Schuster)
    • Watch Over Me (2014)
    • Cold Cold Heart (2015)
  • THE ZOMBIE OUTBREAK (St. Martin’s Griffin)
    • Dead of Night
    • Fall of Night (2014)
    • ANTHOLOGIES EDITED
      • V-Wars  (IDW)
      • Redneck Zombies from Outer Space (fall 2013)
      • Out of Tune (JournalStone 2014)
      • Unnamed YA Horror anthology (date TBD)
      • NONFICTION
        • The Vampire Slayer’s Field Guide to the Undead (written as ‘Shane MacDougall)
        • The Martial Arts Student Logbook
        • Ultimate Jujutsu
        • Ultimate Sparring
        • Judo and You
        • Vampire Universe
        • The Cryptopedia (with David F. Kramer)
        • Zombie CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead
        • They Bite (with David F. Kramer)
        • Wanted Undead or Alive (with Janice Gable Bashman)Occult and Paranormal Books

QUESTION: What inspired you to create a book series about zombies?

JONATHAN MABERRY: I’ve written a couple of different zombie series, notably the DEAD OF NIGHT series for St. Martin’s Griffin and the ROT & RUIN series for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. I’ve had a lifelong interest in zombies since sneaking into the Midway Movie Theater in Philadelphia on October 2, 1968 to see the world premier of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. I was ten at the time, and ever since then I’ve imagined how I would deal with a zombie outbreak. I wrote the Rot & Ruin series to explore life after a zombie apocalypse, and that series is written for teens. My Dead of Night books are for adults, and they explore how an outbreak happens, literally from the first bite.

QUESTION: How long from inspiration to publication, and any interesting points along the way?

JONATHAN MABERRY: Currently my books are on shelves about a year after I turn them in. Give or take. The novel I just finished, CODE ZERO, will be released in March 2014.

I was trained as a journalist, so I have pretty solid work habits when it comes to developing an idea, finding a narrative hook, doing my research, outlining the project and then digging in. Structure gives me solid footing, and that allows the craftsman side of me –the artistic side—to give the work as much meaning, and depth, and artistry as I can.

QUESTION: What challenges do you face when you write?

JONATHAN MABERRY: I have a very full schedule, so for me the biggest challenge is getting everything done on time but in its best possible form. This year I have three complete novels to write –a 140 thousand word thriller, a 90 thousand word horror novel, and a 90 thousand word teen mystery-thriller. I also have five issues of a new horror comic to write, along with six novellas of at least 20 thousand words, and a half dozen or so short stories. And I need to tour –I’m on the road nearly all the time—as well as manage my social media profiles. It’s a lot of work, so I look for ways to get it done well while still having a life and having fun.

QUESTION: What do you hope readers take away from your novels?

JONATHAN MABERRY: Even at my darkest –which can get pretty damn dark—I never go for the ugly cheap shot. I use the themes in my fiction, light and dark, to explore the human experience. People get that. Even Rot & Ruin, which on the surface looks like a “zombie novel”, but which is really about the value of human life. There’s always a deeper meaning to my writing. I wouldn’t write it if there wasn’t.

QUESTION: What are your favorite YA books of 2012 (or 2013)?

JONATHAN MABERRY: Probably my current favorite is The Archived by Victoria Schwab and Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. Stunning novels. And The Diviners by Libba Bray.

QUESTION: When you are not writing what is your time occupied with?

JONATHAN MABERRY: When not writing, my wife and I travel. We’re into music, theater and dance and are always on the prowl for interesting new performers. And, we’re stand-up comedy addicts. Usually when we visit a new town we look for the local comedy club.

QUESTION: What can your fans look forward to next?

JONATHAN MABERRY: For my adult fans, the fifth Joe Ledger novel just debuted, EXTINCTION MACHINE, and there are several Ledger short stories due out this year, including BORROWED POWER (an eBook exclusive) and CHANGELING (published in Australia’s Midnight Echo Magazine). And there are a bunch of Pine Deep short stories coming out, including one written for the souvenir program of the Bram Stoker Awards.  Then, for my teen readers, I have FIRE & ASH due out in August, which is the fourth and final book of the Rot & Ruin series. That will be preceded by TOOTH & NAIL, an eBook novella.  In October, Simon & Schuster will release a box set of all four Rot & Ruin books. And JournalStone just released LIMBUS, INC, which has a novella featuring my werewolf private investigator, Sam Hunter.  For updates and more info, they can find me on Twitter (www.twitter.com/jonathanmaberry) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/jonathanmaberry).

Extinction Machine    Borrowed Power    Fire&Ash_cvr     Rot&Ruin_BOXSET3

Works Cited

IMDb. n.d. 29 April 2013. <http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3044026/bio&gt;.

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