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Posts Tagged ‘Illustrators’

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).

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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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The  Missouri region Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators just announced that the winner of the Fall 2013 writing contest is……Jessica Wilson (me)!  The prompt given was “Follow Your Dreams” and the required word count was 500 words.  I entered my fictional work after editing and revising.  Later on I received a call from the regional advisor and she told me that I had won.  The prize is a free registration to the fall conference that SCBWI in Missouri holds every year.  My choice of break-out sessions.  Along with this I will be submitting work to be critiqued by Executive Editor Krista Marino from Delacorte Press.  Very exciting!

Last month I had the privilege to speak with Editor Emma Dryden by phone for a consultation.  She gave sound advice about sticking to one genre and writing about what matters to me.  Ms. Dryden told me that the important thing was too keep writing new material so that if an agent asks what else I have written that I could show my other works.  If not I would be stuck way down the road with old manuscripts and no prospects.  Emma Dryden is on the advising board of SCBWI and is a freelance editor at http://drydenbks.com .  She was at a conference at St. Charles last year and is where I first met her.

It was great to receive recognition for my writing.  Here is the winning piece:

 

THE CHOICE”
by

Jessica Wilson

Today is the day.  No more will I have another chance.  Spring has come at last and with it an open door and window.  The sky and trees looked so inviting through the glass.  As the air wafts through the house I smell the sweet scent of lilacs blossoming.  The trees have tender green shoots on their limbs adding more color to the pale blue sky.   Clouds drift by slowly on the sweetened air.  Mother Nature is putting on an inviting show just for me, tempting me with visions I only dream about, seducing me with smells I hardly ever detected before.  I watch with nervous tension as the people come in and out of the house.  They carry brown paper bags and other containers.  Cleaning and sweeping making their tiny nest ready for the new season.  One proceeds to the flower garden and selects a few tulips to place in a vase on a table.  I watch, breathing in the intoxicating smell of the newly cut flowers.  I take a drink to calm my nerves.  The cool water does nothing but sit at the bottom of my quivering stomach. 

The lady of the house pulls the rug out of the room and moves some of the furniture.  She does not even come near me.  They both know I am here.  They just choose to ignore me at times.  I do not mind and even welcome the solitude.  But I also grow lonely.  I need companionship.  I need someone to talk to.  The people do not allow me to sing when I feel a song bubbling up inside of me.  The song I sing is an old tune I heard over and over again when I first became aware of sounds.  The people like to hear the deadening silence in the middle of the day.  The silence feels as if I am wrapped tightly with thorns.   Days have gone by like this and I become tired of eating and drinking.  The food is just sustenance to keep my torture prolonged.   I have glimpsed the outside world before when I have had a bad day and they put me near the window to let the sunshine brighten me, like an awakening flower my head slowly rose from it’s resting place to peek out at the light.

As the people proceed with their cleaning I know my time will come when they will focus on me.  They will need to care for me and I must be brave.  She approaches me and gathers my dishes leaving the door open.  Here is my opportunity.  My shaking legs spasm as I hop down after she leaves.  They do not suspect what I am doing.  Before they know it I am flying above their heads and out the window.  I have escaped my prison and ventured out into the world.  I have followed the bright temptress and made my dreams a reality.  My wings expand as I soar into the boundless blue full of possibilities.

 

Garden flower

 

Thanks to Emma Dryden and Prof. Henderson in believing in me.

 

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