Posted in Author Meet Up, Meet the authors

Meet the author: Kelsey Fox

Author website/social media: www.booksbykelseyfox.com , https://www.facebook.com/WyattTheFox

•  Kelsey Fox lives in Royal Oak, MI with her husband Steve, her son Cody, five chickens and “Little Cat”!

• Kelsey graduated from Oakland University with an Elementary Education degree. After teaching many years, she fell in love with children’s books. Her experience in the classroom inspired her to start writing her own children’s stories.

All of Kelsey’s characters are based on students she has known through her teaching career, children of friends, and of course family. She loves to incorporate what she knows into her work because it make stories that the reader can relate to and teaches life lessons.

Kelsey’s active imagination and love of writing keep her busy. More stories from the “Wyatt” collection, as well as the introduction of new characters are on their way!

When you were my age, did you like to read? I LOVED to read! So much so, that as our reward for good grades or behavior we got to go to Borders and pick out what ever books we wanted to. We were not a big TV family and would stay up late reading all the time.

What was your favorite story? As far as younger books go, I really enjoy “Pete the Cat” and the “Pigeon” books by Mo Williams. Now, I like to read historical fiction and memoirs.

How do you get your ideas? I get my ideas from my everyday life. As a teacher, I encounter funny situations or little life lessons with my students and think ” Hey, that would be a great book!” and so my stories begin.

Is it hard to write/illustrate a book? Even though it’s a children’s book, and not very long or complex, it was still challenging to write. You have to know what a child is going to like, as well as make the story interesting enough for a parent to want to read it. I make sure to include “sight words” in my stories and market them as easy readers so they can be used in schools as teaching tools. I also take a lot of time creating the activity page that is at the end of my books. Checking that the child comprehends the message I am conveying was very important to me.

Do you have a favorite among the books you have written/illustrated? “Just try it Wyatt” my first book will always be my favorite no matter now many books I write. It took the most work and research to make, so will always be one I am most proud of. I currently have 4 books in the works so keep a look out!

What author do you really like right now? I think Diana Gabaldon is beyond imaginative. She writes the Outlander series. She takes history and makes it come alive!  I recently went to Scotland mainly because her books painted the country so beautifully. She did not disappoint!

What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author? I would tell them to just write anywhere and anytime. Don’t worry about the grammar or spelling until the end. As a writer, sometimes I just have to get all my ideas down so quickly that the work looks like a sloppy mess but it doesn’t matter! I am the only one who sees the crazy that is a rough draft. You have to enjoy what you do, and anyone can be a writer if they just try!

I do visit schools and all the information for booking an author visit can be found on my website or emailing me directly at booksbykelseyfox@gmail.com . I am already almost booked for “March is Reading Month” but have other dates in the school year still open!

Posted in Author Meet Up, Meet the authors

Meet the author: S. Ciara Mitaro

Author website/social media:  www.thegoodeggs.orgwww.facebook.com/readthegoodeggs, twitter: @thegoodeggsbook

Author bio:

I hold a Master of Arts degree from the University of Detroit Mercy and I currently teach morality, ethics and social justice courses at a private high school in Michigan. In addition to my teaching career, I have taught, developed, and implemented programs and curricula that focused on teaching children the importance of value-driven lives centered on love and the importance of living an altruistic life. The Good Eggs book series is a wonderful “trilogy” that underscores the important concepts of Virtues, Diversity, and Service – essential models for young people to integrate into their lives as they grow into Good Eggs!  I am very excited to promote this social enterprise, along with my husband, as we are passionate about helping children learn to be goodness in the world.  Each time we sell a book, we give one away to an underprivileged child/school.  This way, all children can enjoy the adventures of the Good Eggs!

1.  Yes! I have always loved to read – even before I could read, I would take a book and pretend I was reading it, making up a story to go along with the pictures.

2.  My favorite story was A Fish Out of Water, by Helen Palmer.

3.  I get my ideas from my imagination.  I was inspired at a young age; in 3rd and 4th grade, each week my teacher had us write a story using our spelling words.  That was my favorite assignment.  I came up with all kinds of adventures for inanimate objects.  It was so fun – I knew I wanted to write children’s stories when I grew up.

4.  It is not hard to write if you love it.  I would say the hardest thing to do is to get started.  Make sure to keep a notebook handy because ideas come to you when you least expect it, and you want to be sure to write them down to use later on.

5.  I love the entire Good Egg trilogy, but I would have to say my favorite one is the last one, The Good Eggs in The Community.  I say this because this last book ties all of the books together.  You see the Eggs grow over the course of three years, and they learn so much; it’s fun to see how everything fits together.  I actually shed a tear when I typed the last word.

6.  I haven’t had much time to read fiction (I am a teacher, so I read a lot of “teachy” books), but the last fiction story I read was The Fault in Our Stars, by John Greene.  I know that has been out for awhile, but I never read it (my students loved it, so I thought I would check it out).  It was very well done.  He has a new book coming out and I think I am going to check it out.  I read it on the beach this past summer.

7.  If you want to be an author, don’t give up on it.  Like I said before, keep that notebook handy so you can record your ideas.  Writing is a long process, so you need some patience.  And – don’t be afraid to change a story line and start over.  You will get there eventually; you’ll know when it’s just right.  Also, write about things you love because it will be a lot easier to have your ideas flow, but don’t be afraid to challenge yourself.  Research is invaluable to a good story.  Learn, learn, learn

Posted in Meet the authors

Meet the author: Kim Delmar Cory

Website: www.kdelmarcory.com

About myself:

I was born in Muskegon, Michigan, grew up in Detroit area around 11 mile and Coolidge, and have lived in the Lansing area since I came up here to attend MSU when I was 17. I have a Bachelors degree in English Literature and a Masters degree in Education, both from MSU (Go Green!). My career consists of working at Lansing Community College, teaching and as an administrator, for the past 30 years.

Married for 37 years to Loren, my daughter and son still live in Michigan (yeah). My dogs are Mackinac (Mac- naughtiest dog in the world) and Maggie and our cat is Hank.

My writing genre is Historical Fiction because our amazing state offers such historical richness with Indian and French influences, its waterways and beaches and so much more! Shaped like a Mitten? Only Michigan!!  My 5 historical novels are Lilly’s Way (Muskegon), Charlie Boy (Detroit), Home to Mackinac (Mackinac Island), Tending Ben’s Garden (Grand Rapids) and Angels Grieve (digital only) Northern Michigan.

My life’s goal besides writing every day is to live on Mackinac Island with my own horse.

When I was your age did I like to read?

Actually, I came home from my first day of Kindergarten upset that I hadn’t been taught how to read that day as my older brother and sister could read! Since then I have been an avid reader. Our house holds a floor-to-ceiling stuffed bookshelf and four other brimming bookshelves. I loved mysteries and biographies in elementary school.

What was my favorite story?

A book titled, Mystery of the Green Cat was a favorite when I was in elementary school along with any book about horses. Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis was also included among my many favorite reads. Magical!

How do I get my ideas?

My first book, Lilly’s Way, came about while I was researching my family history from Muskegon. In fact, the main character’s name, Lillian, was my great grandmother’s name. I found newspaper articles from the 1890s involving a city wide fire, buried treasure on the property where my grandmother eventually lived, and other exciting events that I decided would make a good book! I was commissioned (hired) to write Home to Mackinac by Mackinac State Historic Parks. It was a lot of hard work researching this book but fun too! Tending Ben’s Garden was inspired by my children. In fact, their photo as children is in the front of the book. I wondered what my daughter would do to bring her little brother home if he was sent away. This story is about 12 year old Kate and 5 year old Ben, set in Grand Rapids area during the Great Depression. So my ideas come from history and certainly from life itself!

Is it hard to write a book?

Yes, it is very hard to write a book. For me the hardest part is finding the time as I work full time at the college. I schedule a several day retreat in a small house in the country-called a hermitage- as often as possible where I am all by myself- no TV, no Internet, just my laptop and a couple horses in a corral. Here I am not distracted and can write to my heart’s content. I’ve come a long way from when I wrote Lilly’s Way by hand on legal pads  at a MacDonald’s restaurant!

My books require a great deal of research which I enjoy, but can take months and months. I’ve learned how to stay organized when I write so this helps me use my notebooks filled with research more effectively.

How do I research my historical novels?

I prefer to use as many primary sources as possible when I research. These are newspaper articles, books or journals from the era I’m writing about, and other information that is from the era itself. I use books and Internet both, but I am careful about my Internet sources, of course! I may start my research by just reading books or journals and taking notes about the historical period. Then when my characters are clear to me, I integrate them into my historical setting. This is when the story starts to evolve. Combining the characters with the research creates my story line. For example, when I was writing Tending Ben’s Garden, I discovered from my research that during the Depression era, children jumped onto trains to run away from home and  wore clothes made from chicken seed and flour sacks. These became part of Kate’s story. Everything I write is detailed and historically accurate. To be honest, I probably use only 20 percent or so of all my research in writing my final story. Lots of work!

Which is my favorite book?

Of my 5 historical novels, I would have to so say Tending Ben’s Garden is my favorite because it is based on my children and their close relationship with each other. I also found researching the Depression era fascinating.

What author do I like right now.

I love the classics. C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia never get old for me and I reread them almost every year. When I taught Children’s Literature at my college I used Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson and many other Newbery winning authors for my course.

Advice to children who want to write:

I started writing when I was in first grade. Since I shared a room with my evil older sister, I used an old chest in our attic as my desk so I could write in privacy. My advice is to write about what you love- in 3rd grade it was all horses for me- and what you know. If someone doesn’t like what you write, then they are not your intended audience – keep writing!! Keep a diary. Maintain a journal to jot down thoughts as they come to you which may become a story. You never know. So write and write and write and read and read and read. The more you read, the better you will write. That’s the truth!!!

Posted in Meet the authors

Meet the author : E.M. Olson

The website for my children’s books  is www.oliverthetoaster.com

my facebook page is @NewBesTimeStories

I am a business attorney (since 1985).  I was born in Detroit and lived in Michigan all my life.  From a large family, I went to Michigan State University and received my B.A. in Political Science in 1982.  Then I went to Wayne State University Law School and received my doctor of laws (J.D.) in 1985.  In other words, I have been reading and writing for a living for over 30 years.  Then, beginning in 2013, I started writing for “fun”.  My first children’s book “Oliver the Toaster” was published in October of 2014.  My second one, My Math Monster, was published in February of 2017.  I have lots more “in the works”.

1.  When you were my age did you read? My first love was science fiction, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and others.  When I was in Middle School, my sister let me borrow a copy of “The Hobbit” and, ever since then, JRR Tolkien has been my favorite author.

2.  What was your favorite story? The Lord of the Rings has been my favorite story for a long time.  (Not the movie version, which missed most of the charming and really good parts).  The story of Frodo Baggins is a lesson for all of us, little people, as we face the world, change it, and then become stronger.

3.  How do you get ideas for your stories? I see story ideas all around me, almost every day.  Life is constantly struggling and changing all around us every day.  We have but to open our eyes and observe.

4.  Is it hard to write a book? Writing down a story is not that hard.  But, if you want a finished product that you can read to a classroom, and have people recite, line by line (like me), then you will want it to be perfect.  When you want it to be perfect, you have to do a lot of editing.  Editing was a much bigger project than I ever would have guessed.

5.  Do you have a favorite of the books you have written? Of my children’s books, I think I like My Math Monster the best.  But my favorite story (that I have written) is “The Song of Life”.  It is a short story available on Amazon, and for Kindle. The story is all about learning that we are more than we may know.

6.  What author do you like?JRR Tolkien is still my favorite writer.

7.  Do you have advice for a kid who wants to be an author? The best advice I can give you is to start by choosing another profession.  All of the best authors I know started out as professionals in something else.  Some (like Tolkien) were college professors, some were doctors, some were lawyers.  The more you are faced with helping people with the struggles of life, the better you will understand people.  The better you understand people, the better you are able to write them.

Posted in Meet the authors

Meet the author: Jeffrey J. Acs

Author Name: Jeffrey J. Acs

Website: www.orrena.com

About me: I am a self published children’s book author. Orrena’s Arctic Adventure is my first book. I really enjoy sharing my story at elementary schools and watching and hearing the excitement of the students. I have two more adventures of Orrena that one day I look forward to releasing.

When you were my age, did you like to read? Yes, I always enjoyed picking up a book when relaxing indoors.

What was your favorite story? I enjoyed a variety of different classic stories like, Frog and Toad are Friends, Charlotte’s Web, Harold and the Purple Crayon, and any of the many wonderful Dr. Seuss books.

How do you get your ideas?  My story was inspired by my daughter, who asked me to tell her a new bedtime story, unlike the one’s we read on a regular basis. So I began telling her of this brave little girl and her amazing adventure.

Is it hard to write/illustrate a book? I found that writing a book is a labor of love.. I had to be patient: I would share my story at elementary schools and judged future decisions by the students response. The entire process of creating the book is timely: Since I self published, I had to perform all the foot work and contacts to assemble/layout the book. Another awesome aspect is that I was able to find and work along with an illustrator, and boy was I blessed.

What author do you really like now? I enjoy all of J.K. Rowling’s work.

What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author? Pick up a wide variety of books and read! Stay true to your writings and jot down ideas. Always believe in yourself and your work. Take your time and be willing to accept  ideas and constructive criticism to improve your final work.

Posted in Author Meet Up, Meet the authors

Meet the author: Joan Dee Wilson

*  Author website/social media: https://www.joandeewilson.com   and Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/thebluefooties/

Tell me a little about yourself: I think I was a young artist at heart, drawing a lot and continued through high school and college. After only a few years of college where I traversed between fine art, technical art, sculputure and advertising, I got my first art job helping to produce automotive ads and catalogs. From there I got married and started our family, raising three children who are now older and raising their own kids. I was always selective choosing what I read to my young ones then, many years after I retired, I shopped for books for my grandson and decided to write my own books. With my artist background, my love for birds and the research I’ve done on them, my bird characters have evolved.

When you were my age, did you like to read? Yes but I also spent a lot of time outside. I am from a large family and a lot was different than what it is today. Quiet time at home was a premium and much too seldom. I do remember looking forward to an afternoon at the Library.

2   What was your favorite story?The first books that come to mind were the Nancy Drew series, The Box Car Children and many more long forgotten.

3   How do you get your ideas? Ideas come to me when I’m doing other things. Like one evening w lost power I wrote much of my new book using a flash light under a tent of blankets. It was very cold.

4. Is it hard to write/illustrate a book? No. It is all I have to focus on these days.

5   Do you have a favorite among the books you have written/illustrated? Yes, Snowy Lodin. I am thinking about revising it this winter. I have an idea for continuing the story.

6   What author do you really like right now? There are so many I don’t feel it’s fair to ame just one.

7   What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author? Read. And ponder what you read. And be honest with yourself. If you think a particular read is not good – stand by your oppinion without going along with trends just because.

Posted in Illustrators, Meet the authors

Meet the illustrator: Mike Holmes

Author website/social media:

mikeholmesdraws.com

When you were my age, did you like to read? Yes, very much! In fact, sometimes it seemed like that’s all I did. I learned how to read at a very young age, because I saw my older siblings reading and I wanted to do it too! So by the time I was 3 I was reading, and when I first went to school I would just sit and read every book in the classroom. Going to the library was one of my favorite things in the world.

What was your favorite story? I have so many, but I think my absolute favorite book was Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl. I loved how weird and imaginative it was – the author came up with some unbelievable things!

How do you get your ideas? I like this question, because it really makes me think about how my ideas come to me. Sometimes it’s hard to know where ideas come from; one day you’re sitting around and suddenly POOF, a brand new idea pops into your head from out of nowhere! And you’re so excited that you don’t even think to ask how it got there. But if I had to guess, I’d say a lot of my ideas come from things I’ve seen and done in my life, places I’ve been, people I’ve met. I have all those experiences swirling around in my head, and sometimes when I need an idea I think, ‘Hey! Why don’t I use that funny thing that happened to me?’ It’s incredibly helpful to have experiences!

Is it hard to illustrate a book? I don’t know if I’d call it hard, because I’ve been drawing and making comics for so long that I know a lot about them, and it makes it much easier to make something when you’ve been working at it for a while. But, I will say that making comics is still a lot of work, and I still have a lot to learn!

Do you have a favorite among the books you have illustrated? There was a book I drew that came out earlier this year called Animal Crackers: Circus Mayhem that was one of the most fun times I’ve ever had drawing. It’s about a kid who finds a box of animal crackers that are magic, and when you eat one you turn into that animal! So the book is filled with wild goofy action and it was really fun to draw all the comedy and magic.

What author do you like right now? I really like Drew Weing, who has a book called Margo Maloo

What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author? If you have a story that you want to tell, and you just have to tell someone…always write it down first! If you tell the story to someone before you write it down, it’s very easy to feel satisfied with that and then you don’t end up writing the story after all – which is the entire job of an author! I know so many people (even professional writers!) who say “I’ve got a great story to tell!”, and they get very excited, but they end up telling the story to people before they’ve written it down, and then they don’t feel like writing it anymore! So if you’ve got a really good story, try to make sure that when you’re finally ready to show it to an audience, even if it’s just one person, that you’ve written it out as a complete story first.

Do you get mistaken for the other Mike Holmes? Haha, I used to years ago!  Not because we look alike, but we’re both Canadian and it was confusing for some people when my name would be on a book or in the paper. It doesn’t really happen that much anymore, and I have to admit I’m relieved!