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MoAA Interview #31: Geoffrey Girard

There are some people in this life who are just meant to be present at pivotal moments, as if the universe put them there to witness that yes, this thing happened, and it happened to you. Those people become legends in your memories, almost surreal and dreamlike.

Geoffrey Girard is one of my legends.

We met at some tiny little convention so many years ago I’m afraid to count, back when I didn’t wear corsets…or makeup…and hadn’t published a damn thing (but had a Big Fat Looming Contract that would eventually render that status moot). Geoff had a book or two out–one about Pirates–and I hosted an interview with Cap’n Geoffrey that remains infamous to this day.

When you do a search for images under my name in Google, this old picture pops up of me & Geoff at the Joseph Beth in Lexington. Ah, memories…

I couldn’t be prouder to announce the impending publication (Sept 3rd!) of both Geoffrey’s new novel CAIN’S BLOOD and its YA counterpart PROJECT CAIN from Simon & Schuster. I am really looking forward to getting my hands on both of these! (Way to overachieve there, boyo, and make the rest of us look bad…)

And yes, he still has great hair.

I am thrilled to have Geoffrey back again and under the interrogation lamp for our MoAA FINALE. Many thanks to Geoffrey, and to all of my interviewees and readers this month–it’s been a blast!

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Alethea Kontis: What’s the best thing about writing?

Geoffrey GirardGeoffrey Girard: I read to learn: new places, people, ideas, facts. Writing, for me, is an extension of that, so I probably most enjoy the research.

AK: What’s the worst thing about writing?

GG: Despite my years as an advertising/P.R. copywriter (when you had to write quickly), I’m still a victim of self-editing when it comes to fiction. I can’t produce 4,000 words a day like some, and usually end up just reworking the same 500 words over and over and over.

AK: Finish this sentence: “Writing is like…”

GG: … a sculptor slowly chiseling away at this enormous rock with a figure trapped just inside. Takes time. Not always perfect. Slowly emerges. Polish. Hope for the best…

AK: If you could write anywhere in the world, where would it be?

GG: Cliché answer, I suppose, but on some coastline. Any coastline. (Thus I do all my writing in Ohio.)

AK: Pick five words to describe your latest work.

GG: Dark. Thematic. Conspiratorial. Journey. Boys.

AK: Pick five words to describe you.

GG: Dark. Thematic. Conspiratorial. Journey. Boy.

Cain's BloodAK: What’s your favorite type of tree?

GG: One with squirrels or birds on it.

AK: What were you like in high school?

GG: Curious. Liked learning. Liked participating in class (probably why I’m a teacher now). Very small circle of friends, but could hang well enough along the fringes of most social cliques. Spent most hours playing guitar with my pals/bands Surrender (it was the early 80s, give me a break) and The Shire (yeah, how awesome were we?)

AK: If you could give one piece of advice (writing or otherwise), what would it be?

GG: Trust yourself.

AK: The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: What are 3 things you’d like to do before you die?

GG: Live in Asia for a year (first choice: Japan)

Be a Writer in Residence somewhere (first choice: Washington College; alma mater)

Play with my great grandchild (first choice: NOT 15 years from today)

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Geoffrey Girard is an award-winning fiction author whose works have appeared in several best-selling anthologies and magazines, including Writers of the Future (a 2003 winner), Apex Digest, and the Stoker-nominated Dark Faith anthology.

His first book, Tales of the Jersey Devil, thirteen original tales based on American folklore, was published by Middle Atlantic Press in 2005, followed by Tales of the Atlantic Pirates (2006) and Tales of the Eastern Indians (2007).

Simon and Schuster will publish two Girard novels in September of 2013: CAIN’S BLOOD, a techno thriller, and PROJECT CAIN, a spinoff novel for teen/YA readers.

Born in Germany and shaped in New Jersey, Geoffrey currently lives in Ohio with his wife and two teenaged sons and is the English Department Chair at a famed private boys’ high school. Prior to teaching, he worked as an advertising copywriter, web developer and marketing manager. He has a BA in English literature from Washington College and an MA in creative writing from Miami University.

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MoAA Interview #30: Lesley Conner

Once Upon a Time, Princess Alethea traveled to a neighboring kingdom to have tea with her friends: Queen Quinn and the lady knight, Sir Bradley.

“This tea is lovely,” Princess Alethea complimented her guests, “and these cakes are quite divine.”

“They are made by a local fairy here,” said Queen Quinn. “Her name is Lesley. She does all sorts of wonderful things!”

“But you can’t have her,” said Sir Bradley. “So don’t go getting any ideas.”

“I would never do anything of the sort,” said Princess Alethea. “Perish the thought!” And so the ladies finished their lovely tea and, after a jovial time, parted ways.

But Princess Alethea grinned the whole time, for she knew the Chief of Her Royal Brute Squad had Lesley Fairy safely ensorceled to sleep in his saddle bag…

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Alethea Kontis: What’s the best thing about writing?

Lesley ConnerLesley Conner: Seeing the weird little scenes that play out in my head and the characters constantly chattering at me come alive on the page. It’s like being able to share some hidden part of myself with the world.

AK: What’s the worst thing about writing?

LC: Time. There’s never enough of it. Never.

AK: Finish this sentence: “Writing is like…”

LC: Therapy. It’s great way to work through all the thoughts and feelings that tumble around my mind with no fear of judgement or strange stares. Of course this only last up till the point where I have to let go of it and let someone else read it. Then the anxiety sets in.

AK: If you could write anywhere in the world, where would it be?

LC: My living room couch. I’m very much a creature of habit and that’s where I work now. I think if I tried to write somewhere else I’d spend just as much time looking around, taking in my new surroundings, as I’d spend writing. Many more words are written if I stay on my couch.

AK: Pick five words to describe your latest work.

LC: Alternative history, viciously heart-wrenching, supernatural, horror.

AK: Pick five words to describe you.

LC: Determined, continuously learning, creative, happy.

AK: What’s your favorite type of tree?

LC: Rhododendron. They grow everywhere in West Virginia, from the forests to my grandma’s front yard. Whenever I see one I feel like I’m home.

AK: What were you like in high school?

LC: A daydreamer. I spent a lot of time in my own head, making up stories, doodling on all of my assignments, and jotting down bits and pieces of dialogue. I definitely wasn’t one of the “cool” kids, but I had a close group of friends who may not have understood my obsession with serial killers and all things gory and gross, but they accepted it.

AK: If you could give one piece of advice (writing or otherwise), what would it be?

LC: Do what makes you happy. If writing makes you happy, do it. Comparing yourself to other writers and what works for them will only drive you crazy and suck the fun out of it. I used to beat myself up a lot because I could never stick to a writing everyday schedule (something I’ve been told repeatedly is the key to being a successful writer), telling myself that I must not want it enough, and I’m not a real writer. For a while I quit writing all together. Why take time away from my family if I wasn’t truly committed? It made me miserable. Finally, I slowly started working on The Weight of Chains again. I may not get to write every day, I may not be super prolific, but it makes me happy and my novel is close to being done. As far as I’m concerned, that makes me a success.

AK: The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: What are 3 things you’d like to do before you die?

LC: 1. Travel more. There are so many places I’d love to visit, both here in the US and around the world. It’s just a question of finding the time and money to do it all.

2. Get to the bottom of my to-read pile, which basically means I’d better live forever. I have a bad habit of adding books to it way faster than I can take them off.

3. Watch my girls grow into the amazing women I’m sure they will be. Being a mom is the greatest adventure and I don’t want to miss a minute of it.

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Lesley Conner grew up in a small town in West Virginia, dividing her time between reading any book she could get her hands on and watching every horror movie available in the small video store in her hometown. She’s had a handful of short stories published in anthologies such as Dark Tales of Terror edited by Michael Knost and A Hacked-Up Holiday Massacre edited by Shane McKenzie. She’s currently working on her first novel, an alternative history horror novel set in 15th century France called The Weight of Chains. When she isn’t writing, Lesley spends her time as Apex Publications‘s social media editor and marketing leader, a Girl Scout Troop Leader, and Alethea Kontis’s sometimes Web Fairy. She lives in Maryland with her husband and their two daughters. To find out more about her, check out her website (www.lesleyconner.com) or follow her on Twitter at @LesleyConner.

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MoAA Interview #29: Natalie Dias Lorenzi

Today, MoAA presents superawesome author Natalie Dias Lorenzi!

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Alethea Kontis: What’s the best thing about writing?

Natalie Dias LorenziNatalie Dias Lorenzi: When the words flow from brain to fingertips to keyboard.

AK: What’s the worst thing about writing?

NDL: Staring at a white screen with a blinking cursor and no words flowing from fingertips to keyboard.

AK: Finish this sentence: “Writing is like…”

NDL: …entering another world, but one where I get to call all the shots. At least that’s what I’d like to think…lots of times it feels like my characters are the ones calling the shots.

AK: If you could write anywhere in the world, where would it be?

NDL: In a tree house! I once read an interview with a famous children’s author who writes in a tree house in her backyard. It was gorgeous and rustic, with a porch. I think it would be the most peaceful place, yet not too distracting. If I were in some exotic locale, I don’t think I could concentrate on writing.

AK: Pick five words to describe your latest work.

NDL: I’ll choose five from some of the reviews that Flying the Dragon has received: moving, poignant, heart-warming, tender, and entertaining.

AK: Pick five words to describe you.

NDL: friendly, unorganized, diplomatic, creative, lover-of-dark-chocolate

Flying the DragonAK: What’s your favorite type of tree?

NDL: The climbable kind—thick branches, with colorful leaves in fall and blossoms in the spring. We have a cherry tree near our front yard that’s perfect for climbing.

AK: What were you like in high school?

NDL: Shy in situations where I didn’t know anyone, but outgoing with friends.

AK: If you could give one piece of advice (writing or otherwise), what would it be?

NDL: Be true to yourself, in your writing world and otherwise. It’s easy to be swayed by trends in the publishing world, and while it’s fine to keep them in mind as you create stories, write the stories that speak to you. If do, you’ll have written a story that speaks to your readers.

AK: The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: What are 3 things you’d like to do before you die?

NDL: 1. Visit Australia and Antarctica to round out my seven-continent tour—I’ve already been to the other five, having lived in North America, Europe, and Asia, and visited South America and Africa.

2. Go scuba diving

3. Publish more books for kids!

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Natalie Dias Lorenzi is a traveler, writer, wife, mother, and librarian, not necessarily in that order. In addition to writing for children, she is a freelance magazine writer and contributing writer to Scholastic’s Instructor magazine. She lives in Virginia during the school year and Trieste, Italy in the summers. Visit her at www.nataliediaslorenzi.com.

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MoAA Interview #28: Jennifer Brozek

Today, MoAA features author Jennifer Brozek!

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Alethea Kontis: What’s the best thing about writing?

Jennifer BrozekJennifer Brozek: The best thing about writing is that it’s the best temporary cure I know for whatever ails me. Angry, sad, in pain? All of that goes away when I’m in the writing zone. I love the fact that I can lose myself to the story I’m writing and focus in on it until nothing else matters. It’s my job and my joy.

AK: What’s the worst thing about writing?

JB: Despite it being my joy, sometimes writing is hard. Really hard. As it’s my job and I have deadlines, I can’t just decide not to write. I can’t blow my deadlines. Even if I don’t feel like writing, I need to put my butt in the chair and to write. Or if not that, to sit down and think about what needs to be written, how it needs to be structured, and if there’s any research I need to do.

AK: Finish this sentence: “Writing is like…”

JB: Writing is like a leisurely walk in the woods. You know the path you’re going to take. You’ve seen the forest before. You can rush through and know your way but you miss so much. But when you slow down, you discover so much more about the forest—the plants, the animals, the little walked paths. It’s the details of the leisurely walk that stand out… and good writing is all about the details in a forest we all already “know.”

AK: If you could write anywhere in the world, where would it be?

JB: I would love to have a cupola writing room on top of a castle tower on a bluff on the coast of Oregon.

AK: Pick five words to describe your latest work.

JB: Dark. Urban. Fantasy. Scary. Consequences.

AK: Pick five words to describe you.

JB: Detailed. Persistent. Watchful. Truthful. Kind.

Children of AnuAK: What’s your favorite type of tree?

JB: I really like big sprawling oak trees. Especially how they look in winter.

AK: What were you like in high school?

JB: I was your typical shy, nerdy, misfit, honor student. I played well with teachers and had a very small but good group of friends.

AK: If you could give one piece of advice (writing or otherwise), what would it be?

JB: Have goals and dreams. Stick to them. It’s one of the most important things I can say as an author, an editor, and a person. Goals will let you know where you are going. Dreams will tell you what you’ll strive for next as you met each goal.

AK: The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: What are 3 things you’d like to do before you die?

JB: 1. I want to visit New Zealand again.

2. I want to have a hot air balloon trip.

3. I want to live in a house by the ocean.

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Jennifer Brozek is an award winning editor, game designer, and author. She has been writing role-playing games and professionally publishing fiction since 2004. With the number of edited anthologies, fiction sales, RPG books, and non-fiction books under her belt, Jennifer is often considered a Renaissance woman, but she prefers to be known as a wordslinger and optimist. Read more about her at www.jenniferbrozek.com or follow her on Twitter at @JenniferBrozek.

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MoAA Interview #27: A.B. Westrick

Today, MoAA presents fabulous fellow children’s author A. B. Westrick!

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Alethea Kontis: What’s the best thing about writing?

A.B. WestrickA.B. Westrick: Achieving clarity of thought.

AK: What’s the worst thing about writing?

ABW: The process is slow.

AK: Finish this sentence: “Writing is like…”

ABW: breathing. The more you do it, the more alive you feel.

AK: If you could write anywhere in the world, where would it be?

ABW: In a sunny room with huge windows overlooking a waterfall.

AK: Pick five words to describe your latest work.

ABW: Edgy, honest, tense, heartfelt, Southern.

AK: Pick five words to describe you.

ABW: Thoughtful; wish I were funny.

AK: What’s your favorite type of tree?

ABW: Dogwood.

Brotherhood AK: What were you like in high school?

ABW: Super involved in extracurriculars from drama productions to marching band to church/community service groups.

AK: If you could give one piece of advice (writing or otherwise), what would it be?

ABW: Stop talking and listen.

AK: The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: What are 3 things you’d like to do before you die?

ABW: Eat in all the restaurants in Asheville, NC;

Carve out more time to read;

Practice yoga with the Dalai Lama.

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A. B. (Anne Bryan) Westrick grew up in Pennsylvania and later moved with her husband to Virginia where she spent hours walking Richmond’s brick streets, wondering how her Southern ancestors had fared during and after the Civil War. Her first novel, Brotherhood (Viking 2013), a Junior Library Guild selection, grew from those wonderings. She has been a teacher, paralegal, literacy volunteer, administrator, and coach for teams from Odyssey of the Mind to the Reading Olympics. A graduate of Stanford University and Yale Divinity School, she received an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2011. She and her family live near Richmond, VA.

Website: http://abwestrick.com/

 

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MoAA Interview #26: John Klima

Today, MoAA presents SF editor John Klima!

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Alethea Kontis: What’s the best thing about editing?

John KlimaJohn Klima: Working with amazing authors. Seeing the finished project after all the hard work.

AK: What’s the worst thing about editing?

JK: Deadlines.

AK: Finish this sentence: “Editing is like…”

JK: Editing is like finding that fine line the runs among being a friend, a teacher, a therapist, a taskmaster, and an enemy and hoping that you’ve find the right one so that you can make a piece stronger. Good editing work is invisible to the reader but invaluable to the writer.

AK: If you could edit anywhere in the world, where would it be?

JK: A nice quiet library.

AK: Pick five words to describe your latest work.

JK: Glitter. Mayhem. Roller-skating. Magic. Debauchery.

AK: Pick five words to describe you.

JK: Indefatigable. Principled. Gregarious. Loyal. Serious.

AK: What’s your favorite type of tree?

JK: I have a ton of external allergies (most trees particularly evergreens, grass, pollen, ragweed, most animals…) so the outdoors and I have an understanding. I don’t spend much time in it, it doesn’t bother me. But, I think the baobab trees are amazing.

Glitter & MayhemAK: What were you like in high school?

JK: I was a very angsty surly teenager. In a lot of ways I was someone who I don’t like today. I spent a lot of time being angry about things that didn’t matter. I was constantly sad and disappointed by myself and everything around me. A lot of the problem stems from the fact that I had no drive or purpose which left me feeling useless. It was very existential and moody. Thankfully I’ve moved past that these days.

AK: If you could give one piece of advice (writing or otherwise), what would it be?

JK: I’m torn between saying to make sure you get enough rest (which I don’t do so I’d have to give that advice to myself) or to take time away from the computer and your devices every day and do something that makes you happy. I try to start every day taking some extra time to make breakfast. It makes me happy to start that day with a good meal and I get a sense of accomplishment at the same time.

AK: The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: What are 3 things you’d like to do before you die?

JK: 1. Appear on a talk show

2. Take part in a Chopped/Iron Chef-type cooking challenge (not necessarily the televised version; it could be something w/friends)

3. Visit Tokyo

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John Klima is the editor of the Hugo Award-winning magazine Electric Velocipede and cool anthologies like Glitter & Mayhem. He maintains a secret identity as a librarian.
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MoAA Interview #25: Vanessa Barger

Today, MoAA is proud to present Vanessa Barger!

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Alethea Kontis: What’s the best thing about writing?

Vanessa BargerVanessa Barger: The best thing about writing? Tough question. I think it’s being able to escape into my own head, and bring out those characters and share them with everyone else. The ability to create something that I enjoy and share it with others.

AK: What’s the worst thing about writing?

VB: The ending. I always start writing with…shhh, don’t tell…very little idea of how it will end. This is okay, as long as I eventually figure it out. Sometimes, though, I get halfway through and still have no idea… Finding time is also difficult, as I am a teacher for my “real job” and a writer all the rest of the time. Sometimes writing requires burning the candle at both ends. Someday, I’d love to do writing as a career and teaching for fun!

AK: Finish this sentence: “Writing is like…”

VB: A box of…oh, wait. Sorry. Writing is like baking. You put in all the ingredients, stir, and then let it cook until it’s finished. Then you dish it out to your friends and see what the results are.

AK: If you could write anywhere in the world, where would it be?

VB: London or the highlands of Scotland. In a room with a view. In London – an apartment overlooking the Tower. In Scotland, a cottage with beautiful gardens and a view without other people.

AK: Pick five words to describe your latest work.

VB: Ghosts. Mystery. Discovery. Love. Horror.

AK: Pick five words to describe you.

VB: Eccentric. Nerd. Book-lover. Quiet. Observant.

AK: What’s your favorite type of tree?

VB: Woah. *blink* How did you know about my tree obsession? This is hard. I have a thing for trees with great shapes. But if I had to pick a specific kind, I’d go with an oak tree. Or weeping willow. Oaks are strong and make great gnarled trees. Weeping willows, though, always seem to be hiding something…

AK: What were you like in high school?

VB: I was the quiet, overachieving nerd. I was definitely NOT in the cool crowd. The first two years that bothered me. The last two I was too busy to care. Lol.

AK: If you could give one piece of advice (writing or otherwise), what would it be?

VB: Keep writing. Don’t give up. Even when you think you can’t make it, don’t stop. When you stop, that’s when you’ve failed. Don’t write for other people. Write because you want to.

AK: The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: What are 3 things you’d like to do before you die?

VB: Three things? It’s not an exciting list, but…

  1. Normal things like get married, have kids, etc.
  2. See the Northern Lights
  3. Take a month-long trip to the UK and see all the out of the way things that are on my list.

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Vanessa Barger is a middle grade and young adult author, represented by Jennifer Mishler of Literary Counsel. She teaches high school technology education in rural Virginia and is the slave to one cat, Molly. She spends all her free time writing. She’s a member of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and the Virginia Writer’s Club. When not writing, she’s reading, and an avid movie fan. She also loves long walks on the beach discussing Shakespeare while sipping large fruity drinks with little umbrellas.

A WHISPERED DARKNESS is a YA Horror, that will be released from Month9Books in Sept 2014. It’s about a girl who has to save her family from a vengeful ghost and possession, while trying to stay alive.

 

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MoAA Interviews #23: Ellen Oh

I met Ellen Oh through a local YA writers/readers/bloggers group on Facebook, though I’d been hearing her name in certain circles (doesn’t that sound ominous?) before then. When I dropped her a line, turns out she’d been hearing my name too…she’s a fan of Enchanted!

So, obviously, we were meant to be best friends. *grin*

Ellen is speaking at the Library of Congress tomorrow at noon–I’ll definitely be there! Admission is free…if you’re in the DC area and have a lunch hour to spare, I hope you’ll come join us!

Without further ado, MoAA presents…Ellen Oh!

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Alethea Kontis: What’s the best thing about writing?

Ellen OhEllen Oh: Being able to keep my sanity. I finally get to release all the stories and characters that have been floating around in my head for years. They can make you crazy if you don’t let them out, you know. You end up walking around talking to yourself all the time, wearing your clothes inside out and putting your wallet in the refrigerator. Oh gosh, I think it’s too late for me…

AK: What’s the worst thing about writing?

EO: Waiting. I’m like Inigo Montoya. I hate waiting. This business is filled with constant waiting. Waiting to hear back from your beta reader, waiting to hear back from your agent, waiting to hear back from editors, so much waiting. I hate waiting.

AK: Finish this sentence: “Writing is like…”

EO: Taking a test. Sometimes it’s easy and you think you aced it and then you find out you didn’t.  And sometimes it’s really hard and you think you’re dying and you know you just failed it, but it turns out you actually did quite well. And sometimes you get stumped on a question, like this one, and then you just bullshit an answer but then you realize that it might actually be the right answer in the first place and you are so pleased with yourself and think you are so smart, until you take the next test and the agony starts all over again.

AK: If you could write anywhere in the world, where would it be?

EO: In a fancy 5 star hotel bungalow on the beach with room service and maid service and lots of activities to keep my kids active and out of my hair. Or it could be at my house as long as I had a chef, a housekeeper and someone to keep my kids out of my hair. See? I’m not picky.

AK: Pick five words to describe your latest work.

EO: I think it is great.

AK: Pick five words to describe you.

EO: Stubborn, antisocial, loyal, funny, hungry.

WarriorAK: What’s your favorite type of tree?

EO: I love cherry blossoms. When they bloom in my neighborhood it really is a magical and beautiful time. It also is a great reminder to me to start taking my allergy medicine everyday or die for the rest of the spring.

AK: What were you like in high school?

EO: Sullen, angry, mean, bored, and tired (I worked all through high school). I didn’t really like my high school self.

AK: If you could give one piece of advice (writing or otherwise), what would it be?

EO: My biggest piece of advice to anyone is not to let the haters get you down. Everyone has haters in their lives. The most important thing is to never let them win because they want to see you fail. Don’t give them that satisfaction.

When I was trying to break into publishing, I came up against so much resistance. I had people tell me that no one would be interested in reading a book about ancient Korea. I had people tell me that I was wasting my time. They said my story was stupid and boring. That my writing was awful. But I never gave up. The more people told me I couldn’t do it, the more I was determined to prove them wrong. Hate can be a great motivator.

AK: The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: What are 3 things you’d like to do before you die?

EO: 1. I really would love to travel all over the world.

2. I would love to eat at as many of the world’s best restaurants as I can. And not just the best, as in 5 star Michelin ranked places, but like regional favorites that are usually the little hole in the wall places that a city might be known for. I would love to taste the world.

3. I hope that one day I’ll have the time to take some serious cooking classes. I’m a good but limited cook. I don’t really enjoy it because I mostly do it just to feed the family. I think this is because I’m limited and have never learned about how all these different combinations of things can make wonderful flavor profiles. So one day I’d love to take some master cooking classes and learn the joy of cooking which would then match my joy of eating.

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Ellen Oh is an adjunct college instructor and former entertainment lawyer who one day picked up a Genghis Khan biography and was never quite the same again. It was the start of an obsessive fascination with ancient Asian history that led to years of researching, culminating in writing “Prophecy,” her first novel. Ellen also loves martial arts films, K-pop, K-dramas and cooking shows, and she thinks the “Last Airbender” series was the best animated show ever created. Originally from New York City, Ellen lives in Bethesda, Md., with her husband and three daughters and is always on the hunt for a decent bagel.

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MoAA Interview #21: Michael Banks

Today, MoAA presents artist Michael Banks!

I met Michael at last year’s HeroesCon–like Bianca, he was our table neighbor. (And of course, he and Bianca know each other from way back!)

It’s funny…being behind tables at a comic con is a bit like being in the trenches (albeit very nice trenches). You form bonds with really great people you might never have otherwise met. I’m so glad Michael was one of those people!!

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Alethea Kontis: What’s your preferred medium?

Michael BanksMichael Banks: I love to work with oils on canvas. It’s very relaxing to me and I can get lost for hours.

AK: What’s the best thing about art?

MB: Being able to create my own world and make people happy.

AK: What’s the worst thing about art?

MB: Not being able to turn my imagination off, stop working and relax a minute.

AK: Finish this sentence: “Art is like…”

MB: a best friend, it’s always there to help you through the hard times and good.

AK: If you could draw/sketch/paint anywhere in the world, where would it be?

MB: The Magic Kingdom

AK: Pick five words to describe your latest work.

MB: Colorful, whimsical, detailed, cute and dark.

AK: Pick five words to describe you.

MB: Happy, persistent, anxious, romantic, dreamer.

AK: What’s your favorite type of tree?

MB: I love orange trees. 🙂

AK: What were you like in high school?

MB: Artistic, quiet, strange, anxious daydreamer. Nothing has changed.

AK: If you could give one piece of advice (artistic or otherwise), what would it be?

MB: Follow your heart. Never give up on your dreams no matter how far fetched they may seem.

AK: The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: What are 3 things you’d like to do before you die?

MB: 1.Travel the world with my beautiful wife.

2.Create a world that people will remember for eternity.

3.Relax.

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In a far away land called imagination…
I paint candy filled scenes with broken stars that represent perseverance, bubbles of happiness and paint dripping clouds that symbolize the never ending brainstorm in my mind. I’m addicted to sugar, caffeine, women, big eyes, color, disney, music, movies, art, toys, junk, cats, nature, cleaning & running. That’s my life and through my art you can read my stories.
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MoAA Interview #20: Nicholas Beatty

This is a Goop. DON'T BE A GOOP. Today, MoAA is proud to present Nicholas Beatty!

Nicholas and I have one very important thing in common: THE GOOPS.

Not too many people these days are familiar with the creeptastical work of the esteemed Gelett Burgess, but his books were my bread & butter growing up as a kid. I knew about Goops before I read Dr. Seuss or any of those guys. My Nana could recite the poem in the fronticepiece (and still can). The Goops they lick their fingers / The Goops they lick their knives / They spill their broth on the tablecloth / Oh, they lead disgusting lives!

I first “met” Nicholas when he contacted me through my website last year to inform me that Enchanted had just been named among the 40 Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award Winners for 2012. At that moment I was thinking: 1.) OMG I WON AN AWARD! 2.) OMG GELETT BURGESS HAS AN AWARD! 3.) OMG I WON *THE* GELETT BURGESS AWARD! 3.) OMG OTHER PEOPLE KNOW AND LOVE THE GOOPS JUST AS MUCH AS ME??

Needless to say, Nicholas and I hit it off pretty well. And when I found out about his multicultural kids cookbook project The Cultured Chef, I got all kinds of excited. Be sure to pop by and throw a few bucks into the Kickstarter campaign when you’re done here. Thanks!

And now…take it away, Nicholas!

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Alethea Kontis: What’s the best thing about writing?

Nicholas BeattyNicholas Beatty: The research is what does it for me. I love going to research libraries and wearing white gloves as I search through the stacks. Searching for obscure facts thrills me, and I can’t wait to weave them into my stories.

AK: What’s the worst thing about writing?

NB: I am the poster child for Attention Deficit Disorder. Scheduled writing doesn’t work for me because there are 10,000 more important things I can imagine myself doing instead. Therefore, when inspiration strikes I better pay attention even if it comes at 2 or 3 in the morning.

AK: Finish this sentence: “Writing is like…

NB: … your pesky six-year-old neighbor who won’t stop begging you to come outside to play.

AK: If you could write anywhere in the world, where would it be?

NB: #1 Under a beach umbrella in Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre, Italy

#2 On a long train ride somewhere in Europe

AK: Pick five words to describe your latest work.

NB: Multicultural, Delicious, Inspiring, Unique, Colorful

AK: Pick five words to describe you.

NB: Late, Overly-ambitious, Creative, Night-owl, Generous

The Cultured ChefAK: What’s your favorite type of tree?

NB: Without a doubt my favorite tree is the Monkey Puzzle Tree (Araucaria Araucana)

AK: What were you like in high school?


NB: Even though I was very shy in high school, I was able to overcome my shyness by organizing events and campaigns and various projects. I was always organizing one thing or another. If you took me out of my element I would become a total wallflower because I didn’t know what role I was supposed to play.

AK: If you could give one piece of advice (writing or otherwise), what would it be?

NB: Know your subject before you begin writing. If you can do copious amounts of research before you sit down to write, the information is right there with you steeped in your recent memory. I can always tell when a writer is uncomfortable with their subject.

AK: What are 3 things you’d like to do before you die?

NB: Learn how to illustrate my own books. Visit Machu Picchu. Eat dairy products without regret.

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As a children’s book writer, Nicholas Beatty’s projects explore multicultural themes allowing children to discover the world through folktales, recipes and activities. His website can be viewed at CulturedChef.com.

Nicholas Beatty is the author of The Cultured Chef: An International Cookbook for Kids, a not-so-ordinary children’s cookbook filled with unique recipes, whimsical illustrations and stories about fascinating people & places.

The Cultured Chef is currently seeking funding through a month-long Kickstarter campaign ending July 21st.  http://kck.st/11QS8PN The book is set to release late October through Goops Children’s Books, 978-0-9834865-5-8

 

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