Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Author Interview – Alison Neuman – Children’s Series – Book Launch

May 10, 2020
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Alison Neuman

 

home

 

  1. Please tell us the story behind your new book, Home.

My new book is the bookend of the Friends and Family series about Fluffy the cat and Levi the mouse. This book in the series was more challenging to write than the others because the series was written for my mom, and she passed away two years ago. My mom was my hero, and my best friend. She always provided me with a sense of security and home. As a family, we shared a love of reading, and my mom made sure, whether I was staying in the hospital or at home, that the routine of reading to me before bed was a constant.

As an adult, my mom’s macular degeneration made reading a challenge so I would read out loud to her. Then as her dementia progressed, she found a renewed passion for children’s literature. This series was based on a childhood pet of my mom’s and has a diverse character, which I wish I had to identify with when I was a child. Despite dementia stealing my mom’s words, the smile on her face and her reaching out to grab and hold Don’t Eat Family communicated her love and appreciation.

Mom would’ve wanted me to finish the series despite the fact that during the writing process and now the launch of Home, she would not be here in person. My illustrator, Katherine Restouiex, who also knew my mom, made the human character a cartoon version of her. While writing this last book in the series, memories mom and I shared and the lessons that she taught me were reminders that she will always be with me.

  1. As the third in the series, does it complete the series?

Yes, Home completes the Friends and Family series.

  1. How did you come up with the idea for the series?

My inspiration for this series came from a childhood cat Mom had and the fact that cats and mice don’t usually get along. This series was an exploration into each character’s ability to make their own decisions based on who they want to be and not who they are told to be by society. I wanted my characters to travel through the world with kindness, respect, and a belief in the goodness of people.

  1. Can you tell us about the characters and how you created them?

The character of Fluffy is based on a grey Persian cat that my mom had as a child. The character Levi is based on some of the strong and independent individuals I have met who experience disability. Maybe even a little part of myself is in the character of Levi.

Dont Eat

  1. In Don’t Eat Family what is the message you wanted to convey?

The main messages that I was trying to convey in the book Don’t Eat Family were that, just like Fluffy and her decision to be friends with Levi versus be a mouser as some cats are, you could be who you are and not give in to peer pressure. Also, individuals experiencing a disability may experience challenges but have other abilities and should not be judged by the way they get around in the world.

help

  1. In Help from Friends do the characters follow on from the first book?

Yes, the characters in Friends and Family continue along the journey to find their way home, a journey that started in the first book.

  1. Did you start out planning a series, or did the story and characters dictate more stories?

No, I didn’t start outlining a series, but the characters and the story dictated more books because their adventures required more pages than I wanted to squeeze into one book.

  1. Tell us about your writing life – what other books/plays have you written?

I have written the following

Books:

Ice Rose – A young Adult Spy Novel

Searching for Normal: A Memoir

Don’t Eat Family

On Ne Manage Pas La Famille

Help From Friends

Home

Plays:

Searching

The Sunset Syndrome

In Progress:

Book – Hindsight

  1. Do you only write fiction?

No, I also write creative nonfiction.

Alison’s website:

http://www.alisonneuman.ca/?fbclid=IwAR2_bjRPr3grdeLMeyR6Jv1JjZE0bLKB6nq7X0mOralPynATNr43q-M1YGo

Dream Write Publishing

1DWP logo

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…

December 27, 2017
mandyevebarnett


writing-hub

Writing:

Due to a dreadful constant cough my energy has been at a low ebb so writing has taken a back seat as I try to get better. It is the worse possible timing over the festive season. Hopefully as I gradually get better my writing Muse will return.

sad-writer.jpg

Books:  The men are in Spain and the war is affecting them, as it would. Back home things have changed but stayed the same. Relationships are strained and letters are infrequent. Beautiful writing and character development.

Dreamland

Christmas books have been added to my pile – 300 writing prompts and Sleeping Beauties. Now to consider which King book to read first as I still have 11/22/63 to start. I admit Beauties is calling me.

What books did you get for Christmas?

Writing Tips:

Holiday’s tend to reek havoc on our writing schedule but there are ways of grabbing writing time.

Keep track of the number of words you write instead of how long you wrote.

Relax your normal rigorous writing timetable – take time to chill and observe.

Make the most of “un-scheduled” time – waiting for a flight, children’s rehearsals, a break for coffee during shopping.

Wake up earlier (or stay up later) than usual to ensure that you spend some time writing.

How do you find time to writing during the holidays?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…

December 20, 2017
mandyevebarnett


writing-hub

Writing:

On Saturday I attended the last of my publishers events for the year. It was a packed venue, with numerous vendors and their fare. There were Christmas themed items of course and a plethora of gift buying possibilities. Although the day (a longer one than usual 9 am – 5 pm) was not too busy we did sell books and I even managed to write an additional 550 words on my YA novella while at this event.

agora craft Saturday 16Dec

IMG_4049[1]

It got me thinking about the ‘odd’ places I have written, including soccer games and practice, gymnastic classes, in hotel rooms on road trips, coffee shops and even on a plane.

Where is the most unusual place you have ,managed to write?

Books:

The war has started in this narrative and two of the characters are now stationed in England – parts of which are very familiar to me as I used to live near them. It gives me a greater sense of place I feel.

Dreamland

Writing Tips:

Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly. Once you start spelling words in dialogue phonetically and loading the page with apos­trophes, you won’t be able to stop.

If you’re using a computer, always safeguard new text with a ­memory stick.

(My tip set the auto save on your word document – it saves heartache. Believe me.)

Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…

May 22, 2017
mandyevebarnett


events

This post is pre-scheduled as today I will still be enjoying my writing retreat, where there is no WiFi, TV or ‘outside world’ to intrude. Immersed in story since 18th May – I may never come back! (Well given the choice anyway). My plan for the retreat is to read, edit and revise two manuscripts – The Twesome Loop and Life in Slake Patch and hopefully be able to share them with beta-readers on my return. I may also have added enough story on my newest children’s book – Bubble the Gruggle to send the manuscript to my illustrator, enabling him to begin chapter header images.

When I do come back to reality I have two events this week. One an ‘extra’ meeting of the Arts and Culture Council on Wednesday to finalize the Heritage Day event organization and then Thursday I will be co-hosting the senior’s writing group at Silverbirch.

So please feel free to share your local writing events in the comments.

Other events:

WGA Alberta Literary Awards Shortlist Reading and Celebration (YYC)

May 24th 2017 from 7:00 to 10:00pm
Shelf Life Books, 1302 4th Street SW, Calgary
Please RSVP via Facebook Invite

Join the Writers’ Guild of Alberta to celebrate the 2017 Alberta Literary Shortlisted authors and their nominated works! There will be complimentary wine and food from Aida’s Bistro, time to visit with friends, and a series of lively readings. Free admission. Authors scheduled to read in Calgary include: Lee Kvern, Paige Feureu, Lauralyn Chow, Gisèle Villeneuve, Mary Graham, Rona Altrows, Helen Hajnoczky, Georgia Graham, Laurie McFayden, Ellen Close with Braden Griffiths, Richard Harrison, Shelley Youngblut, and Sydney Sharpe with Don Braid.

EWF2017 PosterFinal

On May 28, The Elora Writers’ Festival takes place in Elora, ON, with authors announced so far including Andrew Westoll, Brad Smith, and Adrienne Kress. http://elorawritersfestival.blogspot.ca/

Happy writing everyone

keep-calm-and-carry-on-writing-4

Holly DeWolf Interview…

October 21, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Vivacious – definition: lively; animated; gay

Please welcome Holly, an author and an illustrator. Her images are delightful.

hollydewolf

a) What do you enjoy most about writing?

It’s relaxing! It’s also a wonderful way to organize thoughts and push ideas. All this can be used to teach, motivate and share knowledge. Writing really does teach you a lot about yourself and lets you get in tune with where your ideas come from.

b) What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I actually started writing late in my career. I’ve been an illustrator for quite some time but enjoyed mingling text with my work. I decided to take it bit further and put out a book idea in 2008. After being published, I have continued to write articles, blogs and have contributed to several books.

c) Has your genre changed or stayed the same?

It has changed. I initially started writing about creativity, creative business and freelance advice. From there, it has led to me wanting to write children’s books. I illustrated my first children’s book that came out in the Spring so I think this would be a natural transition.

d) What genre are you currently reading?

Right now I am focusing on children’s publishing and young adult books. I still maintain my blogs and perhaps I will write a follow up to my first book.

e) Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

I definitely do both. When it gets busy, I try to read as many articles as I can. I set them in a file to read over the weekend. As far as books, I have been reading books on writing, creativity and of course children’s books to my youngest daughter. Books are a big part of my household.

f) Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

My kids hands down. They are 24/7 idea generators with more creativity and energy rolled up together that is very inspiring. Working at home is all they have ever known so they are used to me working around them. It can be a delicate balance.

g) Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

So far it’s a bat. It’s a work in progress but I do love the little guy and the positive ideas I am creating around his character.

h) Where is your favorite writing space?

I like a quiet comfy space but I do like the right music to go along with it. It’s a comfy Ikea chair that works well for me. If it’s winter and I’m cold I’ll write in bed with my bedside table.

i) Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants writer?

My ideas for stories are random. After that, I plan them out. I like to do the my ideas in point form or just snippets of thought. Lately I have been using my voice memo on my smartphone so I do not lose any ideas when I’m busy or out of the studio. Probably looks like I’m talking to myself at the bus stop but I really don’t want those ideas to slip away.

j) What inspires your ideas/stories?

My kids are great for this. Luckily, since I’m an illustrator too there is no end to the ideas. I had to start a notebook to catch it all. Most ideas come from things I read, music lyrics and from writing.

k) Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

Not yet. I plan on joining The Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP) to start with and then go from there with local writing groups.

l) Do you have a book published? If so, what is it called & where can readers purchase 

it?

I wrote the book Breaking Into Freelance Illustration: the guide for artists, designers and illustrators published by How Books. You can find it here: http://www.mydesignshop.com/breaking-into-freelance-illustration

Break Into

I have also contributed to the 2009 Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market , 2012 Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market , Your Planet Needs You written by Jon Symes and Creatively Self-Employed Written by Kristen Fischer. Also, I’ve contributed articles to How Design & Zero2illo.

m) If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?

Cat's_Eye_book_cover

Margaret Atwood for sure! Her book, Cat’s Eye made a had a huge impression on me. This compassionate retrospective about a women’s life felt familiar especially because it’s about an artist.

n) Where can readers find you and your blog?

My blogs:

Illustration Notes: http:hollydewolf.blogspot.com

Diary Of An Illustrator: http://illustratordiary.blogspot.com

My Little Corner Of The World: http://sweethappyjoyjoy.blogspot.com

My website: http://www.hollydewolf.com

o) Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?

Yes I do. It’s been a work in progress for the past year. I have 2 children’s book I am working on plus a follow up book about illustration/creativity. I’m also working on a young adult book.

The title of the children’s book I illustrated is What’s Going On At The Time Tonight? published by Nimbus Publishing written by Gerald Mercer.

Links:

What's Going
Chapters/Indigo: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Whats-Going-On-at-the-Time-Tonight-/9781771080040-item.html?ref=item_page:richrel:rr-carousel-small:json1

Nimbus Publishing: http://www.nimbus.ca/Whats-Going-On-at-the-Time-Tonight–P6631.aspx

Amazon.ca:http://www.amazon.ca/Whats-Going-at-Time-Tonight/dp/1771080043/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377703265&sr=8-1&keywords=what%27s+going+on+at+the+time+tonight%3F

 

 

 

 

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