Where there ever any alternate endings you considered for this book?
The only way the ending ever changed was when I developed the story from one for very early readers to one for middle-grade readers. When the story got bigger, I realized that it was really a series that I was writing. That definitely led to some changes at the end of “Why Kimba Saved The World” to lead into the next few books that I saw coming.
Could you describe the mundane details of writing: How many hours a day to you devote to writing? Do you write a draft on paper or at a keyboard (typewriter or computer)?
As far at the physical writing, I prefer my desktop computer and absolute silence. I’m very easily distracted. I do make notes on paper and do some outlining that way, but I write on the computer. That’s where it will have to end up, so writing on paper seems a waste of time. I type well and fast, so it’s easier that way.
My writing time goes in chunks, rather than daily, most of the time. I have two part-time jobs besides writing and already have books published that need supporting. It’s amazing, the amount of time that goes into that promotion and care. Nearly every day involves some sort of contact or event or talk or looking for places for the future. I set monthly writing goals, and I know what needs to be done to stay on track for the end of the year. Depending on where the book is in the process, I may have monthly word count goals, or I may just set time frames (like 15 hours) that I will work on revision, editing, and development. I format and publish my own books most of the time, so hours and hours go into that process. I also work as an editor for an independent publisher, so my days are very full of words and stories, one way or another.
Writing every day is a wonderful goal. It just isn’t always possible. I don’t beat myself up about it anymore.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it and why?
I have no interest in writing about bad things — death and mayhem and sadness. There is enough of that in the world. I don’t want to read books like that, so I certainly don’t want to write them. You never know what the next inspiration will be, but I really can’t see going that route.
Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?
I’m a big fan of many children’s authors — E. B. White, Beverly Cleary, Madeleine L’Engle, Laura Ingalls Wilder — but I grew up having books read to me that were way beyond what I could do myself. When I was 10, my mom read me “The Dragonriders of Pern” series by Anne McCaffrey, “Watership Down,” and “The Once and Future King.” These days, my reading jumps all over the place. I love having the chance to read books by independent authors, but I also make a point of getting award winners from the library so I can stay in touch with the very best of what is published each year. “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr is just brilliant. Writing I aspire to.
What are your thoughts on writing a book series.
It wasn’t something I set out to do, but I know that I enjoy series books, and “Why Kimba Saved The World” just naturally developed that way. I also have the companion dog books now as well, which totally came from readers’ requests for dog stories. From a business standpoint, everyone in the publishing world says that a series is the way to go. I have another book in the final stages that I had to make that call on. Did I want to present the story in a way that it could lead to a series? The answer on that one is yes, but my newest adult book, “At the Corner of Magnetic and Main,” is a stand alone. That story is done. I think it’s all about the story and if there is more to tell or not.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
I am very proud of the awards and honors that “Why Kimba Saved The World” has gotten. It is really my baby. Without publisher support, I was able to earn a Silver Mom’s Choice Award. The story also earned a Bronze Moonbeam Children’s Book Award as “Best First Book” by an independent author. Reviews have been wonderful, and readers come looking for me at events each year to get the newest book in the series. All of that is what every writer dreams about. Whatever other writing and books come along in my career, “Kimba” will always be the special one that got it all started.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
That is hard to even imagine. 10 years ago, I would never have envisioned any of what is going on in my life now. Not even a tiny bit. I hope I am still publishing. It would be nice to be established enough that folks come to me instead of being the one who bangs on the doors. That is already starting to happen, and it’s a welcome change. I would like to see my new book series (about a princess and a dragon) traditionally published. That can open so many more doors. I guess I’d love to just be happy and reasonably successful — and able to stop the other part-time work and just write. Pretty much what every writer hopes for their future.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I absolutely prefer traditional books in some paper form. I do read on my kindle. I had to break down and get one last year because I wanted to see my own books on that format as well as read some from other writers who will send me ebook copies. Curling up with the kindle is just not the same. That may change as I get used to it over the years, but I still go for paper books every chance I can. I’m very middle-aged. What can I say?
Meg, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me and my readers, and good lick on your new book series, it sounds wonderful!