1. How long did your manuscript take, start to finish?
The manuscript took approximately two weeks to write, but spent over eight months going through minor revisions during the illustration process.
2. Did you do special research?
Granny McFanny was spun from stories that my grandmother and I made up together. You see, Grandma was disabled and didn’t get around very much. I would ask her, “What would you like to do today Granny?” Her reply was always something like, “Let’s go sky diving” or “How about salsa dancing? That sounds fun.” All the while, we knew she couldn’t do either. Still, we had fun making up wild adventures and laughing about how they might turn out.
Grandma isn’t with us any longer. She passed away just before the book was published. Yet, I know she is smiling from above and thrilled that our humorous tales are out for the world to read. I’m sure she’s also proud of my accomplishments and that Granny McFanny is evoking laughter amongst thousands of young children and will for years to come.
3. How long before you held the first copy in your hands?
Granny McFanny went through the publishing process rather quickly. It only took eight months from the time the contract was signed until the book was in hand. Honestly, it typically will take up to a year, sometimes longer, to get a book through the illustration and publishing process. However, my publisher, Stephens Press, and myself, felt that the ending was time sensitive and would make sense releasing sooner during election time. So, we rushed it. If you have read the book, you would know what I mean.
4. How do you write? When the mood strikes or certain time of day for writing? Word count goals?
A typical day of writing will begin once I have dropped my children off at school and I have slid back into the warm covers of my king-size bed. Sometimes, I will write all day and never take a break or get out of my pajamas. That’s a good day of writing! Other days, I will stare at the page for hours waiting for inspiration to hit. That doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, I need to walk away. Something will spring to mind while I’m doing the dishes or folding the laundry, then I will rush back upstairs and start writing again. Needless to say, my family has gotten use to folding their own socks and helping with the dishes. They are not always thrilled about doing this, but they understand and support my writing career.
5. Do you outline first?
I will do an outline with some of my bigger novel or screenwriting projects. It helps me to stay focused on where my characters need to go next, what they may say to give hints to future scenes, and how to lead the story to the end. The ending or outline will sometimes change. “It’s like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna get.”
6. Do you listen to music while you write? If so what type of music?
QUIET…is always best. I would also love to take the phone off the hook, but I’m afraid that I’ll miss my kids calling from school, or better yet, that agent calling to say I have a best-selling hit.
7. What is your favorite adjective and verb?
8. Which book have you read again and again?
Anything Dr. Seuss. My kids loved those books and I loved to read them. They have outgrown them now, but from time to time, I will go back and study the flow and humor that he put into them. Though most admire his work, we need to remind ourselves that there is only one Dr. Seuss and stay original with our rhymes and writing. I think I have accomplished that.
As for novels, I can’t say I have read a book more than once. I did enjoy the Harry Potter Series, Lord of the Rings, and the latest Twilight books. I must confess, when it comes to reading, I’m a little dyslexic and slow. I also have terrible vision and my eyes get tired quickly. I enjoy reading, but enjoy even more using my imagination to write the stories.
9. What is your favorite book title (not the book, just the title)?
My favorite book title, besides my own Granny McFanny, is Goosebumps. Immediately you sense bone-chilling trouble and you get a feel for the book. Love it!
10. Which author would you most like to meet, living or dead?
I’m sure lunch with J.K. Rowlings would be very entertaining, but I would love to pick the brain of someone like Dan Brown who wrote the Davinci Code or Melissa Mathison who wrote ET, later produced by Steven Spielberg. That’s one mentor program you can sign me up for.
11. Would you rather get paid to read or get paid to write?
I would definitely rather get paid to write than read. I love to write and use my imagination to create a story that others will be entertained by. And, to get paid for doing it…well, that just takes the cake.
12. What is the strangest comment or experience you’ve had about your book or writing?
I’m always surprised when people are eager to hear what I have to say. Don’t get me wrong, I feel I have some knowledge to offer. I just didn’t think the feeling would be contagious.
13. Your best advice for novice writers?
My best advice for first time writers is to write and get it done. Don’t worry about edits until it’s complete. It also helps if you can bounce ideas off friends, family, or even members of a writers group. And, don’t get discouraged by rejection. Rejection is part of the process. In fact, if you can get feedback on your rejections you’ll learn from your mistakes and ultimately become a better writer. Keep submitting.
14. Your best marketing techniques?
Indeed, many achieve success accidentally. But most authors who achieve success do so by implementing a shameless technique of book marketing wizardry that’s certainly not accidental, but one that is earned by mastering the fundamentals of a successful marketing plan.
There are four fundamentals to marketing your book.
1. Organize yourself.
2. Target your audience.
3. Make sure your audience knows you have a book for them.
4. Get them to buy and read your book.
An extended outline of these techniques can be found by visiting my author website at www.lewiskimberly.com.
15. The future of printed books . . . ?
The future of printed books is questionable with all the new ways to receive computer downloaded copies. Although, I’m confident that many, like me, enjoy the tradition of traveling with the skillfully written pages of our favorite author nestled into our palms. I think there is something to say about owning a tangible piece of art.