Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Interview with debut middle grade author Mr. M.

Today’s guest is MG author Mr. M. He’s talking with us about his debut novel The Magical Adventures of Brian Leonard that released this month.

Mr. M. was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He has an MFA from the American Film Institute and a MHD from Pacific Oaks College. He lives with his wife, son, and dog in Sherman Oaks. The dog is super cute!

Welcome, Mr. M. Please tell us about your current release.
Brian's just an ordinary teenager, struggling with the usual trials and tribulations of junior high. He's just started dating Sophia, and he hopes the upcoming school dance will be a memorable event. Hanging out with Sophia and his best friend, Johnny, Brian's shocked to see his uncle Bobby at the dance. Bobby's been dead for years. After warning Brian to stay away and spitting ectoplasmic goo at him and Sophia, Bobby's spirit flees. This is one terrible date.

Brian quickly discovers his spooky encounter was a warning. The spirit of his black-magic-wielding grandmother Esther is restless, and way too active for anyone's good. Thirsting for revenge on the family that rejected her evil, Esther traps Brian's mother and Huck in a ghostly dimension. Brian needs to become a ghost in order to save his mom and uncle!

What inspired you to write this book?
Brian was originally a character I wrote for an unpublished short story. A bulk of the material serves as the first three chapters of this book. The story was about a boy who has a crush on a new girl at his school.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am working on two stories. One of the stories is the sequel to Brian Leonard. Lately, I have really enjoyed reading young adult books. I loved reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I also enjoyed reading The Fault in Our Stars. When I was a middle school student, I enjoyed reading books like Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger. All of these books have really engaging characters.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I wrote a lot when I was in film school. None of my scripts were produced. However, I learned a lot about storytelling. Later on in life I became a television executive. Some of the greatest stories I have seen were episodes of television.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I do not write full time. I am a teacher. This is another passion of mine. I normally write after my son goes to bed. It can be challenging at times. Sometimes I feel blocked. When those moments happen I try and write something else. Eventually I will be able to refocus on the project.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I am actually incredibly boring. I normally write on a laptop. Sometimes I write in bed. Occasionally, it helps me if I listen to music. Typically, I will listen to rock ‘n’ roll. Listening to punk rock bands also helps me write. I love listening to Blink 182 and Green Day.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child I wanted to play baseball for the Dodgers. At the time we had a great infield. Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, and Bill Russell were our guys. We cheered them on during the best and worst of times. I stopped playing organized baseball after the sixth grade. Eventually, I played softball once a week for a day camp I worked at. I would love to throw out the first pitch someday! That would be so cool!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Writing is about sharing. Whether you are a second grader or an adult, it is important to share your creative thoughts. Never be afraid to share your thoughts with another writer. I would love to hear from you. I would love to come visit a book group. The book will be out during the first week in August! Buy a copy!

Thanks, Mr. M.! Happy writing!

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