What is the inspiration behind Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell?
Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell was inspired by a dog named Charlie. Ten years ago, Charlie was found injured and lying in a bed of leaves on the side of a country road. He used his last bit of strength to get the attention of a motorist. Charlie was rescued and nursed back to health. Within five days, he could walk again. After learning about Charlie and then meeting him, I knew I had a great character for a children’s story.
What made you want to write children’s books?
When my daughter was a newborn, my husband and I read picture books to her. Most of the stories were superb, but one book was ill-conceived and poorly written. This story got me thinking: if a book like this could get published, I could get a book published. But, I soon discovered that writing for children was challenging. It takes understanding the nature of the genre and learning the essentials of crafting a good story. It also takes determination and patience to guide it into the hands of a publisher who will love it and care for it as much as I did.
Do you ever want to write adult fiction?
I can honestly say I have never wanted to write adult fiction. The closest I came was writing a 60,000-word middle grade novel. The process was scary for me because of the enormous word count. However, after breaking the story into chapters, I found writing for an older audience was more enjoyable.
What is the hardest thing about writing children’s books?
A lot of people think that writing for kids is easy because well, it’s for kids. But it is one of the hardest genres to write. Writers must come up with a character that children can relate to and will care about and tell the story in about 500 words without being didactic. It’s all about word choice and subtlety.
What is the biggest surprise about getting published?
I was surprised to find out that before the book could be published, the text needed to be revised. Some of the words had to be changed for clarity. This took a lot of back and forth revision, some giving and taking, and lots of patience. In the end, the book got better. Now the words of the story flow and roll off the tongue every time it is read out loud.
What advice do you have for writers?
I tell writers to believe in their work. They will get published if they stick to it. That said, writers must begin developing a platform NOW. For instance, create a website, start using social media, write a blog and contribute to blogs, work on articles and get them published in writer’s magazines, and develop a lecture that you can present to local writers. Writers will have fewer headaches if they plan ahead and prepare before their book is published.
Are you working on anything currently?
I’ve been toying with a sequel to Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell. When I do school visits or after someone has reviewed Maggie, I discover this story touches people’s hearts. That’s what I’m striving for with the sequel; except this time, it will be about a cat! I think my adorable rescue cat Ozzie has something to do about that.
Thank you Randi for the great information for writers! You can find her amazing book on Amazon here: Maggie and the Summer Show-and-Tell
For more information about Randi Mrvos, please visit her website:
Randi is the editor of Kid's Imagination Train, a free online magazine for kids 5 - 12. Check it out: www.kidsimaginationtrain.com