Inside The Book Interview
Paul Edward Davis sometimes known as Eddie Davis is a professional artist and illustrator. As far back as he can remember he has always enjoyed drawing and painting. Sometimes jokingly he refers to his gift as a compulsive disorder. He has enhanced his skills by picking up various books on painting, taking graphic design classes at Milwaukee Area Technical College, and through many years of doing portraits and caricatures at local festivals and block parties. His love of painting has always made him look forward to his next piece of art. He is influenced by an early envy of comic book artists such as John Bryn and Jack Kirby, as well as painters such as Ernie Barnes, Boris Vallejo and Norman Rockwell. His writing style and subject matter reflects all the life experiences of the books he has read and the shows he has watched. He loves science fiction and fantasy. He can work with just about any medium and enjoys exploring what he can do with the digital world.
Back in the day before the hip-hop sound, there was an old school rapper named Old School Brown. He was cool as can be, but got older in time; here he is now still busting a rhyme. He loves his job as our school bus driver, taking us to school to be smarter and wiser. Thus starts the story featuring Carver Academy’s favorite school bus driver with a talent for telling fantastic stories done in rhyme. In this tale told for Halloween he takes the kids back to the 80’s were he was confronted by non other than Dracula. Can a young Old School Brown defeat the vampire in a battle of rap and rhyme? You will find out in this fun and beautifully illustrated story.
How did you come up with the idea for this book?
How did I come up with this story. Well I am a child of the 80’s and back then one of the popular styles of music for me and my friends was this new style called rap and hip hop. Back then Rap was more fun and stories then bling and gangsters. So my friends and myself with our little garage talent show band would create songs and one of which I wrote was a story of me meeting Dracula in a park. Fast forward to the present and I always loved that rhyme so I decided to up-date it to the present and created the character of Old School Brown.
Old School Brown seems like a wonderful character. Can you tell us a little about him and why he likes telling stories in rhyme?One special thing about The Adventures of O.S. B. is that the lyrical nature of the stories lends itself very well to live readings. I think it is best with an Old school beat playing in the background.
This is my first book for sale to a wide audience on Amazon. I had written story before that I self printed and sold to some local schools, I have been a columnist for a local news paper and of course I have illustrated stories for other people.
Can you tell us a little about the illustrations for this book?
The illustrations for Old School Brown are pen and Ink with Digital coloring. I especially had fun drawing young Old School Brown in his purple “Members Only” Jacket “Kango” hat and lee jeans. Something I probably would have worn back in the day.
How did you become interested in illustrating books for children?
I have always been into illustrations, picture books, comic books and stories. As an artist I feel I am a much stronger illustrator and visual storyteller then fine artist even though I can work oil paints and canvas too. So doing children’s books is a natural extension.
As an illustrator / author what inspires you first… the words or the images?
Being both an illustrator and author is interesting when it comes to creating stories. Because what I visualize in my brain I can create on paper I often create characters and art that already has a story to it. Because that is the way I approach art. Or if I am simply writing a cool story the images are already cascading through my head so I can simply create them on paper. I have many stories that consist of just a drawing or painting until I get ready to type the story out.
For example I have a character named Rosemary. She is a middle aged single mom who is very self-conscious about her self-image and lacks confidence. In the story for Rosemary she goes on a little story arch where in the end she learns just how beautiful she truly is. There is also “My Little Angel” She is a child that was never born and the spiritual guardian of Infant babies welcoming them into the world and telling them about all the cool things to come for them. It is a fantasy version of an explanation of how babies know who and what a mommy is and how they learn to take their first step and say their first word. The little angel tells them!
Can you tell us a little about BookByDaddy.com and why you started your own publishing company?
My start up company is www.bookbydaddy.com. And as an illustrator I would here stories from authors about the things they didn’t like bout the self-publishing companies they worked with. Often I would do the illustrations and they would then send them off to whatever self-publishing house. Or on freelancers sites I would see job post that I would have this sneaking suspicion that the illustration job was being outsourced from a third party. I won’t put down those businesses because they serve a great purpose but I feel there is something to be said about small and intimate relationships with Illustrators.
Having studied desktop publishing and possessing the necessary software it seems like a much natural progression to illustrate and format books at the same time. Once I realized how simple it is to go through POD sites and publish to Amazon.
I am now transforming my Illustration web site into a publishing web site.
Can you tell us about any of your upcoming projects??
An upcoming project is a story written by Author Mary Wroten. Having read the first two chapters I must say it is a very entertaining book. There is a second book by Author Eddie Rutledge “Amani And Friends Go To New York” And then there is a few more stories from myself as well as “The Adventures of Old School Brown Funky Christmas story.”
Article first published as Interview: Naomi Robinson, Mixed Media Artist of Sister to Sister Greeting Cards on Blogcritics.
How are you doing?
Born in Notting Hill, West London, United Kingdom, Naomi Robinson always loved drawing. Her mother said she started drawing as soon as she could pick up a crayon. Around the age of six she remembers getting a box of 36 oil crayons and an oversized sketchbook and nearly finishing the entire sketchbook in one day. She loved to draw clowns and was fascinated with the colors, clothing, and face painting.
Now she’s a mixed media artist who mainly illustrates greeting cards, book covers, and merchandise such as t-shirts as she builds up her clientele in the children’s sector. She has two main styles that she works in. The first style includes mixing dip pen, ink, tea-stained/textured papers, watercolor, and scanned images that are finished in Photoshop, and the second style includes computer-based scanned sketches which are re-drawn in Illustrator and finished in Photoshop.
First let me thank you for taking time to do this interview. You have a very vibrant and fun illustration style that really lends itself to greeting cards. Where did that style come from?
My style is a work in progress and developing with each project. I think my style comes from my love for drawing. All my ideas come from constantly sketching. I like to focus on a strong line, pattern, complementary colors and playful compositions.
I have worked on a few greetings card series some of which I self-publish. The most popular was my cupcake range, a series of 11 card designs. It’s still growing and a US card publisher has now licensed them.
Can you describe for us your start-to-finish process when working on a greeting card series?
Once commissioned by a publisher, you will receive your text or concepts. I’ll do some image research for theme or topic, then brainstorm and sketch out ideas. I may at this point send the publisher some roughs before I start final artwork. I create artwork and finally send the final artwork to the publisher or directly to their printer.
One of my favorite cards is part of the Sista to Sista collection: “Keep your head up, Never let them see it hanging low…” A beautiful card with a beautiful woman smiling. Can you tell us about the Sista to Sista project and the process you went through for creating each card?
Sister to Sister was such a special collaboration between Hudson & Brown and myself. The project was perfect for my style and the work I love to create. A brand focused on empowering women – written by women, designed by women and for women. I received the text and it instantly spoke to me visually. Hudson & Brown gave me free range to create whatever I liked because they loved what they had seen from my portfolio and truly believed in me as an artist and card maker.
I wanted the cards to be beautiful, bold, colorful and contemporary. I also aimed to keep them coherent as a series by keeping my palette limited with a neutral undertone.
Do you ever get to write the verbiage for the greeting cards or is it always given to you?
With Sister to Sister I was given most of my text, and I was lucky enough to write some of their cancer support cards such as the card entitled My Hand.
Is there any project you would like to illustrate in the future?
This year I’m eager to work on more children’s book commissions so that is my focus. I love pattern and surface design so will be doing some projects towards that also. And I’m sure I’ll create some more illustrations for Sister to Sister/Woman to Woman Greetings.
What has been your favorite project to work on?
My favorite projects are the ones that help me develop my thinking as a creative and push me to be a better illustrator. I like a challenge and when reviewing my work it is important to me to see growth and improvement.
You’ve been working as an illustrator for years; has the new technology affected how you work on new projects?
I’ve been lucky because I was growing up in the age of the computer. I first created art on a computer when I was 10 years old and as I have developed as an artist in turn computers and packages have improved, making everything easier. I think my day job as a graphics designer really helps because it always ensures I am up to speed with the latest creative applications. Although working “traditional” is great because you can’t beat the feeling and ease of drawing in a sketchpad or painting on canvas; everything ends up digital so it is very important to be versatile.
Are you currently working on any projects that we can look forward to?
I’m working on a few, a secret little book for little girls, an alphabet book project and a new online card and t-shirt shop.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank you for asking me to do this interview.
Thank your for sharing some insight on your talent. Where can people find out more information about you and your work?
My website is a good starting point as it has links to everything.
If you want to see how I work or ideas come, where I’m exhibiting or my latest achievements, my blog is very good.
I have a little Etsy shop where you can buy a few limited edition cards and products.
And finally you can all pop by and say hi via Facebook.
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I hope you’re all doing well in this New Year!
Welcome to Inside The Books. This is JMcManus with another post for you. Today’s post is part of Kelly Starling Lyons blog tour for the release of her new book Ellen’s Broom, a wonderful book about a young girl’s experience of freedom.
Ellen always knew that the broom resting above the hearth was special. Before it was legal for her mother and father to officially be married, the broom was what made them a family. But now all former slaves who had already been married in their hearts could register as lawful husband and wife.
As part of the blog tour Kelly Starling Lyons will be giving away a grand prize to anyone who leaves a comment on any of the tour stops. So please read the interview and review below and leave a comment for your chance to win a decorated wedding broom courtesy of Stuart’s Creations (www.stuartscreations.com) and a poster of the Ellen’s Broom cover. The winner will be drawn on January 16.
1. As a writer myself, I’m always interested in the creation of characters. Can you tell us about Ellen and how she became the character of your book?
While researching family history, I saw a Virginia cohabitation register that listed formerly enslaved couples, the dates of their marriages and the names and ages of their children. Though their marriages – sometimes celebrated by jumping a broom – weren’t legal during slavery, they were finally in 1866 protected by law. Freedmen’s Bureau officers registered the couples and even issued some marriage certificates. Ellen was the result of my imagining what it would be like for a girl whose parents finally have their marriage made legal.
It took an editor’s encouragement to see my research had potential for a story. Once I started working on it, I envisioned Ellen and her family and tried to imagine how they would feel to go from slavery to freedom. I could see her mama wanting to make sure the story of what they survived was not forgotten. The broom was a symbol that Ellen came to see as a special part of their history. It’s something she vowed to pass on.
2. During a time of change, from slavery to freedom, one constant in Ellen’s life was the broom her parents jumped during slavery. Can you tell us why it is so important for children of today to understand the history of brooms in marriage during that time period?
Today, it’s not unusual to attend an African-American wedding where the couple jumps the broom. But many children have no idea why they’re doing it. Ellen’s Broom helps give them a sense of the history. It shares what the broom ritual meant to enslaved families who could be torn apart at any time. Through the story, they see that even as Ellen’s family celebrated new freedoms – like finally having marriages of former slaves legalized — it was important to remember that past. I hope it helps children understand why jumping the broom is done by some couples in memory of that history now.
3. I was delighted to receive a small broom with my copy of Ellen’s Broom. Is that something that will ship out with every copy?
There’s a fun craft kids can do to make their own miniature broom out of a pencil. Directions are in the Ellen’s Broom craft and discussion guide created by author/educator Debbie Gonzales. Here’s the link: EllensBroomDiscussionActivityGuide.pdf.
4. Can you share with us an unknown fact about the book? Like something that appeared in the first draft that was edited out by the final draft.
One fact few people know is that I chose the name Ellen for the main character in honor of my maternal grandfather’s mother, Ellen Hairston Starling. It was through researching her side of the family that I stumbled across the cohabitation register that inspired this story. I also learned that Ellen is a family name. Her grandmother, who likely was once enslaved, was named Ellen too.
Something that was edited out of the story were the names of the songs Ellen, her family and the rest of the congregation sang in the church. I mentioned Follow the Drinking Gourd, Wade in the Water and Go Down, Moses. Those songs gave enslaved people hope and in some cases instructions for escape. Once free, the songs were a testament to what they survived and a reminder to cherish their freedom. You can still hear those spirituals in some churches today.
5. As an author, what inspires you to write?
I’m inspired to write children’s books by the memory of being a child who rarely saw herself and her history reflected in stories for young people. I write to help create a different reality for kids today. I write to give back.
I still remember the story that inspired me to write for kids, Something Beautiful by Sharon Dennis Wyeth. It was the first time I saw an African-American girl featured on the cover of a picture book. Right then, I decided to add my voice.
6. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I’m so grateful for the chance to share this story. I wrote Ellen’s Broom as a celebration of family, love and freedom. I was amazed by how illustrator Daniel Minter reflected those themes in his art. People can learn more about Ellen’s Broom and find printables for kids at my site, www.kellystarlinglyons.com. If you want a peek inside the book, you can watch the trailer for Ellen’s Broomhere. Thanks again for all of your support.
Thank you Kelly for a wonderful interview and some insight in the making of Ellen’s Broom.
Ellen’s Broom is a delightful book about how a broom that was once used during the time of slavery for marriage becomes a tradition. Readers will journey with Ellen as she carries the broom her parents once jumped over during slavery to bind the family, to a courthouse where her parents will be officially married.
Kelly has a wonderful and delightful way of creating characters that connects with young readers. And that connection takes you on a journey through a moment in time. It’s like the characters hold your hand as they tell you about history…what a way to learn.
And let me just say, from someone who is big on illustrations, Daniel Minter did a wonderful job with his block print illustrations. When my eight-year-old daughter saw this book lying on my table she asked if she could have a poster.
Ellen’s Broom is a great book about family traditions and I can’t wait to read more books from Kelly Starling Lyons.
Article first published as Thomasina F. Johnson, Author of Mama, When Will I Be Popular on Blogcritics.
Welcome back everyone!
But it all didn’t start off that way. As a way to escape the mean words that were being said about her when she was younger she attempted suicide. Fortunately she failed in her attempt and in 2000 started writing whimsical and rhythmic books that help children build character. From that experience she started writing her first book The Bully, which she is currently working on illustrations for.
Thomasina, can you give us a summary of Mama, When Will I Be Popular?
A mother and daughter talk. That provides insight into how today’s struggles will teach her daughter to triumph in her future endeavors. It’s the concept of, what people mean for evil now will eventually work out for the good in you! Don’t give up!
Acceptance, sadly that is all most kids want. Most just want to be liked and not judged for who they are.
I noticed right away that you didn’t give your character a name. Was this intentional?
Yes, and that’s really neat that you noticed that! When you are bullied you don’t “feel” like you have a name. However, that was why I intentionally put the “titles” of roles you will be called upon to fulfill later in life.
Through out the story we found out different things that character building can prepare someone for. My favorite was being an astronaut. What do you think the character would choose?
She chose to be a teacher. Her experience gave her a heart for children just like herself. And being an educator gave her that opportunity to help shape and mold those who were in her classroom.
“Or maybe you’ll have character like an astronaut who has to spend a lot of time alone, out in space, for months, just communicating by phone.”
What is your favorite part of Mama, When Will I be Popular?
The crying scene, when she is in her bed. It is a tender picture of what I have seen at times in my own life/home.
Is Mama, When Will I be Popular the first in a series?
Yes, I have several more coming that talk about bullying, true friendship, geography and dance, a princess story and a crying little brother. I have many stories that I have written over the years that I can’t wait to share!
That’s great! Can you tell us about some of your upcoming projects?
I touched on “The Bully” project so I will talk about my project after that which is Amber & Emily! This is a book dear to my heart that talks about interracial friendship. It’s the true story of my daughter and her best friend Emily!
“These two friends are special what could they possibly not share? Amber is as dark as chocolate and Emily has blonde hair.”
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Well, being a mom I just think it’s important to have children build strong character morals’ and a huge secured sense of their value! My hope is that we can end child suicide by building up our young people up. And stop bullying by getting to the heart and anatomy of the bullies in our grade schools before they end up in our colleges.
Where can people find more information about you and your books?
Our website is at http://www.booksbythomasina.com. Please don’t forget to join our Google Friend Connect and to “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@booksbytj)
I also have a blog spot that focuses primarily on the personal side of me being a wife and mommy of 7 children called Mommy Writes it on my web page under the tag label blog.
Thank you Thomasina for taking time for the interview. I wish you much success with your books.
Article first published as Interview: Queenbe Monyei, Author of Nalia and the Potion Maker on Blogcritics.
Los Angeles born author Queenbe started writing as a child, but the idea for her debut novel, Nalia and the Potion Maker, didn’t spring to mind until she started blogging to promote a book she and another writer was working. It happened one night in November 2010 while she was sitting in her room thinking about what she would love to be reading if she were reading about a young girl who was special and powerful but thought she was anything but, and the girl turned out to be Nalia.
Now let’s found out some things about Nalia’s adventure.
Nalia very early on notices strange things happening around her although she can’t pinpoint what is going on. Then she finds out she is an Amemora. Can you tell us what an Amemora is and how you came up with the concept?
Well, I won’t give it away, because that’s part of the fun of the book trying to find out what she is exactly, but I will say that Amemoras are very powerful and have a unique gift.
During Nalia’s journey, she meets the potion maker Poto who is one of the key people in her story. Can you tell us a little bit about Poto and his role in helping Nalia on her journey to face Agithara?
Poto is a genius potion maker who also has a story of his own. He is a key person in helping Nalia discover all the different lands in Aetheria, and takes her on an adventure that will shape who he is. He becomes an important person in her life and will be for the books to come.
One thing I enjoyed was the riddles. As a writer, do you like creating riddles are did riddles just become part of Nalia and the Potion Maker?
Well, riddles are very important to Aetherian culture. Aetherians believe that life’s lessons shouldn’t just be handed to you. You should take the time to figure them out or else they will have no meaning in your life. Also, I love playing with language, so I wanted this to be a part of the book.
For those who like riddles, see if you can figure out one of the riddles Nalia faces during her journey. Please give your answer in the comment section. In a few weeks I will post the answer.
It comes easily enough in times of distress,
Giving the beholder no chance of any good rest.
It knows no distinction between evil and good.
And leaves not when the bearer wishes it would.
It is a thief of all things good, for sure.
But, alas, for this curse there is no quick cure.
All great and small will eventually find.
It is not easily lost whether mean or kind.
Lyris is another great character in your novel and is a great friend to have around if you’re going on a dangerous adventure. His ability to heal is extraordinary. He also lives in a very welcoming place, the land of Amoen. Can you tell us a little bit about the land of Amoen and Lyris’s ability to heal?
Amoen is a guarded city. They don’t really experience pain or sadness and it’s very different from the world that Nalia is familiar with. It is probably one of the most beautiful lands in Aetheria.
During Nalia’s adventure she travels to many different lands in the other world like the River of Caedes, the Forest of Dark Deeds and Gubland to name a few. If I could visit any of the locations I would visit the Land of the North so that I could stop by Poto’s Potions. Which location would you visit and why?
I would love to visit Amoen because it is the most beautiful and it is virtually impossible to feel pain or discomfort there.
If I could have Nalia make something for me I think I would have her make an Amoen star. What would have Nalia make you?
A Toyota Prius. No question.
What is your favorite part of the story?
Well, I love when Nalia discovers Poto’s secret and when we see Agithara’s childhood.
This book definitely leaves you wondering what other journeys Nalia will go on. Are you working on any other books?
At the moment I am only working on the Nalia series.
Since we know you are working on another book, can you tell us if Nalia’s father will be making an appearance in book 2 and if we will be seeing more of Lyris?
Nalia’s father will remain out of the picture for now; this may change in the future. Lyris will definitely be a big part of all the books. And there is a possible love triangle in Book 2, Nalia and the Rise of the Marés.
Where can people find more information about you and your books?
For all of you who are looking to get a sneak peak of Nalia and the Potion Maker please read the excerpt below.
From chapter 10 Sarp the Grogin, after Nalia learns about Poto’s Secret:
Nalia quickly took her hands away from Poto, as she didn’t want to see anything he didn’t want her to. She still wasn’t used to seeing other’s memories, and she felt sorry for what she had done. She sat there motionless for a few minutes, staring straight at him, still transfixed on what she had just learned.
How could Poto have done such a thing? He didn’t seem evil in any shape or form. Quite the contrary, Poto was gentle and kind, and his eyes gave him away easily enough. This, coupled with what she had just seen, made her all the more confused.
Sensing that he was being judged, Poto finally spoke.
“You cannot understand what she did, what it took. No,” Poto was trembling as he said this. His eyes were filled with tears, but he was fighting back the urge to let them loose. “Only one who lost all that is good inside him could truly understand how she became what she is today.”
Then, he did something that took Nalia by surprise; he held his hand out to show Nalia the memories that had been hidden for so long, memories that he was thankful Agithara had stolen and those that he was not eager to have so soon returned.
“Please…don’t see me for what I was then,” he said softly.
Nalia agreed and took his hand.
I want to thank Queenbe for taking the time to tell us more about Nalia and the Potion Maker. And I hope you enjoyed finding out about Nalia and the Potion Maker. If you have any suggestion please don’t hesitate to email me at Info (at) InsideTheBooks (dot) com. To keep up with interviews please follow me on twitter @InsideTheBook.