Author Interview with M. M. Allen, Author of Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black TrunkHow did you come up with the story?
This book came about because I had a dream. In my dream a little being of light was standing outside my front door. The being bent down, cupped its tiny hands and blew its breath through the keyhole. The breath filled my home with an extraordinary, beautiful light. Out of my dream was born Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk; into the land of Wishapick. I shared my dream with composer Deborah Wynne and the first song, Tickety Boo, came to her as if it was waiting to be born. The land of Wishapick was not planned it was given to everyone to enjoy.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre?
I appreciate being able to escape the world and go to a place where all things are possible. Writing fantasy for children is just an extension of me escaping, wondering and dreaming. Telling make believe stories to children is delightful. A child will always talk about their make believe stories, if we give them permission, and when we do give them permission something like “wizzle wax” will be born.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
As a child, I loved books about animals, Black Beauty, Call of the Wild. I loved The Wrinkle in Time. My favorite author is probably Mark Twain but there are so many great authors. Of course I love Harry Potter – so imaginative and great characters. I love picture books and at one time I collected many. One of my favorite books is The Tennant of Wildfield Hall; I like a good mystery, history and biographies.
What’s a typical working day for you? When, where do you write and do you set a daily writing goal?
A typical work day begins with a walk with my two West Highland terriers Pip and Peaches (Peaches joined the family October 2015). I love a sweet for breakfast and tea – I must have two cups of tea! I write in my upstairs office, the walls are covered with posters of super heroes, family pictures and lovely and amusing collectables given to me over the years by friends. My dogs sleep underneath my desk. I write between the hours of ten in the morning until two in the afternoon, four to five days a week. I do not set a daily writing goal. I go to the computer and write. When my writing is flowing along I often go beyond the usual stopping time of four hours. Pip has always been accommodating when I go past our stopping time. It remains to be seen whether Peaches will be able to rest at my feet longer than the regular four hour session. Editing happens later and that is not during my typical working day.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The editing – I believe in seven times seven edits and then letting it rest. I am always wondering – can it be better? Edit – Edit – Edit – I do it with chocolate.
What is the best thing about being an author?
Writing the story is the best part of being an author. When you’re in the zone and the words are fluid everything stops and you’re so present to what is flowing through you the creativity – the adventure nothing compares.
What are you working on now?
I never reveal what I am working on, but things are always happening. A story often comes to me in bits and pieces. Sometimes ideas come in the middle of the night. Wherever and whenever an idea comes to me, I write the idea on any piece of paper I can find. I keep all those bits and pieces of paper; they are now stacking up to a tipping point on my desk.
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Once you experience the ‘zone’ you will understand why you have to write. Get to the computer or if you write long –hand (which I used to do), get out the paper and write. I met a wonderful artist who always told her students; “you have to get to the canvas and paint.” As an aspiring writer get to the computer and write. You will not always think your writing is great, but continue on.
What questions have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
What do you like to celebrate? I love birthdays – I love to celebrate the day someone was born. I love cakes, cupcakes, tea, little sandwiches, big sandwiches, pizza, chocolate, festive decorations, wrapping paper and ribbon and I love presents. If nothing was in the packages, just the paper and ribbons – I would be delighted as the packaging suggests a surprise. I love to think about the surprise, what could it be? I don’t need a big party with lots of people (of course that is fine too) – but the sharing of goodwill for another on the day they were born is very special to me. Happy Birthday to all of you.
About Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk
Darkness. Utter blackness. Was this why his mother had refused to let Jack unlock his father’s old trunk? It had been two years since his dad had died, and all Jack could think about was examining whatever treasures were stored inside the beloved trunk. But when he finally lifted the lid, he didn’t just fall in—he fell through it into a pit of rattlesnakes! Trying to recall his mother’s stories about “the Breath of All Good Things”—anything to shed light on his current situation—Jack wishes he’d paid better attention rather than mock the tales as childish myths...and that he’d waited to enter the trunk with his sister, Lilly, so they could at least face this together. Like L. Frank Baum’s Oz and C. S. Lewis’s Narnia, M. M. Allen brings to life the fantastical world of Wishapick—a land of courageous animals ruled by a cruel rattlesnake king who has condemned the villagers to live without light. Chosen as the reluctant hero to save the villagers, Jack must face terrifying creatures and overwhelming odds if he wants to help his new friends—and return home himself.
"... a breathy and fantastical storytelling style, imaginations will flourish and the tale will be enjoyed by kids ages 812 who enjoy the genre of fantasy.”—The Children's Book ReviewWishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk is available on Amazon.
Be sure to check out the companion music CD, Wishapick, for purchase or download from DeborahWynne.com Book Club Questions Get to the heart of Wishapick by downloading this set of book club questions: Wishapick by M. M. Allen: Book Club Questions
About M. M. AllenM. M. Allen, author of the acclaimed children’s picture book Let’s Play Ball, is the mother of two adult children and aunt to twentythree nieces and nephews, including ten greatnieces and greatnephews. MM is a former teacher and university lecturer. She has also worked extensively in marketing and communications with varied businesses and nonprofits. MM lives in a picturesque northern California town where she enjoys writing, tending to her rose garden, and caring for her West Highland terrier, Pip. www.Wishapick.com | Facebook
About Deborah WynneComposer and lyricist Deborah Wynne created a companion CD of songs to accompany Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk. Wynne’s primary talents lie in choral singing, stage musicals, and composing. Her musical projects include the 2013 album Strands of Gold and 2007 musical Moment of Truth. She is an active singer and composer in Santa Barbara, California, where she lives with her husband and their two shelties, Sparkle and Gracie. DeborahWynne.com
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Wishapick Tour Dates:Thursday November 5 2015 The Children's Book Review Tour KickOff & Giveaway Friday November 6 2015 The Review Wire Book Excerpt & Soundtrack Clip
Tuesday November 17 2015 Suz Reviews Creating Mood in a Story with Music
Monday November 23 2015 On Starships & Dragonwings 5 Things About the World of Wishapick
Tuesday November 24 2015 Valerie's Reviews Book Excerpt & Soundtrack Clip Tuesday November 27 2015 Batch of Books Author Interview with M. M. Allen
Saturday December 5 2015 The Fairview Review Wishapick Book Review
Thursday December 10 2015 Inspired by Savannah Wishapick Book Review
Tuesday December 15 2015 Just Another Mom Wishapick Book Review
Wednesday December 23 2015 Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers Author Interview with M. M. Allen
Sunday December 27 2015 Little Miss History Author Interview with M. M. Allen