Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Interview of Marvin Mayer, reprinted by permission

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Children’s Author – Marvin Mayer – Interviewed by LAWonder10
condensed from interview as appeared on Rockin’ Book Reviews , used with permission by interviewer and webmaster

   Marvin Is A Wonderful, New Children’s Author Who I Am Elated To Have As A Guest On my Site Today! His Books Are So Well-Written and Delightful. Each has a very profound teaching element to it.

 1.  Marvin, where were you raised? Is that where you feel is your “Home Town”?

I was born, reared and educated in Louisville, KY.  Although I’ve been gone from Louisville for more than 50 years, that’s still my “home town.”

Well that is certainly a beautiful place to call home!

2. In your brief Bio on your website, you have stated, you never enjoyed books as a child? Why is that? Do your children/grandchildren enjoy them?

Unfortunately, although my mother tried to interest me in books, I didn’t enjoy reading. I was a slow learner throughout my school years, and never learned the joy of reading. To this day, I’m still a rather “lazy” reader, but I definitely read more today than I did as a youngster.  Through my writing, I’m trying to influence children to take advantage of the world of books.

My daughter was an avid reader, but my son was more like me, reading only what he had to read. My granddaughters are readers, and one of them is a teacher, so her children are discovering books.

In my personal observations, throughout my life,  on an average, I find girls tend to be more interested in books than boys, yet we have many great male authors such as you are.  I have this situation in my own family, as well.

3. You volunteer for many children’s groups. What are they in what ways have you benefited from doing so?

 As an extension of the library, I read to children at a day care nursery. The program is called Book Buddies, and my benefit is in seeing how the children enjoy hearing the stories I read to them.  I also used to volunteer at a children’s advocacy center. There, the benefit was in knowing I may have brought a bit of fun and happiness into the lives of children who had to endure physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse. Both of these volunteer activities allowed me to be more “in touch” with young children since I have no little ones at home any more. The same could be said for when I taught first grade Sunday school at my church.

I think that is marvelous! If more adults would dedicate their time volunteering to aid others this world would be a far better place.

Thank you for that example.

4.  Do you relate in any way to the children coming from troubled homes whom you serve?  If so,  in what ways? If not, do you feel this service makes a big difference in their well-being?

That’s a tough one! Coming from a “normal” middle class household, I was blessed to have a caring mother and father, both of whom were there for me, teaching me right from wrong, assuring me of their love for me, and instilling in me their set of moral values. So, no. I can’t say I related to those children who suffered abuse or who came from abusing relationships.

Still, because I had it so good, I feel if I can just show children they are loved and that each of them is a valuable human being, I’ll make a small difference in their well-being. I was told by another volunteer that my being there, reading to a child who had to testify in court, made a big difference to him, so in at least one instance, the answer was yes.

I was fortunate to have kind,loving, moral parents, as well. I have often grieved for those who do not. I cannot imagine life without the love and support of my parents, especially during those formative years.

I do feel you do make a impact for good on more lives that you are aware of.

5.  Your book, Ferdinand Frog’s Flight, is written beautifully in rhyme. Why, do you feel, most authors no longer use rhyming in their writing? Why do you?

Most publishers discourage writers, particularly new writers from attempting to write in rhyming verse, saying they lack the ability to do it properly. More often than not, those publishers are correct. It’s difficult to tell a story in rhyming verse where the meter remains constant and the rhymes are not “forced.” Even the training seminars and courses I’ve taken discourage writing in rhyme, saying the story can be told as well, if not better, in ordinary prose. So, in order to have their work published, many emerging authors dutifully avoid writing in rhyming verse. I happen to enjoy writing (and reading) stories with rhymes. Many of the books I read to the day nursery children use rhymes. Dr. Seuss wrote in rhyme, and even though many of the words were his own creation, they were accepted (as rhymes) throughout the world. Rhymes tend to make the story flow and children seem to enjoy them more, but it is definitely not for everyone or for every book.

I agree. Most authors who write in rhyme do not do it successfully. However, you do!  I was totally impressed how easily it flowed together from verse to verse, page to page.

Personally, rhyming stories were always a joy to me to read and memorize .

6.  Interestingly, in this book, Ferdinand decides his dream wasn’t all he thought it to be. What are your feelings on this? In what ways are dreams important and worth striving for?

While my unspoken message here is “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence,” at book signing events I always sign my books with words encouraging children to aim high and dream big. I strive to present a positive self image of/for my young readers, so Ferdinand, after experiencing what he thought he wanted to do, realized he was better off where God originally placed him – in his pond and on land – rather than in the air. He was thrilled to be back in his natural, familiar environment.

LOL!  That is a lesson well-learned

 7.   On one of your websites are pages individuals can download to color. Did you create those pages by yourself? If so, when did you begin drawing?  If not, who assisted you with this and in what ways?

I wish I could take credit for the drawings, but I can’t even draw good “stick” figures!

The same marketing company individual who helped me create my logo, designed and ordered book markers for me (for Sammy Squirrel,) and has done a host of other things to help me, created the coloring pages and fixed them so I could put them on my website for a free download. She’s been a huge help to me ever since I started my writing career. Her name is Deann Wells and the company is Exclusively Yours.

Well, she is to be congratulated! She has done a wonderful job in creating them.  Yu have done a wonderful thin by coming up with the added idea for allowing this for children.

Amen to that!  I like how well you brought that final point out. Often individuals feel because they have less they are not worth as much.

I think readers can emphasize those points with voice inflection as they read how unhappy and scared Ferdinand was while flying. I think readers also can ask the child questions about what Ferdinand learned from his experience, and ask if the child can relate to Ferdinand’s situation.

Hopefully, they will do just that.

8.  What is your next endeavor and when will it be published?

4RV Publishing, the same publisher responsible for production of Ferdinand Frog’s Flight, is in the final stages of structuring my next book. They haven’t given me a target release date, but I’m hopeful it will be by early summer. That book, titled Case of the Stolen Stash, is a “detective” story. What makes it different is that all of the characters are birds! Thus, instead of Sherlock Holmes, my detective is Sherlock Hawk. This book will be for the same reading age group as those who read and enjoyed Sammy Squirrel. In fact, some of the events in Sammy Squirrel are introduced into the story line of this book.

I want this book to be both entertaining and educational, so I have included a glossary (to help young readers identify new words and their meanings) and an appendix. The appendix features photographs of the various types of birds mentioned throughout the story, and factual data about the species; size, nesting habits, diet, etc.

In addition to “Stash,” I have a few other manuscripts to present to my publisher, but 4RV has its hands full at the moment. In the meantime, I’m trying to get my thoughts together to create my next book.

This all sounds exciting! It is appreciated by many readers of all ages when an author adds explanatory glossaries and helpful pictures.

9. Do you feel it is a good possibility you will write books for older children such as middle school age? If so when and what would it be about? If not, why?

I doubt that I will attempt to write for teenagers or older children, but I learned a long time ago, never say never. I’m not sure I have a message or any subjects of interest for today’s teens. I prefer to write for younger children. They are so innocent, a lot less “worldly” than today’s kids who have their own iPhones, iPads, etc. Younger children seem more interested in being entertained with wholesome stories, stories not tied to sex, drugs, and violence. Perhaps my thinking is outdated, but that’s who I am, so that’s where I will continue to focus with my writing.

You are correct in feeling you can have a great impact on younger children. Psychologists have stated a child’s main values have been set by ages 5 through 8. ?The young are much more teachable.

10.  You are not only a dad and grandfather but a great-grandfather as well.  How many children/grandchildren in all? From what age?

Obviously, my surviving son is an adult. His daughters are in their mid-twenties, and I have a great grandson age 5 and his younger sister, my great granddaughter, who is 2.

Amazing! I cannot picture you as a great grandfather…I cannot picture me as a great grandmother but that possibility is becoming close each year!

11.  What caused you to become a children’s book writer?

We already discussed my prior lack of interest in reading, so it is strange that in spite of that, I like to write. Throughout my entire working career, I have been praised for my ability to write effective business letters, memos, and other business related articles. For family events and for special occasions for friends, I often concocted a poem about the honoree or honorees, and recipients seemed pleased to get them. So, when I retired, my wife encouraged me to pursue writing “professionally.” Since she know how much I enjoyed being around children, she handed me something she had carried with her as we moved around the country; an application for enrollment at Connecticut’s Institute for Children’s Literature.

I completed the application, was accepted into a course called Writing For Children and Teenagers, and completed the correspondence course in about 15 month.

Reading and writing always seem to go together. It boggles my mind why someone talented in writing would not want to read as well! You are definitely a talented writer!

I admire the Acknowledgements you give your wonderful wife. It is very gratifying to many of the female population, when a man gives such recognition to his wife.

12. What goal do you hope to obtain in future years that you haven’t obtained yet?

My goal when I started writing children's books was to entertain children and get them interested in reading at an early age.  Thus far, my “reach” has been rather limited to my immediate community, with a bit of a stretch to places where family and friends dwell, and to festivals and events not more than several hours’ drive from home. Certainly, I would like to have my work recognized by being award winners, but even more than that, I would like to achieve a more worldly distribution for my books. To accomplish that, I’m sure I’ll have to “master” social media, so my goal is to do just that: learn how to put the internet to work in ways I haven’t even imagined yet.

Social Media is the way of the future. I am learning the true values of utilizing it. There is so much to lean about it.  I will do all I can to promote these wonderful books. Be sure to “Follow” Marvin on his Website Link below.

Thank you again, Marvin, for being my guest and allowing us to become better acquainted with you.

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