Since we spoke to Meaghan she has been notified of her nomination in the National Readers Awards 2014. Mousekabitz and Tyler The Fish Saves Lake Erie have received nominations within the Children's Animal and Children's Pop-Up Book Categories. We congratulate Meaghan and wish her every success with her nomination hopes.
We love chatting to authors. You'd expect us to say that considering we are so passionate about reading. But there is something truly magical that happens when you catch the heart and soul behind what you read. When you speak to an author you get to appreciate the blood, sweat and tears that has gone into their writing. The countless hours, late at night, toiling over the chapters, refining, rewriting and coffee oh so much coffee. Often I will go back and re read a book after an interview and appreciate even more the skill behind the pen.
Meaghan Fisher is an accomplished writer of children books. Anyone that is under the illusion that writing for children is easy is just plain wrong. Actually, I think it's harder, have you ever tried to speak to child? To get a point across? To do so is very hard and to win their trust and engage their wonderful, limitless imaginations, not yet spoilt or blunted by the world is a breath taking experience. Having earned acclaim from readers around the world as well as the 2013 Best Picture Book of the Year award for Mousekabitz, Meaghan is deservedly highly regarded. We are delighted she agreed to chat with us and urge you from the outset to check her work out.
- Hi Meaghan, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us. Can I start by saying how well written and well illustrated your books are. Is that important to you? That the quality of the writing is matched by the illustrations?
Hi, Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, I am so excited to be a guest.
Yes, the illustrations are really important to me and something that means a lot to me because the person buying the book sees the art work first. So it’s the first impression of the book that the person gets. Therefore, the art has to be fantastic to get them to want to pick up the book and read what’s inside. So yes, the quality of the book is very important to me, it must be the best, in terms of illustrations and writing. I am a huge perfectionist. I work with the illustrator for months to make sure all my books are perfect.
- Can you share with us a little of the personal journey that led you to writing children's books?
When I was a child, I began writing poetry as an outlet when I was in sixth grade. During that summer, entering seventh grade (Jr. High), I wrote my first novel about a murder mystery, and I kept a journal as well. I was always writing or had my nose in book. I loved reading and writing however when I entered college, I took many English Courses and Poetry Courses and began getting my poetry published. I never thought much of it but then I finished college and was going into Grad School when I wrote my first children’s book.
I was attending a writers group of women who wrote articles and novels. Nothing to do with children’s stories of course, I was the only one who wrote poetry and Children’s books but I believe I write for children so well because I practically raised my little brother, Alex when I was growing up. I also was a Nanny for a family next door, after school in high school. I put myself through college by Nanning for a few families. So I all I knew was children. It was my life and background. I love kids, so why not write for them.
What inspired you to take this momentous leap?
What really inspired me to take this leap and get my children’s books published, was my sixth grade English Teacher, Linda Gallagher. She always encouraged me as a child to keep writing. She said I had a true talent and one day I would be published. It was a fate that one day we met up again when I was taking a walk. It turned out that she lived nearby. Linda had asked me what I was up to and I said, I had done a silly thing and wrote a children’s book. She insisted on looking at it and once she did, she told me it was so good, it had to be published.
My husband, also a big critic, had said that to me after reading my first children’s book I wrote. Since these two people where the most honest people I knew in my life, I knew it had to be true and that day, my whole life changed. I was a writer! At that moment I know that life would never be the same.
However, the most important thing to me is the moral lessons that I write about in my books! In each book I have three subjects I write about and teach to children, but in a day and age where technology has taken over a lot and parents are so busy that they don’t take the time to teach their children moral lessons anymore, I hope to inspire parents through my books to want to read to their child every night and teach their children to be better people and that too has made me take the leap and get published.
- You have a supportive husband who you have often talked to me about as being really involved in your projects. Can you tell us more about his role?
My husband’s name is Tim Rowe and he is very important because without him, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. He is a big believer in my mission to inspire children and get my moral lessons out there. He is EXTREMELY SUPPORTIVE. He is my book designer, my website designer, he works with my artist for my books, works with INGRAM, works with the printer, and does my finances, and all my media and marketing materials. What doesn’t he do!
He also has done the illustrations for a book that will come out later, called “Owly,” which is a story I wrote for my daughter who loves owls. Tim always wanted to do a book together to give to my daughter to always have throughout her life. He is also my “go to man!” I go to him for everything before I act. I always know that he will understand where I am coming from, my feelings about something, and whether or not I should do something regarding my career.
He’s my rock and the love of my life. We have two beautiful children together. My daughter is 3, about to turn 4, and our baby boy is 10 months old. While I work events and travel on my book tours, Tim often comes with me and our two children. He will help me set up for my event, bring me food and take care of the kids at the event while I work. Afterwards, he comes back to help me break down and pack up the car again. I am incredibly lucky!
- How did you feel when Mousekabitz won the Best Picture book award? Have you any plans to turn it into an audio book in the future?
It felt wonderful to know that the book had touched so many hearts that it won an award of this kind. I was so excited. I have also been lucky to have gotten such wonderful feedback from teachers about the book! It’s just wonderful!
I have also gotten 5 Stars from Readers Favourite on 4 out of the six titles that I have and 4 Stars for the other two, so I am truly lucky.
In addition, I just found out yesterday that I won three amazing children’s book awards from Creative Child Magazine. Mouskabitz and Lars the Monkey Flies a WACO Airplane both won: 2014 Preferred Choice Award, Kids Book Category and Tyler the Fish Saves Lake Erie won: 2014 Seal of Excellence Award in Kids Book Category.
No, I have no plans of turning it into an audio book yet, but maybe someday.
- Having spoken to authors in the past, one of the areas they find most difficult is that of publicity. You always seem to be out and about. Can you give any advice on what you've found works for you?
What I tell people who come up to me at events and say to me, “I have this book I have written,” I then say to them, if you are willing to make 40-100 phone calls a week, get on every social media account and hit it hard promoting yourself and booking events every day, you will make it! It’s the truth. You can never give up, and must keep on going no matter what anyone else says, and work, work, work. It’s constant. My life is 24 hours a day work, everyday. But I know my mission is important, so I don’t give up. I have given up a lot in my life, however, to be where I am today! But, I know that my children will know what it’s like to work hard for oneself, and that I was out there doing positive things in the world and sharing my moral lessons with children to make a difference. Its hard work but it’s worth it in the end.
- What does the future hold for you? Can you give us any clues on future books?
Yes, my seventh book is being released next week at the Summer Moon Festival at the Neil Armstrong Museum in Ohio July 19, 2014. It’s called, “If I Could Pull the Moon from the Sky.” The Character is based off my son, in the future tense and it’s a cute nursery rhyming book for toddlers.
Then I will release two children’s books about my hometown’s Strawberry Festival in Troy, Ohio in June 2015 and 2016. The books titles are: “The Strawberry Festival” and “The Strawberry Festival and the Pie Eating Contest.” The festival is set in my hometown in Troy and it’s a huge, huge festival held every year in June.
Then I have “Owly”, which I had talked about earlier, that my husband, Tim Rowe has done the art for and I have written. Not sure when that will release. We are still working on it.
However, I am on a two year book tour right now touring the US! I’m doing lots of book signings all over the country and attending book festivals and children’s festivals, Readings in schools, etc. I am very busy and don’t have much days open on my calendar for a very long time, but it’s a good problem to have.
Meanwhile, I hope to go to Italy for a book tour some day for my Italian book, Giuseppe. That’s a big dream of mine to make a reality. But for now, I am doing a lot of television and radio appearances and media all over the US. I plan to just keep growing and stay on track with my mission and over the next 6 months, I plan to get an agent and bigger Publisher in New York. I also hope to get a great deal with a UK Publisher someday since I have lots of UK sales, followers, and supporters. It’s all in a day’s work! It will happen someday soon, I know it. However for now, I just take it one day at a time and I enjoy everything I have, which is a lot.
- Do you enjoy the reaction from the children when you read your books to them?
Yes, I love to interact with the children as I read my books to them and teach them the meaning’s behinds my books but it’s so fun to hear the things they already know before I ask them! It’s great to see that they are enjoying my book and interacting with me and my books and getting excited.
Can you share any funny interactions with us?
The funniest moment that I recall was a child who told me that Sadie farted, when the character, Sadie the Skunk puffs out a stink of icky fog! I laughed pretty hard.
- What would you say the greatest challenge for you has been as an author?
Honestly, I think being an author in general is a challenge. It’s about getting your material into the right hands at the right time and making good contacts with people that really believe you and your work. It’s about working with good people. It’s about keeping your motivation up and the fact that you must keep going even when it’s harder some days than others, and it’s about you always believing in your mission.
I believe that I was put here on this earth by God to install the moral lessons I teach in my books into children and help inspire parents to read to their children every night. I like to teach children that you can do anything you set your mind to. But, it’s a hard mission sometimes because it means giving up a lot in my life. I am always working so I miss some things, but never my children’s events and that is where I draw the line. I refuse to have my child miss something or I miss an event of my child’s.
However, I get inspired by my family, my children, and husband to keep going every day. I also see how far I have come, and I know that I am teaching my children as they watch me teach other children. So it’s all worth the everyday challenges.
How do you balance your work as a writer with the role as a wife and mum?
That’s incredibly hard but the truth is that I have a routine that I follow and stick to. If I stick to this routine every day, I can take care of my family, address their needs, and then get my work completed. I would say that’s my balance, and that is how I keep it all flowing and working.
-What would you say is your favourite character so far within the books you have created?
Honestly, I love all my books and characters like they are my babies, just like I love my children and I don’t really have a favourite one because they are all special to me in different ways.
However, the ones that I’m closest to are the books that I have written about my children. I love Ladybugs is about my daughter when she first began walking at 9 months. We had a ladybug infestation and she found a true love for ladybugs. Then, there is my new book coming this July, If I Could Pull the Moon from the Sky, which is about my son in the future tense, and also both of the Strawberry festival books coming soon, are about my two children.
- Finally, and for any aspiring children's writers out there, what advice would you give to them?
I like to tell children that anyone can be an author and practise makes perfect! So practise, practise, practise and read, read, read!! You can never read enough to get inspired and learn from other authors, the good and the bad and it’s really good to keep writing and practise your writing skills every day. Get inspired by the authors that have come before you. You can do whatever you put your mind to!
Meaghan, thank you so much for talking to us. We really do wish you all the best in the future. If anyone wants to find out more or purchase your books can you point them in the right direction?
Thank you for having me on your Blog. It’s been fun.
You can order my books on Amazon.com just type in my name as the author, Barnesandnobles.com, booksamillon.com and gypsypublications.com or just email me at: email@example.com and I can send you one and sign it for you.