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Hi! I'm Maryn! I am in 4th grade at Marine Elementary School. I just had a few questions.

 Where do you write your stories? Do you have a special spot for you to write? How did you come up with your book? What was your inspiration?

Thanks, Maryn

Hi Maryn,

Thanks for your questions. When I sit down to write my stories, I am in one of two places. I have an office with a desk, book cases, a couple chairs, and a printer. I have an old computer with a great keyboard. I have pictures on a hutch that goes over the monitor and is the width of the desk. I have notes taped up on the hutch with tips on good writing. I even have the sticker tapped up that I handed out at your school.

Other times, I use my laptop and write in our living room when my wife is doing school work there too. That way we both are doing work, but are in the same room so we are together. When I write in the living room, sometimes there are too many distractions so I move back to my office. Just like it is a good idea to have a place where you do your homework, it's good to have a place to write.

When I start a new story, it works the same each time. I start thinking about ideas. I think about what type of adventure Hillary and Winslow would like to have next and one that would be fun and exciting for my readers. For book 5 I think it will be some kind of ghost story. I don't know the details yet so I keep thinking about it. I think that it will be summer time and Hillary and Windslow are old enough to have jobs for the summer. They will work in an antique store. There will be lots of ghost because many of the antiques will be haunted. Now I have to figure out what that will have to do with Gabendoor, and what the danger will be. Pretty soon I'll start typing it out as a rough draft and then think up what happens next.

For inspiration, sometimes I listen to music -about anything that doesn't have lyrics. I imagine it to be like the background music from a movie. It helps me imagine an action scene or danger or whatever I need. Most of the time I just daydream to come up with ideas.

Thanks again for your question. I really enjoy coming to your class and will miss working with you and all your classmates.

Keep up with your own writing.

 


Question from Emma:

How do You come up with name, especially last names, for your characters?

Thanks, Emma

Answer: Hi Emma,

Thanks for your question about how I make up names for my characters. I like to pair words together. I look at last names of people I know and have noticed a lot of them have two parts or two syllables. For example, Johnson, Donner.

I started looking at things for the first part of a name or syllable and then different things for the second part. I ended up drawing a line down the middle of a sheet of paper. On one side of the line I wrote the first thing that came into my head:

ďMeatĒ (I was eating dinner.) So I wrote down more things that had to do with food.

I wrote:

Then on the other side of the line I wrote a starter word that was from a different category. I wrote about things you eat with. I came up with:

Then I started matching words from one side of the line to the other side of the line. I came up with things like:

I combined words from the same side of the line:

Finally I made a pair I liked; Gristleteeth

That didnít look as good or sound as good as I wanted it and I started thinking of variations and came up with Gristletooth.

I liked it. Then I thought about the sound and decided it sounded like a male name and sounded like someone who was bad versus good. So no I had a nice character who would be an evil wizard. His name is Gristletooth.

I also like names that mean something. A name like Johnson, probably came from a boy named after his father. He was Johnís son. So they called him George Johnson.

Hillary and Windslow in my book have names with meaning. They are the children of the summer wind. I looked in the dictionary and thesaurus to find words that had something to do with wind. There is a gentle breeze that blows across the meadows and hills. I liked the idea and picked the words airy and hill. I put them together and modified them to fit more like a real name and came up with Hill-ary or Hillary! Cool.

There was another wind I read about that was more stormy and blew low through the valleys. I thought about that. It was a wind that was low. A low wind, or wind-low. I modified it to be Windslow (wind is low).

So now I had Hillary and Windslow, children of the summer wind. Now I needed a last name, which is what you asked about. I wanted to keep with the ďWindĒ idea. I looked back at what I had read about winds and decided I liked the idea of mixed summer winds in a meadow or field. I found what I wanted. Their last name was Summerfield.

Hillary and Windslow Summerfield, children of the wind.

Howís that? Just be creative and remember sometimes we just use Sally Jones or Bill Johnson for names because itís easy to do and weíre done. As a good and interesting writer, sometimes taking the time to do a little research and a lot of daydreaming and using a lot of paper to scribble ideas on will produce something that will amaze you. Be happy and proud when that happens. It isnít always easy or quick, but it is worth it.

Sometimes I just sit and try silly, goofy combinations. Some names in my books:

I almost have as much fun thinking up names as dreaming up an adventure.

Thanks for the question. I hope this helped. Ask more when you want some help or are just curious. I'll have the answer to this one posted on my web in a day or two and it was such a great question I think I'll stick it in my BLOG too.

Mike


Question from Emily: When will the 4th book (The Book of Sallyforth) come out?

Answer: I'm working on book 4 right now. It will be The Book of Lost Hope or Found Hope or something like that. The 5th book will be The Book of Sallyforth and all about the triplet sisters. Then I'll take a break from Gabendoor and work on my other series about the world of Amarath for awhile.
 


Question from Shelby, Stillwater, MN.  Are you going to make a sixth book of the Gabendoor series?

Answer: I don't know if I will do a 6th book or not. I'll decide after I finish book 5 and see what happens. I will be doing books that have new worlds and characters.


Question from Shelby, Stillwater, MN.  My friend and I are making a book, do you have any suggestions for it that we should have?

Answer: I'm thrilled to hear you and a friend are working on a book! Fantastic!

As the authors, you and your friend need to decide what you want to have. That's half the fun of being a writer and author.  Some pointers:
- try not to use ideas that have already been done.
- be fresh and creative
- focus on the story first and the writing second
- get feedback from people who will be honest with you. I bet your mom would say she loved it, but a mom would say that about anything you write. Mine did too.
- you want someone that will say useful things (tough to hear sometimes) like:
    - I got bored at this point
    - I really liked this part because...
    - I don't understand what is happening
    - I would like to know more about this character, she/he is really interesting
    - things like that that help you decide what to change or not change in your story.
- remember you will be doing several revisions. That's just part of writing.


Question from Shelby, Stillwater, MN.  How did you come up with 'Gabendoor'?

Answer: I was driving to work and making up nonsense souonds, looking for a word that sounded fun. I started combining words and names from things I saw out the car window, like sop (from stop sign) and bench (from a bench at a bus stop. Finally I saw a billboard with people that looked like they were talking or gabbing. I liked gabbing. Then I saw a door and window company and put gabbing with door. Then I changed it to Gabendoor.


Question from Shelby, Stillwater, MN.  Do you have to have a degree or anything special to publish a book? I first visited Gabendoor.com...and I LOVE it! I just have SO many questions! It seemed like a lot of fun to be an author! But now I know that it's harder than it looks for me. What publisher did you go to to publish your books? My RWW/SS teacher is going to send in a book she wrote to be published!

Answer: Wow, great questions. You don't need a degree or anything special to publish a book. You need a good story and to be professional in your writing, meaning you format things properly, don't have spelling or punctuation errors. The story is the hard part and it is up to your creativity. The professional part of writing is the easier part because anyone can learn if you put in the effort.

Like painting, I can teach you all the brush strokes and about paint and color. Now you know how to be a painter, but can you actually paint a portrait? See the comparison?


Question from Shelby, Stillwater, MN.  Sorry for another question, but are your fourth and fifth books really called The Sallyforth Book, and The Secret Library?

Answer: I think the 4th book will be the Book of Lost Hope, or something like that. Maybe found hope.  I' working on it now and will have to see what happens. Many readers have asked me to do a book on the Sallyforth Triplets. That might be book 5 or book 5 might reveal some secrets about the secret library. I haven't decided. What do you think I should do?


Question from Shelby, Stillwater, MN.  When and where did you start selling your books?

Answer: Getting published is hard work, but worth it. You find out it is more than having a good story. You need to be a good "professional" writer to be published and call yourself an author. Not much different than the work to become a teacher, nurse, doctor or a business person. The best part is, just like the things I mentioned, you can learn with work and practice. But.... it does take that work and practice. You can't learn to play the piano without the work.

I sent my manuscript to over 60 publishers before one took a chance on my book. There are lots of opportunities to become published. The younger you are the more possibilities exist for writers in magazines and even some books. You focus first on your story. Second on writing well and third on getting it published. You never give up, keep learning and growing and chase that dream. If you don't get published, you still will have a great time. With modern technology, you can also become your own publisher.

When you are published, the publisher takes care of a certain amount of sales. They make the book available to book distributors and put things on it like the ISBN and scaning bar codes. Even if you use a self publishing business and do things yourself, they provide the same things. You book also needs to be filed with the copyright office. None of that is too hard. When it has an ISBN, and is listed with the book distributors, then a reader can go to any book seller, on-line or store like a Barnes and Noble, give the ISBN and the book store can order the book. With a new author, the book stores line Barnes and Noble don't want to take a chance and put your book on the shelf unless they think it will really sell well. That's the hard part. For example, my books are only in the Red Balloon book store in St. Paul but they like it because they sell books from there. I had to do the work to tell readers to go there and ask for it so finally the Red Balloon would stock it. I sell more books myslelf through my website and at Amazon.com and through my publisher. The most sales come from what I sell at schools, sometimes at a booth in an art show or booth at a book selling event. The selling becomes hard work too. Readers need to learn about your book and be interested in it. You end up with the most work getting the word out. Sometimes you get lucky and someone at a radio station or TV or someone famous reads your book and does a story about it. That helps. I's like making a big snowball. You need to start it and get it rolling so it gets big enough for someone else to take notice. Most book authors don't make tons of money and have other jobs. The writers who sell short stories or articles to magazines get paid by the word sometimes 5 cents per word. sometimes up to 24 cents. Technical writers who write instruction manuals can make $75 per hour. Whew... that's a good wage. So.... there are lots of ways to be published. There are lots of challenges to face. The better your story, the better chance you have. If you don't try then you do know the outcome --nothing. So you always give it your best.


Question from Jakob, Stillwater, MN. I love your books! How do you get your ideas? I just met you today on 3/11/09.

Answer. Good question Jakob. I use my imagination. I start thinking of a story, making things up as I go, trying to think of exciting things. For book 4, Iím playing with an idea about a bad wizard that changes the way some constellations look in the sky. He starts taking hope away from people. Maybe another old wizard appears from someplace and thinks he knows how to do everything and gets in the way of a solution. Now Iíll start daydreaming about the possibilities. Iíll just imagine my way a little at a time until I have the story written.


Question from Catherine in Duluth, MN: Which book is your favorite?

Answer: I think it is book 3 because I had fun having Windslow's and Hillarie's mom travel to Gabendoor and think she was going crazy. It was fun to think of the possibilities of what could happen.


Question from Cat: How did they let you make your own cover?

Answer: The answer is fun and scary. My publisher wanted me to send some ideas for the cover. I ended up making the world of Gabendoor planet you see on the cover. Look at it upside down and see if you can spot how the land looks like a dragon. My publisher liked it so much they used it. The scary part was when they asked me to do the cover for the next two books. Hint -- the land in one view of Gabendoor looks like a frog or toad. Another one looks like a woman's face.


Question from Alexia: I would like to know why you chose some of characters you put in your book?

Answer: I'll be telling you more about this in my presentation at your school.  I like to look at words and put things together. For my wizards, I imagined one as old and tired, very worn out and ready to retire. I looked in the dictionary for words that meant old and tired. I found one --haggard. Then I though this wizard would be sensitive to animals and thought about animal names. I thought about the wolf. I put the two words together, haggared-wolf, and edited it to Haggerwolf. Can you guess the parts of the other two wizards?


Question from Catherine: "To make me turn into animals.."

Answer: Catherine, I'm not sure if this is a question, a spell you created or you want me to cast a spell. If you wear a dream-slip wristband, one from me or one you make yourself, you can be an animal in your imagination.

If this is a shadow creature that turns you into an animal, give me a name for the creature.


Question: Hi, my name is Brian I just wanted to ask you how long to make every book in the series I think it took 13 months just guessing.

Answer: Hi, Brian. You are close in your guess. If I sat down wrote for about 8 hours each day, I could write a book in about a month. It never works that way. Sometimes I write 7 or 8 chapters. Other times a month can go by and I don't write anything. On average it takes me about 5 - 6 months to write a book. Then I spend another month editing it and having it proofread. When I deliver it to my publisher it takes them another 6 to 8 months to turn it into the book you see on the shelf.


Question from Alexia, in Stillwater, MN: What inspired you to write these books?

Answer: This is a good question. Writers will tell you they usually fall into two groups. One is an outliner. They like to think out their min plot ideas and use forms to create characters by figuring out what color a character's hair is what their favorite color is, how they talk and so forth. The other kind of writer is one they call an Organic writer. An organic writer never knows where an idea will come from, what happens next, who the characters are or anything. They just make it up as they go. I'm an organic writer. When I come to your school I'll tell how I came up with the Secret Books of Gabendoor. I just started writing. I thought... hm.... I'll have 3 wizards come from some other world. They will hide something so no one will find it. Then two kids from earth will find it. Then I decided what they hide is a magic book. I made up some spells to hide the book and then decided what to name the wizards. I didn't know where the wizards came from, what the book did or who the kids were that found it. When I finished the first chapter, I began starting on the next. Everything was just one thing at time.


Comment from Cassandra in Stillwater, MN: I love your book

Answer. Thank you so very much. When I come to your school, make sure you come by and say, "Hello." I would like to thank you personally. The most important thing for me is to write something that gives some enjoyment to a reader.


Question: What is the answer to 7 across on the crossword puzzle for Merritt?

Answer: Oops... I goofed. The answer is SCHAFTER but some of the letters I put in for clues are wrong. Check the Secret Library for a Corrected Copy. Sorry.


Question: I just wanted to ask: What do you think is the most important thing to keep in mind while you are writing? And what advice would you give to young authors?
    --Sarah

Answer: Thanks so much for your thoughtful question. I believe the most important thing to keep in mind is the story and the characters. If you have realistic characters moving through an interesting story, you have the hard part done. There is a saying, "The more interesting your story is, the more forgiving your readers will be." 

You can learn to, or have someone help you with, where to put all those pesky commas and quotation marks. You can get help with dangling modifiers. If your story isn't interesting, you won't have readers. The story is your creation. It is up to you to spend the time to work out details, undergo a sometimes tough struggle to be different, and to move things along at a pace that fits the action. 

My advice for young authors is to "stick with it!"  I started writing and my stories weren't good because I lacked experience in how to put them on paper. Not with commas and such, but with how to do things like use short sentences when I wanted to express excitement and drama, and to use longer sentences in other situations. All this is about developing a writing style, much like learning to be great at oral story telling. It all takes practice and more practice. 

I joined an online writing workshop where you traded reviews and advice with other writers. They ranked your writing numerically on plot, characterization, setting, description and professionalism (technical parts). 1 was low and 5 was "ready to publish." I consistently got 1's in all areas the first year I was a member. After a while my numbers rose and finally I could get a lot of 5's because of what I learned about story telling. 

When I submitted my manuscript for publication it was rejected 60 times but I kept trying. Finally I got a contract for a 5 book series. I still work at making my "story telling" better. Commas are less trouble than they used to be, but I don't worry about them as much. Just like being a doctor or a fireman, it takes practice, instruction and experience to be a writer. Most of all you need to be a story teller at heart.

    Mike


Question: How long does it take you to write a book
    --Kaylynn

Answer: It takes me about six months to write it and another three months to edit it.


Question: What made you want to make  a second book? Why did you make a second book?
    --Katie

Answer: First, I wrote a second, and a third and now part of a fourth book because I have stories I want to share. Also my readers have enjoyed my books and have asked me to write more. Also my publisher had me sign a contract to write at least 5.


Question: Is it hard to write books? What are you getting me for my birthday, Mr. Blumer?
--Shay

Answer: It isn't hard but is work sometimes. Lots of things take work, like learning math or learning to spell. You could say they are hard, but not like learning to be a doctor. Anyone can write a story. It takes work and practice to write a good story.


Question: I don't like your book. What are you getting me for my b day
--Many

Answer: Sorry you don't like my book. Not everyone will. For your birthday I'll put your gift outside under a tree next to a cottage in Gabendoor. You'll have to dream-slip there to find it.


Question: Whatís the best part of getting emails from all these fans of yours? What is the best part of going to all of these places?
--Violet

 

Answer: To answer your question about what is the best part of getting emails from
fans and going to all these places --

I makes me feel really good when a reader tells me they enjoyed my story or
that my book started them thinking about worlds or stories of their own or
that they decided to do more writing. It feels good to know I could create
something that brought some fun into someone's life.

The best part of going places is meeting so many wonderful people, young and
old. I love the great questions about writing or about my stories. It
brightens my day. I just feel like a regular person so sometimes I get a
little embarrassed when people treat me like I'm famous (I'm not). I love
making new friends.

I hope that answers your question.


Question: What is your favorite magic spell?

--Taylor

Answer: I don't know that I have a favorite. I do like the scene in The Book of Second Chances where Windslow battles Fistlock and they use magic spells fight each other. It's like a big food fight almost.


Question: Why do you make up weird names for your book?

--Lorryn

Answer: I just like to have a bit of fun. The names are really fun to make up, and many of them mean something.


Question: Hold are you?

--Jesse

Answer: Just turned 59 on St. Patrick's Day.


Question: Will you put the blub in your book?

--Nikolaus

Answer: I don't know. I'm not sure what a "blub" is.


Question: What is the most fun and what is the hardest about writing your book.

--Jessica R.

Answer: The most fun is writing and using my imagination to create the world and animals and the story. The hard parts are putting all teh comas in the right place, spelling, and research.

Mike


Question: What will your forth and fifth books be called?

--Alex S.

Answer: I don't know yet. Book 1 is The Book of Second Chances. Book 2 is The Book of Broken Promises. Book 3 is The Book of Twisted Truths. I might do another book like the other three or a book about the Sallyforth Triplets. I don't know yet.

Mike


Question: I want to know what made you interested in the names and the creatures?

--Barnabas

Answer: I wanted names that were different, and fun. I spent a lot of time coming up with two part names for people like: Gristle Tooth = Gristletooth, the bad guy in book two. For the shadow creatures I had fun making them up while I drove to work each day. It helped pass the time and was fun.

    Mike


Question: On your first story did you make up the names of your monsters or did someone else do it for you?

--Steven, Nichael C

Answer: For all my stories I make up everything myself. When I started telling people about the shadow creatures I invented, they liked the idea and started naming their own. That's why I put up a section on my web to show them off. I like reading them. I hope you do to, but never use them. I want my book to be full of my own ideas.

    Mike


Question: Do you have fun writing?

--Destiny K.

Answer: I do have fun writing.  Most of the fun is in thinking up what will happen next in the story I am working on. I like making up places and animals and fun twists on the story. Not as much fun is trying to write it well. It's easy to come up with a great idea, but it can be a challenge to write that idea well on paper.

    Mike


Question: Why did you pick the name Molly Folly Sallyforth?????

--Karen

Answer: I like unusual and fun names. I will sometimes get an idea for a character and then think about words that might describe them. When I thought about Molly, I saw her as a little mysterious and someone who moved around a lot. I checked for words in the dictionary and found:

sal∑ly (s≤l"∂) intr.v. sal∑lied, sal∑ly∑ing, sal∑lies. venturing forth; a jaunt. [From French saillie, a sally, from Old French, from feminine past participle of salir, to rush forward, from Latin salļre, to leap.

I just added "forth" to come up with Sallyforth. I wanted to have some fun and make her triplets. I decided to have one sister always tell the truth, one never tell the truth and one sometimes truthful and sometimes not. I already had some 2-part names: Hagger---Wolf = Hagerwolf. I first came up with Nelly Never Sallyforth. Then Tillie Truely, and finally Molly Folly. Guess which is which by the names.

    Mike


Question: gigkgkgjggughyirntj8yu9truyjerugnhgfuihitggggg?

--Robert

Answer: Ganjjlop;gaylyt.

    Mike


Question: Is it fun to write books like this? How does it feel to know your book is so great?

--Success Skinner

Answer: I have always liked to write. Even in elementary school, I had a notebook where I jotted down thoughts and ideas that I made up just for fun. Much later in life I decided to try a book. When I visit your school, you'll learn more about that. I love writing. A big mystery is never knowing if someone will like your writing or not. You can't let that fear stop you. Even if someone reads what you wrote and tells you it STINKS, don't worry. Keep writing and learning how to be better with each story. I never know if my books are great or not. I have to trust wonderful readers, just like you to tell me if they think my stories are great or not. Thank you for telling me. It means a lot to me.

    Mike


Question: A Magic Spell

--Samantha

Answer: Samantha, did you want me to cast a spell for you or did you have a question about them. It's fun to make them up. Most of the time I want them to rhyme. They don't need to, I guess. The fun part about writing a story in a world you create, is that you can make things work any way you want!

    Mike


Question: Why is it that way back in history when the world was more like Gabendoor, people had time to play cards and have neighborhood baseball games and stuff and now, when we have microwaves and dishwashers and all this stuff to make our lives easier, we have less time?

    --Casey

Answer: I had to smile at the "way back in history." Baseball is a relatively new sport. Playing cards does go way back.  Anyway, here are my thoughts. I don't think there was any more time. There was probably less time. If you look at a rural setting, many farmers and their families literally worked dawn to dusk. Many still do today. We have a lot of new conveniences that let us accomplish tasks faster, but I don't think we invest the savings into leisure time. If you look at alternative ways available ways to fill whatever leisure time you have, there are changes. Now we have computers and video games. Way way back, you maybe had a wheel hoop and a stick or a cornhusk doll. You played outside.

Back to the issue of time. I do think we have more time. Back in history, if you ignore the time spent running a farm, take a look at cultures where very few children when to school because they couldn't be spared from working the farm or the family business to simply to be able to eat. The time is there we just don't spend it on simple things like baseball in the back yard or playing cards.

Try this. Turn off your TV. Unplug it. Turn off and unplug your computer. Hide the car keys. Let the air out of your bicycle tires. Pull the batteries out of your CD player and video games. Put away your hobby projects. Limit your house to two books. Allow yourself a ball (not an official baseball. Just some kind of ball.) Find a stick outside. Find an old deck of playing cards. If cards are missing, use it anyway. Now spend a week and see what happens. The time was the same. You may feel bored, you may feel relaxed. Time wouldn't change, just how you made use of it.  


Question: Thanks for coming to the Elk River High School! It was really nice meeting you. I have a question. How long did it take you to write this book? I forgot to ask you that when you were here.

    --Thanks Meisha

Answer: I could do about a chapter a day. The book is about 33 chapters long, or something like that. So that would be just over a month. Reality is that I don't always feel creative or life gets in the way. It took me about six months to write The Book of Second Chances. It took me about nine months to write The Book of Broken Promises. Now I've been working on book 3, The Book of Twisted Truths. I've worked on and off for six months and only have 10 chapters done.


Question: If you got a second chance on writing this book what would you change and why would you change it?

    --Jeff

Answer: Great question. In a way I got a lot of second chances and did change some of it. I wasn't sure what to do about Windslow on Earth. Should I give him a chance at walking again? I decided that wouldn't be right. I hope readers with disabilities like the book, but don't want them to think about magic as a cure. Anyone with a disability can have tremendous adventures in their dreams, and Windslow did learn that he can do many things on Earth.

I'm lucky because my publisher wants a five book series about Gabendoor. That means I get four more chances to change things. In book two, The Book of Broken Promises, I use Molly Folly Sallyforth more because readers have told me they like her. Maybe she will get to be the star in her own book someday!  I was going to retire the wizards in book three, but they wouldn't let me. They almost went on strike! Characters do that sometimes. I kept them in. 

With each story, I figure that Windslow and Hillary are changing as they slowly grow up. So I have to think about how I want them to change.

Whew.... writing can be fun and challenging.

Thanks for your question.

    Mike


Question: How do you come up with all of these books. And did you like school when you were young?

    --Taylor

Answer: It can be hard to explain where ideas come from, Taylor. For the first book, you may want to look at my blog (web log). I tell about it there. Actually I start thinking about things that are interesting. Because this is a series, I have to stick with a "Book of ...." theme. For book two I decided on broken promises because the idea of promises was interesting to think about. When we make a promise, I think sometimes it's for something we can't guarantee, so maybe instead we should have promised to "try as hard as we could."

I think there are promises we make that we might have to break. If a friend told me he was going to rob a bank, and asked me to promise not to tell, I couldn't promise or I'd have to break the promise.

So before writing The Book of Broken Promises, I did a lot of thinking about promises we make that are hard ones. For Hillary, she hasn't seen her biological father in many years. Her feelings were hurt and she promised she would never talk to him again. Now that she's older, her dad wants to contact her. Should she keep her promise or break it?  You'll have to read book two to find out.

DID I LIKE SCHOOL?  Hmm... Some parts I loved, some I wasn't crazy about. But, I love learning about things. I loved art and history, science and math (surprise). Actually a math question is the reason for the Sallyforth Sisters. In about 4th grade for a math question, the teacher told us this puzzle.  There were three statues and one told the truth, one lies and the other lies or truth. You could ask one statue one question only. From the answer you had to figure out which statue each was. It's from an old puzzle where you win a kingdom or something if you answer right.  Well.... I figured it out!  I was the only one that did.

I also liked writing, hated English and flunked grammar. Who would have guessed I would grow up and wish I had done better in grammar.

School is great. Sometimes it's not fun. Working is great and sometimes it's not fun. Eating chocolate cake is fun, but it can make you sick!  For everything, you have to take the good and the bad, but try hard and find things you do like. Focus on the good things. Also I loved most of my teachers. They really helped me at times when I had to do something I didn't like.

My grandfather had good advice for me. He told me you didn't need to like something to do well at it.  He always had good advice.

        Mike


Question: By the way THANK YOU!!!! for pausing while you where talking with the media teacher right be for your niece left on Dec. 5 so that you could sign the card for me. I was wondering were I could buy your book other than on the internet? "THANKS AGAIN" P.S. you are a good writer. Maybe talk to you again

    --Jordan

Answer: Thank you Jordan. You and all of my readers are the most important thing to me. I hope I always remember to give time first to anyone interested in my writing.

Because I'm a new and "unknown author" for now, not too many book stores have my book. You can help me by going to any book store. Tell them you want them to order "The Book of Second Chances," by J. Michael Blumer. Tell them the ISBN is 1-59092-317-0. That is the International Serial Book Number which is a unique number given to every book. The book store can find it in there computer from that number. Another way is to purchase one at school. I left 20 signed copies at the Media Center. They are $15.00 each. You can also order a book from my web site, I'll sign it personally for you and mail it to you. With your parent's permission, I mail you the book and they can mail me a check. If you do want to order from the internet, you can get my book from Amazon.com. Click here to go to my order page. Or you can order it from my publisher, WindstormCreative.com. My order page has a link to them too.

Thanks again. Maybe I'll be back again.

P.S. Thanks for offering to help with reviews. I'll save your email address. Who knows. If I need some reviewers, maybe I ask for your help someday.

    Mike


Question: Hi I am Brianna. You came to Sun Path today & I was there. I just wanted to say that you did a really great job with the speech!

    --Brianna

Answer: Thank you so much, Brianna. I was worried I would bore all of you . I appreciate your comments.

    Mike


Question: How did you think up the characters for the "Second Chances" book??

    --Mariah

Answer: Hm... Sometimes I'm not sure. Have you ever daydreamed? That' what I do when I need a new character. I think about what that character needs to do in the story, like they were an actress or actor in a play. Then I daydream about how they look or act until I think of something that I like and thing other's might like. Sometimes I might be shopping and hear someone talk or see someone that looks interesting. I might try to remember one or two things about that person that attracted my attention and use it in building a character.

Thanks for the great question.

    Mike


Question: What was your dream when you were young? Was it an author?

    --Agnes

Answer: I never really thought about being an author when I was young. I wasn't sure what I wanted to be other than an pirate on an adventure. I knew that wouldn't happen. I liked writing but never thought about it as a carrier.

In college, I liked philosophy and psychology, but ended up in the business world. I still wrote, mostly about things I had done and made up adventures, but just for amusement. It wasn't until about 6 years ago that I finally decided to give a try at writing a book.

Thanks for your question and have a great dream-slip adventure of your own.

    Mike


Question: Does the story show that anyone can rely on having lots of second chances in life so you don't need to try that hard the first time?

    --A Grandparent

Answer: Well... I can't answer this very well because I'd be giving away the ending. Let's just say that you should always do your best and try your best.

Mike


Question: Is there any hesitation on your part, with the book what you are about to send into the world?

    --Stephanie

Answer: An interesting question, and one I've not been asked before. No hesitation as you might think. The Book of Second Chances is rated pre-teen, and the strongest word is "crud." There is no gore, or controversial social issues. It was fun to write and meant to be fun and entertaining to read.  There is a small bit of hesitation, and that has to do with the thought that readers might not like it. That always bothers me, thinking myself at times, that it will put readers to sleep or bore them.

I think that sometimes in life we want something to happen, and when it does, we worry. Gee, I want that job. Yikes! I just got it. What do I do now? That sort of thing.

When I started writing, I did so because I didn't want to be old and gray and say I wish I had tried my hand at writing. I wanted to be able to say I tried and it worked or I tried and it didn't work. Either way would be fine.

When you submit a manuscript, only .03% (that's 3/10th of one percent) ever get published. So the odds are against you. Even if published, there is a 95% chance the book will never be a success. I know writers who hesitate when it comes to submitting because they don't want to face the possibility of rejection.

One last thought. It's too late at this point to think about a book you are "about" to send into the world. It's there. The minute you let someone start reading the manuscript chapters, it's there. Feedback is an important part of writing. I would think that any hesitation would begin to form at that point.

Thanks for the thought provoking question.

Mike