Friday, August 6, 2010

Interview Friday with children's author Kat Michaels

Kat Michaels lives in Upstate New York with her children and husband and a Morkie named Max. Her passion for children only increased after the premature birth of her son Evan, who weighted two pounds seven ounces at birth. Evan has taught his mother that miracles exist for all of us as long as we are willing to see them. As an advocate for children's causes Kat will help raise money to benefit any organization involved with the welfare of children. Kat writes not only for the child on our lap but also for the child inside each of us and hopes to touch the hearts off all her readers.

VS: Kat, I have known you for a while from writing social sites. Actually, I think our paths crossed back when I was starting out. You have been an inspiration to me on my road to publication, so it is a real treat to have you here today on The Writing Mama. Now you are parent, but I don’t know how many children you have or what their ages are. Would you mind sharing a little bit about your family and what a typical writing day is like for you?

Kat: Hi Virginia, first of all it is I who has been honored to have met you. I'm sure I can speak for many authors when I say rejection is a given so when you find that you touched someone’s life in a positive way it truly builds your confidence and is such a blessing.

As a mom, there is no typical. I have a 10-year-old Evan. He was my preemie born at two pounds seven ounces. He has slight cerebral palsy and he was my inspiration to write for children. I also have a 28-year-old daughter Lisa and a 21-year-old daughter Alyssa and three beautiful grandchildren ages 10, 8 and 2. So I have plenty of little critics on hand to get advice from. I am also a foster parent and I do respite care for these kids when needed. I live with my husband, whom I adore, in Upstate New York, and we live a normal...abnormal life.

I've learned there are no typical days when you're a mom and to think things are going the way you planed when the day begins is only going to frustrate you. So, I rely on God to set the path before me and trust in him along each step. Coffee is a must.

VS: I had no idea you had such a big and busy family. I’m even more amazed. My children are spaced out somewhat like yours. I know it keeps me on my toes as just as you said, “I’ve learned there are no typical days when you’re a mom.” So now I’m wondering, with all that inspiration around you, have you ever suffered from writer’s block?

Kat: I'm going to be 50 in November so remembering where I left my glasses is a block. Sometimes I know the end of a story before the beginning and I know where I want to go, but can't figure out how to get there. Then, I'll be driving or sitting in a waiting room and I'll have a light-bulb moment. VS: One, you don’t look old enough to be turning 50. Second, I forget where I leave my glasses all the time. Once I even put the remote in the frig. I think just being a mom makes you a little brain dead at times. Now, you mostly write children’s picture books, but have you ever thought about writing in a different genre?

Kat: I sure have! The more adventures the better. I've done school visits and the older kids have asked when I was going to write a chapter book. So that's my next venture. I want to shed a positive light to kids. VS: I think you would be great at anything you set your mind to. Do your children inspire your books? If so, can you share what part of the storyline, character, etc?

Kat: I spent two months in a Neo-natal intensive care unit with Evan. It was a day-by-day battle, and his world was filled with wires and beeping; instead of being at home in my arms. Everyday little annoyances were not important or worth the time spent. When I was told he had CP, I never wanted him to feel different because he wore a leg brace, or didn't run as fast as other little boys. I promised the Lord I would write for children. It was my way of thanking him for being there when I couldn't. That's when I wrote Willow's Bend. VS: Kat, I have read your book, Willow’s Bend. It was one of the most inspiring, fun, and uplifting books I’ve read. My five-year-old daughter loves it. We read it about once a week. You also have another book, Gentle is the Night, I have not read. Can you share with us a bit about each of your books?

Kat: Willow's Bend is about a Grouchy little frog who doesn't want to take the time to play with anyone who is not just like him. At the end he realizes it's not who we are on the outside that makes us special, it's who we are within when he meets another frog who has stepped out and made friends with others.

Gentle is the Night is for younger children. It's a nighttime story done in rhyme that expresses a mother's love for her child and that the night is not scary but a time for dreams and contentment.

I also have a third unpublished book titled Cool Beans that I am working on.

VS: Gentle is the Night sounds alike a great book to read my girls before bed. I’ll have to buy it. Okay, so what do you enjoy most about writing?

Kat: I think the true enjoyment is not in the writing but seeing what the writing does for the readers.

I once had a mom call me because she was thrilled that her little girl potty trained to Willow's Bend. She had left it in the bathroom and told her daughter she would only read it to her if she went on the potty. My mission is complete.

I also enjoy the adventures it has brought me on, for example, I have been on the Rachel Ray show. I had written in because they asked what makes you like Rachel and I had told them we were both Italian and Irish both from Upstate NY, and both writers. They called me. One thing lead to another and they needed a family on the show and off I went.

I have been extremely blessed in meeting others like yourself Virginia, who have a love for writing and children and to be able to touch someone’s life makes it all worthwhile.

VS: Thank you, Kat. I also agree writing brings many adventures. What do you do to help inspire your children to read and possible write their own stories?

Kat: When I visit children, I tell them that I live in a huge castle. It is surrounded by a mote to keep away all the fans that are trying to stop me from writing. I tell them a helicopter dropped me off at the school today. By this time, they are laughing and I laugh with them, and express to them that no matter where they come from or who they live with . . . no one can take away their dreams and that we all have a story.

I also tell them I know two magic words that will turn them into writers and if they can remember these words . . . they'll always have a story. The words are, “What If?”

VS: LOL. I can’t say I’ve tired that with my younger audience. Sounds like your author visits are truly fun and exciting. When you are not writing, what types of things do you like doing?

Kat: Reading, especially books that keep me positive like Joyce Meyers. I love spending time with my son. I'm afraid to blink for fear he'll grow up. Enjoying life with my family. Time goes so quickly and busy just always seems to get in the way.

VS: I know what you mean. I still look at my son and think, “Where did the time go?” He’s a freshman in high school this year, but it seems like yesterday I was taking him to LegoLand. Even my girls are growing so fast. My youngest is almost six months and it seems like I just had her. My five year old is starting school and it seems time only speeds up once they start school or graduate from it.

Kat, do you have any other books in progress? Can you share a little about them?

Kat: I am currently working on a chapter book for older children. I want to take kids on an exciting journey without the involvement of witches or vampires. I am also in the process of finding a new publisher and an agent. But, I will not give up.

VS: I wish you much luck. I know finding and agent right now is tough. Kat, what tips can you give writing parents with children at home to help them see publication?

Kat: First big tip is to copy write. You can go to Library of Congress.com and they have the forms on line. Know what options you are willing to take. I chose to self-publish to get my name out there and also to have control of the profits. Don't give up. Watch your children because sometimes their actions are the greatest inspirations. Let people know what you are doing because you never know who knows someone.

VS: Kat Michaels can be found on MySpace, Face Book or by email at KatMichaels731@yahoo.com. I thank you, Kat for taking the time to share with me and my readers about being a writing mama.

3 comments:

  1. Great interview! I am also a writing mom, so I can relate. Kat and I have met at several author events and both she and her books are wonderful. Keep up the good work you guys, and good luck with all your writing endeavors!

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  2. What a great and inspirational interview! You look so young in that picture to have grand kids!

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  3. What a wonderful interview. I love you're idea of telling children they can write if the remember the words, "what if."

    Your books sound wonderful; I wish you much success with them.

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