Thursday, November 25, 2010

VBT Writers on the Move Guest Kevin McNamee

Kevin McNamee is a writer and poet living in Yonkers, NY.   He primarily writes for the children’s market.  He has several children’s picture books published including If I Could Be Anything, The Sister Exchange, Lightning Strikes and The Soggy Town of Hilltop.  These books are available at Guardian Angel Publishing,, Barnes and Noble or ask your local bookstore.  Look for other titles coming soon by Kevin including Lightning Strikes, What Is That Thing, My Brother, the Frog, and more.

When Kevin isn’t writing, he spends his time playing hide and seek, at the insistence of his five year old daughter, and at his day job, at the insistence of his wife.  When time permits, Kevin also enjoys fossil hunting, home-brewing beer, and gardening.  He is currently engaged in an epic battle against roving gangs of crazed squirrels who are digging up everything in sight.  Kevin notes that the squirrels are winning.

To find out more about Kevin, please visit his website at or visit his blog at   

VS: Please tell us Kevin what you are most passionate about outside of writing. 

Kevin: Outside of writing, I would say that I’m the most passionate about my family.

VS: That's wonderful. As you can see, The Writing Mama blog isn't just about writing, but my family and other writer's families as well and how we balance it all. So with that in mind, Kevin what is your most precious memory? It doesn't have to be about writing.

Kevin: Recently, I came home from work and I was completely exhausted. My five year old daughter wanted me to play our usual games, tag, hide and seek, and some other game of her own creation which involves me chasing her while she’s wearing a plastic firefighter’s helmet and carrying a beach ball. But I was tired and really wanted no part of it. But my daughter was insistent and I found myself losing patience and I yelled at her. She climbed up on the couch, threw her arms around me and said, “I love you Daddy. Now you can be so happy.” I melted.
VS: That is a wonderful memory. Children really do have a way to remind us what is important. What is your most embarrassing memory?
Kevin: My most precious memory and my most embarrassing memory are the same, when I think of how selfish I was being.
VS: Wow, that was very honest of you. But don't feel you are the only parent like that. I find myself doing the same thing with my children. After I blow up, I stop and realize they are only a child for so long and my writing can wait a few minutes or a couple of hours. Work will always be there, but my children will not. Now Kevin, if you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

Kevin: Right now, I still have a day job. Unfortunately, writing hasn’t been my means to self-sufficiency yet. I’m still trying to find that balance between work/family/writing/everything else. It’s a challenging juggling act, but so far, I’ve been able to keep all the balls in the air.
VS: It is very hard to balance it all, however, the rewards are worth it. I think it is important for many new writers starting out to know you can't just quick your day job. Two writing friends of mine just finally were able to say that after having more than 4 books published with medium presses. So what are your future goals for your writing?
Kevin: I’ve been focusing primarily on picture books and I would like to branch out to middle readers and Young Adult novels. I have two middle readers in various stages of completion.

VS: I think it is great you are willing to try different genres in children's writing. Kevin, can you describe a typical writing day for you?

Kevin: There’s no such thing as a typical writing day for me. I try to do something writing related every day. But what I’m doing may vary. Sometimes  I’m writing new material, sometimes I’m revising, sometimes I’m critiquing, sometimes I’m researching, sometimes I’m promoting. Due to the demands on my time, I’ve needed to adopt the philosophy of doing what I can, when I can.

VS: Very valid point. I don't know many writer's who get to just block out X amount of time each day for their writing. I tend to write in 5 to 10 minutes busts. I do all my editing late a night when the kids are in bead and can't bother me. I need to focus so this works great for me. Kevin, what writer most inspires you?  Why? 

Kevin: I would say that the writers that I meet both online and in person inspire me the most. They all share the same passion and dedication as I do. They understand the struggles and sacrifices involved in being a writer. 

VS: Well said Kevin. Now please take as much space as necessary to speak to my readers—what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

Kevin: I think that writing for children carries a lot of responsibility and it’s a challenge that I try to rise to. The world can be a confusing enough place as it is for adults, how much more so for children? If I can help children understand the world around them and help them make sense of various situations that effect them, that would be the most rewarding thing of all, for it would be something that they could carry with them long after they have put down my book.

VS: Thank you so much Kevin for your words and taking the time to share with my readers and me about being a writing "DAD". This is the first we've had a dad on the blog and it was a blast having you.

Kevin McNamee's Books:

If I Could Be Anything by Kevin McNamee.  Illustrations by Marina Movshina

Print ISBN: 978-1-61633- 011-8
eBook ISBN: 978-1-61633- 012-5
If I could be anything, what would I be? 
I think that eventually I would be me.
A boy pretends to be different animals in this warm, rhyming, picture book. In the end, he chooses to be exactly as he is. Love is the anchor that draws him home.

This book is available as a print book, a downloadable e-book, or a book on CD from

Books are also available at,, or ask your local bookstore.

The Sister Exchange by Kevin McNamee.  Illustrations by Kit Grady.

Print ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-015-6
eBook ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-016-3

Chatta?  No thanks.  Rackette?  No way!  Toecheez?  Ewwwww!
Brianna wants to trade-in her sister at The Sister Exchange.  But will she ever find the perfect sister?
This picture book deals with sibling rivalry in a fun and creative way. The Sister Exchange reinforces the bond between siblings, and increases reasoning skills through comparison.

This book is available as a print book, a downloadable e-book, or a book on CD from

Books are also available from,, or ask your local bookstore.

The Soggy Town of Hilltop by Kevin McNamee, Illustrations by Eugene Ruble
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-041-5
eBook ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-042-2

“You want us to do what?!!!” 
This fun, rhyming picture book teaches more than just a new way to drink water. 

The High Council of Hilltop wants the people to learn a new way to drink.  But when the people find out why, everyone has something new to learn. 

This book is available as a print book, a downloadable e-book, and a book on CD from

Books are also available at,, or at your local bookstore. 

Lightning Strikes by Kevin McNamee, Illustrations by Eugene Ruble
Print ISBN 13: 978-161633-095-8
eBook ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-096-5

“Lightning Strikes, I count to ten.  I don’t hear thunder until then.” 

Science and Math come together to educate and entertain.  This fun, rhyming counting book will help teach children to count backwards, and to understand the principles of lightning and thunder.

This book is available as a print book, a downloadable e-book, and a book on CD from

Books are also available at,, or your local bookstore. 


"I am fast becoming an avid fan of children's author Kevin McNamee. I was trying to think exactly what it is about his two new children's books The Sister Exchange and If I Could Be Anything that won my heart. I believe I know the answer - His writing keeps the reader grounded as to what is of utmost importance in life. Before you read the last sentence of his books, you realize, more than you ever did before, just how precious and important family and loved ones are." – Dixie Philips – Writing4littleones

"The author has a great knack for turning something seemingly ridiculous into an engaging story for youngsters." - The Children's and Teens' Book Connection


  1. Kevin, your books look wonderful - I love the covers. And, I agree that as a children's writer we do have a responsibility. I think this is more important to be aware of if an author is self-publishing - she/he doesn't have the buffer of a publishing company as to what's appropriate and what's not.

    Thanks, Virginia, for bring Kevin to us today.

  2. I've read some of Kevin's work and he's an excellent writer - in spite of all the distractions.

  3. Kevin, I admire you for juggling your day job, family and writing! Good for you! Love your anecdote about your daughter--kids do have a way!

  4. Good point Karen. I would urge any writer, whether they are considering self-publishing or not, to join a critique group and to talk to teachers and librarians regarding the subject matter and age group, and to research similar books already out there. Any opportunity to make your writing stronger and to be better informed, can only help.

    Thank you for the kind comments Janet, I appreciated it.

    Thanks Heidi. Yes, kids do have a way, don't they?

    Thank you Virginia for hosting me. It's been a lot of fun.

    Kevin :-)

  5. Great interview! All of Kevin's books sound like they will be fun to read. Enjoyed the covers too.