Sunday, October 7, 2018

Interview with author Mary Atkinson

Mary Atkinson holds and MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. A former teacher and educational consultant, she now works full time as a published poet and writer for children. She lives in Maine where she plays the piano and paints but does not roller skate. See more at:
1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?
Years ago an artist friend lived and worked in an old piano factory in Boston that had been converted into artists’ studios. Like Uncle Fred, Tillie’s guardian in the novel, he was a single parent of a young daughter, Kerry. Kerry’s "room” was a loft her dad had built for her. The image of Kerry reading and playing in her loft like a regular little kid while her dad created wild and amazing art stuck with me. Their living situation together with memories and feelings from my own childhood inspired me to write TILLIE HEART AND SOUL.

2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader?
TILLIE HEART AND SOUL is a about ten-year-old Tillie who has a passion for roller skating. She practices wherever she can—even in the old Franklin Piano Factory where she lives with her guardian Uncle Fred while Mama’s away dealing with her problems. Tillie’s determined to be in her town’s Skate-a-thon with her friends. Surely Mama wouldn’t miss it! But skating in the city is tough, three-way friendships are tricky, and the stupid rules in Mama’s rehab program could mess up all her plans.
Children ages 8-12 will love TILLIE HEART AND SOUL.

3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down?
Life is full of hope and possibility. No matter how unusual or difficult your family situation is, be yourself, follow your heart, and work to make your dreams come true.

4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
Read, read, read. Write every day. Find writer friends who support and challenge you. Be yourself, follow your heart, and work to make your dreams come true.

5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
For booklovers, the book world is expanding to invite, include, and celebrate more diverse voices to the benefit of all readers.
For authors, as opportunities for publishing with the Big 5 shrink, we are finding alternatives such as working with small presses and publishing on our own.

6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book?
Trusting my voice and vision for TILLIE HEART AND SOUL.

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
TILLIE HEART AND SOUL is a page-turner with a big heart!


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America and participated in a PR panel at the Sarah Lawrence College Writers Institute Conference.

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