Sunday, March 14, 2010

Write What You Know: An Interivew with Author, Meg Walsh

I recently reviewed a picture book, “Mama, Won’t You Play With Me?” for my monthly magazine column. In the process of getting the book and reviewing it I had a chance to communicate with the author through forums and social media. So what follows is a short interview with Meg Walsh.

MF: What inspired you to write a children's book?

MW: I never expected that I would have written a children's book. I always thought it would be the Great American Novel, but personal experience changed that rather quickly. I had a very severe Lupus flare when my two boys were very young (1 and 3). What I remember most vividly is the look on their faces when I said that I was in too much pain to play with them. Looking at them, you would've thought that I said that I didn't love them. I then realized that even though they were very young, they needed an explanation and support in getting through this as much as my husband and I did. It was my hope that, “Mama, Won't You Play With Me?” would help open the lines of communication between ill or disabled parents and their children, and help the children cope a bit better.

MF: Were you interested in writing before you began "Mama, Won't You Play With Me?

MW: I have enjoyed writing for as long as I can remember. You could always find me writing poems and short stories in high school and college. More recently, I have written articles for a few magazines.

MF: How long did it take you to write, and rewrite, before you completed the final book we see today?

MW: I find that I write in a strange way. I woke up one morning in June, ran to my desk and wrote it from start to finish. I never revised it or corrected it -- it was what it was and it came from the heart. I remember doing the same with an article that I had written years ago.

MF: Did you share the book with anyone else for input as you were writing it?

MW: I actually kept it all to myself until the very last moment. I got nervous right before I submitted it to the publisher that it might actually be horrible, and so I broke down and showed my husband.

MF: What was the greatest obstacle you faced in publishing your book?

MW: My greatest obstacle was finding a talented and reasonably priced illustrator. I had a publisher interested in taking a look at my story but they would not pay for an illustrator, and I couldn't afford the prices here in the US. I was very lucky to find a wonderful illustrator named Aga Korfanty, from Poland, who was interested in working with me and she did an amazing job.

MF: What made you decide to self-publish, using AuthorHouse, as opposed to using traditional publishers?

MW: I had submitted to one publisher who wanted to take a second look after the illustrations were complete but I never resubmitted it. I had heard such horror stories about the length of time it takes to find a publisher and to get the book to print and I was anxious to get my message out. I wanted to get to print quickly so that I could begin promoting the book and raising money for illness and disability. A portion of the proceeds from each book sold through May will be donated to the Lupus Foundation of America. Other illness-related charities will receive these donations in subsequent months.

MF: Are you working on any new books at this time?

MW: At this moment, I have the ideas brewing for three new books. I am just waiting for the next morning that I wake up and put it all in writing.

Now I need to say thank you Meg for taking the time to speak with me. Please take a look at her book, “Mama, Won’t You Play With Me?”

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