The blogging world can be vast and wide and it is a boon to discover a community of people who share a similar interest, namely writing. Since I started this blog, it has been interesting to be a part of a lively group of mostly like-minded individuals who are passionate about writing and reading, and who are by and large welcoming and generous with their advice and experience with fellow writers on the same journey. But on rarer occasions, you stumble on the blog of someone whose personality is so sparkling, whose posts are so entertaining you want to bookmark their site almost immediately because you know for certain you’d want to check back constantly—and what do you know, they happen to be authors too. Andy Mulberry has one of these blogs.
A writer of middle-grade fiction, she’s already published two books in her Skycastle series, and a third instalment is due for release in early 2015. Because she has such an engaging, sassy writing style, I was surprised when she revealed in a recent post that she’s fairly new to the whole blogging game. Maybe I felt a certain affinity with this “working mom by day and writer by night” whose books involve “strange adventures, odd characters and mysterious circumstances,” but I thought, if she was only just getting started, boy am I eager to hang around for what’s to come. She’s also awfully nice. After exchanging a few friendly emails, she graciously accepted my invitation for a Q&A.
More about Andy…
Hi Andy. Please introduce yourself.
I’m Andy Mulberry. I live in Southern California with my scowling teenager, a chubby blue cat-beast, an imaginary dog and one leaky roof.
Tell us more about your book series.
Skycastle, the Demon, and Me is the title of Book 1 in the Skycastle series. If you owe Hell gold but you can’t pay, you’re about to have a bad day! Jack Harper lives in an old castle turned museum. The day he calls Hell to order a demon is one of his more interesting days of his twelve year old life. One demon delivery later, Hell wants to be paid in gold. Between you and me, Jack can’t pay. He’s in a bit of a hellish pickle. It follows with Book 2: Skycastle and the Demonic Incident in Chinatown, and the third part: Skycastle and the Demonic Kraken Debacle in Hollywood is forthcoming.
Have you always liked to write?
I have always loved to read, from a very young age. I think if you read a lot growing up, you develop some kind of story-brain. I see stories everywhere, and I used to make up short, weird and funny stories for my son when he was younger. That older lady we saw at the grocery store—not a normal lady but a sorceress shopping for her next potion. That large crow sitting on the sidewalk while we were on a walk—not just any crow but the king of ravens gathering his army to fight the pigeons … those kinds of stories. I always have tales or characters in my head, daydreaming. And when an idea takes up shape and form inside my little brain-movie-theater, I kind of have to sit down and start writing, just to get it out of my head.
Are you a plotter or a pantster?
I’m very much a plotter. And before I sit down to write, I already know roughly what happens at the start, middle and end of the book. I draft the blurb—does it sound like a story that will entice readers to read the first page? Then I outline—scenes and chapters—before I start writing a first draft.
Read any interesting children’s books lately?
I recently read Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin. It’s from the point of view of Rose Howard, an Asperger’s child. Not everyone understands Rose’s rules and obsessions—not her teachers, the other kids, and not her single father. She is obsessed with homonyms: her own name is one, and she named her dog Rain, a name with two homonyms (Reign, Rein). Then her beloved dog goes missing. Reading how she breaks her own strict rules to go searching for her dog is extremely touching.
Fun fact #1: What is your favorite dessert?
So glad you asked … it’s ice cream because it equals happiness.
Fun fact #2: If you were an animal, what would you be?
I can’t decide between a cat (I admire their slinky gracefulness) or a falcon because being able to fly … who wouldn’t love that? But monkeying around all day as a monkey sounds good to me too!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Still writing children’s books, and hopefully successfully so, because it truly is what I love doing—and you know what they say: “Find something you love to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on the third book in my Skycastle series for middle graders, titled The Demonic Kraken Debacle in Hollywood. And I’m having a lot of fun writing it too!
My grateful thanks to Andy, for participating in my Q&A Monday! Book 1 in her series, Skycastle, the Demon, and Me, is free on Amazon. Check it out here.