Cam Pirrip interview with Mark Wayne Adams

Cam Pirrip’s interview about the new Illustrator Life vlog asked new questions I’ve never shared with followers.

Cam Pirrip: You are currently in the process of creating a illustration channel on Youtube. What made you want to do illustration?

M. W. Adams: While at the Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards ceremony in Miami, FL, Rj Tolsen, CEO and Novelist, and James Ventrillo, President of Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards, suggested I share my illustrator life with aspiring illustrators and readers. I chose illustration as a career based on my speed and income possibilities in the industry.

Cam Pirrip: How long have you been an illustrator?

M. W. Adams: My professional illustration business, Mark Wayne Adams, Inc., started full-time 2008, only a decade ago.

Cam Pirrip: What are you looking to accomplish with your new channel?

M. W. Adams: When I started my illustration company in 2008, I had no professional illustration mentors. So I learned through trial and error about publishing industry requirements. By drawing from my professional experience as an art director, manager of a printing company, and experience with Walt Disney World Company and SeaWorld Orlando, I approached illustrating as a business. I started by creating a business plan as a guide rather than working contract-to-contract. I hope my YouTube Illustrator Life episodes will help illustrators worldwide succeed through applying one or more techniques I’ve used.

Cam Pirrip: When can we expect for it to come out?

M. W. Adams: The first episodes release in January covering topics like: creating a business plan, pricing illustrations, and contacting clients. Authors may find these techniques useful too!

Cam Pirrip: As well as your illustration business you have a whole category of children novels, what lead you there?

M. W. Adams: My fans stopped reading my picture books in the third grade and graduated to chapter books. I decided to grow with them by writing in their next genre.

Cam Pirrip: Which one of those books was the most fun to illustrate for?

M. W. Adams:  Jilli, That’s Silly! A Story About Being A GirlI illustrated that book while on vacation in Costa Rica. Each morning I woke early to work until 11 a.m. from the rooftop deck of my villa that overlooked the Pacific Ocean. That book won eight children’s book awards and is the most awarded book I’ve illustrated to date.

Cam Pirrip: You also have a series of novels called the Family Tree Novel series. Do you mind telling us a little about that series?

M. W. Adams: Driew, the protagonist, relocates to his grandfather’s farm. His siblings, which he affectionally calls bothers and sinisters, begin to torment him. He meets the Australian girl-next-door and decides to uproot his family tree with her assistance. From family customs, Driew discovers his family is of aboriginal decent. Each book in the eight book series resolves a family relationship to discover his true family—his friends.

Cam Pirrip: What was it like actually writing a novel versus illustrating?

M. W. Adams: Writing has become a fun balance to illustrating. A picture is worth a thousand words, but weaving words together is equally as inspiring.

Cam Pirrip: What was your source of inspiration for this series?

M. W. Adams: As a kid, I spent summers participating in the local library’s summer reading program and playing out back on my parents farm. I pretended my Outback was a Never Never Land, which was far more adventurous than Peter Pan’s Neverland. About three years ago my cousin suggested I write a story about all those adventures and sibling torments our parents didn’t know about. Like the time a cousin pinned me to the ground, licked her thumbs, and smeared them across my glasses.

Cam Pirrip: Do you have any advice for young illustrators out there?

M. W. Adams: Subscribe to my YouTube channel and blog. Also follow me on social media. I do my best to post quality content to help others succeed. The best way to learn is by being better than your mentor. I know many talented illustrators will achieve far greater success than I have by learning from my professional experiences.

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Kussins on The Authors Show

  • M. W. Adams give us a quick synopsis of your Family Tree Novel series and DOWN UNDER: Kussins.

The Family Tree Novel series is a real and relevant story about modern family relationships and hometown history.

In DOWN UNDER: Kussins, Pester’s unyielding pranks force Driew to question his biggest bother’s not-so-loving intentions. During Driew’s countrified lessons with twins, Able and Cain Poe, a brotherly secret surfaces. Driew vows to protect family secrets and moments, carving their words down under the Outback tree’s protective bark.

  • Is there a specific type of reader you had in mind when you wrote your book?

I wrote this book for tween/teen readers to understand family roles and how love works. Whether readers are the oldest, middle, youngest, adopted, blended, or an only child, they’ll related to a Family Tree Novel character. The series’ Walkabout moments offer family perspectives of Driew’s journey along an uprooted Aboriginal songline.

  • What influences your writing style?

Reading is a strong influence. When writing middle grade YA, I must research myself at that age: fears, actions, and reactions to surviving your social tribe. In my youthful exploration of love and family, I used books like: The Five Love Languages of Teenagers, Gary Chapman and Growing Up First Born, Kevin Leman.

Research is a fascinating influence. In the Family Tree Novel series I decided to include my research as second source reading for educators. Beyond the book reading includes: local history, traditions, foods, and social factors.

Lastly words and language are important influence in writing. Words have unique meanings in various cultures. Take for example Caddywompus, (a non-derogatory word to describe functions or actions associated with uncharacteristic behaviors, socially or physically). My neighbor used the word to describe a table with a short leg, or a photo that hung off-centered on the wall.

  • What makes your characters unique?

Each teen characters express love differently based on the role they play in family hierarchy. I also like that each has their own sense of humor that sparkles throughout.

  • Where can we purchase your book?

If visiting the small town from the book, Dawson Springs, Kentucky, Southern Belles and Notions on the town square or Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park gift shop are my two favorites. The books are available at my publisher’s website: syppublishing.com, my website: markwayneadams.com, or any major retailer.

The full interview and original broadcast are available at The Authors Show.

 

Managing Multiple Characters

The Family Tree Novel series is about a family of seven: five children and two parents. Each child has: a way they love, a birth order, a gender, a physical/mental limitation, and an aspiration. The conflict between these varied characters flares by his or her responses to one another.

Driew (the main character) feels unappreciated by his oldest sister, Killiope, for the deeds he does to show her love. She feels Driew’s do-gooder personality keeps him under foot. As the oldest sibling, she is responsible for getting Driew to and from school. Killiope can’t enjoy her teen life or appreciate her brother’s acts of service when responsibility supersedes fun.

Gender is an important factor in character development: Driew responds physically and Killiope verbally to confrontations. Driew attempts to fix problems that Killiope feels only need resolution.

Physical and/or mental limitations and aspirations shape a character’s response. Examples: Driew’s glasses prevent him from seeing the world below his nose; a D+ student will do poorly on tests and have a limited vocabulary compared to an A+ student; a non-swimmer will not aspire to participate in water activities like boating, rafting, or tubing in a river.

Creating a list of character traits for the main characters, is a guide for directing scene outcomes. When writing, first write the full scene. Then reference the characters’ trait list, confirming they aren’t doing any uncharacteristic behavior or making uncharacteristic choices.

Create the same list for everyone as simple as yes/no:

  • Does the character drink milk? John–Yes, Mary–No
  • Does the character have a food allergy? John–Yes, Mary–Yes
  • Does the character express love through quality time? John–Yes, Mary–Yes

Using John and Mary’s answers to the three questions above:

Everyone in the senior class is excited about the ice cream social but John. His peanut allergy prevent him from visiting Pistachio’s Ice Cream Parlor. Mary, who is lactose intolerant, boycotts the ice cream social, having a private picnic for John. Sharing their favorite foods and quality time, an unexpected love interest blossoms.

Each character’s traits and preferences direct the conflict and resolution by his or her food preferences, gender, and love.