OUTBACK is set in the small town of Dawson Springs, Kentucky. Why did you choose to set the novel here?

OUTBACK is set in the small town of Dawson Springs, Kentucky. Why did you choose to set the novel here?

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I’ve lived nearly my entire life in a small town. I’m fascinated by the customs of small towns. Relationships there are a social dance that you don’t get in major cities. I think I’ll always write about this lifestyle.

Dawson Springs is my hometown in Western Kentucky. The Qweepie farm combines my parent’s family farms and a 1939 home where I lived briefly in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. I think using the town is a homage to the people who said, “Remember me when you’re famous!”

Read the full OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters, Conversation with the Author

Language of the OUTBACK by Moment

Language of the OUTBACK by Moment

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This list is for teachers and parents. Discuss these words with readers before they read each chapter. Readers may have difficulty with words that don’t appear in everyday discussion. Adopting new words and terms builds a better vocabulary to describe Outback experiences.

MOMENT ONE:  bothers, G’day, Heterochromia, mate, shonky, sinisters, willy willy

MOMENT TWO:  bloody, boomerang, Kentucky, Outback, shag on a rock

MOMENT FOUR:  furphy, galah, larrikins

MOMENT SIX:  Aussie, Australia, mamaay, momu, sand shoes

MOMENT SEVEN:  sing-song

MOMENT EIGHT:  aints, kussins, Malle, uncools

MOMENT TWELVE:  Billa bing bong boom, bushie

MOMENT FOURTEEN:  water boarder

MOMENT SIXTEEN:  Florida, sunshine state

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For more resources using the Language of the Outback or discussion of the OUTBACK book, choose these helpful links:

OUTBACK: Word Search

Reading Group Guide for OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters

OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters, Conversation with the Author

OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters, CONVERSATION WITH THE AUTHOR

16-OUTBACK-Conversation_With_The_Author1. What is your inspiration for writing about the Bothers & Sinisters sibling dynamic?

I believe we all come from multifaceted dysfunctional family. The drama within the smallest of families offers rich writing inspiration. “Sissy,” my cousin Gayla, reminded me of bothersome and sinister things we did as children that our parents never knew. Funny thing was my parents, aunts, and uncles had the same experiences.

What inspired me to use a family tree as my inspiration was the falling out of family members and the severed relationships due to traumatic words that wounded the entire tree. Words in a family can change the entire dynamic for future generations.

When I was hurting as a kid, I found comfort out back in trees. I carved my childhood feelings on tree branches that healed over time hiding my words and feelings. I believe family trees heal much like trees in nature—over time.

2. Why is the Australian theme important in the Family Tree Novels?

I’ve always felt life would be different on the other side of the world. Australia’s size and location in the hemisphere was nearly opposite of the United States in position. They spoke a derivative of English as does the United States. One was founded on religious persecution the other by persecution of outlaws. These two worlds are rich in native culture and national treasures. I could explore both my entire life and be surprised daily.

3. What research did you do and how did you go about discovering your inspiration?

Reading and sharing my interest in places and ideas inspires me. When I decided to use the outback as my theme, I received various comments and feedback—positive and negative. Naturally I chose the theme since every parent and child has played in the magical outback at some point in their lives.

I chose to read children’s books to adult fiction about Australia. This taught me what Gulia’s character might learn at her age and what her mother might experience as an adult. Discussions about Australia revealed information about living there that I had not experienced. Smells, sounds, events, and moments only residents can relay.

Lastly I wrote a list of commonalities of Australian and United States families. I chose native folklore, ancient trees, and immigrant family history.

4. As a Kentucky native and a Florida transplant, how autobiographical is this story in comparison to your own? 

I did pull from my own experiences of visiting my Kentucky family as an adult and how my Floridian children must feel when visiting Dawson Springs for weeks at a time. Growing up in Kentucky, my family was average middle class to most people living there and poor to outsiders when compared to big city living.

My childhood is a far cry from my adult life in a manicured Florida suburb. I wanted to share how caring for even the worst home can change everyone’s perspective. Like Gulia grew to love the Qweepie farm saying she “could live there forever.”

5. Which character do you have the closest connection to?

I feel a connection with each of the characters, they are like family. To pick one character I would say Killiope. As the oldest sibling in my family, I feel a responsibility for each of my siblings. Leaving home was my only escape from responsibilities, which soon caught up with me. As the series continues, I hope to become more relatable with each sibling hierarchy as the series continues.

6. Did you enjoy the writing process, since you’ve illustrated over fifty picture books?

I always enjoyed books as a child—from illustrations to reading. Making a career writing or illustrating books never came to mind. As a child my ambition was to become an animator after watching Walt Disney’s movie, Fantasia. Once I discovered there were more profitable art careers besides animation, I began illustrating books. Being around creative writers, inspired my love of writing. I’m a firm believer, you are who you associate with.

7. How do you approach the writing process?

My writing process is fairly structured. I outline the story using a historical timeline which guides the rhythm of each book. As ideas appear, I categorize them into their respective place within the story timeline. I also parallel historical facts and words I want included from the time periods. Some days I sit inside my screened pool and become a prisoner to the story. Every breath is a moment trapped within Driew Qweepie’s story.

8. What part of the writing process do you love most?

My favorite thing about being a writer is hearing from readers! Connecting with book lovers reminds me what writing fiction is all about—escape for us all. I enjoy reading Goodreads and Amazon reviews and seeing posts about the story—both positive and negative. I can’t improve without their honest feedback.

9. When do you decide to share the OUTBACK writing with others?

I waited until the OUTBACK book was half completed—about eight chapters. These chapters are rough and very general in creative language. My goal was to give a bland idea of the plot, character action, and historical content. If this was enough to inspire others to ask questions or want more, then the creative embellishments would be much easier.

For the first novel, I had my wife read it. She is very thorough and not a reader. Needless to say, she only read it once, and wasn’t excited. My next version was much more polished and the reader had decent feedback.

By the Beta Reader stage, all sixteen chapters had been edited using Fire Up Your Fiction: An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Stories, written by a colleague, Jodi Renner. Her book was a great resource for a newbie or established writer. I went chapter by chapter and was critical of what I’d written. Trimming excess really makes a difference when creating a fast reading fiction book.

10. Who were your favorite childhood writers and why?

At age 13, Stephen King’s werewolves of the Silver Bullet stalked my warm Kentucky summer nights. King’s photo spooked me, and his writings haunted me. Really cool feeling when an author chooses the proper sequence of words to spur an emotion. To this day I feel Misery hearing “I’m your biggest fan!”

11. What advice would you offer new writers?

Don’t wait to write a great novel. Age is not a limitation to becoming an author. Write everyday moments until the novel revels itself in your average day.

Write often in any format possible. Siri’s dictation on my Apple devices lets me write while walking, driving, or when I’m too lazy to use my thumbs. I carry my Best Sketchbook with me most everywhere to write and draw my thoughts. Use an app like A Novel Idea or software like Scrivener to keep track of your notes. Import your journal entries, dictations, and loose notes once a week into one main document that shows the word count. That will show you how quickly the story grows.

Join a professional writing group to enhance your writing. Join a publishing group to learn the marketing behind writing. Lastly, support local independent book stores. They will be the first to stock your book.

12. In the Author Biography, you indicate OUTBACK was inspired by a brown doll you had during your childhood. Where did the doll come from and what other life experience was used in the novel?

In the years since my childhood, I’ve learned to appreciate the value of dolls and toys as companions in my life. As a Caucasian boy, owning a brown baby doll named Driew was open season for teasing. I protected our colorful relationship which made me a better man in many ways.

I have what I’ve come to call an “adopted family,”­ characters who  came into my life when my family is absent. In their own way, they provided me with an imaginative love that became the structure for my artistic talent. I thank Driew and many more like him.

In OUTBACK, I wanted to bring some of my out back magic to the book. I wanted the book to be about the bonds formed between people that become your adopted family. Hopefully readers are engaged by my writing.

13. OUTBACK is set in the small town of Dawson Springs, Kentucky. Why did you choose to set the novel here?

I’ve lived nearly my entire life in a small town. I’m fascinated by the customs of small towns. Relationships there are a social dance that you don’t get in major cities. I think I’ll always write about this lifestyle.

Dawson Springs is my hometown in Western Kentucky. The Qweepie farm combines my parent’s family farms and a 1939 home where I lived briefly in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. I think using the town is a homage to the people who said, “Remember me when you’re famous!”

14. In addition to being a novelist, you are also a children’s book illustrator. How has being an illustrator impacted your novel writing?

It keeps me focused on the importance of words. I overwrite most scenes and deeply edit my writing to be more precise with my words. This has taught me to appreciate the usage of illustrations with words. Rather than writing numerous pages to explain a message that can be brief and poignant.

15. When you began the Family Tree Novels, did you have the adventure completely outlined? How have you been surprised along the way? Were the introductions of additional characters  important in the influence of the story’s direction?

At the start of the series, I had a thin thread of intention of the entire series, five books. I’m a supporter of timelines and outlines. I used several drafts that were stimulated from the main outline. The titles and Australian theme came as I introduced Gulia’s character. The attraction to Australia and the region inspired the titles.

The character that surprised me the most was Ida Mae. She was a character who was a first draft villain. “The maid did it” theme was my original intent with Ida Mae. Through the revisions, I saw the potential of her adoption into the family. She forced me to choose a dark underlying problem in my childhood to face. I think she has become a fabulous addition to the story.

16. What was your most challenging limitation while writing OUTBACK and what has been the best pleasure?

The greatest challenge was eliminating my prior illustration projects and focusing in on my writing time. I had to eliminate my personal choices and focus on the characters’ lives. I also didn’t want readers to be mired in details of Driew’s torturous life. Readers should experience the positives in his journey: small town life and personal relationships.

The greatest pleasure has been, participating in Driew’s adventure whether living my family life, driving on book tours, walking, or trying to fall asleep. Writing has become a journey I commit to each day. Not the most talented side of my artistic profile, but a frustrating and exhilarating challenge at the same time.

17. What can you tell us about DOWN UNDER the next book in the series?

I don’t want to share too much about the upcoming book. But I will say that DOWN UNDER is a faster progression of understanding Driew’s family magic. A miraculous event happens between he and Pester, his big bother, that will reach far into the choices of Driew’s manhood.

Write Back! Fan Mail is Good Business.

I usually don’t respond to student telephone calls, texts, or Facebook posts. As a parent myself, I feel kids communicating with adults should happen with parent supervision. So, I avoided numerous calls from Isabella, until I received a letter from her parents.

She was working on a library book report about her favorite author. After purchasing King for a Day, the Story of Stories during the Kentucky Book Fair in Frankfort, Kentucky, she’d chosen me for her report.

“My librarian says authors are better than movie stars, because they write the story.” Isabella said in her letter.

Being a fan of librarians, I replied “I think librarians are better than movie stars, because they choose the books that fill the library.” Isabella shared the letter with her class and school librarian. Within a week, I’d been asked to visit two schools in her district.

As an author and illustrator, answer fan mail—schools are a niche market.

Meet Eddie Price: “Widder’s Landing” and “Little Miss Grubby Toes Series”

Eddie Price is a lifelong native of Kentucky. A graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan College (BA) and Western Kentucky University (MA and Rank I). Eddie has taught history for 36 years (31 at Hancock County High School). He has also taught part-time classes for Owensboro Community & Technical College.

The winner of numerous teaching awards, Eddie has coached many award-winning academic teams and history contest winners. He is active in the Hancock County Historical Society and helped organize the Young Historians Club. Eddie is world traveler who enjoys bicycling, horseback riding and swimming. He now lives in Hancock County, Kentucky.

Eddie is also an award-winning author of Widder’s Landing, Life and Love on the Kentucky Frontier. The first book in his children’s book series is Little Miss Grubby Toes, Steps on a Bee. Eddie’s charismatic personality shines through in Little Miss Grubby Toes naughty but lovable character.

Let Eddie bring his award-winning teaching style to your classroom! Author Eddie Price is renowned for his energetic, educational school visits. He combines his talents with safety personnel in your community to present an entertaining lesson that could save lives.

Visit www.eddiepricekentuckyauthor.com to learn about Eddie’s books and presentations.

Eddie Price
175 Windsong Drive
Hawesville, KY 42348
Author Facebook Page www.facebook.com/eddieprice.1954

Meet Author Wanda Hughes!

Wanda Hughes was born and raised on a small Kentucky farm. As a volunteer missionary, she has enjoyed wonderful opportunities to travel overseas, including building churches in Russia and Brazil.

Wanda now lives in Dawson Springs, Kentucky with her husband of many years, Benny. They have three grown sons and five grandchildren who love to come visit.

Wanda and illustrator Mark Wayne Adams met in Dawson Springs, Kentucky, which is her home and Mark’s hometown. In 2008 Mark illustrated her book, A Guinea in My Cap?

“Thanks again, for a dream come true.” – Wanda Hughes

Meet Crystal White

Crystal White began her journey toward becoming an author in 1990. Married with two daughters, she returned to college to study special education. But after taking a children’s literature class, she was hooked! So she changed her major to elementary education, with an emphasis in library sciences, so she could pursue her new passion. A few years and another daughter later, while teaching fourth grade, Crystal participated in the Purchase Area Writing Project, which added writing to her new pursuit.

A short time later, Crystal visited an animal shelter, where she met Franny. She took the sweet mutt home not because she was cute, but because she was so pitiful. The rest, as they say, is history.

Crystal and Franny live in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, in what Crystal’s four grandsons call the “Grass House” (although she’s still not sure why!).

Crystal works as an Educational Recovery Specialist for the state of Kentucky, helping to establish literacy systems to ensure that students become college and career ready.

Crystal White, author of Franny’s Rescue, a silver medalist in the 2014 FAPA President’s Book Awards.

Southern Kentucky Book Fest: Kristie Lowry

I love attending book festivals. Readers, authors, travel, and most importantly hosts make an event! Southern Kentucky Book Fest (SoKY) is an invitational event hosting authors from New York Times best-sellers to local indies. The review process is selective, which makes this a professional event for anyone who attends. SoKY Book Fest is a favorite for this reason and one more.

The hosts determine the success of an event, and Kristie Lowry is one of my favorite hosts. I’ve come to know her very well through repeat participation at SoKY Book Fest. Underneath her pleasant smile and soft giggle, she is no average woman. When you realize the demands we authors place upon her, you quickly see her super power.

Since our first meeting I’ve been honored to know her. When she sent me this recommendation, I was speechless. Not only is Kristie a wonderful representative of Western Kentucky University and the SoKY Book Fest, but also a cherished friend. Thank you Kristie. Your kind words, patience, and professionalism don’t go unrecognized.

Recommendation:

“Mark Wayne Adams is an amazing illustrator, speaker, teacher, and administrator. I have seen him work with people of all ages, and his enthusiasm is infectious. His presentations to children captivate them, and he’s adept at handling groups of any size. Mark also presented at a writers conference that I organized for adults, and the reviews from those who attended were overwhelmingly positive. I sat in on that presentation, and although I’m not a children’s book illustrator or author, I learned a lot too! 

Mark’s publishing company produces quality products, and Mark’s illustrations are incredible. He’s also something of a marketing genius, and is consistently one of the top sellers at the book festival I coordinate. 

I can’t say enough good things about Mark Wayne Adams and his abilities. The awards speak for themselves, but a testimonial by someone who has seen him in action can’t hurt!”

—Kristie Lowry, Literary Outreach Coordinator at Western Kentucky University Libraries

Meet Mark Wayne Adams, Award-Winning Author/Illustrator/Publisher

Mark was inspired to chase his entrepreneurial dream in the 3rd grade, selling drawings to classmates. Creating books and inspiring others has always been his passion. Mark’s ability to produce quality illustrations at a fast pace and dedication to mentor others has made MWA, Inc. both successful and unique. In the past five years, his authors have won over 50 book awards and he continues to create new, successful products annually.

Mark contributes his talents and time to the community locally and nationally. He promotes reading and writing via public speaking engagements, book signings, and participation in book events from Florida to the Northeastern United States. He has been recognized through the Kentucky Governor’s School for the ArtsKACo (KY Assoc. of Counties)FAPA BoardSCBWIIBPA, and national book awards. He also volunteers his talents to the Kids Need to Read annual calendar and donates books to various organizations.

Mark’s Published Books

Mark’s Book Awards

Mark’s Associations & Affiliations:

★ Official judge of the Readers’ Favorite Illustration Award 2013–2018.

★ Florida Authors and Publishers Association Board Member to President 2009–2017.

★ Independent Book Publishers Association  Since 2008.

★ SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) since 2009.

★ Storytellers of Central Florida members range from novice to professionals.

★ Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts Alumni — 1988

 

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