Summer Reading List: “OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters”

The Family Tree Novel series’ steady, enduring story is like a tree growing against nature’s will toward the sky. Driew Qweepie’s perennial story buds, blossoms, grows, and falls from the twisted branches of the Qweepie family tree. The story’s sing-song rhythm creates a songline for readers to follow, scanning a century all told.

The book series begins with a boy starting walkabout, a historical rite of passage into manhood. The moments throughout walkabout are viewed by a magic man chasing along an untimely move from Dawson City, Victoria, Australia’s Outback, to Dawson Springs in rural western Kentucky. This journey becomes a boy’s tracing of his bloodline, discovery of country, and possible death.

OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters is part of our Summer Reading List for Students! Purchase your own or check the book out at the local library. If it’s not available at the library, request it be added.

OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters is written by Mark Wayne Adams. This is one of books in his award-winning Family Tree Novel series of chapter books:  STATION: OutlawsOZ: InlawsNO WORRIES: Momus & MamaaysOUTBACK: Bothers & SinistersDOWN UNDER: KussinsG’DAY: AintsMATES: Uncools, and WALKABOUT: Mates.

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“If you love Kentucky so much, why move?”—Anna Faktorovich, PhD Interview

Faktorovich: Last year I did a Kentucky Historical Society short fellowship for my Radical Agrarian Economics: Wendell Berry and Beyond book, spending some time at the society, and at neighboring archives, as well as talking to the region’s farmers. You mention in the version of your bio in the OUTBACK book that the magic there was based on your childhood experiences with the “creeks, caves and bluffs of western Kentucky.” Can you elaborate on what about Kentucky, as opposed to other states, makes it a place that so many American writers from Wendell Berry to Abe Lincoln were inspired by or wrote about? Is the nature in Kentucky somehow more magical; is it more accessible; are people living there trained to love it more than in other places? And if you love Kentucky so much, why did you move to Florida? Do you want to go back? In the Acknowledgements you thank your parents, Larry Wayne Adams and Mary Francis Adams, “for sharing their Kentucky childhood memories” with you, so are the reminiscences in this novel theirs more so than your own? It seems that Australia’s Outback is as different in climate to the bluegrass Kentucky as a place can be, so why the parallel?

Adams: The OUTBACK magic is based on my Kentucky childhood experiences. My grandfather, Eliose Trotter, worked for the Kentucky State Parks’ Department of Forestry. Eliose harvested nuts, nurtured saplings, and planted acres of trees. My father, Larry Adams, worked 40 hours a week in a plastic factory. Every afternoon and weekend he farmed until late at night. If dad took a day off, he was fishing or hunting. My two male role models respected the earth and everything that came from it.

Why did I leave? I was told if you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it’s meant to be. I moved to Florida to chase my animation dream. When I left, family and friends said, “You can always come home.” As a public speaker in elementary schools, I return “home” to Kentucky often. I’m greeted with, “Welcome home!” I don’t get this greeting in the suburbs of Central Florida.

IMG_0153I spent eight years shipping books from Florida across the United States. I realized shipping from the central United States reduces shipping cost drastically. In 2015, I moved my book warehouse/distribution center to Dawson Springs, Kentucky. Kentucky is a better location, if you’re in the distribution business. I now understand why factories locate in the Central United States.

My parents’ childhood stories encouraged me to explore the simple pleasures of being a kid. I ran barefoot and rode horses bareback because luxuries like shoes and saddles weren’t required for adventure. Books were required. My librarian mother made sure the Adams kids were registered for the Dawson Springs Branch Library’s annual Summer Reading Program. We read for points and for fun!

Reading is a powerful tool in the hands of children. Words change the world. Peter Pan flew to Neverland, an imaginary place without problems. I traveled to the Never Never land, a vastly remote area of Australia’s Outback that I read about. Kentucky “out back” where I played and Australia’s Outback parallel not in “temperature” climate, but as Never Never lands where a lost boy like me played.

Climate, like many words, has alternate meanings depending on who, what, when, where, and how it is used. Anna, you see Kentucky and Australia as vastly different. I see them as two sides of the same coin. I folded a rectangular world map in half and half again. The United States and Australia are similar in size; located in the same position in opposite hemispheres; and both had natives displaced by western civilization. Digging a hole from Dawson Springs, Kentucky to the other side of the world, would place me near Dawson CityVictoria, Australia. Dawson Springs, Kentucky once thrived, and Dawson City, Australia did too. Coincidence or a great story of parallels?
Read the complete interview with Mark Adams, Award-Winning IllustratorAdams-Author Bio Photo-mwa.company-template with Anna Faktorovich, PhD

Who is Misses Merrie?

Moment Six: Festival

Missus Merrie chimed in, “I could search the Hopkins County Public Library. May I?” Miss Merry searched the county library system. “There is one book on cursive, The Cursive Handwriting Workbook. It’s located at our sister branch, Warren County Public Library. I can have the book delivered in a few weeks. Can you wait?”

“We’ll wait!” said Gulia.

“Which of you has a library card? I can place the hold now if you like,” said Missus Merrie.

Gulia whipped out hers. “Here, use mine!”

“You won’t get far in this town without a library card, mister. I can issue you a number now, and come by the public library Tuesday for your card. There, the handwriting book is reserved on Gulia’s card. I will also add some picture books my son illustrated. You can read them while you wait, Gulia!” said Missus Merrie. If there was anything you could fault her for, it was pushing her son’s literature.

OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters by M. W. Adams

1—2—3 Publish: Professionalism Book Test

Invest in five sample copies to test consumer appeal.  This Professionalism Book Test is fairly inexpensive by using a POD (Print On Demand) company.

Test 1:  Place your book with books of similar content at the public library. Lay three books including yours on a table or face out on a book shelf. Sit far enough away to observe and not look like a stalker. Take notes. Do library patrons overlook, preview, read, or check out your book? Feel honored if your book reach the circulation desk.

Test 2:  Visit your local book retailer. Ask for the top three books in your genre. Find a comfortable corner and critique your book. Don’t mark in the bookseller’s books, only your own. Is your writing professional (typos, misspellings, etc.)? Does your layout follow industry standards (margins, text flow, etc.)?  Do your illustrations/photos match or exceed the professionals? Place your book on a bookshelf next to the competitors. Which book is most easily read from twelve feet away? If your book is week in any area, make adjustments now!

Test 3:  Give three beta readers your POD book and the competitor’s book. Ask readers to rate and compare the two books. Access the comments and make adjustments before publishing.