EASY AS A, B, C . . . from BB
Since, by your own admission, you’re a “small child masquerading as [an] adult,” when did you first think you were “big” enough or “old” enough to write a book?
My first attempt came when I was about 14. I was dealing with some bad bullies at school and found that writing was an excellent way to deal with the problem. In my story, the character knew how to deal with the bullies in ways I didn’t. He was able to be himself regardless of what others thought or said. In the end I think it gave me strength to stand up for myself. I think that’s an important thing to learn in life: to be yourself. Even if that means you’re a 33-year-old guy who likes to play make believe and acts like a child.
I would assume you began your art work even before that . . . when did you get the “doodling” bug?
Oh, gosh—my parents said I was a doodler the minute I could hold a pen. I put my art up for everyone to admire on walls, floor, books, and television screen. In elementary school it was my dream to grow up and be an artist. I never thought I’d actually grow up to do it for a living.
What’s your favorite picture you’ve ever completed, and where can it be found?
My favorite painting is one of my wife. I am a romantic at heart and absolutely adore the film Ever After. In the film Leonardo Da Vinci paints a portrait of Danielle, the Cinderella in the story. There was something about the painting I loved. So I asked my wife to let me paint her portrait—it was something I had never done before and might not ever do again. The painting hangs over my table in my studio. My second favorite has got to be the cover for Bean’s Dragons. The story was inspired by my daughter and her imaginary dragons. I see her and the magic that lives inside her whenever I look at it.
The story of your wife’s portrait is so endearing! And I loved the first line of your teaser for The Dream Keeper too: “Dreams: Dorothy called it Oz, Alice called it Wonderland, but Nightmares call it HOME.” Aside from that line, give us an example of one of your favorite original sentences.
In the story, the dream keeper, Gladamyr, was born a nightmare. He was actually born to one of the worst nightmares. The problem is, after years of torturing and scaring children, he wants to be something more. He admires humans because of their ability to choose right and wrong. So these are my favorite lines he says to another dreamling who asks why he wants to be human: “Humans are neither one hundred percent good nor bad, they are both. Within them is the ability to do good or evil. It is their will that makes them human—their ability to choose to be one or the other.”
A good thought for all of us to keep in mind. You’ve mentioned that you spend “most” of your time playing with your daughters and working as a freelance illustrator. What is your favorite thing to do with your girls, and what would each of them say is her favorite thing to do with you?
We love to play make believe. When it’s just me and them anything can happen. We pull the pillows off the couch and turn it into a battle ship and we’ll have a war with pirates. Then it will transform into a submarine and we’ll go on a hunt to find the mermaid palace. Before we know it, the couch is a spaceship and we soar up to the stars. We moonwalk on Mars and have lunch with aliens. Oh, the things you can do with a couch and the imagination of children! Never once do they question the things we pretend to see aren’t there—for them it’s magic and reality all in one.
My girls love to help daddy with his work and I try to incorporate them as much as I can. When I’m writing it’s not so easy, but when I’m drawing or painting, there is no reason they can’t be right there by me making art too. I believe ever parent should encourage their kids to work beside them. They get an understanding of what you do and it’s fun to see what brilliant things they come up with too.
Please tell us what other books you’ve had a hand in and where they can be found.
I have three picture books that I author/illustrated, Bean’s Dragons, ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures, and Trouble with Bernie. I also have three more which I illustrated for other authors. I am working on 3 more picture books currently with various clients and I have a few middle-grade books in the works. I just finished the sequel to The Dream Keeper and another fantastic book called The Stone of Valhalla. I’m excited to keep writing, illustrating, and sharing my passion with the world. You can find all my books by visiting my website at: http://www.insidemikeysworld.com/ or you can find them on my Amazon page at: http://www.amazon.com/Mikey-Brooks/e/B00B8ICZ4W. Thank you for the interview. It has been a pleasure to be able to share these things with you!
The pleasure was all ours, Mikey, and good luck with your books, your art, and your adorable girls!
See you day-after-tomorrow for Saturday’s Softcover!