Monday, December 15, 2014

Interview with Children’s Author Ali Maier

Ali lives in a Cleveland suburb with her husband and two children. As an avid volunteer, hands on mom and former kindergarten aide, Ali has spent years working with children. Ali chose to write the Mom Made Us Write This series to encourage young readers to do something she loves – to read! Ali wanted to write a book series that would allow readers to laugh and encourage them to write and share their own stories.

Welcome to my blog, Ali. Please tell us about your children’s book: Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer.

A sister and brother, forced to write in the summer, and share ONE journal? Ugh. This is exactly what happens to 10-year-old twins Maggie and Max Pruitt. When Mom comes up with a plan for them to keep a summer journal, Maggie and Max can’t believe it. Worse yet, they have to share! Through their writing, Maggie and Max find out they have very different (and hilarious) views about growing up, family and life - a conclusion they only discovered because, as Max and Maggie say, “Mom Made Us Write This.”

Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer is a journal-style book for children that capture the essence of sibling relationships. Anyone with a brother or sister will identify with the fun and struggles that Max and Maggie experience this summer! From a trip to the zoo to the annual check-up at the docs – read all about the life adventures of Maggie & Max.

Where did you get your inspiration for this book? My book’s main characters are 10-year-old siblings, Maggie and Max Pruitt. My children (Maddie and Matt J) gave me the inspiration for the characters. I originally started to write “Maggie and Max” stories to encourage them to see each other’s point of view when they disagreed (That’s my nice way of saying they were fighting with each other!!). I was fascinated watching my kids grow up, the best of friends one minute, then fighting and driving each other crazy the next!  They had same kind of he-said, she-said disagreements that I had with my sibling growing up. After publishing Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer, I’ve found that everyone seems to identify with the uniqueness of sibling relationships.

What age will enjoy this book the most?

The book is targeted at ages 8-12, but younger children, parents and teachers all enjoy it. The kids love it because it makes them laugh, parents love it because it’s safe and family friendly, and teachers love it because it encourages journaling.

I have actually been surprised by how many adults have told me they loved the book. So many people relate Maggie and Max to their own childhood experiences.

Between the 10-year-old twins, Maggie and Max Pruitt, who is your favorite character in this story and what do you love about him or her?

I love them both – remember they are loosely based on my own kids and family!! The characters are so intertwined. They are from a close and loving family that has fun and they laugh together, but they also tease, joke and argue sometimes. The characters make each other better – and one couldn’t exist without the other!  

What I love about Maggie – is her creativity and her “I don’t care what anyone else thinks” attitude.  She’s strong and free spirited, and never goes along with the crowd. She’s tough about almost everything, except babies and doctors.

What I love about Max – His sense of humor makes Max stand out from the crowd. Max finds humor in just about every situation – especially when it involves his sister! Plus, Max can create contraptions & catapults out of pretty much anything he finds, so he is never bored! Who knew a paperclip and a rubber band could be so much fun?

Your book sounds like a fun read. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget. I love this question because my readers and I get to know the real you.

OK, I will tell you my big secret… I love to write, but I am completely afraid of sharing my writing with other people. Writing a book was a lot of fun for me. Sharing that book with thousands of people to read and share and judge was terrifying! I am totally self-conscious about sharing my writing with anyone.

There were two things that made me get past that fear –

1. I love, love, love the Harry Potter book series. I love the story, but I also love the memories those books created for my family. We read all of the books as a family as our kids grew up – hours and hours and hours and hours of reading out loud and listening to the books on tape. As a big fan of JK Rowling, I would always read about her and the books in the news.

One day, I read an article about JK Rowling’s first attempt at getting the Sorcerer’s Stone (the Philosopher’s Stone in England) published. She was turned down by publisher after publisher. I am so thankful that she didn’t give up. That she didn’t let fear and self-doubt stop her from getting that first book published.

That was an inspiration to me. I still get nervous when people read my writing, but I don’t let it stop me anymore.

2. I have the best, most supportive and encouraging family and friends around. My husband has so much faith in me, that it absolutely stuns me sometimes.  When I was growing up, my parents always told me to choose friends that challenge you to become a better person, not ones who bring you down. And that is so very true. The support and encouragement of my family and friends gave me the confidence to push through my fears.

If those things hadn’t happened, Maggie and Max’s adventures would have stayed in a secret notebook next to my bed.

Thank you so much for this great interview, Ali. I hope my followers will check out your book about the Pruitt family.


Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer is available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

10 comments:

Mutti said...

Wow! You not only found a writer who, like you, writes about her family stories in a wonderful way, but one about siblings~!That I need to read. Sharing memories with my brother has allowed me to see just how differently we SAW the things around us and the things that happened as we were growing up. Looking forward to reading this new book she has shared with us. It sounds like there could only be positive feedback!

Library Lady said...

I would love to win this book to add to our children's section in the church library.
Merry Christmas!
Janet E.
von1janet(at)gmail(dot)com

gunaddit1776 said...

Sounds awesome would love to review when done with it!!
Jennettelebeau(at)yahoo(dot)com

Michelle Willms said...

This sounds like a great book. I would love for my children to read this and be inspired. michelle_willms at yahoo dot com

sunaina said...

I read somewhere that a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, he writes.....it is not because of the talent....but because of the passion.....i loved this because i recently started writing too.....i have two little children...one big enough to read....and i do my best to encourage him to read....oh how i love the world of stories....how they encourage us, motivate us, befriend us....books are our best friends....and to talk about brother and sister....i had a lovely brother....unfortunately i lost him recently....but everyday, i remember the little fights we had, the secrets we shared....the ways we found to make our parents laugh.....sibling love is irreplaceable.......

Holly said...

As a mom who is teaching children to journal, this sounds like a fantastic book! Maggie and Max seem like relatable and lovable characters. Congratulations on finding the courage to share your talents with others!

Shirley Strait said...

A great interview. Thank you both for taking the time to do the interview and for the giveaway. Having homeschooled my 5 children I often heard "Do we really have to write about this."
Shirley
straitfromthehive(at)gmail(d0t)com

Valentine said...

These books sound fun! I would love to read them with my kiddos and inspire a similarroject. Mailvalentine @ yahoo dot com

LAWonder said...

This book sounds like a very uplifting and delightful book for each family's library for young readers!
Best Wishes to you both for a very Merry Christmas.

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Congratulations, Valentine! You are the winner of this awesome children's book. I know you'll enjoy it.