Sunday, August 7, 2011

Meet Children's Author Mandi Tillotson Williams!

I never really considered having my youngest daughter read an ebook until I saw Mandi's adorable and entertaining story, Mortimer's Sweet Retreat. Well, I downloaded it and handed my iTouch to my seven-year-old, and don't you know - she ran off with it and read the book. When she was done, I asked her what she thought, and she just smiled and said, "I loved it!" I am pleased to say that I am featuring Mandi now:

Collette asks: When did you start writing?
Mandi: I started writing little poems and stories when I was around 9 or 10. I still have some of them.
I was the same. I’ve lost most of my original stories, much to my dismay. I’d love to go back and re-read or share with my kids. Do you ever do that? J

Why did you start writing?

I have always had a huge imagination and I love to write in rhyme.

Where did you get the inspiration for Mortimer’s Sweet Retreat?
Actually when I was rather young, I would tell all of the kids at daycare that I was from another world and I had come to Earth on a bubblegum slide. As I got older, I decided to put this world onto paper.

I love your imagination!

What is your writing process?

Being that my stories rhyme, I have to pay close attention to the syllable count and the flow of the story. One extra syllable can really throw the whole thing off.

What is the drawing process for your illustrations?

I really just try and draw what is in my head. I try to get everything on paper so that the reader can see the story as I do.

Do you do an outline and then color them in?

Yes, I draw first with pencil and then when I am happy with it, I outline it with a fine sharpie marker. I finish by coloring the drawings in with colored pencil. I have gotten a great response from using colored pencils, it has a lot of the kids wanting to try and do their own book because they can relate to these types of drawings.

That’s very clever, Mandi.

How difficult was it to transfer to a JPEG file?

For me it wasn’t hard at all because I am also a professional photographer so I am pretty comfortable with these types of files. I did scan in my drawing and then using a program called Microsoft digital image suite, I saturated my colors a bit and added text and then saved as a JPEG.

How long did it take you to complete?
That is really hard to say because I had several times that I would start and stop. Sometimes I’d put the book aside for several years before getting back to it. The writing doesn’t take me long at all, the drawings usually take a full day to get one page done though.

They are beautiful drawings. I think that’s what my daughter enjoyed the most.
Do you write full-time?

I don’t but I’d love it. My husband has a full time job and with my photography business as well, I am able to help with the bills also. I am a photographer as well as a full time mom to three.

A full-time job in itself! J

Can you describe the series, The Many Adventures of Mortimer Crump?

Yes, in this series, I plan to have Mortimer visit many different imaginative worlds. Things kids can relate to. In my second book, he visits a land of crafts! Not sure yet on where he will go next but there are many possibilities.

What is your target age group?

It would probably be anywhere from preschool to age 10 or 11. I have had adults and older kids enjoy it also though.
How many books are you planning to include?
I am not sure how many I will do in this series as there are many possibilities. I plan on writing at least three but more than likely there will be more.

Can you tell me a little bit about your giveaway?

Mortimer's giving a book away! It’s really easy if you want to play. Tell your friends to hit LIKE on Mortimer’s page & mention your name no matter what your age. A second way for you to win? Leave a review for him, now let’s begin! Send him NEW fans to quality. Let's help him out, he's just a little guy! CONTEST ENDS: Aug 12th. The more fans you send, the more entries you get.

Where is Mortimer’s Sweet Retreat available for purchase?
It is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Authorhouse bookstore.
Cheapest place to purchase print version:

Digital version is only .99 on Amazon. Here is that link.
Do you have a release date for your next book?
Not at the moment but with such a great response to the first one, it has really motivated me.
I also want to share WHY I am pursuing writing now more than I ever have before. Here is a poem I wrote a few days ago. It is a true story of what happened to me when my son was born. I feel that if I am able to reach a large publishing house or someone that can get my work “out there.” I appreciate all of those that have helped me thus far.

My Answer as to “WHY?”

I woke up this morning with a really clear view.
My answer as to “Why?” I hope you see it too.
Several years ago, I had a two pound baby boy
12 weeks premature… I felt anything but joy.
He wasn’t doing well, his life was hanging by a thread
not knowing why this happened, my heart was filled with dread.
The doctors said he may not walk, his brain was full of blood
He wouldn’t learn, he may not talk, none of this was good.
I sat and wrote that very day, an email to my friends
Asking all of them to pray and then to please hit send.
Within a week, to my surprise, I had an inbox full of letters
Strangers sending hope our way, praying he’d get better.
They sent him home after 73 days but again, with not much hope.
We had no clue of what may happen on this scary uphill slope.
On this day, he’s five years old and no one would never know.
He’s doing great, he’s really smart. He’s anything but slow.
As I said before, I woke today with an answer as to “why?”
I came to my desk to try and type and then began to cry.
My child was saved so I’d spread the word of what Jesus did for me.
I feel that’s why I rhyme so well. I want all the world to see.
Something big will come of this, I can feel it in my heart.
For now I’ll spread to my home town, but I know it’s just a start.

Thank you, Mandi. That was a wonderful poem. I wish you much more continued success and can’t wait to see your follow-up. Good luck with everything and keep me posted on that release date!


Cambria said...

Hi! I found your blog through book blogs and i am glad i did!! You have a wonderful blog here! I am a writer too (ya paranormal) and my blog is
Happy blogging!

Collette said...

Thank you Cambria! I'm glad you came to take a look. We'll have to get you on here too :)