Welcome to BookView Interview, a conversation series where BookView talks to authors.
Recently, we interviewed author Raven Howell about her writing and her soon to be released children’s picture book, Mattison Mouse Counts, a charming counting book that uses rhyming verses and a large cast of jungle animals to tell a little mouse’s delightful story (Read the review here.)
Raven Howell writes stories and poetry for children. Her books have garnered honors such as Creative Child Magazine’s Best Book of the Year, Mom’s Choice Award, and US Book of Review’s Most Recommended. Her poetry is published in children’s magazines, she writes the Book Bug column for Story Monsters Ink, and story books for ReadingGate. Find out more at http://www.ravenhowell.com.
Raven’s social media:
How many hours a day do you write?
I’m a full-time writer so my days are packed. I wake at dawn. I love the morning quiet and peace, both in my household and in the town around me. It’s a conducive time for chasing and noting any elusive writing ideas and in general, planning out the day’s priority list.
My work varies from commissioned writing assignments to magazine work, writing and organizing my monthly column, The Book Bug, and the Kids Corner. I write my own children’s books and poetry. Presently I’m celebrating my new picture book Mattison Mouse Counts.
I love the diversity of my writing work. These days, I easily work til 7 p.m. That’s a full day and I would not suggest someone tackles the madness. But with writing careers, especially if you freelance, the workloads come on heavy and then you’ll always have a quieter time to catch up on loose ends and do the administrative end. The past year has been a busy one for me.
Is writer’s block real?
I really don’t know if writer’s block is real. I think every writer has their own description or definition of getting stuck and not being able to move their writing of something forward. Is that “writer’s block”? I don’t know. I‘ve never experienced a shutdown where I’ve not written at all. If a story isn’t unfurling, no matter how many ways I try to move it, then it’s not meant to be written, at least not at that moment. I’ll turn to another project, or read a good book, or take a long hike to refocus. I have a wide range of book ideas and projects and writing work to turn to should I not be able to tackle one of them on any given day.
Would you rather read a book or watch television?
I’m a book reader. I truly believe if you want to write and continue to evolve and improve as a writer, you should be reading other people’s work. Having said that, I am obsessed with the Netflix Wednesday show, black platform boots and all!
Tell us about your new book.
Mattison Mouse thinks he’s going out one day for an easy, breezy walk. He has no idea what’s in store for him as he traverses the forest landscape! Poor Mattison thinks all sorts of creatures are tailing him, when in fact, his animal friends are slowly gathering for his surprise birthday celebration.
What inspired the premise of your book?
Writing a children’s counting book was on my radar for a while and I felt like it was time to bring it to life. Children are always in need of learning to count in that preschool and elementary school stage. Giving them a fun, adventurous way to understand numbers will hopefully inspire some future mathematicians.
How many rewrites did you do for this book?
No big rewrites, but I revised the entirety once at the suggestion from my editor to change it from present tense to past tense. I’m incredibly happy with the result. And with the addition of Keeshan Defay’s beautiful illustrations popping off the pages, it’s entrancing, making the reader want to keep turning to the next page.
How did you decide on the title, “Mattison Mouse Counts”?
I was looking for an alliteration to use with “Mouse”. I had a male mouse in mind when I was writing the story so that narrowed down the name choice a bit. I brainstormed and even asked my husband for suggestions. We liked the way Madison Mouse sounded. Three full syllables before the one-syllabled “Mouse”. But I also wanted something a little unusual. I came up with “Mattison” -and it was a go!
What’s next for you?
Besides writing, I’m participating in several wonderful literary festivals, book fairs, and school and library visits. I have a few picture book releases this year and am always heartened to spend my time with as many children as possible, in story time, sharing arts and crafts activities, and encouraging literacy. Creatively, I’m writing more humor themed children’s fiction, and still continue to enjoy writing inspirational topics.
For now, I hope little Mattison Mouse will tip-toe onto children’s bookshelves, and take them on a mysterious and celebratory counting adventure!
Categories: BookView Review Interview
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