Monday, November 28, 2011

Interview with Mandi Tillotson Williams, author of Mortimer's Sweet Retreat

Tell us a little bit about you: I am your average mini-van driving mama but I do have an imagination that is FAR from tame! (I may need to invest in tranquilizer darts just in case it happens to get loose) Often times when my kiddos and I are driving around in "Mandi's-Mini" we will crank the radio up and I will then proceed to make up new silly songs to whatever happens to be playing on the radio. The kids seem to think it's fun and often times a book idea will strike me right there in the mini! :)

How did you begin your writing career for children? I have always LOVED to write and draw since I was a young child. I would make up stories for fun and I was pretty convincing at times. I had several friends believing that I had actually traveled to Earth by way of a large bubblegum slide from an undiscovered candy-coated planet. I began my writing career after a person family tragedy-turned-miracle gave me the shove I needed to pursue my dream.

Was there someone or some event in your life that inspired you to write your book?  I wrote my first book about 10 years ago but put it aside because I had never even considered pursuing publishing it until several years later after my youngest child was born. He was very premature (only a 28 weeker) and the doctors said due to a grade III bleed on both sides of his brain he may not walk or talk. He faced many more complications while in the NICU and at that time, I prayed and made a promise to God that if he would just save my baby's life, I would share my miracle with as many people as possible. Well my little one is now almost 6 years old and has no trouble walking or talking and is actually a very smart little boy. He recently had to get glasses but I made up a What if question in my second book that made glasses COOL for him. I read it to his class and half of them wanted glasses too!! Lol. One little boy even wore sunglasses to school the next day! :o) In order to get my miracle spread to the world as I promised, I decided to publish my book and since then I have written a total of 4 but am working on illustrations for the other two. Good things can come from bad, I have living proof. 

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be? A photographer of course. This actually is my other job when I am not writing. I love it because it lets me express my creativity.

What feelings or lessons do you hope your book leaves its readers? I want for those that read my first book, Mortimer's Sweet Retreat to come away with new outlook toward others. You can't judge someone by looks alone. Just because someone may look strange, it doesn't mean that they are any less of a person than you are.

Describe yourself in five words Mother, Photographer, Author, Illustrator, Creative

Is there a children’s book that you have read that you wish you had written?  Shel Silverstein's poems, I love those. :o) Also the froggy books are super cute.
Whats next for you? Right now I am working on the second book in The Many Adventures of Mortimer Crump series and also another series as well. The first book in this series is about Henrietta Hexagon - A happy little shape with six beautiful sides. :o)
Do you have any advice for others interested in writing books for children? I would say research is the key for sure! I have done a huge amount of research and you learn things every day. Also, I would say that if you are planning on pursuing writing go ahead and join communities such as goodreads, absolutewrite, or SCBWI. These boards are also wonderful places to find valuable information as well as make friends and gain fans.

Do you have a website or a fan page?  I do!! :o) and

Where can we find your books to buy? They are both available in ebook and print
Mortimer's Sweet Retreat on Amazon: Amazon
       on Barnes and Noble: 
Moritmer's Book of What-if's on Amazon: 
       on createspace:

I do want to also share my poem I wrote about my son's time in the NICU if that's ok.

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.

Click here to read Mortimer Book Review

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