Last Friday, I shared the heart-warming Maximillian Villainous. Today I am excited to share with you my interview with my dear friend and debut author Margaret Greanias.
Who are your creative influences – in books, art, or any other media?
Oh wow, this is a tough question! I have many creative influences when it comes to books, and I’m sure I can’t name them all because sometimes influence is a subconscious thing.
During my early years, my favorite authors and stories that I read over and over again were:
- Tammi Sauer’s “Mostly Monsterly” and “Nugget and Fang” for the humor and full circle structure.
- Bonny Becker’s “A Visitor For Bear” for the writing, humor, and voice.
- Kelly Di Pucchio’s “Gilbert Goldfish Wants a Pet” and “Zombie in Love” for the humor.
- Pat Zietlow Miller’s “Sophie’s Squash” and “Quickest Kid in Clarksville”
- Michelle Knudsen’s “Library Lion” and “Big Mean Mike” for the storytelling and read-aloud ability.
- Peter Brown’s “Mr. Tiger Goes Wild” and “Children Make Terrible Pets” for turning concepts on their heads.
- Tara Lazar’s “Little Red Gliding Hood” and “7 Ate 9” for clever wordplay.
More recently, I’ve really enjoyed the lyricism of Megan Wagner Lloyd’s “Finding Wild” and Katherine Applegate’s “Sometimes You Fly.”
Can you see any of these influences in MAXIMILLIAN VILLAINOUS?
As writers, we take in our surroundings and experiences and sometimes put it into our writing. Are there any details in MAXIMILLIAN VILLAINOUS that have come from your life?
Most of the details and actions in MAXIMILLIAN VILLAINOUS were inspired by real life. For example, the idea of writing about villains came because my kids were loving the Despicable Me movies. The idea of wanting a pet came from my own childhood experience of pining away for a dog.
Also, smaller elements of the story — from the way Max pesters his family to get what he wants to making the leprechaun trap — all were inspired by my kids and what they were doing at and around the time I was writing the story.
Were there any specific challenges you encountered during the process of writing this story? Any particular joys?
I encountered many challenges in writing MAXIMILLIAN VILLAINOUS — it took two years from concept to ugly drafts to completion.
One challenge was creating a fresh story. I tried addressing this by mashing up two different concepts (villains and wanting a pet).
Another challenge was giving each family member a unique voice to distinguish them from each other especially since two family members (the dad and the grandfather) don’t have any action, only dialogue.
Another challenge was letting go of an ending I loved to find the right ending that worked best for the story. I initially had Max solving his problem and then the family rejecting his solution even though he met their requirements. I got the very astute feedback that the story should wrap up quickly once Max solves his problem. I always keep this feedback in mind even with current projects so that I don’t repeat the same mistake.
My biggest joy was when I found a way for Max to solve his problem in a surprising yet inevitable way (you’ll have to read the book to find out how he does it!). It gave me the same sort of satisfaction as solving a tough puzzle.
Some rapid fire questions.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer?
Favorite pick me up snack/drink?
drink: green tea
snack: berries or stone fruit
If you could have any kind of animal as a pet, what would it be?
Of course, a bunny.
What book(s) is on your bedside table?
The Way to Bea by Kat Yeh
War Storm by Victoria Aveyard
Where can readers find you on the Internet?
Thank you Margaret for stopping by today and sharing a bit about yourself. Wishing you many future successes!