DIY Mom has had the pleasure of reading and reviewing several of children's book author Neil McFarlane's books over the years. Neil is truly a great guy...and he's pretty funny too. We invited Neil to drop by and chat about his newest book The Revolting Brains. He had plenty to say about the book, his writing and more!
Tell us about The Revolting Brains:
It's a collection of seven read-aloud bedtime tales where the listening child is made to feel that he or she is the protagonist of each story (a follow-up to a previous collection called "A Month of Bedtime Stories"). The idea is that the reader describes to the child an adventure the child had earlier in the day but has forgotten about due to receiving a "bonk on the head" or similar amnesia-inducing event. The intention is to make the stories immersive and fun for both parent and child.
How long have you been writing?
I started uploading files to Amazon in 2014 but wanted to be a writer since about the age of 5.
Where do you get your story ideas?
For this series ("And off you went to the woods ...") I imagine what adventures I, as a child, would love to have had. For example: shrinking in size and living in an ant colony; driving a submarine; traveling to the center of the Earth; exploring a whale's insides, joining a pirate ship, etc.
What kinds of books do you enjoy reading?
I enjoy all sorts. I used to read fiction almost exclusively but I now tend to read more non-fiction. I'm currently reading "Brick Lane" by Monica Ali. The last few books I read include "The Blank Slate" by Stephen Pinker, "Tender is the Night" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, "How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big" by Scott Adams, and "The Heart of the Matter" by Graham Greene.
What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?
That I speak fluent Chinese (particularly if we re-define the word "fluent" to mean "not very good").
How can readers get in touch with you?
Readers can check out my Amazon Author Page. I also include a contact email in all of my books.
What are you currently working on?
"Animal Mix-up" (a book which is also a game); "Me Tawk Funny: Book Four", the final book in a series about a boy whose dog can talk; and a rhyming picture book about a dancing monkey which I'm going to attempt to illustrate myself.
What advice would you give new authors?
If you are really new, read books about the craft of writing. Seek, be open to, but not over-sensitive to, feedback. Read over what you've written (again and again) and assess it impartially. If you can't be honest with yourself, who can you be honest with? Also, writing is an increasingly saturated field. If you're not an overnight success (which you probably won't be), you'll need to enjoy writing because it's more than likely you'll be in it for the long run. Also: read good writers. If you don't know who's good, choose books, which are hailed as classics and try to work out what it is about them that makes them so hailed.