Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Interview with Kevin McNamee

Today's guest is Kevin McNamee, author of a large number of childrens' books, including, most recently, The Soggy Town of Hilltop, and the Amazon listed If I Could Be Anything.  Kevin has dropped by to have a chat with us, and share his books.

Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.
Outside of writing, I would say that I’m the most passionate about my family.

 If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing with your life?  Right now, I still have a day job.  Unfortunately, writing hasn’t been my means to self-sufficiency yet. I’m still trying to find that balance between work/family/writing/everything else.  It’s a challenging juggling act, but so far, I’ve been able to keep all the balls in the air.

Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a “real” writer?  Somewhere along the way, I stopped doubting my ability.  A rejection of my manuscript ceased to be a rejection of myself.  A rejection letter became an opportunity to send my manuscript somewhere else.  Comments and criticism became opportunities to strengthen my story, revise something unworkable, or something to ignore altogether if it didn’t fit with my vision of the story.  I was able to refer to myself as a writer without feeling self conscious and … oh yeah, someone was willing to pay me for what I wrote.

What is going on with your writing these days?  Right now, I have several stories in various stages of completion, one story that has been finalized and critiqued and needs a final revision, and a few that are finished and have been sent out to various publishers. 

What are your future goals for your writing? I’ve been focusing primarily on picture books and I would like to branch out to middle readers and Young Adult novels.  I have two middle readers in various stages of completion.

Describe a typical writing day for you? There’s no such thing as a typical writing day for me.  I try to do something writing related every day.  But what I’m doing may vary.  Sometimes  I’m writing new material, sometimes I’m revising, sometimes I’m critiquing, sometimes I’m researching, sometimes I’m promoting.  Due to the demands on my time, I’ve needed to adopt the philosophy of doing what I can, when I can.

Why do you write? I first started writing in the second grade.  I wrote a poem that was displayed outside the classroom and I liked seeing my poem and my name in public like that.  I found that I took to writing naturally.  Growing up, I was a constant daydreamer and would construct stories in my head all the time.  Eventually, I started writing them down.  Throughout my teenage years and throughout adulthood I always felt compelled to write.  Although there were many, many times that I put creative writing on the back burner, I found that I was still writing at my day job; memos, procedures, proposals, requests, and I was receiving recognition for it.  I realized that writing had been a constant in my life, but I wasn’t writing what I wanted to write.  Now I make sure that I write what I want as well. 

Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog? To find out more about me, please visit my website at www.kevinmcnamee.com or my blog at www.kevinmcnameechildrensauthor.blogspot.com   I also have a new child-friendly site with games and activities at www.kevschildrensbooks.com

Review of  If I Could be Anything

If you could be anything at all -- any zoo animal, large or small, what would you be?  In his book If I Could Be Anything Kevin McNamee explores this concept from a child's eye view.  The story uses simple vocabulary suitable for children ranging in ages from about 2 up to about 6, and rhymes, which makes it a joy to read outloud.  The story progresses from wish to reality with plenty of poetic imagery:

"Could I squirm like a worm living under a rock
or show off my teeth like a cranky old croc?"

Beautiful washy watercolours with lots of fun detail from toothpaste tubes to babies in strollers works perfectly with the text, drawing in the eye and encouraging children to think of their own images and wishes.  Overall, the book presents a positive message, encouraging children to enjoy the pleasures of the imagination while liking who they are, right now.  This is a lovely, well-designed book that children of all ages will enjoy.  Older siblings will particularly like reading the book to younger ones, and emerging readers will be able to read it themselves.  

Kevin was hosted as part of the VBT-Writers on the Move tour.  For the full February tour schedule featuring both emerging and established authors, visit: http://tinyurl.com/yhkt7v8


  1. Great interview Magdalena and Kevin! I enjoyed getting to know you, Kevin. I wish you tons of success in your writing career!

  2. Kevein,thanks for letting us get to know you a little better. Your books sounds wonderful. I'm also a preschool teacher and I'm sure the kids would love it.
    Martha Swirzinski

  3. Great interview guys. Wow, Kevin, how many books have you written? You seem to have a new one come out every couple of months. WAY TO GO!

  4. Great interview, Kevin and Maggie!

    Good luck with your children's books, Kevin!

  5. Wonderful interview, Maggie.

    And, Kevin, If I Could Be Anything sounds great. I like the concept of letting children explore their imaginations.

    I wish you much success with it!

  6. Loved the interview. Good luck with your books, Kevin!

  7. Thank you all!

    Kathy, I have two books out now and six more coming. So it looks like I'll have fresh material for my VBT Tours for quite some time:-)

    Thanks again,


  8. What a great interview. Kevin your books sound fantastic. I think my favorite line in your interview was, "A rejection of my manuscript ceased to be a rejection of myself." That is so well put, and a lesson that every writer can benefit from.

    Thanks Magdelena for the wonderful post!

    All best wishes,
    Dallas :)


  9. Kevin, nice interview. I am constantly amazed at the level of creativity VBT authors possess, and I can tell you now that you help make this club shine. Thanks, & good job, Maggie

  10. Kevin, it was good to get to know you and your work a little better. Best wishes for the continued success of your books. Six more. Wow. That's great.

    Stephen Tremp

  11. Oh Kevin, I almost choked on my coffee when you mention that writing hasn't been your means for self-support financially. I giggled because I'm wondering how many of us - besides our love for writing and entertaining our readers - do make enough to carry it on full time. :)

    Loved the interview.