AUTHOR: Mindy Mymudes
BOOK TITLE: George Knows
GENRE: Midgrade Urban Fantasy
6. Apple iBookstore
Please tell us about yourself.
I like to think I’m the alpha of the Muddy Paws Pack. Instead, I have to keep my head down so I don’t fall over dead branches and rocks when the rest of the pack runs over of me. Before I became alpha of a dog pack, I devoted my life to lecturing on human anatomy, gardening, working in a metals lab, a hazardous waste lab, a microbiology lab, and university greenhouses. Not all at the same time. Somehow I managed to get a Master’s degree in biology, specializing in endangered plant genetics. Now I’m often found at Starbuck’s arguing with an egotistical basset hound familiar named George. My husband just shakes his head and stays out of the way.
Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I’m a part-time writer. I have to organize my writing around my three dogs, all of which insist on petting and training time, as well as 300 plants that need watering and care (they live in the basement during the WI winters), and also work on PR for LTP Promotions.
When and why did you begin writing?
I’m mainly known for answering dog questions in Dog Fancy, or research I’ve done on an endangered plant species. In fact, I was certain I was working on a questionnaire about dogs when about three pages in I ‘met’ a very opinionated basset hound.
What inspired you to write your first book?
That is a great question. Many of the scenes from George actually happened. One of my dogs, Quark, did some amazingly strange things. From climbing up a ladder to steal the roofer’s lunch, to finding human bones at a landscape nursery I worked for. He also brought me home a 7-year-old boy, named Joey that I ended up fostering. Another one of my dogs, Charm, climbed spruce trees. One day she flushed a mourning dove and jumped after it. She ended up with a ruptured disc and major surgery. George doesn’t have that problem.
What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?
Watching my dogs for more ideas. My youngest, Freaky Beak, keeps stealing my socks and spoons. The weird thing is I can’t find them. Anywhere. If it weren’t for the fact I’ve caught her a few times with one in her mouth, I wouldn’t know.
What are your thoughts about promotion?
With the change of publishing, it’s the only way for anyone to know that a book is out there and worth reading. I’ve been lucky because Faith Hunter is my mentor. While she writes dark urban fantasy, (the Jane Yellowrock series), and I write kid’s urban fantasy, she still mentioned George on her blog and we had George and her Beast ‘meeting’ in a short story.
What was the toughest criticism given to you?
That I couldn’t write and don’t bother. Stay with what I was good at, dogs and plants.
What was the biggest compliment?
When people ‘got’ George. It’s not just kids enjoying him; it’s adults as well. He currently has 27 five star reviews on US Amazon, and I know of at least one in the UK. I wanted George to be like the old kid mysteries. One of the reviews likened him to a magical basset Nancy Drew. That’s what I wanted. Nancy Drewls.
Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?
Not writer’s block. More like writer’s motivation. I discovered a year ago I had a chronic pain issue and sometimes it’s hard to get the images from my head onto paper. I spend a lot of time away from the house, which needs cleaning, and away from the dogs, who need training, and away from the plants and gardening. I can only do so much in a day without crashing.
Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?
That I can make people laugh from a distance.
Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
MuseItUp. I had a short story that was from the first book I was muddling with. They refused it, but did enjoy my voice and if I wrote anything else, they wanted to see it. The contract on George was signed within a couple of weeks.
What are your current projects?
I’m working on Tillie’s Tale. Still from George’s egotistical point of view, and of course, he will save the day. Or think he did.
What do you plan for the future?
Have fun with people and their pets.
How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?
George's Blog: http://bassetbones.wordpress.com (Totally from George’s POV. He doesn’t give me a chance. He’s told me many times, if he could type, he wouldn’t need me.)
Tell us about the current book you’re promoting.
An egotistical magical basset hound named George believes it's his duty to train and protect his 12-year-old, a greenwitch named Karly. The world is full of people who don't know how to use their natural human senses, and while teaching Karly to use hers, he's also teaching her how to use her magic. George is the perfectly designed familiar for the task.
George Knows won first place for Children's Books at the Predators and Editors Reader's Poll. He thinks of course he should have won. Me, I'm stunned. It was against 32 other books. http://critters.org/predpoll/final_tally_novelchildrens.ht
What genre do you write in and why?
Urban fantasy. I grew up with a father in the publishing industry. I had access to all sorts of books, and my favorite was the science fiction. At four, I met Robert Heinlein. He taught me to play chess. Unfortunately, I should have had more lessons.
I suspect my love of science came from reading SciFi/Fantasy as a kid.
What is your experience working or being around children or teens?
I taught anatomy at high school level at a Catholic High School, and I ran a greenhouse at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. My favorite time was working with the younger-set, especially the ones that came for College For Kids.. They are so interested, not yet jaded, and seriously want to know how that plant can catch a bird, or how another can survive without water. I also judge 4 H dog shows.
Why do you feel qualified to write a children’s or teen novel?
I’ve always said I was a 10-year-old boy. I think biologists are naturally interested in nature and curious about how it works. I believe that’s true of kids, as well.
What influences your writing?
Hoo boy. Um, George. Once I’m settled, the story feels like he’s telling me what to do. Yeah, I might be a lot crazy. He wants to explain the environmental problems without being pushy. Which is wild, since he has an exaggerated opinion of himself. In fact, it’s hard to make sure he doesn’t insert his snout in answering these questions.
Is this your first published children’s work? What other types of writing have you done?
This is my first published children’s book. I’ve written technical articles, dog articles, shorts about Quark, and one zombie story that I wrote as a Valentine gift for my husband. It didn’t go over as well as I thought for a present, but was published in an anthology by Pill Hill Press. Go figure.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I train dogs. I can’t run agility any longer, but a friend runs my younger two for me. I get to play soccer mom. I still judge AKC rally, and do obedience, tracking, and hunting if I can. Then there are the plants. There are always plants. Sometimes plants with dogs in them. Sometimes dogs with plants in them.
What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?
To be able to escape. If there are plot holes, if it is poorly edited, if it isn’t well researched, I end up being kicked out of the story. I used to read a book all the way through, but life is too short to read bad books. So read George Knows.
What, if anything, bugs you when you read a novel?
Usually the Freaky Beak. She doesn’t think that I should waste time holding a booking when I could be petting her. You resist that.