Author and illustrator for 50+ books for children in grades K-12, Mark Wayne Adams is President-Elect of the Florida Authors & Publishers Association. However, his greatest talent may be his willingness to share his knowledge of the publishing industry with other authors – like me! Whenever we meet for coffee, I learn something new from Mark.
Tell me about your background. Where you grew up, where you live now, education, work experience? Share some interesting things about yourself that we should know about.
Dawson Springs, Kentucky is my hometown, however our family’s home is eight miles outta town, near Pennyrile Resort State Park entrance. Most residents called this mile marker “the middle of nowhere.”
What inspired you to write this book? What is the story behind the story?
OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters inspiration came from pet names. A brother is a bother, and sisters have sinister plans for sibling life. While researching this book during my book tours, I realized that most siblings had similar feelings about their own brothers and sisters. I also discovered almost every parent requires kids to play “out back” because it was safer than playing “out front” of their homes. This was the case for me as well. The gently sloping Highway 109 at the end of our driveway enticed drivers to speed past. Many a country dog lost its life playing tire tag in that quarter of a mile stretch.
What has been your biggest challenge or obstacle?
Filtering story facts from fiction was one of the biggest challenges. I finally came to terms that Driew, the protagonist, had to live his own life in Dawson Springs—fiction. The environments he lives within is a compilation of the environments any resident or tourist would experience—fact. By doing this, Driew’s character has become a part of the community history.
What has been your biggest “aha” moment or success?
My biggest “aha moment” for OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters came while attending the Amelia Island Authors in Schools program where the students received the book prior to my visit. Most students ask where I’m from, which I reply, “Dawson Springs, Kentucky, does anyone know where that is?” Every hand in the room raised. They knew my middle of nowhere town, because Driew lived there too.
What authors do you like to read? What books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
As an illustrator, I refine my skills practicing with drawing books like The Animator’s Survival Kit. I do the same for my writing using editor guides like Fire Up Your Fiction. At any experience level in drawing and writing, I’ve found room for improvement. Most of my reference books have dog eared pages, penciled notes, and highlighted phrases for quick reference.
Do you write every single day? Any writing rituals?
A resounding yes! Writing has become a 24/7 exercise. From correspondence with clients, social media posts, texting, and writing for work, writing is a craft I should have mastered in elementary school. Then I wouldn’t spend most of my day editing the above.
What are your interests outside of writing?
Some people may not know, my full-time career is K–12 Book Illustrator. I’ve incorporated my love of writing by compiling my ideas and inspiration within my Best Sketchbook. In the past decade, I’ve filled 52 sketchbooks with ideas—11,648 pages.
Share some tips for other Authors or Aspiring Authors: What would you do differently? What would you do the same? Please share anything you think would be beneficial to those reading this.
One tip for authors writing for K–12 readers would be to implement techniques from Schools: A Niche Market for Authors. Including educational resources within your books, helps them become classroom-friendly reads.
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