As many of you know, I attended the New England Author Expo, orgainsed by Christopher Obert of Pear Tree Publishing, as a blogger. And I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed my time. I learned a great deal from the panels of authors, editors, and many more, who dished on their experience of the publishing world and offered invaluable advice. Not only that, but I also got to meet and interview some amazing authors. This week, over the course of seven days, I will be sharing just some of the stories of those wonderful imagineers. As I perused the tables of tales, I came across one that caught my attention. Meet, Maggie Van Galen, author of The Adventures of Keeno & Ernest (The Banana Tree & The Diamond Mine).
Could you tell me a little bit about your books?
Well, Keeno is a very mischievous little monkey and Ernest is a very wise elephant. They’re best friends in the jungle. Keeno seems to find himself getting into trouble and Ernest has to get him out. There’s a moral to every story and the morals tend to get older as the books get older. So, in the first book, Keeno finds a banana on the wrong side of the river and decides to cross it anyway. He learns a lesson about following family rules, friendship, and listening. And then in the second book, Keeno learns a very valuable lesson about stealing. So, he wants to make a necklace for his mom and he goes to the diamond mine. He gets caught and Ernest has to rescue him. So, again he learns a very valuable lesson about stealing no matter what your intentions were.
Could I ask what your inspiration behind the books was?
So, when I was a little girl, my dad used to tell me stories about Keeno and Ernest. I remember he was a phenomenal raconteur and he would take you away to wherever his stories were. His characters became ingrained in my memory. He passed away about twenty-five years ago and unfortunately he never wrote any of the stories down. So, when my oldest son, who’s now thirteen, was born I started making up my own stories about his characters. And it sort of carried on from there.
That’s so lovely. If you had any advice for someone wishing to become an author, what would it be?
My tag line that I always sign on my books and is all over my website is “Always follow your dreams.” And that would be my advice to anyone wanted to be a writer, artist, or whatever you want to be.
And I see your illustrator is Joanna Lundeen, can I ask how you came to know each other?
Well, before I published any of my books I used to go into my kids classrooms and tell the stories. I didn’t have anything written down, it was just in my head. I’m definitely a storyteller before I am a write. One day, the teacher said, “You should really try to get this published, we could use it in the classroom.” I was hesitant. But when my youngest started school and life became less hectic, the kindergarten teacher put me in touch with her best friend Joanna Lundeen, who is a classically trained artist. She had never actually done a book before, so she was incredibly excited to get stuck in. With the third book coming out near Christmas, called The New Friend, Joanna will be doing that one as well.
To find out more about Maggie, click the links below.Website
Her books can be found onAmazon
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