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Interview: Kevin Mowrer on World-Building

Kevin Mowrer is a two times Emmy award-winning, Gemini award-winning, and Leo award-nominated Intellectual Property (I.P.) creator with over 25 years of broad experience in the kids and all-family entertainment and entertainment product business. His background in television, motion picture, online web stories, publishing, card gaming, video gaming, online gaming, board gaming, toy product and consumer licensing have given him a unique overview of how stories work in each media and why.

From this perspective he developed the Meta-story process that is his consulting business and is frequently hired by Motion Picture companies, I.P. holders, gaming companies, and toy companies to organically expand their intellectual properties to express well across other media forms. He is also an exceptional artist.

During a world-building discussion on The Steampunk Writers & Artists Guild forums, I quickly realized that Kevin’s level of expertise and experience would make for a fascinating interview. He agreed to answer a few questions and I’m delighted to be able to share them with you here:

Lia Keyes: Can you explain the concept of the meta-story for us?

Finding Her Wings: editor Emma Dryden talks about drydenbks and the state of the publishing industry

Last May, after nearly 19 years at Simon and Schuster, Emma Dryden was laid off from her position as Vice President and Publisher of Atheneum Books for Young Readers and Margaret K. McElderry Books in a cost-cutting initiative which left the publishing industry reeling.

If even someone who has edited writers of the caliber of Susan Cooper and Ellen Hopkins and has 25 years of experience in the children’s book publishing industry isn’t immune, where would the axe fall next? And who will be left to guide the young talent left in charge in their stead?

Too young to retire, Dryden was left with a sense of unfinished business and launched drydenbks, applying the same passion and love of craft that marked her outstanding career as an editor for major publishing houses.

Six months on, drydenbks is a multi-platform venture offering editorial, creative and consulting services to children’s book authors, illustrators, publishers and agents, as well as workshop presentations at author retreats, book clubs, and conferences.

What better time to check in on how drydenbks is faring? Emma graciously satisfied my curiosity when I caught up with her recently.

WHERE I WRITE: Andrew Smith

YA author Andrew Smith has enjoyed a meteoric rise since publishing his first book, GHOST MEDICINE, in September 2008. Since then he’s published a second book IN THE PATH OF FALLING OBJECTS, and has two more scheduled for publication. THE MARBURY LENS will be published in Fall 2010 and WINGER will hit shelves in Fall 2011.

Such extraordinary productivity roused my curiosity into his writing process. Here’s his response to my questions:

What’s your favorite possession/writing ritual?

I’m not too into possessions, and I don’t know about the ritualistic aspect of writing, if there is one. I am fairly obsessive-compulsive, though, so I feel a deep sense of dread if, when I am writing a novel, something gets in the way of writing time. I don’t know what terrible thing would happen if, when writing a novel, I ever didn’t write something every day, because I NEVER take days off when working on something. But, I am certain I would probably die in a car crash or something if I ever did take a day off. Or my house would burn down. Or there would be an earthquake.

WHERE I WRITE: Lewis Buzbee

Lewis Buzbee is a third generation California native who began writing at the age of 15, after reading the first chapter of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Since then he’s been a dishwasher, a bookseller, a publisher, a caterer, a bartender, and a teacher of writing (currently on the faculty of the MFA program at the University of San Francisco). He and his wife, the poet Julie Bruck, live with their daughter Maddy in San Francisco, just half a block from Golden Gate Park. His books for adults include The Yellow Lighted Bookshop, Fliegelman’s Desire, After the Gold Rush, and First to Leave Before the Sun.

His first novel for middle grade readers, Steinbeck’s Ghost, was published in 2008 by Feiwel and Friends and was selected for these honors: a Smithsonian Notable Book, a Northern California Book Award Nominee, the Northern California Independent Booksellers’ Association Children’s Book of the Year, and the California Library Association’s John and Patricia Beatty Award.

A second middle-grade novel, The Haunting of Charles Dickens, will be published in the fall of 2010, and he is currently at work on Mark Twain and the Mysterious Stranger.

I’m currently reading the Advance Reader’s Edition of The Haunting of Charles Dickens and updated my Facebook page to comment after only 100 pages:

“Lewis Buzbee’s THE HAUNTING OF CHARLES DICKENS is the first book I’ve truly enjoyed, line by line, since Philip Pullman’s THE GOLDEN COMPASS. Masterful prose, beautifully drawn characters, a love letter to literature and London, and a mystery to solve… what’s not to love about this book?”

I’ll update you on my response to the book when I’ve finished it, and there’ll be a more detailed post nearer to publication time but, for now, here are Lewis’ responses to my questions about his creative space, working method and favorite tools of the trade.