by Nick, aka KidReviewer
Genre: Crime Mystery
New author M.A.C just released her first book of “The Professionals” series. It is a story about Anna Smudge, a middle-schooler that turns out to be a professional counselor and gets caught up in the plans of the evil Mr. Who. It was a fun, quick read, and not only launched at ComicCon in NYC, but featured prominent comic book artists Glen Fabry and Greg Horn. After writing the book review and trading a few emails with M.A.C, I asked her for an interview. She was very cool, and has a great sense of humor. Check it out…
M.A.C, what made you want to write a kids book?
Well, I read a bunch of terrific books, one after the other- Harry Potter, Golden Compass, Ender’s Game… books like that, and I was just really inspired. And they all happened to be marked as “juvenile”, whatever that means. A good story is a good story and I don’t think it matters what age group the back cover says.
And funny enough, some of my biggest fans so far have been grownups. So, I really think the line has begun to fade between kid’s books and adult books.
I find what you said about kid’s books to be very interesting. I have only read Enders Game out of what you listed, and I’m surprised that book was classified as juvenile. It’s quite mature.
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
Ever since I can remember I’ve been writing stories. But it wasn’t until seven years ago that I played with the idea of writing as a possible career choice. I balanced writing articles for Popular Science Magazine with writing my own books, and soon, I was writing full-time and I loved it!
Hah! I think I might be the other way around, but we’ll see. I still have a lot of school before I start thinking about full-time work.
If you were Anna’s age, what Professional would you be?
I’d be the Professional Karaoke Singer who belts out cheesy Barry Manilow songs and drives everyone around me to wear ear plugs. Or else I’d be a Professional Food Critic because I enjoy eating but hate cooking. (Sorry Quenton!)
Those would be pretty funny professionals if you were to write about them. But then again, I’m not sure if a cheesy Barry Manilow impersonator qualifies as “professional”.
Do you see part of your personality in the Anna Smudge character?
Yes, definitely. Like Anna, it troubles me to no end when there’s any sort of discord amongst friends or family. I like it when everyone can get along. I also remember a time in middle school when I just felt very overwhelmed by all of the larger-than-life personalities around me. There was a bully (who I will not name because he’s probably a very nice person now…that, or he’s in a Siberian gulag) who followed me around like the plague and made my bus rides absolutely miserable. It really made me retreat into this shell and, like Anna, I didn’t get over my timidity until later.
In the book you detailed Anna’s city well; I was wondering if that was anything like where you grew up.
What was life like where you grew up? Big city? Small town?
I grew up in mid-town Manhattan in an apartment building. I had an Irish doorman who was nowhere near as cool as Percy, and who would always quiz me on where I had I been, where I was going, and who I was meeting. And I was much too polite to tell him to mind his own bees wax.
But growing up in NYC was pretty great. There was always a cool museum exhibit, a new restaurant or a concert to go to. And if you happen to carry around a remote-controlled fart machine, like my friend Paul used to, then you can always get a seat on the subway.
I bet you saw some pretty funny expressions doing that!
So, is Anna going to be in your other Professionals stories?
Yup! Anna is in all six books in the series. I kind of look at her as being the Superman of the group. Anna’s very even-keel and neutral; she is the glue that binds the team together and smoothes over any existing friction.
Well, I think your first book will do well with kids, so I was wondering, what children’s story did you love most as a child?
I really loved the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I have vivid memories of going into my dad’s walk-in closet, stepping through his suits and coats, and being utterly disappointed that there was still a wall on the other side.
No kidding! I recently reviewed a Chronicles of Narnia : Prince Caspian Illustrated Movie Companion. It’s not a story book, but has interesting photos and drawings from the artists.
Well, I’ve been a huge fan of both Glenn and Greg’s work for around eleven years. I’m a voracious comic book reader. I have boxes and boxes of comics in my apartment. So, when the time came to pick artists for the book I adamantly wanted to get talent from that industry.
With Glenn, I wrote up a slew of pretty nutty character descriptions and sent them his way. Lucky enough, he really took to the material and signed on immediately. I couldn’t sleep for two nights I was so excited.
My publisher was actually the one to approach Greg Horn. Greg recently had two very adorable little twins. So, he was open to trying his hand at a new, younger audience.
That rocks. The cover of Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink caught my attention immediately, and the characters are cool. I’ve been playing with Flash, and would love to mashup that Art Teacher graphic with a scream and splattering paint!
Every time I talk to you I get the feeling you are having fun. So, last question, if you weren’t a writer, what would you want to be doing?
Hmmm. Probably something in wild-life rescue where I’d work and live with various animals and help introduce them back into the wild…. That, or a ping-pong player.
I’m absolutely ga-ga about ping-pong!
Outstanding! Thank you so much for the time.
To show my appreciation, since you love ping-pong, I’ve pasted below my favorite ping-pong video. Ping pong Matrix style, which of course was a movie in love with comic book style, just like you M.A.C!