Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in a
small, farming community in southwest Kansas. I always loved drawing and
reading comic books like Spider-man, Green Lantern, and Thor. I was also
an avid reader, and spent a lot of nights staying up reading when I should
have been sleeping. Luckily, when I decided on art and illustration as my
career path, my amazing parents did nothing to downplay or discourage
my dream, as some parents might. Instead, they encouraged me to do my best
in everything that I do, regardless of what that might be.
on to receive my degree in illustration from the University of Kansas in
2001. It wasn't until the past couple of years, though, that I truly
began to pursue my illustration career. I have had the great opportunity
to teach elementary art for the past five years in the Fort Worth Independent School District, and it was my students
who actually inspired me to write and illustrate my first children's
book. I wrote the book for them, not only to encourage creative thinking
but also to teach them about the most basic Element of Art: Line.
The result was Just Line Around.
currently live in Fort Worth with
my wife and our two sons. We also have a cat, dog, and gecko roaming
around the house. Well, not the gecko. He’s usually
confined to quarters.
Describe your book ‘Just Line Around’ in 30 words or less.
A deceptively simple book about a horizontal line
who discovers that there is more to life than just lying flat.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The writing! Illustration will always be my
first love, so even when writing this book, I saw the pictures I wanted first,
and then I went back and created a story that would support the images.
The story is extremely simple in Just Line Around, but I just seemed to agonize
over the wording of it forever. The writing definitely doesn't come to me as
easily as the images, so I can't begin to imagine what novelists go through to
create their finished works!
What books have had the greatest influence on you?
I have always been a fan of imaginative works
of fiction, but it wasn’t until I read The Sword of Shannara by
Terry Brooks in 5th grade that I found the types of stories that really draw me
in and immerse me in the storyline. Since then, I have read almost
entirely science fiction and fantasy books, but I enjoy just about any
well-written story. The worlds and imagery of the science fiction/fantasy
genre greatly appeal to my creative side. I love getting lost in the
story in a world that only exists in my mind.
Briefly share with us what you do to market your
Between teaching and my family, I don't spend near
the time marketing as I would like. I have a Facebook page, web site,
blog, and Twitter account that I use to communicate with friends, family, and
fans. I also visit schools and attend conferences to connect with
potential fans and to network with other authors and publishers. I have
done a few online interviews, book giveaways, and even created my own book
trailer (viewable @http://youtu.be/xxsOIPlAeGI).
also taken advantage of many of the promotional tools available right here at
BookBuzzr. The Cover Matcher game keeps the cover of my book fresh
the readers mind, and the book display program allows them to read part
it. For a limited time, I’ve pushed the book display a bit farther
by allowing people to read my entire book, Just Line
Around. This leaves the readers with no doubt about the
book, and if they want a copy of their own, the embedded links make it a snap
to purchase. Overall, I’d say it was well worth the investment!
How do you spend your time when you are not
I might wish it otherwise, writing and illustrating currently get very little
of my time/energy. Most of my time is spent at school or with my
family. Both of my boys participate in extracurricular sports like
soccer, and my oldest is currently learning to play guitar. So there
is always a practice or game to attend for most of the year. For
fun, we sometimes engage in Nerf wars with each other, play board games, read
books, or play video games. My wife and I enjoy watching movies
together, spending time with friends and family, and the o-so-rare date night.
What are you working on next?
I am actually working on a couple of things
at the moment. I am illustrating a new children’s book by Amanda M.
Thrasher called There’s a Gator Under my Bed! It’s a fun
story about a little boy afraid to get out of bed because he’s afraid there’s
an alligator hiding under it. Sketches for the book can be viewed in the
photos section on my Facebook page @www.facebook.com/kinsymcvaycreations. Amanda
and I have just begun sending out queries to publishers. We are very
excited about this project and can’t wait to go forward with it.
addition to that project, I am also working on another children’s book of my
own. This one will be in an entirely differently illustrative style
and on an entirely different subject. It is a Christian parable of
Christ’s sacrifice for us, and the illustrations will be created from torn and
cut tissue paper. This one has been cooking in the back of my brain
for a while. I’m really looking forward to giving it the time and
attention it deserves. It will be interesting to see how it evolves.