Millicent and the Faraway Moon Millicent is the story of a sad and gloomy blue cow who has trouble believing in herself until she meets a special friend, the fourth blind mouse, who helps her to discover her own uniqueness and ability. She struggles through doubt, unforeseen setbacks and jealousy before realizing that she is “wonderfully made” and born to do extraordinary things.
Tell us something about yourself.
I was born in Trenton N.J., and via about 5 other cities, now reside in the quiet town of Kemblesville, Pa. I have been an artist for most of my life, professional for about the last 20 years. I have been painting from memory and different series involving people over the years, but it is my bright colored ,whimsical cow paintings that have really taken off with the public. I like to slip metaphors and tongue in cheek humor into my paintings and have always enjoyed toying around with meanings and situations. “Millicent and the Faraway Moon” is an example of that in book format , taking the story of the cow jumping over the moon and injecting it with human situations like the ability to have faith overcome obstacles, but with lots of humor and lightheartedness.
What inspired you to write this book?
The life of an artist isn’t an easy one and I would often find myself feeling very dejected. I was always comparing myself to others and feeling that I didn’t measure up. I started digging around inside myself to find out why and I remembered a specific incident that occurred when I was in grade school and was very damaging to my self esteem. I couldn’t do a math problem at the chalkboard and the teacher beat me with a yardstick and berated me in front of the class. One of the things that she said was “I would never amount to much.”
Why a blue cow? Who are the other characters?
Somewhere along the line, brightly colored whimsical cows streamed into my consciousness and I have painted over 100 of them to date. It therefore seemed natural that Millicent be a cow. She is blue because we usually say that we are “feeling blue” when we are sad. Mouse is representative of the “Holy Spirit” and of the people in my life who have supported and encouraged me. The Moon, is God, the brightest light in the darkness and the highest goal one could reach for.
What did you discover in writing this story?
That I could create something really beautiful and inspired that could help others as well as myself and that my gifts as an artist and writer had been given to me for a reason.
What sets your book apart from other children’s books on the market?
“Millicent” teaches, encourages and presents her in emotional situations that children and adults can all relate to. It teaches goal setting and perseverance and even includes a page in the back where kid’s can record their accomplishments.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
The name of Millicent was just given to me.
How did you choose the title?
I wanted something soft and poetic that also told what the story was about. Like the name “Millicent”, it was totally inspired.
What do you hope that your readers, both children and adults, will take away from this story?
That no matter what they are afraid of, no matter what their failures are, that they are a child of God, wonderfully made, and that their self esteem comes from that.
What has been the most satisfying thing in writing this book?
Having parents come to me to tell me that their child has found the courage to try something new or is working harder at school because they want to be like Millicent. I realize that my book is making an impact on other people’s lives.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
I am self published so it is definately a labor of love. I am the artist, writer, graphic designer, agent, distributor and chief muckracker. I just work hard at it.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I took creative writing classes and did a lot of writing in junior high and high school, mostly poetry and creative fiction. This is the first time I have done anything serious with my writing ability. I guess I am what you call a double threat being an artist and writer. I wish that I could say that I was a triple threat but my husband and daughter have all the musical talent.
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
Save a lot of money and hire an agent.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
I started a book club so I have been having a great time reading lots of different authors. Frank McCourt is one of my all time favorites as well as Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury, the stuff I read in high school.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
Right now I am just working on getting “Millicent and the Faraway Moon” out there in a big way.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Love what you are doing or don’t do it.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
(read-to-me ages 3-5) Children ages 6-9
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?