An Interview with Monty J. McClaine: Author of the Super Speed Sam Series

Monty J McClaineProud winner of the 5th Annual Beverly Hills Book Awards in the “Holiday” category for Super Speed Sam – Santa’s Rescue Dog.

Tell us about yourself.

I began to observe that some of the natural interactions between family and friends are gradually eroding, if not already gone for some, and having been reminded of a C.S.Lewis quotation – “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest,” set out to create a fun and exciting series of children’s short stories, with lots of adventure and splashes of humor, all paced to hold children’s attention whether reading or listening… at least that’s my hope! Stories that will delight both boys and girls, the young and old, and, of course, moms and dads! Tales that allow a return to simpler values, kid-like imagination for both children and adults and, I sincerely hope, bring families closer together.

Why did you choose to self-publish?

I chose to self-publish because I did not know what other opportunities existed. I , like most, have no formal education or connections with the publishing industry, and Amazon – the first port of call for many ebook purchases, appeared to have created a process, that when followed, would see my book published, and accessible to a global audience with just a few clicks of my mouse.

What tools or companies did you use, and what experience did you have?

All favourable experiences with Fiverr, Upwork and Amazon (both KDP and CreateSpace)

What did you learn on your journey as an author?

How relatively easy it is to write a book, and how difficult it is to generate interest, readership and sales.

Santa's Rescue Dog Tell us about your book.

I had planned and have written 12 books in the Super Speed Sam series. Book 5, entitled Santa’s Rescue Dog was written to not only celebrate the joy of Christmas with Sam’s readership, but to also reveal teh circumstances surrounding how Sam the faithful basset hound actually ended ended up with super speed powers. I was also keen to answer some of the Christmas mysteries, which both parents and children alike have difficulty in answering – questions that I have also troubled me ever since I was a boy – questions like – “How does Santa cope with small chimney pots?” – and “What happens if Santa’s sleigh breaks, or one of the reindeer fell ill?”.

So I created a lively paced festive tale that follows the entertaining escapades of Sam, the adorable dog with secret powers who lives with the Brockman family, as well as Santa’s extended family at the North Pole. I decided to add some illustrations – in response to readers’ requests which are vibrant in colour and depict the activities occurring. I also wanted to add some interesting snippets on the energetic elves, and Mrs. Claus, who has to oversee some of the important jobs at the North Pole while Santa travels. Hopefully Santa’s Rescue Dog is a novella that kids will love.

Would you self-publish again?

Yes – I still have 7 more titles to publish in the Super Speed Sam series.

What do you think are the main pitfalls for indie writers?

Finding that writing the book is the first step – of many!

As a writer, what is your schedule? How do you get the job done?

Early mornings, late nights – and of course the weekend. Yes – you do become a recluse – lose track of time and current events.

Super Speed Sam Books

What tips can you give other authors looking to self-publish?

Take your time, enjoy the experience and once finished, leave your work for a couple of months – then begin to edit again. Repeat until satisfied – then seek out a good editor, and finally a proof reader – not forgetting your beta readers – who like everyone else involved in the creative process – are so important.

What was your steepest learning curve during the publishing process?

Getting used to the nuances of publishing software – how to set out your publications – and because I use illustrations – how best to represent the illustrations without losing image quality – especially on electronic devices when the images are resized.

Why did you want to write a book?

I was trying to solve a dilemma during a character creation – and before I knew it – I had outlined 12 stories and the rest as they say…

Tell us about the genre you wrote in, and why you chose to write this sort of book.

Why children’s books? Well – I do not think I’d feel comfortable in any other genre – although I do have a few thrillers, one sci-fi – one “impossible to write” – in my head – but with children’s books – there’s no bad language, violence, crime etc. etc.

How do you deal with writer’s block?

It may be to simple – but I go for a walk. I’m always amazed how the human brain works. Walking, or perhaps the fresh air appears to remove any obstacles to writing – and at times – it’s always better to dictate a few notes into your phone – than fumble around for a pencil and scrap of paper.

How do your friends and family get involved with your writing? What do they think of your book?

Perhaps the best answer to that is through the title “How to lose friends and distance people.”

Author Site