28 June 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Guest Post by Meg Welch Dendler, Author of Why Kimba Saved the World

Tell us about yourself…

I spent 15 years working with young children, 10 of those as a classroom teacher. I have been writing since I was a little girl and have always wanted to be a full-time author. For many years I did freelance work while I was teaching and raising my daughters. Now writing has my full attention.

What genera do you write and why?

My current series is for middle grade readers, roughly ages 8-12. That is an age group that I really loved working with as a teacher, and this story was perfect for sharing with them. But I will freely admit that I have lots of adults who love the book and read it right along with their kids.

Tell us about your book…

“Why Kimba Saved The World” is about a pampered house cat who wishes she could be wilder and have more freedom, until she suddenly learns that she is really part of an alien race and has a whole huge destiny and big adventures expected of her. It’s exciting at first, but she has some life-changing choices to make about what is important and where her loyalties lie.

What was your inspiration for this book?

The main character is based on one of the cats in our house, Kimba. I had grown up with the idea that cats might just be aliens — my mom read lots of science fiction — so it wasn’t much of a stretch to wonder if that was true of Kimba too. Later books in the series will focus on different characters and how each deals with their own challenges in coming to terms with their alien heritage.

Do you have a favorite character and why that one?

Kimba is definitely my favorite because she is based on the real cat that is mine out of the clowder of cats we have at home. When we found Kimba and her sister Hiro at only a day or so old, we already had four cats. That’s a lot of cats! Kimba is just wild and crazy and totally nutty and an independent cat. She’s my favorite. As I write this, she is sleeping on a chair next to me in a pile of stuffed toys. She’s a real character. The cat on the cover of the book is an actual photo of her.

Did you find anything particularly difficult in writing this book?

When I first started writing it, I hoped to have something for an even younger age group — very early readers. But that is limiting for the vocabulary you can use, the length of the story, and technical things like that. As it progressed, I just knew I had to kick it up a notch and hope that those younger kids who are still developing their reading skills will have someone who is willing to read it aloud to them.

What project(s) are you currently working on?

Right now, I am very focused on writing the second book in the series, “Vacation Hiro.” I really want to have that published next spring so I can take both books with me to the fairs and festival in 2014. That is one of the great things about self-publishing. Once you have the text ready to go, getting it into print format can be done in a couple of months.

Right after that, I will be publishing an unrelated book called “At The Corner of Magnetic and Main” that is for a bit older reader and follows the spiritual journey of a young woman who is having trouble moving on from her life here on earth to what lies ahead. That manuscript is in the hands of some much trusted friends and colleagues right now for their feedback and critique.

Do you have any interesting writing quirks you want to tell us about?

I will freely admit to being quirky. I think most writers are! Writing a first draft is hard for me. Just getting it out of my head and onto the paper for some reason is very frustrating. So I reward myself with breaks. If I write a chapter or a certain amount of words, then I can take a break for 10 minutes and play Zoo World on Facebook, or something like that. My office is also filled with my collection of Disney mini-plush characters. I have about 75 of them right now. They watch me write, and that makes me very happy. Kimba has pulled 10 of them down onto her special chair today for her nap. I don’t mind sharing them with her.

Do you have any advice for writers out there?

Write, and then write some more. If you have a book in your head, go for it! But also be sure to get input from people around you that you respect. Join a critique group. Go to conferences. Sometimes I get the best idea on how to tweak a story or “bling” it up some just by listening to others talk about their work. And pay an editor if you are self-publishing. Pay someone to help you make the best cover you can. If it doesn’t look professional in the end, it won’t matter how good your story is. Make it great!

Where can we find you?

My website and my blog are at www.megdendler.com. I am on Twitter @kimbababy and on Facebook at Meg Dendler, Author (there’s a link at my website). You can sign up to follow my blog and get my newsletter. I’m also active on Goodreads and have a YouTube channel with fun videos. I’m in production right now on a series of videos where I read “Why Kimba Saved The World” aloud one chapter at a time and will share fun photos and “behind the scenes” stories. That should be up soon.

And of course we have to know, where can we find your book?

“Why Kimba Saved The World” is available in paperback and ebook through Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com. You can also get signed paperback copies directly from me through PayPal right at my web site. I’m happy to personalize it and add a matching bookmark just for fun.

About the Author:
Meg Welch Dendler is a former teacher with a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. While over a decade as a freelance writer gave her the chance to interview individuals as diverse as the Archbishop of Cape Town and Sylvester Stallone, in 2010 Meg set her focus on publishing several books for young readers that she had been working on for years. Meg is thrilled to be sharing her first book, “Why Kimba Saved The World,” with young readers worldwide. In this first book of the Cats in the Mirror series, feisty house cat Kimba learns that she is really part of an alien race and has to pick sides between her loyal human family and her feline destiny. The second book, “Vacation Hiro,” is already in the works. Meg and her family (including four cats and her dog Max) live at 1,400 feet in the Ozark mountains on what they call Serenity Mountain, just outside of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Visit her at www.megdendler.com for more information about upcoming books and events.

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