Today we're excited to chat with Chad Morris and Shelly Brown, authors of Mustaches For Maddie. Read on for more about the authors and their book, plus a giveaway.
Meet the Authors!
CHAD MORRIS is a teacher and curriculum writer. Previously, he wrote the Cragbridge Hall series including The Inventor’s Secret, The Avatar Battle, and The Impossible Race. Books in this series won the Utah Book award and the Silver Foreword INDIES award for juvenile fiction.
SHELLY BROWN has always loved children and books so it made sense when she started writing books for children. She has worked as a comedian, a tour guide, and a shake-maker, but is currently a substitute teacher for some of the coolest kids ever
What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
We based this story on our daughter, Maddie, who was nine when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Not our favorite time in life. But she dealt with surgeries and fears with a lot of humor, hope, and imagination.
What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
The last scene in the book. Maddie has a great imagination and when she had to face a surgery in the book, she compared it to facing a monster. Hopefully it’s a scene with a lot of imagination, but also a lot of heart, and even a few laughs. We think it turned out to be a great mix.
Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
We’ve learned so much. A lot of the lessons are incredibly incremental, slowly accumulating, one on top of the other. But one thing we’ve learned is to try to hit a meaningful emotional level in our stories. If you don’t touch your readers emotionally, they won’t remember nor care about your book.
Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
I don’t think this is how you meant it, but let’s take the word “narrate” very literally here. Shelly did the audio book recording and one part of the book was definitely harder than the others. It was the authors’ note at the end of the book, where we thanked the neurosurgeons who operated on our daughter. Our gratitude for their education and training, and their careful work and attention to detail during the surgery and after, is beyond words. We’ll love them forever.
Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Cassie for sure. Maddie was fairly easy. We know her voice. Obviously, we know the mom and dad and the kids well. But Cassie was tricky. Because we didn’t want to make a real child an antagonist in the story, we made up Cassie. And it took us some effort to find her look, voice, and tone. She’s smooth and manipulative. She’s not the stereotypical bully.
Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or revising?
Shelly likes drafting, creating a fresh story. Chad enjoys revising, making things better and better. We’re a good partnership that way.
What would you say is your superpower?
That we can write together and not kill each other. You laugh, but we learned long ago that we don’t see eye to eye on all things creative. Yet we have been able to create this story through compromise and hard work. And we’re still happily married.
Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Children’s hospitals around the country do an amazing job. Not only do they do incredible research for childhood illness and injury but they provide much more comfortable facilities than most hospitals for their young patients. The Children’s Miracle Network helps put dollars into your local children’s hospital and does it with incredible financial transparency. https://children
Mustaches For Maddie
By: Chad Morris & Shelly Brown
Release Date: October 3, 2017