4-1-1 with Shelly Brown

Authors Shelly Brown and Chad Morris have a new middle-grade novel out called MUSTACHES FOR MADDIE and we got the 4-1-1 from Shelly! (Four questions we ask every author, one Mafia’s choice, and one photo.)

FOUR

  1. Shelly, what was the inspiration for this book? 

This book was inspired by the true story of our daughter who has an inexplicable love of mustaches, eats too many potatoes, and was diagnosed with a brain tumor in elementary school. We all learned so much from her experience and wanted to pay the love we felt forward out into the world. When you go through something hard like this you begin to see the deep love and kindness of the world around you. People are good. She was the recipient of a social media campaign where people did nothing more than posted pictures of themselves (or animals, or cars, or toys) with a mustache and sent well wishes. This simple gesture buoyed her in a time when she really needed it. Simple acts of love are contagious. And so we couldn’t keep this to ourselves.

  1. What is your writing process? (Do you write every day? A certain number of pages? etc…) 

This is a tough one. Usually, it’s write a whole lot. Go a little crazy. Hit our deadlines. Take a breather. Look at next deadline. Write a whole lot…etc. Repeat once or twice a year.

  1. What is the best piece of advice you’ve received regarding writing? 

It’s all about the feels. The emotion. A few books might get away with saying that it is all about their world or plot but if you look closely at them it’s about the wonder that their world produces or the excitement that their plot pushes the reader through. Wonder and excitement are just different kinds of feels. Not all feels are straight up soap opera-y. Giving the reader a solid emotional experience is so satisfying and generally what people seek out fiction for–be it film, television, or books.

Personally one of my favorite feels to throw into a book is humor. The connection to funny characters is almost instantaneous. How else could someone sit through two hours of NAPOLEON DYNAMITE? He’s not the most proactive character (not that he doesn’t have his moments. lol!) It’s all about the comedy.

  1. Congratulations on the recent release of MUSTACHES FOR MADDIE. How long has it been from when you started writing it to publication? Can you share that journey with us? 

From when we decided to write MUSTACHES FOR MADDIE to when it was released was almost two years. A little over one year of writing and almost a year of pre-marketing. Very different from the first books that we published. We took years and years on those. We went through many drafts of this story, especially since we were collaborating. Even writing a book that is based on a true story requires a lot of give and take when you have two creative minds trying to create one narrative. We didn’t always agree on things from character names, to what is funny, to even true events. But working back and forth like we did hopefully created a better story since we had both of our strengths to draw from.

ONE

  1. MGM Question – Since MUSTACHES FOR MADDIE is based on your daughter, what has it been like for your family now that the story has been released?

We have five children, one daughter and four sons. You would think that the boys would be jealous at times of the cool events that Maddie gets to do because she is the topic of the book. You’d be right. You might suppose that Maddie would get tired of all of the attention sometimes. You would be right. But it’s kind of fun too. For the most part we look at writing children’s books as a whole family affair. The kids accompany us to many conferences and festivals and have most of their lives. This one book is about Maddie and she gets undue attention because of it but it’s only one of our books. For the most part the boys are fine with it and Maddie isn’t pushed too hard. We put on launch parties as a whole family. We celebrate contracts as a whole family. We read, share, swap, laugh over Middle Grade books just like we always have. Not a ton has changed. Nor should it. Except perhaps that we are a little bit kinder. Hopefully we are always becoming a little bit kinder.

ONE

  1. Please share one fun photo with the Mafia readers.

This picture is pretty self-explanatory. It’s just our family.

Here are some links to find Shelly Brown and her latest release…

Thank you for sharing your 4-1-1 with us, Shelly. The Middle-Grade Mafia wishes all the best to you and your family. 

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