Friday, July 4, 2008

Author Q and A: Mother and daughter writing team Cheryl and MacKenzie Moeller

The book: Lexi's Homeschool Diary
The authors: Cheryl and MacKenzie Moeller, mother and daughter
Bio: I am a homeschool mom of 6. Bob and I have been married 29 years.I'm a stand up comic, syndicated humor columnist, and author.
Other books you've worked on: I've co-authored two books on marriage which includeMarriage Minutes (Moody Press) and For Better, For Worse, For Keeps (MarriageVine Press). I also co-authored a book on motherhood called "I'm Glad I'm on Planet Mom."
What made you decide to write a children's book? I've been wanting to write children's books for 15 years and just never got around to it. MacKenzie started writing inher journal last January because she had run out of books that she liked. I had told her to write the next book she would read. And she really did do it!
Why write a book with your daughter? I found her daily journal on the table. I told her right away that I thought she really had written something others would want to read - that this was a book.
How did you decide on your main character, Lexi?I guess the main character is a lot like MacKenzie. She's sweet, adventurous, adorable and funny. She's someone you would want to take on a vacation with you.
What challenges did you face with this book? MacKenzie got writer's block at one point that lasted for a month.
In the end, we had a professional editor (my sister Cinda) do the editing on the book. I didn't want to have even one quotation mark in the wrong place and she really did a great job.
What advice would you have for other writers/would-be writers?
You need to get a great illustrator to illustrate your book. We worked with our friend Linda Gredy.
Also remember that writers write. But most people that want to write just talk about writing and don't actually write. It takes talents and gifts, but it also takes discipline. You write one word at a time like you play the piano. A book is a lot of words. Start with articles and then move up to books.
But you can do it if you put your mind to it and overlook other distractions.
Any special tips for working on projects with your kids? Realize they are kids. They are not going to be able to go on for the long haul. Give them breaks and bribes.
What projects are next? I am writing several nonfiction books on marriage.
I am also writing Homeschool Your Preschooler on $1 a Day, which is non-fiction. I am writing that book because a lot of people can't afford preschool curriculum this fall with rising costs of food and gas. The other projects I am working on is No Presents for Christmas, which is a picture book with lots of beautiful illustrations. My illustrator for those two books is Susan R. Smith and she is working on some amazing illustrations.

Author: MacKenzie Moeller
Bio: I'm a homeschooled third grader.I like to swim and ice skate. I like to do both of those outside the most. I like to make dinner. I know how to make pizza.
I am nine. I am the youngest of six kids.I have two dogs. One is a Golden Lab named Katie. The other one is half lab and half Mastiff and his name is Rudy. Rudy is my brother's dog. I want to be a hairdresser when I grow up. I see a lot of people out there who need hairdos.
What was fun about this project? I like to get lost in my writing. This was a long project so I some days when I wrote that is the only subject I did the whole day.
What do you think about your character, Lexi? I thought Lexi was fun and funny.
What was difficult about this project? It was such a long project. I had a hard time hanging in there until the end.I got writer's block about three quarters of the way through. So I took one month off. My mom wanted to know what I would need to get rid of my writer's block. I told her a bag of Oreos. She wanted me know if it was double-stuff or regular. I said regular. And she got me two bags!! And I starting writing again.
What advice would you have for other kids who think they might want to write a book? Make sure you have fun with it. Writing shouldn't be work.
I hope kids enjoy reading Lexi's Homeschool Diary.