Three Times a Charm is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the publishing industry.
This week author, Mike Hays, joins us with some bonus content in celebration of Children’s Book Week. Mike, tell us about you.
THE YOUNGER DAYS is my debut middle grade historical fiction novel from MuseItUp Publishing. I am a husband, a father of three, a lifelong Kansan and work as a molecular microbiologist. Besides writing, I have been a high school strength and conditioning coach, a football coach and a baseball coach. I have published three football coaching articles in a national coaching magazine and have co-authored over a dozen scientific papers.
Tell us more about The Younger Days.
The tension in post Civil War Missouri builds to a boiling point between 11-year old Boy Smyth and his mild mannered, devout father over the father's embarrassing lack of support for Boy’s Border War heroes, the outlaw Cole Younger and the notorious Border War phantom William "The Butcher" Bryant.
The family farm is visited by Cole Younger and his injured brother, Jim, of the infamous James-Younger gang, on the run after a train robbery in Iowa. Much to his surprise, Boy discovers the Younger brothers are childhood friends of his Ma and Pa. Cole has come to their farm searching for the aid of Boy’s mother to nurse Jim’s gunshot wound. As the Youngers rest and heal, Boy learns about his family’s past and begins to understands why Pa is the way he is.
After the Youngers leave for their Texas hideout, a new band of visitors arrive at the farm intent on violent revenge. Everything the family built becomes threatened by the strangers, forcing Pa to make the decision to unleash a long hidden identity in order to save his family.
Even a decade after the Civil War, the evil deeds carried out in the Border War for "Bloody" Kansas are not forgotten. Hate and revenge still rule the hearts of some, while others wish only to forget and disappear.
In the beginning, Boy Smyth has a dull Missouri farm life and a burning desire to be an outlaw like his hero, Cole Younger.
In the end, Boy Smyth has five dead bodies and two burning buildings at his farm and the most feared man in the United States crying outside his front gate.
And that desire for the outlaw life? It's purged completely from his system.
Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.
● Top 3 pieces of advice for kids these days.
The Three P’s: Purpose, Pride and Passion
Know who you are and stand there.
Put your mark on everything you do. Hard work is the magic.
Commit yourself to things you believe in. Make good choices and take ownership of all your choices.
● Top 3 authors.
1. Edgar Allen Poe
2. Rick Bass
3. Arthur C. Clarke
Picking only three is like trying to pick a favorite child. So hard to leave out Gaiman, Pratchett., Crichton, Twain, Irving, Hemmingway, etc. etc. etc...
● Top 3 illustrators.
1. Chris Van Allsburg - Stack his body of work in front of you, start flipping through the pages without reading a single word and without even a single work you’ll see the definition of what illustration is.
2. Mary GrandPre’- Her illustrations of the Harry Potter series were magnificent and such a huge (and unsung, in my opinion) part of the book series’s success.
3. Jerry Pinkney and Ezra Jack Keats illustrations for their two JOHN HENRY books.
Because it’s Children’s Book Week, Mike graciously agreed to answer some bonus questions about children’s literacy!
In you humbe opinion, Mike, what are some of the benefits children gain by becoming a comfortable reader?
A comfortable reader is a lifetime reader. The world opens up for a lifetime reader. Confidence blooms in the reader. Confidence, which allows the reader to dream, then use the available tools to learn a way to get it done. Boredom is easily defeated with a book in reach. The reader’s imagination regularly gets cultivated and fertilized and in the process, which is never a bad thing. Readin really is fundamental.
What are two things adults (parents, granparents, coaches, etc) can do to increase a child’s interest in reading?
- Read. Read anything and everything. Read to your kids every day, especially at bedtime. Read newspapers, magazines, cereal boxes, books, and have all the above around your house in plentiful amounts at all times. When not reading, talk about the things you’ve read in a relaxed, informal environment (Remember: It’s fun. It’s not a quiz; it’s not a test).
- Let is happen. Don’t push or rush your reader. Don’t throw material in their face just because of formal grade level or other fixed parameters. Let it happen. Let the kids find something they like to read, let them find the bait to hook themselves as a lifetime reader. I was a slow reader. I am fairly sure there were many adults who worried about me. But one day, in a special session with a parent volunteer, she gave me a mimeographed copy of TO BUILD A FIRE by Jack London. I sat at a folding table placed between walls of textbook boxes in a storeroom and ran my finger and eyes over the first line “Day had broken cold and grey, exceedingly cold and grey...” Everything in the room disappeared. I found myself in the Yukon looking over the shoulder of the “new-comer” in his struggle for survival. I was transformed, the locked door to books kicked open; snapped from its hinges. Life would never be the same again.
For a chance to make that wonderful experience happen for a child in your life, become a GFC follower of this blog, like my facebook page, KaiStrand, Author and leave a comment on this post. Remember to sign up through Rafflecopter:a Rafflecopter giveaway
Then visit the other GAP authors participating in the blog hop:
Guardian Angel Publishing Author Blogs:
Mike, how can our readers go to keep up with you and your writing?
Thank you for joining us on this very special Children’s Book Week edition of Three Times A Charm. Best of luck with your writing, Mike.
I am always looking for guests for Three Times A Charm. If you are an author, illustrator or book reviewer, an agent or an editor. If you have something related to children’s publishing that you’d like people to know about, feel free to contact me about a future appearance.