A huge THANK YOU to author, Milancie Adams for taking the time to answer out questions. Make sure you take a look at her responses!
1. What inspired you to write this book?
Answer: My interaction/observation with Sandhill Cranes, a poem by a nephew about them, and desire to share my research with others.
2. Can you tell me about the book?
Answer: Echoes of Wild Cranes Upon the Winds and the Waters is the 8th volume in the Echoes collection, illustrated anthologies of folklore, poems, nature essays and/or short stories whose focus is to not only to keep us grounded, but call us back to nature and God, nature’s artist. This volume centers on the crane, primarily the sandhill crane.
3. What is your writing process like?
Answer: depends on the book but interaction between what others write on subject and development of illustrations
4. What did you learn when writing the book?
Answer: How little I knew about Sandhill Cranes
5. What surprised you the most?
Answer: I had always thought they were a Floridian phenomenon, at least the Sandhill branch, for I had seen them mate, birth and raise their chicks all in confines of central east Florida. And yet growing up in the 50s just an hour North I had never observed them.
Did you know Sandhill Cranes (Grus canadensis pratensis) are not unique to Florida and that in fact at least one-third of the entire North American population of Sandhill Cranes breed in the boreal forest of Canada and Alaska?
But Sandhill Cranes are not confined to US or even US and Canada. “The Sandhill Crane is the most numerous of the crane species in the world, with a range that extends across much of Canada and the United States, and into Russia, Mexico and Cuba.”
6. What does the title mean?
Answer: Aesop the crane's singular ability "to rise above the clouds into endless space, and survey the wonders of the heavens, as well as of the earth beneath, with its seas, lakes, and rivers, as far as the eye can reach,"
7. What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Answer: Sounding like others instead of yourself
8. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Answer: stand on their own
9. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Answer: the research occurs simultaneous with writing and creating illustrations
10. How long were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one?
Answer: still parttime
11. How many hours a day do you write?
12. What period of your life do you find you write about most often? (child, teenager, young adult)
13. How do you select the names of your characters?
Answer: try pick unique names related to topic
14. If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
Answer: nature photography
15. What is your favorite childhood book?
Answer: Winnie Pooh and Christopher Robin
16. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Answer: 1- 2 months
17. Do you believe in writer’s block?
18. What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?
19. When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
Answer: when I was very young
20. How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing something?
Answer: not very hard once I become inspired
21. Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day?
22. Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?
Answer: going where ever idea takes me
23. Do you read much and, if so, who are your favorite authors?
Answer: Nature Essays and Historical Novels and Nature Poetry
24. What is the most important thing about a book in your opinion?
Answer: Inspires others to take a second look
25. How would you feel if no one showed up at your book signing?
Answer: never had one
26. Do you recall the first ever book/novel you read?
27. How much of yourself do you put into your books?
28. Who are your books mostly dedicated to?
Answer: family members and friends
29. Who is the most supportive of your writing in your family?
Answer: my partner Alan Tietjen
30. Writers are often believed to have a Muse, your thoughts on that?
Answer: My muse is not a muse its God
31. Another misconception is that all writers are independently wealthy, how true is that?
Answer: not so
32. Is it true that authors write word-perfect first drafts?
33. Did any of your books get rejected by publishers?
Answer: not applicable
34. What is your view on co-authoring books; have you done any?
35. Is writing book series more challenging?
36. Does it get frustrating if you are unable to recall an idea you had in your mind some time earlier?
37. Have you ever destroyed any of your drafts?
38. Can you tell us about your current projects?
Answer: Where the Lost Ones Go is my current work Recently I saw the remake of Mary Poppins song about Where Do Lost Things Go and then soon after I lost my brother to Cancer.
This book is a take on that theme Tracking Down Your Lost Smile This is the tale of a little welsh urchin Muirgheal, which means “bright as the sea." who takes her best friends Lancelot, a fox, Monique, a ice crystal owl, and Aerial, a merricat, on a journey looking for clues to solve life’s riddle of where the Lost Ones Go. Along the way she explores the promises made, those kept and those broken, discovering the true treasures that hold magic and meaning for our lives, and the surprising connections that bind us all.
39. Had any of your literary teachers ever tell you growing up that you were going to become a published writer one day?
40. Were your parents reading enthusiasts who gave you a push to be a reader as a kid?
41. Do you enjoy discussing upcoming ideas with your partner? If yes, how much do you value their inputs?
Answer: Very valuable
42. Have you ever turned a dream or a nightmare into a written piece?
Milancie has worked as a children’s missionary for Cuban Airlift, an elementary educator, a house parent at Florida Methodist Children’s, a children’s art and recreational therapist, a children’s education minister at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church and a Lay Eucharistic Minister for the central Florida Episcopal Diocese.
Life for Milancie began as she prefaced in her first book “Life for me began in the ocean with my Grandmother where she baptized me a water spirit at one month immersing me in the waves and when I took my first steps it was barefoot on that beach braving the wet foam and salty spray blowing off the waves crests as the tides deposited glittering fragile treasures in pools just beyond where I stood transformed as I squished cool wet sand with my toes. I had found my element!
The four of us, my grandmother, my mother, my sister and I lived in a large rambling craftsman bungalow built in 1903 and its guesthouse overlooking the Halifax River in the early 50's in a small sleepy Florida beach village.” As a friend put it, they made their own fun in that day” lording over their neighborhood woods, fishing with bamboo poles off the ledge that ran along the river and zipping over the wooden bridge to the beach on their bicycles.
Milancie is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. As a child she was encouraged to explore her creative side by her Aunt Minnie, an award-winning poet and artist. Milancie began her career as an children’s illustrator after completing several courses in drawing and painting and being selected to show her work at Daytona Beach Museum of Arts and Science.
Milancie then expanded into writing as a genealogist and the editor for the Owsley Family Historical Society’s internationally acclaimed newsletter.
Her first published piece was an award-winning poem about returning to Florida as she knew it in the early 1950’s. The poem also served as final paper for a graduate course she completed on coral reefs and mangrove island ecology.
She freely admits the collage illustrations that combine real-life nature and often ancestral children may not be totally realistic
One interesting side note was Milancie attended post graduate courses in London in European Government and Modern Sociology where she actually attended classes in Parliament and was taught by members of. She spoke of a sunset dinner river cruise on the river Thames with parliament members and a subsequent trip later in her life to retrace her heritage.
She says her most memorable life experience was swimming and interacting with wild dolphins.
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