One of my life goals is to write a children’s book, so when I met children’s author Jim Miller on Twitter a few years back, I knew I wanted to get to know him better. Fast-forward some months…my company at the time was doing some hiring and he just so happened to be looking. His interview was our first meeting. Not only is he one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, he is an incredibly talented PR guy and a great dad to two little cuties.
His children’s book series highlight adorable, non-scary monsters Basie and Paisley. He was kind enough to give me copies when my daughter was born, and she loves them. The bright colors and quirky storylines make them a fun read for kids of all ages.
With a new book on the horizon, I thought I’d pick his brain on how he got into the biz of book writing and get a sneak peek on the newest book and character to join the series.
How did you get started writing children’s books?
It was a happy accident. I like to think I’ve always been a tad silly and will always be a kid at heart (life is too short not to have fun). The idea really came to out of nowhere. I just thought… I need to write a children’s book and it’ll be about a fun and friendly monster acting silly. Part of wanting to have a children’s book is that I want my kids to know that they can do anything they want to do in life and they can always be reminded of that by seeing the children’s books I’ve done with my sister. Since becoming a father and buying kids books, I quickly realized that the big publishers publish a lot of uninspiring books (to say it nicely).
Where do you find inspiration for your books?
I’m definitely the type of person to stop and smell the roses. I absorb and observe what’s around me every day. A huge part of that is my daughters. The Bumpies that are pets (of sorts) in my new book “A Moose In The Basement” came from when we drive over a dirt road in Waterford [Michigan]. My girls always say, “here come the bumpies,” which would be the bumps in the dirt road. I took that and decided “the bumpies” would become pets for the monsters in my books.
Does beig a dad give you a different perspective on children’s books? If so, how?
Absolutely. We (my wife and I) like to read books to our girls that are fun, inspire creativity, imagination, convey pure morals, etc. The basis for my Basie & Paisley Children’s Books is pure fun. I want kids to be kids. I want them to be silly. I want them to use their imagination and enjoy the simple moments of life.
Your sister, Leslie, is the illustrator. What has it been like having this be a family affair?
It’s a great time. Life certainly changes as days go by, but in a good way. My sister, by trade, is a graphic artist so it made perfect sense to have her illustrate the books. What I asked her if she wanted to do it, she instantly said yes. In fact, she said that illustrating a children’s book was one of her dreams. Now, she’s done three children’s books. I don’t art direct her at all. I simply give her starting ideas for what I’d like the monster characters to look like and I let her go with it. She’s the graphic artist, not me :0)
What are your favorite children’s books?
I love the classics from when I was a little kid… Peter Rabbit, Dr. Seuss, Curious George, etc.
What is your newest book, “A Moose In The Basement” all about?
I wanted to include a book in my Basie & Paisley series that is all about animals, but not the typical, boring, same old animals that are in every book you pick up (pigs, horses, etc.).
I thought it would be fun to have a new fun and friendly monster who has wild animals in every room of his house and takes you through his home to show all the wild animals such as a squid, bison, sugar gliders and more.
If you’re local to Michigan, Jim and Leslie will be hosting a book launch party at the Clarkston Union on Sunday, June 5 from 12-1:30 p.m. Stop by with your kiddos to purchase a book, eat custom cupcakes, color and more. See event link for additional details and to RSVP.
Now for the GIVEAWAY!
I have a copy of “A Moose In The Basement” to give away. To enter, just leave a comment to tell me what your favorite childhood book is and be sure to include your email address (this will not be published). I will pick someone at random next Tuesday, June 7 and will inform the winner via email.
For an extra entry, please tweet the following:
I entered to win “A Moose in the Basement” from @BasieAndPaisley via @LaurenWeber84 http://wp.me/p1tcUs-8n
And of course, if you don’t win, you can always purchase the book on your own on Amazon here.