Friday, January 20, 2012

Mandi Tillotson Williams, author of Mortimer Crump books - Interview & Reviews

Mandi Tillotson Williams is a 34 year old author/illustrator/mother of 3 from Florida with an imagination that is FAR from tame. She loves her family more than anything in this world. She enjoys doing anything that involves creativity. She also has a photography business as well. After experiencing a personal family tragedy-turned-miracle, she has decided to pursue her lifelong dream of writing for children.

You can find Mandi and Mortimer on their site, blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

Interview with Mandi:

Are you the illustrator for all of the Mortimer books? When did you start drawing?
Yes, I am the illustrator as well. I have always loved to draw since I was a kid but never really considered drawing my own illustrations or even pursuing publishing my books for that matter until after my youngest son was born. I want to share my poem and true story... this is WHY I am pursuing this dream of writing. (I attached the pic of my author page with the poem and pics of my son from the NICU and now)

How did you get the ideas for the Mortimer books? 
Actually as a child I had a HUGE imagination. At daycare I would tell my friends that I was from an undiscovered candy coated planet and that I came to Earth on an enormous bubble gum slide. I had some of the kids actually believing my story, LOL. This is where the idea stemmed from and Mortimer's last name Crump I used because I loved the movie Nutty Professer and their last name was Klump which I thought was funny so I somehow came up with Crump. Mortimer was just a name that matched the little boy I had pictured before writing the story.

When/how did you decide you wanted to be a writer? 
As I stated above, I have always loved to write and draw but my inspiration to move forth with the publishing process and getting my work out there came from the desire to share my miracle story of my son's birth with as many people as possible and I intend to do just that through my writing. My youngest was born 12 weeks early and had a Grade III IVH on his brain (bleed on both sides of his brain.) We were told devastating news one week after his birth that he may not walk or talk and would most likely have cerebal palsy. He had a 73 day long battle in the NICU but he is now 6 years old and thriving in so many ways. While in the NICU he overcame his brain bleed, he had 4 blood transfusions, 2 spinal taps, a hole in his heart, feeding intolerance, pneumonia, staph invention from being on the ventilator so long, apnea, hernia surgery and a few more standard preemie issues.  Looking at him now, you would never know he was a preemie. He does wear cute little blue glasses and he doesn't have stereo vision (3D vision) and still struggles with asthma but these are minor compared to what we were told in the NICU. I am so thankful.

Besides the two Mortimer books reviewed here, do you have other books or are you working on others?
Yes, actually the second book in The Many Adventures of Mortimer Crump is written but I have to do the illustrations which is the hardest part for me. It is a really cute book though and I am sure Moritmer fans will enjoy it so I am going to get to work on it soon. I have also written another story as well about a little shape named Henrietta Hexagon. I am planning a shape series geared toward the younger kids and have gotten wonderful feedback on it thus far. I have illustrated 2 pages of it at this time. Last but not least, I am in the 3rd chapter of a chapter book as well.

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a cartoonist for Disney World, so maybe I'm not too far off base. Lol.

What was your favorite book when you were a child?
I absolutely LOVED Shel Silverstein's poem books!! I also loved the Fudge Series. :o)

What is the best thing that has happened since your books were published?
I have been able to share my story of my son with a larger crowd and if I am able to help just one person that is dealing with this type of terrible ordeal I am more than happy to do so. I have also met several new author friend that I wouldn't have met otherwise.

What advice would you give to someone else who wanted to write children's books?
I say if it's something you are passionate about, GO FOR IT!! You can do anything you put your mind to! Also, I would go ahead and begin social networking and building a fan base now as that has been my best advertisement for my books.

What is a random fact about yourself that most people don't know?
My favorite cartoons as a kid were the smurfs and garfield and I still love them, also I LOVE to make up songs to well known music. I made up a rap to ICE ICE BABY for my brother's Lawn Business. It begins,
Alright, STOP listen to this factor
Micah's back with his brand new tractor
Something grabs ahold of me tightly
Mowin them yards daily and nightly
Will he ever stop?
YO! I don't know...
Fill up the tank ... and lets go.
(I won't write the whole thing here but you get the idea.)

The Many Adventures of Mortimer Crump: Mortimer's Sweet Retreat

Mortimer's Sweet Retreat is a children's story about friendship with whimsical rhyming. This book has a moral lesson, and is also a funny story. It has very cute hand drawn illustrations. I think young children would love Mortimer and this magical "candy land."

Mortimer's Book of What-Ifs (A Children's Rhyming Picture Book) (Goodreads)

What if you don't clean behind your ears? What if you hear a noise in the tub? These questions and more are humorously considered. Some of the answers may surprise you. Mortimer is hidden on each page for your child to find. Cute and funny with great hand drawn illustrations. Another Mortimer book that I think would be a favorite among young children.

Both books were provided by the author for review.

You can find both books on Mandi's Amazon page.

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