Super Speed Sam
Monty J McClaine is a new independent author who has written twelve short stories, the Christmas special being a little longer than the others, about a small family who have a very loving and precious dog. We have conducted an interview with Monty.
Why did you write 'Super Speed Sam' series in the format of 12-books?
The first Super Speed Sam book was actually “Kitchen Decorations” where I was hoping to allow the reader into the imaginary world of the main character Sam the dog. In effect I was thinking of having two stories running in parallel, the main or human story, along with the imaginary story of Sam.
So for instance, when chocolate was being added to the cake mix, in Sam’s mind, the chocolate would be substituted by bones, although Sam does enjoy chocolate. I then decided to extend Sam’s capabilities to include “Super Speed” and with that, the character of Sam the dog took shape. The addition of allowing Sam to call upon special abilities, like Doctor, Nurse even cleaning skills meant that in effect Sam’s the dogs character was born.
Having decided upon Sam’s character, I quickly penned 12 titles for the books, and the rest as they say, is history.
As a writer, why do you think it is important to have stories that allow children and parents to share their thoughts and explore their imaginations?
I spent many years as a computer engineer, which is a solitary task, just you and the computer equipment, more often than not in an air conditioned space, the size of a typical warehouse with the constant hum of cooling fans, and the occasional twinkle from the equipment as it was requested to do some work.
As we all know and see computers, electronic games, TV box sets, mobile phones and laptops are more prevalent in society, and I believe that some of the natural interactions between families were gradually eroding if not missing.
Laughter and tears were being replaced by beeps, bops and demands to “add new features”, or “why doesn’t this work,” to “who’s hogging the Wi-Fi!” So I set out to create a fun and exciting series of children’s short stories, with lots of adventure and splashes of humour, all set at a pace that I hope will keep the children reading (or listening to) the stories the whole way through. Stories that will delight both boys and girls; the young and the old, and not forgetting Moms and Dads of course! Stories that allows children and parents to be children once more sharing their thoughts and kick starting their imaginations. Stories that allow a return to simpler values that may bring families closer together.
What are the messages in your books that you would like your readers to grasp?
Each book has a simple message – which is play safe and be safe. Some episodes are informative, for instance in “Kitchen Decorations” we demonstrate how to clean hands – properly – after all – who ever remembers to clean their thumbs. In “Lights out” we stress the importance of using the correct equipment, in this case we find Mom climbing on a kitchen chair to reach at the ceiling light, which is very dangerous, and a small pair of step ladders, which may be inconvenient, must always be used to prevent accidents.
How challenging is writing a series of 12 books?
It has been very challenging and a lot of hard work. Even when I decided upon the initial structure of the book series, it was still very difficult to maintain the style and ease of reading, whilst synchronising the characters in the same time lines. The pace of the story, along with the compulsory happy ending had to be maintained along with the enthusiasm of the reader to either read or listen.
What is the hardest part of writing this book?
As with most things in life, the hardest part is finishing. Crossing the t’s and dotting the I’s. Making sure it is consistent, entertaining and true. Be prepared to spend as much time in finishing and polishing as you would in writing. Yes, ask for opinions, yes engage an editor and yes don’t forget your proof-reader.
What have you gathered from your readers about your books/writing?
The feedback has been great. The readers are enjoying the pace, style and themes of all the stories. I have had six of the books reviewed, by professionals, and they have all returned enthusiastic 5 star reviews. Some readers suggested that illustrations would help in the appeal of the book, which has proven to be a bit of a headache – but readers are who the series has been written for, so I would like to say simply but I can’t – so I added the illustrations.
What are your future project(s)?
At present I am just emerging from my content creation phase and into my marketing phase. I’m not sure if it was me, but I made a conscious effort to complete the 12 books before I embarked on the marketing on them, perhaps I do not have the capacity to create the books and be a creative marketer – but I really need some time to understand the marketing process, which unfortunately may take a few years.
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