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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Diversion Press Welcomes Sean McHugh and Katie McHugh Parker, Authors of Broomsticks.

Sean and Katie--Living on the Air in Cincinnati!
The book is called Broomsticks, but what is it about?
It's about two extraordinary nine-year olds from completely different backgrounds who develop a special friendship based on the one thing they have in common....magic!

Can you tell us about the characters?
Pocky: On the outside, she's your average , sweet, level-headed girl-next-door who has a talent for writing which lands her at Asher School For Gifted Children. However, there is one thing that separates her from her classmates.... she's magic! Only she has no idea why. Raised by her ordinary mortal grandmother, Pocky has a lot of questions about her background that nobody can seem to answer. Feeling alone in the world, it is a breath of fresh air when she meets Stamp.

Stamp
 Stamp: Anything but average, Stamp is a full-blooded witch and proud of it! This goatee-sporting, Shakespeare quoting nine-year old doesn't mind standing out a little as he has broken away from his family's traditions to attend a mortal school to study acting. Although excited to meet someone of his kind at Asher, he is quick to dismiss Pocky upon finding out that she has been raised by mortals. He has been somewhat mislead to believe many stereotypes about mortals. When he realizes that Pocky does not have any prejudices against him, he has a change of heart, which he has difficulty showing, then the real magic begins. He suddenly takes pride in showing Pocky how to manage her craft. In turn, he finds out there is a lot left to learn about mortals. ( But don't expect him to admit that!)
Pocky

Blevins: Stamp's quiet, observant familiar can say a lot with just a look! He can also shapeshift and will appear in many forms throughout the story.

Maggie Gumm: Pocky's roommate and friend... the groovy, quirky, somewhat paranoid daydream believer.

Brooklyn Meadows: Pocky and Maggie's no-nonsense friend who provides a nice balance to the two.

Rick Parker: Maggie's crush... the "school blonde-haired boy" who ultimately is a bully.

Mrs. Wheeler: One of the only two adult characters in the story. She is the glue that holds the gang together.

Grandma McGuire: Pocky's Grandma... the epitome of what a grandmother should be.

Is there a takeaway message from your book?
Don't judge a book by it's cover and don't be afraid to be yourself!

How did the Elizabeth Montgomery statue get a copy of your book?
That awesome photo was sent to us by Peter Alachi, a Broomsticks fan who lives in Salem. Peter also wrote a wonderful review of Broomsticks which he posted on Amazon.com. We are so grateful to Peter and everyone who took the time to post a review on Amazon.

You got an endorsement from Erin Murphy, tell us about that?
Erin is a sweetheart! As many of you know, she played Tabitha on the TV classic, Bewitched. I (Sean) first came in contact with Erin in 1996 when I designed a logo for her website. Years later, I wrote to her about Broomsticks and asked her if she'd mind taking a look at it. Well, she not only read the first book, but she also read the yet-to-be released second Broomsticks story and the synopsis for our third story. She loved the books and sent us a wonderful quote that now graces the back cover of Broomsticks. Keep in mind, she did all of this before we even had a publisher. Like I said, Erin's a sweetheart.!


Your books are now available in Salem, Massachussetts, can you comment?
WOO-HOO!!! How's that for a comment? But seriously, we are thrilled by the news! To be honest, we don't even know where in Salem that they are available. We sent out press releases and "how-to" order forms to every bookstore, gift shop, and witch museum shop in the Salem/Boston area. When you spend ten years looking for a publisher, you do a lot of marketing research. We learned that if you sign with a smaller publisher, you should concentrate on your hometown area unless there's a place or event that goes along with the theme of your book. Well, besides our hometown of Maysville, Kentucky, we could think of no better place than Salem to promote a book about a couple of witches. We have several Salem fans in our Broomstick Fan club on Facebook. Gosh, we even have a fan in Australia! We are so grateful for the support!

You told us about an art contest and giveaway? Can you tell us how this will work, where we can find more information, and if all the entries will be posted?
Yes! Thanks for mentioning it. We're really excited about it! We wanted to do something that kids could have fun doing and maybe spark their interest in the book. It's for kids between the ages of 5-12. All they have to do is draw a picture of Stamp & Pocky and mail it in. The winners will receive a signed copy of the book and will post the winners on our website, blog, and facebook page. Details and rules can be found on our blog. http://www.broomsticksbooks.blogspot.com/

What has the local response been to your book?
Phenomenal! For our first signing, we had people lined up outside the door and the store sold their entire inventory within 30 minutes! We had to get our personal inventory to sell it too! After that sold out...we had people lining up to place orders. It was great! After that, we had 3 more successful sell-out signings! We were in the newspaper, on the radio, and on TV. We did a reading at the local library. I (Katie) spoke at a women's club luncheon before it was even published. People are still asking about it and where they can get it. We are overwhelmed by the continued support we receive from our hometown, Maysville, Kentucky. We hope every new author out there is lucky enough to have a hometown like Maysville. We are truly Blessed.

What are the best and worst parts of being a published author?
The best part is the sense of accomplishment after years of trying and finally getting to introduce the world to our characters and our story! The kids we talk to blow us away! They are really into the book and ask us countless questions about the characters. Some even dressed as Stamp & Pocky for Halloween last year! Knowing that you've added a little fun and magic to someone's childhood... Nothing beats that! The worst part: There is no bad part of being a published author!
What would you like potential readers to know? Comparisons to Harry Potter are inevitable, but we'd like potential readers to know that, although we love Harry, Stamp & Pocky have very different adventures that deal with more down to earth problems that ordinary kids deal with everyday. We'd also like them to know that even though our first story deals with bullying and bigotry, Broomsticks still has all the fun, magic, humor, and escapism that you would hope to find in a book about two little witches.

Is there a question that you would like to leave up for comments or responses?
Left to Right--Antonio Thompson, Amy, Thompson, Sean McHugh, Katie McHugh Parker, and Charles Suddeth
The Diversion Press Gang in Maysville, Kentucky.
Yes. Besides Harry Potter and a handful of other books like Broomsticks, do you think children's books today are becoming too reality-based and message-heavy? And what children's books helped you escape into a world of fantasy and magic as a child?

33 comments:

  1. I love the perseverance of these authors. Way to go! I can't wait to read Broomsticks to my girls.

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  2. Wonderful interview, Sean, Katie and Diversion Press. Thank you for posting it.

    In response to your question: are the current crop of kids books too reality based and message heavy? No, I don't believe so. I do think it's a current trend, but parents still have the obligation to filter the messages their children receive. Broomsticks' message is a lesson that all children can learn from.

    It's magical.

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  3. Thank you so much, Karissa! I hope your girls enjoy it!

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  4. Thanks, Monkey! I hope children find it to be a fun read too

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  5. Congratulations to Sean and Katie. It sounds like you have brought even more magic to that magical age of 9 years old. I look forward to reading your books and meeting the characters of Broomstick. I would have loved them when I was a little girl and am sure I will enjoy them now as well. The interview was quite interesting; I especially liked the part about Erin Murphy's endorsement.

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  6. Hi Sean and Katie,
    It was nice to meet you in Maysville and I enjoyed our dinner. That was a fun time and perhaps we can do it again this year.

    So, my question . . . what is your most unique experience during a book signing?

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  7. In response to your second question: what children's books helped you escape into a world of fantasy and magic as a child? Being the oldest of 4 girls born to very young parents, we were quite poor. We had few books, except for a wonderful set of ChildCraft encyclopedias.
    Dad read from the first two volumes to us every night. They were filled with wonderful poems and little short stories. The Piggy that Wouldn't Go Over the Sty and The Teeny Tiny Lady were my two favorites. Of course, we enjoyed Cinderella and Snow White and Rose Red too. My grandmother read The Three Billy Goats Gruff and Pokey Little Puppy to us - two more favorites.

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  8. Thank you, Terry! And as far as we're concerned, you're never to old for a little magic! I like the Erin part too. I was so thrilled when she accepted the invitation to read them. To have Tabitha, herself, reviewing our little witches! Too cool!

    Wow! I haven't tthought of Snow White & Red Rose for years! great story!

    Hope you enjoy the Broomsticks, Terry!

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  9. Thanks, Karissa! That means a lot!
    Terry, I loved those stories too! The time that I actually decided I wanted to write children's books was in the middle of my Children's Literature class in college. Our instructor actually read to us like we were children and it made me feel all warm and fuzzy! Felt like a kid again!

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  10. Monkey, thank you! We can all use a little magic!

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  11. Really good interview! Katie and Sean are proof that a simple positive message that all kids can relate to is exactly what they need and an imagination, laughter, and adventure can lighten up the faces of all children and even adults too. Also very proud to be related to these two talented people.

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  12. Thanks, John! I'm very proud to be related to you too! Love you, man!

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  13. Antonio,
    I'm so sorry! Your post was between Terry's and I accidently by-passed it. Unique experience at a book signing? Three things:
    1. Katie and I enjoyed our dinner with you and Amy as well, and we were looking forward to the signing with you the next day. However, we were surprised that the book fair seperated the Diversion Press gang and poor Amy was sitting all by herself. I was hoping we'd be sitting side by side so we could chat more.
    2. The Joseph-Beth signing was a dream come true for me. I have had that dream of a signing there since they opened in the 80's. Katie referred to it as my wedding day because it was such a huge milestone in my life. And Joseph-Beth couldn't have been nicer! The way they treated us, you'd think we were L.Frank Baum and J.K. Rowling. After we sold out, the manager told us we had the Number One selling children's book at Joseph-Beth that week and invited us back when our second book is released. Joseph-Beth really lived up to the dream!
    3. The funniest thing that happened involving a book signing was the woman who mis-read the calendar of events and thought Katie & I would be SINGING at the Downtown Association's Halloween celebration!

    Katie's got a funny story too about a man who DIDN'T want her to sign his book!

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  14. Sean,

    No need to apologize to me, you have a lot of comments going on here today.

    Joseph-Beth is a great store, I always liked going there when I lived in Lexington. It sounds like they did a really good job of hosting you. When a book store makes you feel welcome, it really helps set the mood for the rest of the signing.

    I didn't see where you talked about the "Singing" event before. Perhaps that is worth another note or two.

    Surely Katie will tell us about her experience as well.

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  15. Hi Katie and Sean,
    It's Amy from DP and I have comment and question. We have enjoyed having you both as our authors. Your excitement and energy for promoting Broomsticks has been wonderful! I hope that you will agree to continue to kick some magic with Diversion Press as you promote your second book--The Halloween Spirit. We would love to continue the story of Pocky and Stamp, as they celebrate Halloween in true witch style. What are your thoughts on this?

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  16. Antonio, we had a great time at dinner with you and Amy! In response to your question, I actually was going to tell you about that man that Sean was referring to! His wife had sent him to a signing to buy 5 books. He came over to me and I guess he must have thought I was representing Sean or something. I forget exactly what was said, but I said something about signing his books and he said, "No, you can't! That would be plagiarism!" I said, "Excuse me, sir. I would not sign Sean's name. I would sign mine. I wrote it too!" He was apologetic after that. But, he was really upset with me at first! LOL!

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  17. Amy,
    You just made another dream come true! Tears are streaming down my face! You won't regret this! I promise! We'll work as hard at promoting the second book as we have the first one! You and Antonio are the best!!! I can't thank you enough! Wow! I mean... Wow! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! You won't regret this! I promise! Witches Honor!

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  18. Amy, We are soooooo ready to continue to kick the magic! The response to the first book has been so great and people have been asking constantly about the second book and when it's coming out! Thank you for the opportunity!

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  19. Antonio,
    As for the singing, there's not a lot to tell. This lady on our Broomsticks facebook page just thought we were going to sing instead of sign. However, I feel like singing right now after the news we just heard!!!
    "Those fingers through my hair... that shy come hither stare.."

    Okay... I'll stick to writing and drawing.

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  20. Congratulations!! What wonderful news following a great article! :)

    Do you have any signings coming up in the state of Florida? I'd love to be able to attend one! :D

    Jessica

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  21. Thanks, Jessica! We are trying to get into stores in Florida. One store has agreed to order a copy for review and we're waiting to hear back from them. It's difficult to get into bigger chains so we're concentrating on independent stores. If you have any in mind, please let me know! As soon as we do have a signing in Florida, it will be posted on our blog, website, and Broomsticks Facebook page. Thanks for your interest and your congratulations!

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  22. Jessica, thanks! Not as of yet, I'm afraid. We'll see what we can do. Thanks for your interest!

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  23. What a great blog tour stop Katie and Sean! I hope that you enjoyed your time at the Diversion Press blog!

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  24. I just wanted to say congratulations! I can't hardly wait to read The Halloween Spirit.

    Pernell Sweet

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  25. Thanks, Pernell! Pernell carved an awesome "Stamp and Pocky" jack-o-lantern at Halloween! It was cool!

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  26. Dear Sean and Katie,
    I am ten. I am VERY exited to read your book. I am exited because one year I was a witch for Halloween AND I love to read! I hear your making a new book. I hope to hear back from you!

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  27. Ninnypoo,
    I am delighted to hear from you! You are about the same age as Stamp and Pocky. I hope you enjoy our book. Yes, the second book is already written, so check back often to see when it will be released...hopefully by Halloween. <|:)

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  28. Dear Ninnypoo,
    Thank you so much! We're very happy that you're excited about the book and we hope you like it! It means a lot to us that you took the time to write us, because we wrote it for cool kids like you. That's cool that you were a witch for Halloween and that you like to read! Since you like Halloween and reading, you might like our second book too! It takes place on Halloween!!! It's Stamp & Pocky's first Halloween together and Stamp goes trick-or-treating for the first time! Then they have a Halloween party in an old theater that some say is HAUNTED! We hope you like it. Ninnypoo, if you like to draw, we're also having an art contest and the winners get a free copy of the first book! If you'd like to enter, ask your parents and tell them to go to our blog to learn how to enter the contest! www.broomsticks.blogspot.com
    Thank you again for writing, Ninnypoo! You really made our day!

    Best Witches,
    Sean

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  29. I thank you too, Pernell! We're really excited about the second book. Now that the characters are established, this story jumps right into the action. There will be plenty of laughs too! It's Stamp's first mortal Halloween and he's in for a treat... as well as a trick. Stamp & Pocky will also bump into a legendary Maysville resident!

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  30. Broomsticks sounds like a book my grandson would enjoy. He loves magic. Thank you for being part of the blog tour and introducing yourselves to us. Linda

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  31. Linda, this has been fun and nice getting to know a little more about the other Diversion Press authors.

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  32. Okay Sean and Katie were so much fun to work with! They are wonderfully creative and sweet people! I loved this Broomsticks!

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