Sunday, March 20, 2011

Interview--WAVE WALTON

Born the son of a Baptist minister, Wave Walton, as a young man going through school, delved into black and white photography and photographic lab work as a means to express himself. Later, this need led to art school and a painting concentration in college where realism was certainly not his forte. Life's struggle and tragedy pulled him away from school and art. He enlisted in the Air Force and traveled the world. Now, the light that he has found in his daughter presses him to become something greater through his children’s books. Titles include: The Wuffle, The Dress-Up Attic, Tootsie: The Nibble Hunter, and The Finding of Blue Bunny. He resides in Athens, Georgia.

After reading the below interview with Wave, please leave a comment because 3 lucky people will receive a FREE hard-cover version of his children’s title THE WUFFLE.

Thanks for being here Wave. It’s a pleasure.

#1- Tell us a little about yourself outside of your writing career…

Oh Boy, I guess I'm quite the oddball. Ask anyone I grew up with and I'm sure that's what you'll get. I like doing things a bit differently from the herd and I'm quite unapologetic in that. I'm the kind of guy that would hardly bat an eye if aliens landed and introduced themselves. I'd just think, hey that's cool.
I'm all about being a good daddy and I take a lot of pride in having a close relationship with my daughter. I like to say we're best buds. My daughter gives me a lot of inspiration and purpose. If I have screwed up other aspects of my life, I can honestly say I've done one good thing and that is raise one heck of a little lady.
I really want to be a successful publisher and be able to turn to helping others realize their dreams of publishing. I see so much talent out there that is ignored and I would like to make a difference in that respect.
I'm dirt poor right now but I dream of traveling the world and seeing a lot of things that I've only read about in books. I especially want to go to Italy. I daydream about that place with all of it's architecture and art. Heck, I may not come back if I go.

#2- The children’s book market is a tough one to break into. You self-published your children’s books. What made you decide to go that route and what challenges have you faced?

Well I self-published my first three titles because I couldn't get a publisher to give me the time of day. The same result came about when trying to find a literary agent to help me out. I really wondered on a process that required submitting of a text manuscript for a children's book. How can just text give the full vision a man has with a story with just the text of a children's book? I was inspired to write children's books because frankly I saw so much garbage on the shelves when I tried to find something for my own little girl. As I made up stories for her when she was tiny, she made me promise to share them with others so I decided I would. I'm not the sort to be turned away from a goal. I guess that's the military side of me there.
The latest titles, starting with The Finding of Blue Bunny, are actually being put out under my own label. I am a publisher now. I have demoted the publishing services to being printers. Thus, I now design and put together my books and hand them over to a printer. I get my own ISBN's, barcodes, layout the works, and create a product ready to print. It's been a really fun journey learning and progressing from hoping for the magical and mythical publisher to show up to becoming a publisher and making it happen on my own.

#3- How do you handle the negative reviews and critiques you receive?

What negative reviews and critiques? Just kidding, I am my own worst critic. I also partner with artists that care deeply about their work and especially since departing along the road of being an independent publisher with my own brand, I worked very closely with the artist on my first independent title, The Finding of Blue Bunny, in a process that was like a mother hen doting over her baby. I take such pride in putting a quality product out that I really haven't heard any complaints. Honestly, if a customer were to complain, I'd care, but if someone out there had something negative to say about my efforts on a professional level, I'd not give it a second thought.

#4- You’ve worked with several talented illustrators such as: Ian Crittenden, TeMika Grooms Jarrett, Alexander T. Lee, and Zack Mclaughlin. What was that experience like for you and what, if any, complications were there?

As previously stated, I am different than most and my dealings with artists and my early publishing efforts follows that trend. I sought and created partnerships with the artists on these first four titles with these four artists. I could not afford to pay commissions and was up front about that. I communicated my vision for the sort of experience and product I wanted to create, and found that I was not alone in a desire to create something beautiful. I was very blessed to come across artists that shared my desire and I am proud to say that the results were something I can be proud of and I gladly share equally my royalties with these artists on each project. As I conducted my search for artists, I received a lot of criticism and even got hate mail from people because of the nature of my partnership approach. They would write and say I'm horrible for not paying commissions and suggested that I was doing something shady. Well I feel I have worked with artists thus far that are proud of their contributions to the products created, and I really do think they are proud to feel invested and owning a part of the process.
I now currently proceed with both partnerships and commission relationships with artists on projects. The partnership aspect has become a more limited part of my planning although I really like the dedication that being a partner on a project brings about in a person.

#5- Are there any books that stand out from your childhood as favorites and where do you feel you get your inspiration from?

Hmmm. That's a tough question. If you could peek through a time machine, you might see me gazing over Dr. Seuss' The Sneetches, rummaging for hours through World Book encyclopedias, or later reading over Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are. Let's see what else? Oh yea, I adored the Berensteins' Berenstein Bears And The Spooky Old Tree. If it was weird or strange, that's what lured me in.

#6- Are there any upcoming releases we would like to know about, and could you give us your web site so readers can check it out?

Yes indeed. The Finding of Blue Bunny just came out and I have several projects in progress.
The first upcoming project is the second story about my unique character, The Wuffle. In the second story about him, The Wuffle-A Walk In The Woods, he takes off to discover what sorts of wonderful things he can see in the forest now that he's had to face his fears and no longer wishes to hide from the world. He'll run into some funny characters and will take it all in with the eyes of a child as is his way. I have a great artist by the name of John Blackford working on this work for me.
The next is the second Tootsie story. The first Tootsie story dealt with her seeking out something better than her master's boring old dog food but this one deals with her trek with a time traveling chihuahua back to 10,000 B.C. It's really cute. The neatest thing about this story is that it's written by my daughter, Charlotte. I've been editing it somewhat and have the same artist, Alexander T. Lee, partnered on it that worked on the first Tootsie story. Just imagine how cute it will be seeing saber-toothed chihuahuas in this story. I was beaming from ear to ear when my daughter showed me this one. I think I may just have to turn over the Tootsie character to her from now on. She has such good ideas on what to do with her.
Next, there is a story titled To Jump A Fence. This is a lesson-oriented tale about a little horse. He wants to be able to go over to an adjacent field and run about with the young horses he sees there but is too small to jump the fence. His mother tells him that with enough effort and patience, he can reach his dreams and encourages him to work hard towards that objective. The little guy takes to running about his pasture jumping things as he grows and gets stronger and well the rest is the point of the story. This one is being illustrated by a man named Jeff Ward.
The last project currently moving forward for now is perhaps my most ambitious work to date. It's called The Butterfly Girl-Into The Land of Heart Butterflies. A magical land must turn to a very special little girl to save them and the main character, Lily, is the sort of little girl you wish you could just hug to bits. The work will be twice as long as most illustrated children's books, 60+ pages, but I really feel it will set me apart as one writing serious works aimed at early readers. I haven't got anyone contracted on this work yet for illustrations but the same approach to heavy illustration with tons of detail will be included. I have a wonderful lady verbally committed that is extremely talented and has a flair for fairy art which I think will contribute a very soft and appealing feel for the story.
For past, present, and future projects, anyone interested can visit and they'll find not only links to those that are available but they can browse around and read descriptions and assorted info about them all. I'll also be updating the site soon to include information on the artists involved.

#7- This about concludes it. Thank you again for joining us. Is there anything else you would like to share?

Yes. The magic that we felt as children and that children around us all feel now is a very real thing. Some of us tend to let that magical feeling slide away from us but it can be recaptured. We should cherish the experiences we witness, as children revel joyfully in life and living and relearn to do so ourselves. It's quite ok to be a kid, regardless of the age of one's body. Smiles.

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