Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Blog Tour - Broomsticks

Today I bring you 2 authors.  Sean McHugh and Katie McHugh Parker are the co-authors of Broomsticks.  They were gracious enough to stop by today and tell you the back story of the book and a little about themselves.  Check back next week for my review of Broomsticks.  Thanks to Diversion Press for allowing me the opportunity to host these authors and review their books.

Sean McHugh was born and raised in Maysville, Kentucky. He graduated cum laude from Morehead State University with a BA in Art. He lived in Lexington, Kentucky for ten years where he was the head writer and cartoonist for the Rock-A-Billy Cafe's Kid's Club Newsletter. In 2000, he moved to Florida and has since been working as a caricature artist at Walt Disney World.   You can find him online at  ashmont67@aol.com

Katie McHugh Parker was also born and raised in Maysville, Kentucky and graduated from Morehead State University with a BA in Elementary Education and a Masters in Elementary Guidance Counseling. She has been teaching at St. Patrick's School since 1997. She resides in Maysville with her husband Ricky and daughter Sophia. You can find her online at katherine.parker@hotmail.com

Broomsticks was originally conceived as a comic strip that I created in the mid-90s. Since childhood, I knew I wanted to be a cartoonist. I was obsessed with Peanuts by the great Charles M. Schulz and I equally loved the classic TV series, Bewitched. So, I took some inspiration from two of my favorite things, mixed with personal experiences and friendships and POOF!!! Broomsticks was born!

I submitted the comic strip to all the major newspaper syndicates but it was never published. I did, however, receive a lot of positive feedback from some of the editors. Two, in particular, said they liked it but thought it would work better as a children's book.

I had written several children's stories by that time. Along with my Charles Schulz dream, I also dreamed of being L. Frank Baum. I even took a children's writing class taught by Marcia Thorton Jones and Debbie Dadey, the authors of The Bailey School kids series.

Still, I had never tackled a chapter book before. I had worked with a co-writer before on a project and really enjoyed it. But Stamp & Pocky, the lead characters, were my babies. I couldn't just trust anyone with my babies! There was only one person I knew who had a great gift for writing, shared my love for fantasy and comedy, and who I could trust with my babies!

My niece, Katie McHugh Parker, always had a talent for writing and a love for children's literature. She was very excited when I asked her to co-author Broomsticks. Everything was falling into place. Unfortunately, I had just moved to Florida the same year that we wrote the first book. So, we had a long-distance partnership. There were a lot of phone calls and letter writing between us.

It worked out even better than I imagined. Katie and I work very well together. I would usually come up with the plot and storyline. I'd then break them up into chapters. Katie would work on half the chapters and I'd work on the other half. Then we would send each other our chapters to review. I write my chapters in script form. Katie then suggests changes and adds her beautiful narratives to my chapters. She then sends me her chapters and I add my suggestions to hers. It worked beautifully. If we do edit each other, it usually consists of Katie telling me that a nine-year-old wouldn't say that, or me telling Katie that Stamp wouldn't say that. I admit, I'm rather parentally protective over the two main characters and Katie respects that. The personalities of Stamp & Pocky were established early on in the comic strip, but there were no supporting characters in the strip. So, Katie co-created all of the characters in the supporting cast. Once our story is finished, Katie types it, and I do the artwork. It works like...magic!


bermudaonion said...

What a great story! I love that the editors offered encouragement even though they couldn't use the work.

Sean McHugh said...

Thank you, Bermudaonion! Yes, I feel very lucky. The Editor-in-Chief of King Features Syndicate, Jay Kennedy, took the time to personally write me to tell me how much he liked Broomsticks and loved the character design but thought it would work better as achildren's book. Sadly, Mr. Kennedy passed away before we found a publisher. I would've loved to have had the chance to thank him for his advice.

Anonymous said...

Cool story- Like how the author refers to the characters as his ”babies” Enjoyed

Sean McHugh said...

Thank you, Anonymous! Yes,even though we were just recently published, Stamp & Pocky have been a major part of my life for 15 years now. It's borderline weird. If someone compliments the writing, etc., I'm thrilled. But if someone says they love Stamp & Pocky or says they're cute...I glow like a proud papa!

Sean McHugh said...

Thank you for having us! We had a wonderful time and you are a wonderful host!

Elizabeth said...


Found your name on the BEA Armchair list and wanted to stop by. Love your blog.



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