Michael Jabbra on Masters
and Monsters and More
By Kayleigh Smith
When it comes to our pets, who really owns whom?
American author, Michael Jabbra, explores this relationship in his first children's book "The Adventures of Master and Monster."
Lovingly referring to his childhood pet terrier as "Monster," the book pays tribute to their time shared on walks, throwing balls around, and their life-long bond.
Growing up, he was encouraged to read and one day imagined sharing his fond memories with others. "Life is short," he said during his interview, "Create something while you can."
For his second book, "George and Uncle Mike's Day Off," he instead looked to the future and wrote about adventures he imagines sharing with his young nephew. When asked about how he came up with both concepts, he professed, "I write what's in my head and from my heart."
Undoubtedly readers will connect with the love shared for family and furry family members alike. In Entertainment sat down with Michael to learn more about his creative process and what the future holds for this author.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
I think life is short and if you want to do something creative you should just go for it. Self-publishing has really changed the game for authors looking to share their work. I encourage anyone who has the same aspirations to just do it and not wait.
How long did it take you from start to finish to write your books?
It took a few months. I had to write the manuscripts, translate them into French (yes, both books are available in French), and go over the illustration concepts with my illustrator, Christie Shinn. The existence of self-publishing is a real boon for independent authors like me; there is no need to send manuscripts to old-time publishers and get rejected all the time. Now, I can publish anything I want! These are good times to be a writer.
What does your creative process look like?
I have a full-time job, so I write when I have time; there is no specific best time of the day to write. If an idea occurs to me when I'm on the job, I write it down for action later. If I have writer's block, I set the story aside and do something else, whether it be household chores, gardening, or exercise. I can always return to it later.
How does your family feel about your work?
My friends and family have been extremely supportive. They've given me great feedback. My nephew is still too young to understand his being in my book, but he will one day.
What does literary success look like to you?
Literary success would look like more demand for my books. That would mean that something I wrote resonates with people. I'm hoping readers walk away with a positive experience after reading my books and also appreciate Christie's illustration skills. I'd hope that more people find my books and share them with their friends and family.
What was the process of working with your illustrator like?
My illustrator, Christie Shinn, is actually a friend of mine, so I reached out to her about getting involved and she agreed. I'm really happy about the final product so it was fortunate we knew each other.
What made you choose this specific memory about your dog to write about?
I loved my dog, so "The Adventures of Master and Monster" was a collection of memories about her: walking, feeding her, trips to the park, tug of war, throwing the tennis ball, etc. Every minute with her was lots of fun. I'd had the book in mind for a long time, so I decided to do it. Life is short, so why not?
How did you come up with the concept for the second book?
"George's and Uncle Mike's Day Off," is my master plan for spoiling my nephew. The book shows him as older than he is now, so I will have to wait a few years to put the plan into effect. Kids are frequently told to sit down and shut up, so I wanted to show energy and activity and fun. I believe in letting children have fun and bounce off the walls as long as they aren't doing anything downright destructive.
Have you thought of a concept yet for your next book?
I recently decided to write a story entitled "Master and Monster Go Camping." It will be available later this year.
What do you do to improve your skill set as a writer?
When I was growing up, my parents encouraged me and my sister to read. They discouraged watching television. I think that did quite a lot to sharpen my writing skills. So did attending university.
Reading also taught me a lot about grammar and spelling; it's fair to say that I learned more about proper English from reading than I did from formal education. There is a real joy in picking the right words for anything, whether a children's book or a blog post or something more analytical.
For further information on Michael and his works, visit:
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