Stephen Nawotniak is the author of the children’s book Mubu the Morph; here is a link to the website:
Q: Who is Mubu the Morph?
A: Mubu is the main character in the story Mubu the Morph. As a Morph, he is able to change his shape into whatever he chooses to be, which, in the story, is a bike, a bird, a dog, and a fish. In a companion story on a poster called Mubu the Morph, Origin Story, I explain how Morphs are made up of the hopes and dreams of individuals.
Q: Why will children like Mubu?
A: The children that I have read the story to think the character is cute and love that he can change into different objects. The various forms he takes are often pointed out as the child’s favorite part of the story.
Q: You are an Occupational Therapist; what does the job entail?
A: As an Occupational Therapist I focus on supporting people in successfully completing meaningful parts of their lives for an improved quality of life. When I worked with children it focused on coordination and fine motor skills to improve their abilities in school work and play. I now work with the elderly and adult rehab where I focus on helping people regain the ability to feed, clothe and bathe themselves.
Q: What kind of training did you have for the job?
A: To be an Occupational Therapist one must have a Masters Degree and obtain State and National Licenses.
Q: How does your job affect your writing?
A: Occupational Therapy involves helping people address challenges of a physical or mental state and support them in developing a desired quality of life. Through this I witness how people address challenges in their life and how those challenges can affect their identity. This influence provides me with insight into themes of self identity and personal development I like to include as central themes in the children’s books I write.
Q: How did you meet Jeffery, the books illistrator?
A: I met him at a local farmers market. I found out he was an artist and asked if he would be interested in illustrating my children’s book. I recited it from memory and he was hooked right away. His talent for capturing my words in illustration, and artwork in general, is second to none. I couldn’t have asked for a better illustrator.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who works full time, but has creative ambitions?
A: Just start! There is no recipe for success, no magic formula for having all the right pieces come together (or at least I haven’t found any). You just make your creative project and share it with passion. Expect “no’s” because they are part of the process. The most important part is that you just let yourself have fun with the process. It is that passion and fun that will draw people into the fold.
Q: Who are some of your writing influences?
A: My favorite book is Oh, The Places You Will Go by Dr. Seuss. I hope my books can deliver a timeless message in a fun format like he did.
Q: What trends in children’s literature annoy you?
A: I think that messages on self identity and self confidence are important messages for children these days. Fables and fairy tales had messages to them to teach a child important life lessons as they grow. I’m not sure that we do that enough in today’s children’s literature. Does this annoy me? No. But I feel that it is an important niche that I hope to support.
Q: If Mubu could make a guest appearance on a famous comic strip, which one would it be?
A: I think Mubu would love to make a guest appearance on The Peanuts Comic Strip because he would like to help Charlie Brown improve his self identity. Mubu is also impressed with how the Peanuts gang accepts the idiosyncrasies of each other which allows the unique gifts and talents to be shared to improve everyone’s quality of life.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)