Book: The Munchkins
Q1. Hello, can you please introduce yourself? Readers would love to know more about you.
Hi, I’m Candice Zee. I’m a teacher and early childhood educator and I’ve worked with Pre-K, Kindergarten, and school-age children for over 12 years. Also, I’ve been vegan for over 23 years and I’m a long-time animal and social justice advocate. I love to read and I’ve written most of my life, mostly essays and articles for organization newsletters, and The Munchkins is my debut novel. I’m from Wilkes-Barre, PA and I currently live with my wife Dana and our dog companion Solstice in Cleveland, OH.
Q2. What were the key challenges you faced while writing ‘The Munchkins’ book?
Without a doubt, my key challenge was keeping the word count down. When I wrote the first draft of The Munchkins, I actually wrote the first and second book together. Then I took a look at the word count and it was over 300,000 words! That’s when I decided to split it up into two different books. But just getting the word count down to a reasonable level for the first book was very hard, and I spent countless hours editing. I think editing is much harder than writing because you have to make some tough decisions about cutting material you really like and want to keep, but you can’t save it all.
Q3. What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
I read a lot of nonfiction in the social sciences genre, but when it comes to fiction I’ve been a huge fan of horror and thriller novels since I was a teenager. Two of my favorite horror authors are John Saul and Dean Koontz. My favorite author of all-time is probably Stephen King. I’ve read many of his books and short stories, and he’s definitely influenced my style of writing. The Munchkins is filled with elements of suspense, and Big Boss is like a villain straight out of a horror novel.
Q4. What’s your favorite spot to visit in your own country? And what makes it so special to you?
I would say anywhere near a large body of water, like a beach by the ocean or a cascading waterfall. I live by Lake Erie and I love to go there and just look out into the waves and the open sky. It’s a good reminder of how vast and majestic the universe is, and that humans are just a tiny part of it. It helps you instantly see the much bigger picture.
Q5. Is there lots to do before you drive in and start writing a book?
Not really. When I wrote The Munchkins, I felt like something was writing through me. I had the words typed out before I could even think of them. I’ve had the idea in my head since I was a kid so I guess in a way I was preparing to write this story my whole life. The only thing to do was open my laptop and start writing it.
Q6. How long did it take you to write ‘The Munchkins’ book?
Oh boy, it took me years. I think I started writing it in 2012. At first I wasn’t too serious about it, and was unsure if I’d even publish it, so it was just a little bit here and a little bit there, then a long period of time would pass before I’d go back to it. Once I finally decided I was going to publish it and write a series though, I banged it out rather quickly. I’d go into a zone and spend whole weekends doing nothing but writing, staying up all hours of the night, only coming up for air to eat (and sometimes I’d forget to eat). And remember I originally wrote the first and second books together, so I would have been done a lot sooner if I just wrote the first book. But on the plus side, now the second book is already written, so it shouldn’t take me nearly as long to publish the next one.
Q7. On what all platforms readers can find ‘The Munchkins’ book to buy?
The ebook and paperback are available to buy through a number of different sites and stores. There’s Amazon of course, but in addition you can find the ebook on Apple Books, Google Play, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, Scribd, and other digital retailers. If you visit books2read.com/themunchkins you will find links to all these stores. You can get the paperback at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Target, Indiebound and Bookshop.org, and local book stores. You can also go to my website munchkinsbooks.com and find a link to order it there. I also want to encourage readers to sign up for the Munchie email newsletter list at https://www.subscribepage.com/p3s1g5 where you can stay updated on news about the book series and receive perks like book chapters, sneak previews, author Q&As, and book giveaway contests.
Q8. Tell us about the process of coming up with the book cover and the title ‘The Munchkins’ ?
When I was a kid, my brother and I would make up our own make-believe stories and play pretend, acting them out. Our favorite one we made up was about kids with magic powers who never grow up and the bad guy who wants their powers named Big Boss, and we called it “Munchkins.” I can’t even remember now how we decided on that name. The idea has been in my head since I was a child though, and I always thought to myself I should turn this story into a book someday, until finally one day I decided to just sit down and write it. I also had a vision for what I wanted the book cover to look like. It was really important to me to feature the Four Musketeers (Capricorn, Allie, Breezy, and Hazy) on the cover, to show how close they are and then also to have light coming off of them to represent their powers. I originally wanted all of the kids on the cover actually, but quickly realized they wouldn’t all fit. Then I also envisioned Big Boss’s silhouette standing in the background as this ominous figure. I love the cover of the book and I think my cover designer, Jeff Brown Graphics, did an amazing job depicting the Four Musketeers and bringing the story to life.
Q9. When writing a book how do you keep things fresh, for both your readers and also yourself?
I guess I’ll find out when I start revising and editing the second book. I’ll say this though: The second book is much much darker than the first one. It actually dives more into the YA category than middle-grade because of the very grave subject matter. So expect more of a YA novel for the second book in the series, titled Capricorn’s Journal: My Family’s Fight for Survival.
Q10. Are there any secrets from the book (that aren’t in the blurb), you can share with your readers?
There are major limits to the Munch children’s powers. The biggest limit is that once they use a power, they have to wait for a certain period of time before they can use a power again. Their powers work almost like a battery and they have to recharge their energy after using them. This point becomes very important to the plot. Also, pay attention to Allie, a favorite character with readers. She is incredibly witty and has some of the best lines in the book. When things start to get too tense, Allie will make a sarcastic remark and bring instant comic relief.
Book Is Available On Amazon