Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Author To Author: Malia Ann Haberman

Today we have middle grade writer, Malia Ann Haberman. She lives in Seattle with with her three ferrets, Sunny, Cinnamon, Coco and Wyatt. (Sweet little Wyatt died on September 10th, 2013. He'll always be missed.) They love to play, sleep, crinkly bags and shoes.

Malia's Ferrets
Where You Can Find Malia:

1. Did you know immediately that the story you were writing was for children?

I did know. One night I dreamt I was living in a huge magical house. The next day I talked it over with my daughter and started throwing a bunch of ideas together for Chase Tinker's story. We both knew right away it was going to be perfect for Middle Graders and Tweens.

We also knew we would need loads of superpowers for the several hundred rooms in the house. I spent a lot of time asking everyone I knew, "If they could have just one magical ability, what would it be?" I really got some interesting answers. Some even made it into my books. :)

2. What do you like about writing for children and why do you write for them?

I like writing for kids because they're open and engaging, and they love fun, adventure and silliness as much as I do. :) They also have such amazing energy and enthusiasm and, of course, imaginations. I have such a good time coming up with ideas for my books that I hope they'll really get a huge kick out of.

3. Tell us a little about yourself and how you became a writer.

Well I live a little north of Seattle in a cute duplex with my three ferrets. (So of course, there's a ferret in my book. His name is Maxwell.) I teach Ballroom Dancing as my "day job." Two of my favorite dances are Salsa and Swing.

As for becoming a writer, it was around the time I turned 14 I realized, since I'd read so many terrific books, that writing was my calling. I just had this crazy urge inside of me to write. Though, during my teens, I spent a lot of hours writing sappy love poems and dreadful romance stories. :) I was in my mid-twenties when I realized I wanted to write kid lit.

4. Which comes first, character or plot? Why?

I always have plot ideas first and then I imagine the characters who will fit into the world I'm starting to build. I just find it a lot easier to work things that way.

5. Of all your characters, which one would you be least willing to kill off or have die?

I think that would be Maxwell. He's Chase's Cousin Janie's ferret. I would definitely never let anything happen to Maxwell. He started out as just the troublemaking pet, but his role has grown until the whole series just wouldn't be the same without him.

6. What advice would you give someone who is just beginning the world building process? Any tools or books you found most helpful?

I'm really not much good at giving advice, but I think anyone who wants to write needs to read. A lot! Especially in the genre you wish to write in. This will definitely help you learn about world building, characters, writing styles, grammar, etc.

I did read some how-to-write books that I really liked, but not everyone likes the same books, so I would say Google "books on writing" and read a few to decide for yourself which ones have the best information for you.

7. What was the inspiration for your character Chase Tinker?

I actually put some of myself, and some of my two daughters into Chase's personality. Like me, he's impatient, a bit on the cranky side, kind of dorky, hates onions and is bad at math, but he would do anything in his power to help his family and keep them safe. He's also independent, brave, and caring, which are great and inspirational (I think) characteristics that both my daughters have.

8. Tell us about your process.

When I first started writing my first book in my Chase Tinker Series, "Chase Tinker and the House of Magic," I had ideas, but no clear outline to follow. I would just let things come to me as I wrote, and it worked out really well. But then, my then-agent, wanted me to outline the rest of the series. I thought, What?! Write everything down? Now that's just crazy talk! But I put on my thinking cap and got to work, and it's a good thing I did or I would've forgotten and missed out on loads of great ideas. So now, I guess my process is being both a "pantser" and a "plotter." :)

9. What does a typical writing day look like?

I have a varying work schedule so I don't have a typical writing day. Though, I do try to write for at least an hour or two everyday in-between things.

10. Where is your favorite place to write?

My favorite place to write is in my living room using either my dining table or my coffee table as my desk, my laptop in front of me, and my TV going as background noise.

11. What did or do you find most challenging about the publishing process? What advice would you give authors?

Before I had a publisher, finding an agent and then getting a publisher were the most challenging, but since that's done, the most difficult things now are the marketing and getting the word out about my books; especially with no marketing budget.

The only advice I can give is to write and write and write and don't give up. If you have the talent and drive then hopefully things will begin to happen for you. It's a lot of hard, yet satisfying, work.

12. What is the best writing advice you have ever received?

I'd say it was work at finding your own unique voice and write what makes you happy.

You can find Malia's books on the following online sites:

Barnes And Noble
Add her books on Goodreads.

Thanks Malia for joining us! 


  1. Thanks for the great interview. Sounds like a wonderful series. The covers are intriguing.

  2. I enjoyed reading Malia's process--and I agree about the covers. Beautiful!


I would love to hear from you!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...