An Interview with Ali Hammoud: Courage, Instincts & Self-Publishing
Ali Hammoud talks to The Children’s Book Review about creating his debut children’s book, The Adventures of Mighty Mikey. The protagonist, Mighty Mikey, heads up an exciting excursion and personal journey towards courage and following one’s own instincts.
Bianca Schulze: Can you give a little insight into your illustrated adventure book The Adventures of Mighty Mikey? Why was it important for you to write this particular story?
Ali Hammoud: The reason why I created The Adventures of Mighty Mikey was to relate the message to children that it is important to have courage. You do not want to go through life being afraid of things. In this particular adventure the moral of the story is to follow your instincts. I feel that recognizing your instincts is an important concept to be aware of.
BS: The illustrations follow a quasi-comic format. Why did you choose this style and how did you create the artwork?
AH: I feel that the comic book format is simply an exciting way to illustrate story. I wanted the book to be vibrant and fun. My method was to draw the characters and backgrounds by hand, and then use Photoshop for coloring and lettering.
BS: What came first for you: the artwork or the words? Or did they feed each other?
AH: I started out with a rough plot, and then I drew thumbnails of the scenes. Once I know what the scene is going to be then I write out the dialogue. So it’s a back and forth between writing drawing.
BS: Could you tell us about developing the characters? What is it that makes Mighty Mikey so mighty?
AH: The characters are no different than the people you meet growing up. In school there is always the bully, the lackey, and the hot girl. The main character Mikey is mighty because he has the courage to not be afraid of the unknown.
BS: Should we expect to see more adventures starring Mighty Mikey?
AH: Yes, definitely. I have many more adventures for Mighty Mikey to go on.
BS: Which comics or graphic novels, if any, would you say have had the most impact on your creative mind?
AH: I would have to say ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ by Frank Miller
BS: What would you say surprised you the most about the process of self-publishing a book?
AH: It was frustrating and fun at the same time.
BS: From the conception of the idea to published work, how long did it take you to create The Adventures of Mighty Mikey?
AH: Developing the plot and look of the characters took me one month. It took me two months to develop the book from there.
BS: What words of advice would you offer to an author who may be considering self-publishing their first book?
AH: It is important to have people critic your work throughout the process. Also recognize that you have to have a marketing plan, because books don’t sell themselves.
BS: As a parting note, is there anything you would like to share with your readers?
AH: I hope children and adults alike enjoy the adventure.
To learn more, visit: http://mightymikeysplace.com/
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