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November 2, 2011

Three Times A Charm with M Arthur

Three Times a Charm is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the publishing industry. (I apologize for the strange formatting. Sometimes when I get stuff from others, it doesn't transfer into blogger like I want. If it is difficult on your eyes, you can read this interview here instead) 

This week author, M Arthur, joins us to give us his top advice and to talk about his book, The Storyteller. First, let’s learn a little about Mr. Arthur.

I live in beautiful Bend, Oregon and when I am not writing thrilling young adult novels with a “Sixth Sense” type of bent, I am likely busy at work as a television anchor. Not a bad day job, I don't complain much.

I am trying to write this bio as my 2-year old asks again-and-again, “What's daddy doing?” Oh good, we've moved on to Elmo crackers. Needless to say, I'm a dad with the good fortune to spend a ton of time with my daughter. My wife and I work opposite schedules so that we can provide most of her daycare (we still ship her off a couple of days a week).

When my wife, daughter and I do manage to escape the house, we enjoy living in a natural playground. Bend is loaded with hiking, fishing, golf, skiing, climbing, you-name-it outdoor activities. Our personal favorite is eating. It never gets old.

And I like to surf...enough said.

Tell us about your book, The Storyteller:

The Storyteller available at:
Amazon and

When your soul is trapped in a book, there's only
one thing you can do. Tell your way out.”

The pages have gone blank and Ruth Mar finds her soul trapped in a book. How does a soul become stuck in a book? Well if she knew the answer to that, she would never have been in such a terrible spot. Nevertheless, this is not the story of how she lost her soul. It is the story of how her soul escapes.
Guided by the hints of Professor Vernon James, her aunt's mysterious neighbor, Ruth discovers the book's evil power. Her thoughts are written on the blank pages. The only way out, to trap another soul with a story so good, the final page is turned. But there are rules to this deadly game.
Rule #1: You must tell your story one page at a time.
Rule #2: Your thoughts remain while the book is open.
Rule #3: Your story must be original. Nothing copied or borrowed is allowed.
Rule #4: To free your soul, another’s must be trapped.
From the ancient plains of Africa to a neighborhood birthday party, Ruth's race to save her soul comes at a terrible price, with another reader gasping in horror at the final four words.
Your Soul is Mine!

Let me add that I’ve read The Storyteller and I really enjoyed it. I shared my thoughts here.

Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.

Top 3 skills to hone for people just starting out in “my” business.

I think for both my career as a journalist and as a fiction writer, there is a lot of cross over in skill. But the best advice I can give is to get over the fear of ridicule. It's hard to put a book out there knowing some people will hate it. It's hard to go on TV every morning knowing some people will make fun of the way you say every 3rd word. The reality is, the fear of ridicule is always more limiting that the ridicule itself. The comments you receive that really do strike a nerve hurt. But getting better has to hurt sometimes. Toughen up, it's part of the job.

Part of the reason I write is to have a bit more freedom telling a story. In my day job, I usually have less than 2 minutes to tell any given story (often 30 to 45 seconds). All the same, good reporting is good storytelling. The second skill, as obvious as it sounds, is to become a good storyteller. That means finding the personal connection in every story, whether it's for the news or for your novel.

The third skill goes a bit with the first but you have to learn how to take criticism. Writing is a subjective business so opinions are not necessarily right or wrong. My advice, give your work to five people and ask for three things to improve. You will not get 15 different ideas. You'll get 11 or 12 because there's one or two items everyone mentioned should be improved. It hurts, take it in, and fix it.

  • Top 3 locations to work.

Since I got all serious on the last question, let's have a little fun with this one.
      1. A warm sunny beach with a nice long curling break perfect for a guy who is a vacation surfer that rides the most ridiculously long board in the water. For the record, I'd get nothing done in this spot, but it's still my top place to work.
      2. Standing at the kitchen counter typing on my laptop. It's working for me now as a way to keep my 2-year-old off the keys and I can readily walk away if a disaster (falling off the couch) is about to ensue.
      3. On the road, usually at some unplanned intersection. Sounds an odd spot but for story inspiration, I find little better than the unplanned trip. Some planning is involved in getting to Italy, but renting a car and knowing only that you need to be in Venice by a certain day is not only a great potential plot for a book, it's a great way to spend a vacation. We found great pizza, a lakeside paradise, underground vineyards, a 12th century hotel with pillows that smelled like cat urine and Honey Nut Cheerios when I needed a taste of home. Yes, all this really happened. Yes, this jaunt across Europe inspired parts of my second book Mysteries Lost.

Where can our readers find out more about you and your work?

Find me on twitter @marthurbooks and

It was really great meeting you and learning about, The Storyteller. I hope to run into you around town sometime J. Us children’s writers have to stick together, you know. Good luck with your book and with your upcoming projects.

If you are involved in children’s publishing in anyway; blogger, writer, illustrator, editor, agent, publicists, and would like to be featured on Three Times A Charm, feel free to drop me an email. Kaistrand at yahoo dot com

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