The Next Big Thing


This is part of an authors’ blog tour.  Each author who is tagged has the privilege of answering 10 questions about their current work-in-progress. I am honored to have been tagged by Abyrne Mostyn.  You can see the link to Abyrne’s blog at the end of this post. I’ve tagged five authors, who will post their blogs on Sept. 19, 2012. (Their blog links are also at the end of this post.) After reading about MY “Next Big Thing” be sure to check out the other authors to see what their NEXT BIG THING is!

What is the working title of your book?

Annie Mouse and her Family’s Route 66 Adventure (A chapter book for grades 3-5)

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea for the Adventures of Annie Mouse series evolved from my work as an early childhood educator and my personal life experiences both as a child and mother.  This will be the sixth Annie Mouse Adventure, but the first chapter book.  In each of the adventures, Annie typically misunderstands someone or something and, like all young children, has many lessons to learn as she tries to navigate through life.  After publishing the first book in the series (Annie Mouse Meets her Guardian Angel), an illustrated picture book, I took a cross country road trip and fell in love with driving Route 66.  Since I draw upon my experiences in my books, it seemed only natural that Annie Mouse would have to take a road trip!  A family vacation is the perfect setting for Annie to find herself in more “situations” which will need to be worked through.  However, I knew that I needed to have many more first hand experiences on Route 66 in order to write an authentic book.   I continued working on the other picture books in the series (Annie Mouse Meets a New Friend, Baby Brother Goes to the Hospital and Where the Rainbow Touches Ground) while I continued taking an annual Route 66 trip, collecting more photographs and exploring more areas of the Route each year.  Since the first four books in the series were picture books, I decided to write Annie Mouse’s Route 66 Adventure: A Photo Journal in order to be consistent with the other books.  The Photo Journal was finally published in May of 2011 but I found I had much more information to share about Route 66, The Main Street of America that I still wanted to share with children.  I had so many more ideas for Annie’s adventures while on a road trip that I wanted to cover in more detail so I began writing a chapter book that expanded on the pictures and text included in the Photo Journal.    I began to envision this chapter book as a companion book to the Photo Journal to help bring social studies alive to children.  Younger children can enjoy the photographs in the picture book and be introduced to a part of American History. Older children can read the chapter book for much more detail while referring to the actual photographs in the Photo Journal for enhanced enjoyment.

What genre does your book fall under?

Children’s literature.  I also classify this as a work of “faction” since the information about Route 66 is fact-based.  It is also a work of fiction in that, obviously, Annie Mouse and The Mouse Family are personified mice and as such couldn’t actually drive a car, stay in hotels and eat in diners!

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I can envision this book as an animated film.  My dream for the voices for each of the characters would be:

 Ellen DeGeneres: Annie Mouse.  

Henry Winkler: Daddy Mouse

Kathy Bates:  Mommy Mouse.

The actress who plays Max on the sitcom Two Broke Girls (I don’t know her name!): Big Sister Jenny.

Since Jimmy Fallon has such a range of voices, I think he’d do a great job for both of Annie’s big brothers – the gruffer, more abrasive Sam and the kinder, gentler voice of Bobby.

The ultimate would be for Lightening McQueen to make a cameo appearance by greeting the Mouse Family to Baxter Springs or perhaps Seligman. (I know that the CARS movie takes place in the fictional Radiator Springs, but Annie’s adventure takes place in actual Route 66 towns!)

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Annie Mouse learns about the many wonders of the USA, has many adventures and gets into all sorts of situations while traveling Route 66 with her family.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Since I have self-published the entire series, I will most likely self-publish this one as well under the Annie Mouse Books imprint. Quite possibly I will create a kindle version of the book first before creating a soft bound book.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I began collecting information and photographs and exploring Route 66 in 2006 and began outlining chapters for the book at that time.  Many of the photographs and some of the information was incorporated into the picture book.  Serious writing of this chapter book began after the publication of Annie Mouse’s Route 66 Adventure: A Photo Journal in May 2011. I am just about finished with the first rough draft. 

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I had never heard of the book until after my photo journal was published, but some have compared my Route 66 work to an American Girls book called Molly’s Route 66 Adventure, which I still have not read.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

My passion for guiding social-emotional growth in young children and enhancing family communication was the inspiration behind the Annie Mouse’s Adventures series.  A family road trip is a perfect way to spend quality family time.  My love of traveling the Route and all of the wonderful friends I’ve made along the way provided the inspiration behind Annie Mouse’s Route 66 Adventure. 

What else about your book might pique the readers’ interest?

The young reader will be able to relate to the variety of situations Annie finds herself in (getting lost, getting car sick, fighting with her siblings, etc.) while learning about the eight states that go across the USA and make up Route 66. The Mouse Family visits popular attractions, such as The Grand Canyon, The Meteor Crater, The Painted Desert, along with ghost towns and lesser known, but fascinating attractions such as the Devil’s Rope Museum, The Oklahoma Route 66 Museum and the National Route 66 Museum, to name only a few.  It can be a great Social Studies supplement, travel guide, or bed time story to share a cross-country with parents through Annie’s eyes. Reading the book in conjunction with referring to the photographs in the picture book can enhance enjoyment of the chapter book.  The projected publication date is March, 2013.

To see Annie Mouse’s Route 66 Adventure on Amazon:



Abyrne Mostyn:

Tagged: Melanie S. Pronia 

Tagged: Kelly Preston

Tagged: Olivia Hardin

Tagged: Samantha Tiner

Tagged: Stephen Ormsby:

8 thoughts on “The Next Big Thing

  1. Pingback: Welcome to THE NEXT BIG THING #blogtour » olivia hardin... Writer

  2. Pingback: The Next Big Thing (An Author’s Blog Tour) « BIG FICTION

  3. Hello.
    I am very familiar with the field of Early Childhood Education. Besides writing, educating young children is my other true, heart-felt passion.

    I enjoyed learning about your book! I look forward getting my hands on a copy very soon!

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