Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Iggy The Iguana - Summer League

Summer League, the second book in the Iggy the Iguana Series, is packed full of excitement, suspense, and surprises as Iggy and his friends continue their adventures out on the baseball field and under the summer sun. Iggy faces the decision of keeping a secret that should have been told and runs the risks of losing everything. In the midst of overcoming his challenges, Iggy learns a few new things about himself, his friendships start to change, and he discovers that the new guy is keeping a big secret too. Each character in this story has a unique and even humorous personality of their own, making the Iggy the Iguana series enjoyable for all kids to read.

Hi everyone. I'm Gus, the athletic (ahem) half of the time-traveling, Cynthia's Attic duo. I'm so excited to have Iggy Iguana as my guest today because he loves baseball just like I do! I tried to talk Cynthia into joining me, but she was busy doing her nails, and, anyway, baseball isn't her favorite subject.

Welcome Iggy (and Melissa)! Do you have time to answer some questions that I'm sure our readers want to know? Like, why do you love baseball so much, Iggy?

Hi Gus! It’s great to meet you. Well, all of my favorite memories include baseball … like the time my Dad took me to my first Chicago Cubs game at Wriggly Field. My dad and I have also been playing catch together since I could pick up a ball. I’ve been playing pitcher for a few years now in little league.

Cynthia and I play with our neighborhood gang and we've known each other since, forever! Tell us about some of the members of your team. How did you meet?

I met Snap Shell, my catcher and my best friend, at the beginning of fourth grade. He’s a turtle and naturally a great catcher! He would do anything for me on and off the field. Buddy the Bullfrog and Kit Kat go to my school too. Buddy is from New York and a great high hopper on 1st base. Cooper the Chameleon and I have known each other for years, because we used to be on the same team many years ago before he moved to my new team, the Stars. There is a lot of competition between the two of us because he used to play pitcher too … until he hurt his arm. I just met Marc the Mouse, he moved here from Spain and is the best Short Stop ever! He’s super fast. He is really shy though, so I try to help him make new friends on the team.

Cynthia is my best friend, so tell you have a best friend? Liz? or maybe, Snap? I promise not to tell the others!

It’s so hard to pick one, because Liz and Snap are both of my best friends, but in different ways. Actually Liz was my girl friend in 4th grade, but we kinda broke up.

Snap helped me get through everything so we could all become friends again. Snap is like a brother to me now … I only want the best for him and would do anything for him, because he has always been there for me. He’s a great advice giver.

Does the fact that your dad was a coach influence your love of the sport?

Definitely! My dad has always been an athlete and had a passion for baseball. It’s something we can do together. I look up to my dad so much. He just won first place at the Houston Marathon.

And, now a couple of questions for Melissa:

How did you choose Iggy the Iguana as the main character for your books?

The idea for Iggy and all of the characters came from many of my real life pets I had as a kid. Iggy was my favorite pet of them all! I used to spend so much time with him, and I basically treated him like a human. He wore clothes, lived on top of my bookshelf, and we would play outside everyday after school. He loved laying out in the sun! I even threw him birthday parties … and he got to sleep on my bed. He had his own little pillow, and I would cover him up with a blanket so he wouldn’t get cold. He usually had to sleep on a heating pad too.

I was also very creative as a kiddo, so I used to write the Iggy the Iguana story when I was eight years old. Liz, Snap Shell, and all the gang were supporting characters.

Do you have a planned number of books for the series?

I want to have at least four in the Iggy Series. I am also staring the spin off series called Turtle Town, and Snap is the main character. The new books take place in different beach towns. The first one will take place in Cardiff Beach near San Diego, California. I’m taking another two-week trip out to California to write on location. I am completely recreating the town in my story to resemble the real Cardiff Beach. Maybe the next book should take place in Hawaii, right?!

I love the diversity the characters in your books advance. Was there someone or something in particular that influenced your writing the series?

Definitely my counseling and psychology background gave me a need to implant acceptance and diversity into the storyline, and not just with cultural differences, but also with personality, health, age, and interests. I wanted everyone to have at least one character that they really could relate to. The characters needed to be real and go through real life situations that kids may experience at that age. I also wanted the readers to experience empathetic understanding toward the characters who experienced certain situations for the first time.

If you could bring one character to life, which one would it be?

Iggy! He is so cute. I love iguanas and lizards. I think they are just he cutest animals in the world!

Finally, tell your readers something funny about yourself that they may not know.

I used to make up this ridiculous voice for my pet Iggy when I was a kid, and I would pretend that he could talk. Actually, I had a voice for Molly, Iggy’s little sister, too. I created a pretend radio talk show for them, and they would interview different animals on the show. More made up voices! I was very imaginative and goofy. It helped when I landed my first voice over gig for a Japanese Anime Cartoon about eight years ago. Who knew the silly things I did as a kid would come back to help me as an adult!

Melissa M. Williams has been writing stories since the age of eight years old. Many of her stories were inspired by real-life experiences with childhood pets she owned while growing up in Houston, Texas. After receiving her Bachelor's degree in Psychology, she moved to Dallas, TX to pursue a Master's degree
in Professional Counseling. While in graduate school, she finished her first children's book, "Iggy the Iguana", and proceeded to have the book published before the age of twenty-six. Many of the ideas in this book were inspired by Miss Williams' experiences as a substitute teacher for third and fourth grade classes in the city of Dallas. In addition to writing for children, she is a published songwriter and has co-written for her younger sister’s, Misha, International Albums. Melissa currently lives in Houston, Texas and visits schools through out the entire Texas region, promotion literacy, creativity, and learning for kids. Her Literacy Foundation Read3Zero now offers children the opportunity to be published by her own publishing company, LongTale Publishing.

Iggy the Iguane Website


Melissa M. Williams website

More on YouTube with Iggy and Melissa Williams

Next Iggy Blog Tour Stop - Thursday February 18 – Dana Smith (The Book Maven) shares her interview with Melissa M Williams to discuss how she promotes Iggy.

Be the most active visitor during the tour for a chance to win this Iggy Collection! Complete Iggy Blog Tour Schedule

Discover the Magic in Cynthia's Attic - Mary Cunningham Books


Melissa M. Williams said...

Hi Mary!

Thank you so much having having Iggy on your site today! I can't wait to hear some of the readers comments!

Eileen Williams said...

Iggy sounds like a fabulous series and one that would, not only be fun to read, but teach children some important life lessons as well. And who can resist a story about baseball?

Best of luck with Iggy and his friends!

Mary Cunningham said...

So happy to have you and Iggy here, Melissa. I love him and all his friends, and, as you know, baseball is one of Gus's favorite sports.

You're right, Eileen. It is a fabulous series! Thanks for stopping by.

Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog said...

I love how you said you have more than one best friend for different reasons, That was beautiful.

Barbara Techel
Award winning author of the Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog Book Series
My passion is bringing a positive face and voice to animals with disabilities
Frankie is Official Mascot for National Disabled Pets Day and
Wisconsin Pet Hall of Fame Companion Dog

Melissa M. Williams said...

I think we can all relate to the fact that in life we have different dear friends and in respecting our relationships, we know that each of our friends play a different role in our lives. Ultimately, we all teach each other more about ourselves.