Please welcome award-winning, globe-trotting children’s author, Marc Remus to the Reading Room today.
Q. Greetings, Marc! Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
A. Hello, Shana and thanks for having me here. I was born in Germany and educated in the US. I graduated in painting and illustration in Pasadena, CA and lived in Japan and Central America for some years. Traveling to more than sixty countries in the past twenty years has provided me with the inspiration to have painted more than two hundred cityscapes.
During my studies in California I took my first children’s book illustration class. My teacher inspired me to move beyond illustrating and start writing. The result was a picture book called Painting Brian, which led to the Magora series. Over a period of twenty years, I perfected my writing skills at the Institute of Children’s Literature in Connecticut and developed Magora, a world where painting and magic merge. I got the idea back in the ’90s while standing in front of a canvas. I wondered what it would be like to jump into my own painting. From that day on I wrote a total of six books about a girl who falls into a painting and attends a magical art school in a world called Magora.
My extensive travels all over the world helped me create fantastic places for the series based on locations I have visited and people I have met.
But it was not until 2016 that the first Magora book came out. Of the six books in the series, four have been published so far.
Q. What a great story. Can you tell us something about your latest success?
A. In 2016 my debut novel The Gallery of Wonders (Book 1 in the Magora series) came out on Amazon. It immediately became Amazon’s #1 children’s ebook for five days in a row.
Shortly after, the book won many literary awards (Gold Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, Gold Beverly Hills Book Award, Silver IPPY Award, Silver Readers’ Favorite Award and many more.) This year the second book in the series, The Golden Maple Tree, won the Gold Moonbeam Children’s Book Award and two other awards. The third book came out in fall 2016 and the fourth volume was released in November 2017. A German and Spanish translation is in the making.
Q. Very impressive! What has your biggest challenge been?
A. Initially the biggest challenge was organizing a complex series like Magora. The books build on each other and every issue had to be resolved eventually within the stories. Occasionally an issue that was introduced in the first book could be resolved in the second book but most plots were not tackled until the very end of the series. This caused a huge amount of restructuring. Once this was achieved everything else fell into place.
The most recent challenge, however, is marketing. In this competitive children’s market it is hard to stand out and become well known. This continues to be a challenge.
The Gallery of Wonders (Magora, Volume 1)
Eleven-year-old Holly O’Flanigan discovers an unusual paintbrush and a canvas with the image of a fantasy world that her late grandfather has left behind. She falls into the magical land of Magora, where everything and everyone is made of paint.
There she learns to weave art and magic at Cliffony Art Academy, but her carefree life is soon overshadowed by dark events.
Valuable paintings have been stolen from the Gallery of Wonders. During Holly’s search for the thief, she discovers the Unfinished—monstrous beings created when a painting is left incomplete. Like vampires, the Unfinished hunger for the one thing that can flesh out their bodies—blood. And they want Holly’s most of all.
“The pages of this story are chock full of adventure, excitement and wonderment. Marc Remus gives his readers a wonderful and magical place to escape.”
~Readers’ Favorite Review
Q. What plans do you have for the future?
A. The next step will be the release of the German version of the first Magora book. As a bilingual speaker and a certified translator I was able to translate the book into German on my own. I am also working on a Spanish version but my Spanish isn’t good enough to do it alone. So I rely on a translator.
Besides the translations of the Magora series, I have finished a young adult novel called The Language Thieves. It is the story about a tribe in Scotland that steals languages from people’s minds. I still need to design the cover and the layout for this book, but I hope to get it published in 2018.
I am also working on a novel for younger kids (7-10) called Henry’s Giant Chocolate Clouds, but I am still in the planning stage with this book.
Last but not least, the fifth Magora book, The Woodspeople, will come out in 2018. I will have to illustrate the cover for this before release.
Q. It sounds like you’ll be very busy! Can you tell us where we can keep up with you and buy your books?
A. The best thing to do is to sign up to receive my free newsletter. I only send it out once per month and inform readers about promotions, new releases and things that relate to my books and art. You can sign up here.
Here are some more pages where you will find me:
Author Website: www.MarcRemus.com/author
Magora Website: www.Magora.net
Facebook Art page: www.facebook.com/MarcRemusFineArt/
Facebook Magora page: www.facebook.com/magorabook
Amazon purchase links:
The Gallery of Wonders (Magora Volume 1):
The Golden Maple Tree (Magora Volume 2):
The Bridge in the Fog (Magora Volume 3)
The Uprising (Magora Volume 4)
I hope you’ll take a look at Marc’s websites and social media pages. If you sign up for his newsletter, you’ll get a free copy of the first book in the Magora series! Thanks for reading about Marc.