I often receive material from publicists and sometimes the offer of a free book to review. Living in China as I do, that offer is a little difficult to accept and so I get them to forward their books on to Milt Gross for review. A little while I ago I was approached by a publicist regarding a new Children's book written by Medway Author Canaan York and I subsequently entered into correspondance with him. Arising from that correspondance, today I welcome Canaan York to share with our readership, a little of who he is and the background to his most recently published Children's Book "Denny Dares to Dream". R.P. BenDedek
Firstly Mr. York I want to thank you for agreeing to this long distance correspondance.!
Thank you for having me! What a great opportunity for me to talk a bit about my passion and promote the release of my second book Denny Dares to Dream! I should warn you, though, I am long winded. Ask away!
OK then! Who is the core audience for Denny Dares to Dream?
That's a tough one, honestly. I say that because this book, while packaged and technically intended for children, has a universal and ageless appeal. We all have dreams and aspire to do things with or in our lives that we have not yet accomplished. And success is a very relative thing. In that regard, Denny is a book that encourages dreamers of any age to continue pursuing their passions and to really embody the idea of living life to the fullest, most reckless extent. Let's put it this way: most parents who have multiple children will initially order a book for, say, their 8-year-old. Then, they fall in love with the book and are calling/emailing me and asking for a copy for their child in high school or who is graduating college. Certain aspects of the story will resonate more with readers depending on their age, but the book as a whole has a relevance that should grow with young readers and impact older ones!
Were there any inspirations for this book?
I try to ensure everything I write is wholly original, but there are points of reference for sure. Dr. Seuss, obviously, is someone who understood and executed rhyme scheme in a way no one ever will. And his books are all about inspiration, imagination and the unprecedented power of creativity. Those are definitely things I hope to emulate; things I hope readers of all ages can recognize and take from my books.
Literacy is the most prevailing theme in the book. It is a foundation on which we build and act out our dreams. I wrote this book with schools in mind. I have a goal to have this book on the shelves of every library in every school (elementary, middle, secondary) in the state of Maine . . . and ultimately beyond.
Where can people get the book and is it already on the shelves?
Yes! The book was released nationally to all major online retailers on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. The book can also be purchased at the Tate Publishing & Enterprises website (www.tatepublishing.com), or at other online book retailers such as Amazon (www.amazon.com), Barnes & Noble (www.barnesandnoble.com), or Books-A-Million (www.booksamillion.com).
You can locate my book at any of these sites by entering 'Denny Dares to Dream' in the search bar. Folks can also contact me directly to place orders which I can sign to whomever and ship. The online retailers stock only a soft cover version of the book. People who are interested in direct orders from me have the option between soft cover books or a special, limited-edition hardcover version (which sell for $17). The story itself is strong and memorable, but the hardcover books are truly exceptional.
Are your readers able to get in contact with you?
I try to be as connected and accessible as possible. My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org, I have a Facebook account that I am very active with (search Canaan A. York) and I am also new to the world of Twitter. My handle is @CanaanYork. I will be using these social media outlets regularly to update people on my events, readings, book signings, etc. And if someone would like to have me do an event, they can also contact me as well.
How much does the book sell for?
The book retails at most online outlets for $9.99+ in soft cover. This is a great price as the book also comes with a free audio download code; so it is essentially two different types of books in one! It is also available as an eBook. I don't remember the price for that format.
Are you a Maineiac and if so where are you from?
I am a native of Maine and, at nearly 30, proud to still call this wonderful state home! I live in my hometown of Medway, which is situated about an hour north of Bangor. I always pray for trade winds to blow some of Stephen King's creativity and success my way!
Have you ever had the chance to meet Stephen King?
No. I cannot say I have had the privilege of making his acquaintance, but I am hugely appreciative of the lengths he goes to give back to kids throughout the state in unprecedented ways. He is a 'writers' writer' and I respect anyone in the trade who can have a career as successful and sustainable as his has been. I hope to meet him one day.
At the back of your book it says that you dream of living in New York City. Why is that?
I think it is any writers' dream to be there. For me, it symbolizes some kind of a pinnacle since most of the world's renowned publishing houses have residency there. I hope to one day see my name on the list of NY Times Bestsellers! I suppose being in Maine has helped me to focus on my work and harness my sensibilities . . . but, for me, New York represents great energy; a place that would be a reservoir of inspiration for new stories and opportunities.
Do you prefer Kindle or Nook?
Real book for me thanks! I am a traditionalist in most things. I love the binding, smell, tangibility and overall experience of reading a great book. That is not to say I do not have a great deal of respect for technology and, if it takes gadgets that promotes heightened accessibility to keep people (kids especially) reading, I am all for it! I, however, doubt I will own such a device until my ability to continue reading books is dependent upon owning one.
I gather that you are not a big fan of technology?
That's not it. I am amazed by technology. We need it, and I have no alternative but to embrace it. I just feel like, in some instances, especially those I am most passionate about, technology sometimes compromises the integrity of, say, reading or communication. I watch kids who are sitting in the same room carry on a conversation via text message instead of talk to one another. I am always amazed at how adept they are at the art of texting and, at the same time, bewildered by the absence of the spoken word.
Now that your second book is published, will there be a third?
Yes. I have a third children's book, titled The Cement Sky, in the revising stages. It is different than my first two books in that it is not written entirely in rhyme scheme. I believe it shows growth and increased depth and is definitely a creative redirect from my previous titles. It is simple and inspirational, yet profound. I can visualize it being adapted into an animated kids' movie. However, I need to get it published first--and I do not currently have a home for it. I am also working on my currently untitled debut novel.
Three quick questions: Who are you reading right now? What was the last book you finished? and What is your Favorite Children's book of all-time?
Great questions! As for what I like to read, I am all over the spectrum! Aside from classics, I have a soft spot for suspense and love stories. Kristin Hannah, James Patterson, Nicholas Sparks and John Hart play heavily in my rotation. I also love Max Lucado's works of faith and inspired living. I just finished a book called Never Knowing by Canadian author Chevy Stevens. I am still behind on sleep because I could not put it down! I just bought Pat Summitt's memoir Sum It Up (with Sally Jenkins) about her battle with Alzheimer's. I worked for Summitt as a student manager for women's basketball during my undergraduate time at the University of Tennessee. She is a brilliant person and the most motivated individual I have ever been around. The Cloud Spinner by Michael Catchpool is my favorite children's book. Oh, and Denny Dares to Dream!
As the author of the book, what do you see as the main reason/s why people should go out and buy a copy of "Denny Dares to Dream"?
I hope people support this book because, it seems, so many people focus on the negative nowadays. Denny focuses on the good; the positive and inspirational in a way that helps people find (or rediscover) the motivation and courage to define what it is they hope to become and to dare to make it happen! That is a universal and relatable thing for people of all ages and walks of life. I promise if you order this title, if you don't fall in love with the entire thing, there will be something that speaks to you--no matter who you are! Also, if you do not need a copy for yourself, a child, grandchild, the neighbors' kid or your mothers' cousin twice removed, consider helping me with my goal of having this book in the library of every school in the state. Gift a copy to your local school or library and make an important difference in the life of a child! And be sure to interact with me. I love hearing feedback and exchanging ideas and information.
Thank you so much Mr. York for agreeing to share with our readers at Magic City Morning Star News and I wish you the best of luck not only with this book but those still in the pipeline!
Thank you! Any opportunity is a blessing and something I am happy to make time for. I am excited about what lies ahead!
Canaan A. York
Addendum March 17, 2013: Milt Gross Book Review of This book