WIN MY BOOK! WIN MY BOOK! WIN MY BOOK! (But first, have a look at my new business card.)

My card.

My new business cards came in. Well, they’re not business cards, exactly; I was going for the genteel feel of calling cards.

“We had good fun, didn’t we?” I’ll say in my best British accent as I reach into my breast pocket. “Allow me to give you a small memento of our time together. I ask for nothing, nothing at all. I just hope that we will be able to rekindle what we have here at a later date. Good day, sir-or-madam, my newfound friend!”

Alright, to be honest, the cards are for business. I’ll be giving them out to teachers, librarians, bookstore managers, and anyone else who may or may not have a scintilla of interest in my upcoming book, Sarah Gives Thanks.

My book.

The book will be out on September 1, and I must admit that the looming release date has gotten me a little tense.

I won’t bore you with the particulars of my marketing plan – even if I had particulars, which I most certainly don’t. I am happy to report, however, that the lovely marketing person at Albert Whitman and Company doesn’t seem too troubled by my antics thus far – so I suppose I am stumbling in the right direction.

One sort-of-marketing thing I thought would be fun would be to interview my illustrator and new buddy, David Gardner, on this blog. I plan to post the interview after the book comes out in September.

I want to ask David questions that are odd, eccentric, fun, and/or off-kilter.

I would love it if you folks might provide these questions. I’ll make the effort worth your while, of course, with…


In the comments section below, please ask – and answer – a silly question that you would like me to ask David. The best 10 questions (if there are 10, oh, please, people, let there be at least 10) will be asked in the interview. You will, of course, get full credit for your question when the interview is posted, with a link back to your blog, if you have one.

Now here’s the contest part. If at least 20 commenters suggest questions, they will all be entered in a random drawing to receive a free, signed, hardcover copy of Sarah Gives Thanks

Yes, Little Sally, it’s true!

But wait, there’s more! Actually, there isn’t any more. But I think that’s plenty, don’t you?

So tell your friends to stop by this blog and post a question, because if I only get 19 questions, nobody’s gettin’ a book – and the lovely marketing person at Albert Whitman will think I’m really bad at this book promotion nonsense.

The deadline is Sunday, July 29. So start asking! And don’t forget: to be eligible for the drawing, you can’t just ask a silly question, you have to answer it too.

Good luck!


UPDATE (July 24): Thanks to all who have entered so far! We don’t have 20 yet, but we’re getting there. Based on a few of the responses I’ve received, I wanted to make a little clarification: When you answer your question, you are not expected to telepathically channel David Gardner and speak in his voice. ‘Cause, well, he can do that. Answer your question as YOU.

Just think of it as a nice little opportunity to interview yourself. Good luck!

74 Replies to “WIN MY BOOK! WIN MY BOOK! WIN MY BOOK! (But first, have a look at my new business card.)”

  1. Congratulations, Mike! Now, Amazon says this will be out August 1, not September 1, so I’m a little confused. Also, will this be available from B&N (I don’t do Amazon!)?

    If you just wanted silly questions, I’ve got tons of them. Answers? not so much…I’ll ponder! 🙂

    By the way, I like your cards! I think it’s a very nice and civilized way to give contact info, should the recipient wish to use it…

    Good luck! All the best, xoM

  2. Awesome card, Mike. I like the idea of a callback to the calling card days. Your card has that sort of memento sort of vibe.

    And I’m looking forward to reading your book—I am one of those shallow people who judges books by covers, and I can’t resist a book that has a pie on the cover. (In all seriousness, though, I’m dying to read it—a children’s book about Sarah Josepha Hale!)

    I’m going to have to think of a good off-kilter question for David Gardner now.

  3. Ok, well I hope you don’t mind me slightly bending things because the question I would like you to ask David doesn’t work for me to ask myself, so I have to adapt it slightly in order to be able to answer it to (what do you mean stop rambling and get on with it?). So…

    Q. If you weren’t David Gardner, which David would you like to be?
    (Do you see what I mean now about why I have to adapt it slightly? So for me, it’s all about the Vanessas)
    A. With my acting background, it has to be an actress, so I would like the respectability and career of Vanessa Redgrave combined with the youth and general cuteness of Vanessa Hudgens.

    1. Not too many Vanessas to choose from out there. WIlliams is sort of somewhere in-between a Hudgens and a Redgrave, I suppose, if you had to choose just one.

      It’s a really good question and it does make the gears turn. Michael Keaton around the time of Mr. Mom? Michael Caine around the time of Alfie?

      My mind is officially boggled.

  4. I can’t wait for the book and will be excited to put it on my blog! Hmmm, a question for David: What was your favorite thing to draw as a kid? My own answer would be: cookie chip cookie making machines…they were quite complex, if I remember correctly. (I did not turn out to be an illustrator, artist, engineer, or a baker, but I can make a reasonable cookie…I find they taste better if you make a big mess while baking them.)

  5. I love your calling card-ish business cards! Wonderful, especially with the British whimsy thrown in there.

    To ask David… which interview question about being an artist or illustrator irritates you the most?
    Also: which illustrated character from your childhood would you most like to be?
    Also: What do you put on first in the morning: pants, shirt or coffee?

  6. David Gardner: If Sarah Hale were to throw a pie in your face, what kind of pie would you want it to be?

    Since Mike has requested that we answer our own questions, I’m going to suggest a Marshmellow Fluff/Nutella creme pie in a graham cracker crust. I don’t think that particular combo exists yet, but now that I have dreamed it up, I think I’ll have to go try and make one.

    Great business cards. Hope you ordered lots. I predict multiple scintillas of interest.

  7. What comic, cartoon, illustrated book/cover art inspired you while growing up? For me the combination of reading about the world of The Hobbit and seeing Tolkein’s illustrations sealed my love of fantasy.

    Not a silly or mind boggling question, I know, but it would still be interesting to know. Of course it’s probably a question he’s already answered somewhere on his blog.

  8. David Gardner’s given you a wonderful cover, Mike. Here’s a question and answer:
    Q: I can’t draw noses, they all look the same when I try. Have you a tip for drawing a really good nose?
    A: You must look at people’s noses, stare at them and study them. If anyone gets annoyed and punches you on yours, don’t be put off. We must suffer for Art.

    Fingers crossed for your book, Mike.

  9. I stumbled onto your blog a few weeks back and have to say thank you for bringing some laughs and brightness to my days. Good stuff!
    Question: Have you ever been so engrossed in a project that you *almost* forget to stop and take a bathroom break, dashing to pee at the last second and barely making it?
    Answer: Yes.

  10. Great calling cards, Mike…I may have to steal…I mean borrow, your idea.
    Question for David: Now that you have become a world-famous illustrator riding on the coattails of Mike’s successful book, do you plan to split your royalties with him 60/40, 60 for him, of course, and 40 for you?
    Answer: How about if I name my first-born (child, grandchild, puppy…whichever is most accurate) after him instead, even if it is a female? As far as splitting my royalties…I can barely afford to buy crayons now! You think this author is going to make me rich? Boy, lady, you have a lot of nerve…you must be in cahoots with that shyster himself…how much is he paying you? What iis he bribing you with? What??? A measly copy of his book??? The cheap jerk…but don’t get me started on that! Great question, Sylvia; it is the best one I’ve ever been asked! You honor me with your insight into mankind and the intricacies of the human spirit. I hope Mike awards you with that copy of his book (one lone little copy, the cheap bastard….). you deserve it and I’ll be sure to tell Mike that you do. Don’t be a stranger now! I’d love to illustrate your next book, by the way. And I WOULD spilt my royalties with you, just as a thank you for the privilege of spending time with you and your words. Much love, David.

      1. But ALL artists are angry and unbalanced….that’s what makes them great at what they do–maybe if you propose a 50/50 split he would go for it. Plus get him drunk first.

  11. Okay, I have two questions for you – one silly, one totally serious! 1) What is a secret, really weird thing you love? Or that you love to do? (Also, perhaps, Who is your celebrity crush…? lol),
    2) (serious question) When you were a kid (or maybe not when you were a kid?), when did you know you wanted to become an illustrator? Was it a book or tv show you saw? Or did you just know?

      1. Oops! My bad! Okay, answers:
        1) I love pouring a little bit of milk into an ice cream container, and then eating the ice cream with milk. It is so good! The ice cream melts a bit, and tastes so creamy.. its just awesome! (Also, my celebrity crush….. Is probably Christian Bale ……now that is on the internet forever.. Ha!)
        2) Although I am not an illustrator, and not yet even an industrial designer (although that is my current career direction), I think I knew I really wanted to do ID after I saw a video recording of Ross Lovegrove doing a talk (amazing British industrial designer) on the internet years and years ago. I heard him and saw his work and thought, I want to BE that. I want to be that good. 🙂

      2. A fellow designer! I was a graphic designer for a few years before I learned that I wasn’t all that good at it.

        So I pursued writing and never looked back.

        The celebrity crush one has stumped me. I don’t think I have one — though my wife says I have a man-crush on Ron Swanson from “Parks and Recreation.” This is probably true.

  12. Question: How important are quality #2 pencils to your success as an artist?
    Answer: Critical. I can’t think of any profession that doesn’t benefit from the use of quality #2 pencils. One should never scrimp on the #2 pencils.

  13. Hi Mike, all the best on the success of your book.
    Hello David, can you rig the contest so that I will win the free book?
    My answer: Suuure! It may take me a while but let me work on it and before I’m through Mike will send you two copies!

      1. How weird that you should say that because I really am from Walla Walla, no kidding! And all my relatives still live there which would explain the vaudeville circuit! 😀

      2. Well uh . . . I think somebody stuck it in the same drawer as Obama’s and nobody’s seen it since. (I wasn’t born in Walla Walla though, I was born in Pendleton Oregon)

  14. I am incredibly excited about the book after reading David’s post about it. Sarah sounds like an amazing woman raising five kids on her own while working as an editor and writing rhyme. And here I was feeling proud that I cleaned up the spilled box of cheerios before bed.

    Q: Your interpretation of Sarah’s face and body language shows us the hardship this 30 something widower has already faced. Did you try on a corset and bonnet to get into the character?
    A: Well, I can’t say what David’s answer will be in this regard. But I can tell you I have three moldy grapes in my kitchen being stored in the name of writing great picture books.

      1. I thought all children’s book writers had an assortment of science experiments and historical dress up clothes around the house.

  15. Love the calling cards!!!

    q: Does the Alphabet Song and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?

    A: You just started checking the tune in your head, didn’t you David!?!?! (Yep!)

  16. It’s so funny how many people have food-related questions. So here are my questions:

    1) What is your favorite food to draw and why?
    2) If Mike were going to write a children’s book about you, and you could choose someone to illustrate the book (anyone except yourself, that is), who would you choose and why?

      1. Ooops, forgot that part. Sorry!

        1) My favorite thing to doodle was always cheeseburgers and ice cream cones. My cheeseburgers were always very fancy, with lettuce and tomato and globs of ketchup and mustard. My ice cream cones were pretty standard.

        2) If you were writing a children’s book about ME, and anyone except David Gardner could illustrate, I’d choose Marvin Bileck because he did one of my all-time favorite books, Rain Makes Applesauce.

  17. What a lot of great responses to your post! Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the ‘win-my-book’ in the title! lol

    I like the idea of the calling card type business card. Much less formal than the usual – but of course, I have a feeling there’s not much about you that’s ordinary! 🙂

    Let’s see, a silly question for David…

    Q: With regards to the shawl that Sarah is wearing, did you have one like it in your closet to copy?
    A: No, but I really like the autumn colors of the design. Maybe I’ll go out and find myself one that looks just like it! 🙂

    BTW, your interview will be up Sunday August 5th. Good luck with the book give-away! When will you be having an official launch?

    1. Ah, yes. There’s nothing quite like the word “free” to bring out the commenters!

      Thank you for entering my contest, Susan.

      I also want to give you a BIG thank you for the upcoming interview. I hope you found my replies to be coherent and at least vaguely entertaining.

      The official launch for “Sarah Give Thanks” is Saturday, September 1. And since I am a marketing imbecile, I have nothing planned for that day. Anybody up for a movie?

  18. Since you apparently have more than 10…I am just going to tell you that I have nominated you for one of those blog awards, come and visit so you too can spend time on thinking of 15 blogs to nominate and then spend more time putting in links in your post 🙂

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