Sunday, June 20, 2010

Picture Book Author, Kevin McNamee

Kevin McNamee is a writer and poet living in Yonkers, NY. He primarily writes for the children’s market. He has several children’s picture books published (see end for complete list).

When Kevin isn’t writing, he spends his time playing hide and seek, at the insistence of his five year old daughter, and at his day job, at the insistence of his wife. When time permits, Kevin also enjoys fossil hunting, home-brewing beer, and gardening. He is currently engaged in an epic battle against roving gangs of crazed squirrels who are digging up everything in sight. Kevin notes that the squirrels are winning.

Question: What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Kevin: Inquisitive, open minded.

Question: Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

Kevin: Outside of writing, I would say that I’m the most passionate about my family.

Question: What is your most precious memory?

Kevin: Recently, I came home from work and I was completely exhausted. My five year old daughter wanted me to play our usual games, tag, hide and seek, and some other game of her own creation which involves me chasing her while she’s wearing a plastic firefighter’s helmet and carrying a beach ball. But I was tired and really wanted no part of it. But my daughter was insistent and I found myself losing patience and I yelled at her. She climbed up on the couch, threw her arms around me and said, “I love you Daddy. Now you can be so happy.” I melted.

Question: Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a “real” writer?

Kevin: Somewhere along the way, I stopped doubting my ability. A rejection of my manuscript ceased to be a rejection of myself. A rejection letter became an opportunity to send my manuscript somewhere else. Comments and criticism became opportunities to strengthen my story, revise something unworkable, or something to ignore altogether if it didn’t fit with my vision of the story. I was able to refer to myself as a writer without feeling self conscious and … oh yeah, someone was willing to pay me for what I wrote.

Question: What is going on with your writing these days?

Kevin: Right now, I have several stories in various stages of completion, one story that has been finalized and critiqued and needs a final revision, and a few that are finished and have been sent out to various publishers.

Question: What are your future goals for your writing?

Kevin: I’ve been focusing primarily on picture books and I would like to branch out to middle readers and Young Adult novels. I have two middle readers in various stages of completion.

Question: Why do you write?

Kevin: I first started writing in the second grade. I wrote a poem that was displayed outside the classroom and I liked seeing my poem and my name in public like that. I found that I took to writing naturally. Growing up, I was a constant daydreamer and would construct stories in my head all the time. Eventually, I started writing them down. Throughout my teenage years and throughout adulthood I always felt compelled to write. Although there were many, many times that I put creative writing on the back burner, I found that I was still writing at my day job; memos, procedures, proposals, requests, and I was receiving recognition for it. I realized that writing had been a constant in my life, but I wasn’t writing what I wanted to write. Now I make sure that I write what I want as well.

Question: What writer most inspires you? Why?

Kevin: I would say that the writers that I meet both online and in person inspire me the most. They all share the same passion and dedication as I do. They understand the struggles and sacrifices involved in being a writer.

Question: How do you define your writing?

Kevin: I discovered writing for children by accident. I was watching my nieces fight and it gave me an idea for a sibling rivalry story. I thought it would be fun to write, and it was. There was no looking back.

Question: In one sentence, what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

Kevin: “Mommy/Daddy, read that again!”

You can find out more about Kevin and his books at his website at, his blog at He also has a new, child-friendly site with games and activities at

Here is a list of Kevin’s books, the first four have publication dates, the rest are to be determined: If I Could be Anything (picture book); The Sister Exchange (picture book); The Soggy Town of Hilltop (picture book); An Eyeball in my Guardian (poetry anthology), Lightning Strikes (picture/counting book), What is That Thing? (picture book); Papa’s Suns (picture book); Just For Today (picture book); My Brother the Frog (picture book). These books are available at Guardian Angel Publishing,, Barnes and Noble or ask your local bookstore.


Rhobin said...

I like your view on rejection letters, great advice. Checked out your books and I'll keep them in mind for after my grandson is born.

Martha said...

Wonderful interview. I love your comment " A rejection of my manuscript ceased to be a rejection of myself." I think every writer needs to chant this to themselves 5 times a day.
Good luck with your books they look fantastic.
Martha Swirzinski

Donna McDine said...

I had the pleasure of meeting Kevin at the NY Winter SCBWI conference and enjoyed chatting with him. And I've enjoyed getting to know Kevin better through his wonderful interview.

Best wishes to you both for your continued successes,

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Kevin, it is very nice to meet you. I'd love to see some of your artwork one day! And I love meeting poets who combine their love of poetry with other projects.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Blogging writers' resources at Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites pick

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Amazing what power the words “I love you” coming from a child can have! I’ve booked marked your publications for future gift ideas.

Vivian Zabel said...

Everyone knows, I think, that I'm a big fan of children's books.

Kevin the titles of your books are interesting.

Debra Eckerling said...

Great interview. Thanks, Katie and Kevin!

I love how your writing for children was inspired by your nieces fighting. There's nothing like good old-fashioned people-watching - no matter what age the people - to get the creative juices flowing!

Best of luck,

Accountant, Author & Freelance Writer said...

Kevin, It was great to learn more about you and your writing. You are one busy guy! Sounds like you have a lot of creative ideas for new books. Glad to read about someone with your energy and enthusiasm writing books for kids.

Nancy Famolari said...

Enjoyed the interview. I agree, Kevin, the best words from a kid are, read it again!

Karen Cioffi said...

Wow, Kevin, I didn't realize you have so many books published! It's great to always learn something new.

Nancy, you're so right. That's one of the ways I determine if a book is kid friendly. If my grandson says "read it again," it's good. And, by the way, those are the exact words he uses!

Kevin McNamee said...

Thanks everyone for the great comments! And thank you Katie for hosting me.



Janet Ann Collins said...

Kevin's book sounds good and he seems like a very accomplished person.

Anonymous said...

Great interview!

Kids have a way of melting hearts with an "I love you."

Wish you much success with all of your books.

VS Grenier said...

Sorry, I'm just now getting over here to see your interview Kevin. Had family in town. But I'm glad I did find the time today. I love how you said somewhere along the way a rejection stopped being a rejection. That's when I finally came to realize I was a writer as well.

Rena Jones said...

I love the 50 years comment. That's what I'd want people to say about my work as well. Great interview! Thank you.

Helena Harper said...

Apologies for coming late to this post, Kevin and Katie.

Congratulations on all your books, Kevin, and on your website kevschildrensbooks which I've just checked out. I love all the activities you've got on the games page. Did you do this website yourself or did someone else do it for you? I'd be really interested to know. Also, who is your webhost provider?


Unknown said...

Kevin, your most precious memory made me tear up. How sweet our little ones can be. And so wise!

Katie, thanks for hosting Kevin with a another great interview.