Saturday, November 1, 2014

Interview with Award-winning author Annie Tipton

About the Author
Award-winning author Annie Tipton made up her first story at the ripe old age of two when she asked her mom to write it down for her. (Hey, she was just two—she didn’t know how to make letters yet!) Since then she has read and written many words as a student, newspaper reporter, author, and editor. A native of Wooster, Ohio, Tipton received a bachelor’s degree in Communications at Milligan College in Northeast Tennessee. She currently resides in New Philadelphia, Ohio.

This is the final book in your Diary of a Real Payne series. How has the main character, EJ, grown since the series started?

A.      From the beginning of True Story to the end of Oh Baby, more than two years have passed for EJ and her friends and family. (That’s a long time in a kid’s life!) Some things for EJ have stayed the same—she’s still in boring old Spooner, Wisconsin, she’s still having extremely vivid daydreams, and Isaac is still The Space Invader. But lots of things have changed—EJ survived a less-than-awesome fourth grade in Ms. P’s class, she got to go to her first full week of church camp, and the BIGGEST change in book 3 is that there’s a new little Payne who has joined the family, EJ’s adopted baby sister, Faith. As far as growth, the almost-12-year-old EJ in Oh Baby is more confident than ever that God has equipped her to do big things. She knows He’s in control, and she’s ready to try new things and take on more responsibility—like her very first time babysitting her little sister.

Of the three books in this series, which one was your favorite book to write?

A.      At the end of writing each book, I would say that it [entire series] was my favorite! But I definitely laughed out loud the most while writing book 3, Oh Baby. Some of the situations EJ gets herself in are just so funny, and a lot of them are based on some events that actually happened to me. There’s a chapter titled ”Splash Guard” where Isaac dresses up like a superhero with some. . .unconventional. . .costume choices. My little brother did something very similar when he was about Isaac’s age, and my family still laughs about it.
In the final book, Oh Baby, are any new characters introduced or will past characters reappear for the finale? 
  1. One new character is Faith, the Paynes’ adopted baby. She is great and she really adds a lot to the family dynamic. Other than that, most of the main characters are readers’ favorites: the rest of the Payne family (including Bert!), Mrs. Winkle, Mr. Johnson, EJ’s best friend, Macy, and even CoraLee McCallister is back! There are some fun new minor characters, too—from shop owners in Spooner to EJ’s dentist, Dr. Molnar. These minor characters really add a lot of fun and color to the story!
Was there a certain character you enjoyed writing about? 

  1. I love being in EJ’s brain and writing her diary entries, and I really enjoy writing scenes between CoraLee and EJ. But my favorite character to write has always been Isaac. He is such a stereotypical little brother (at least in my experience with little brothers) and he adds a lot of excitement and humor to every scene he’s in. You just never know what he’s going to do!
Writing just one novel is a challenge for most people. How did you manage to stay focused and to finish writing an entire series?
  1. It took more discipline than I ever could’ve imagined! My deadlines were spaced six months apart, and I would spend time brainstorming and outlining each book before I wrote it, but I completed the actual writing of all 45,000-ish words per book in about six to eight weeks so that I could put all of my efforts and concentration on living in EJ’s world (at least in my head). I would work my day job (an editor at Barbour Publishing) and then leave work at 5 pm and drive straight to the library or the coffee shop most days of the week where I would write write write until 8:30 or 9. My word count goal for every day was 1,000 words. Some days I wrote more, but I always tried my hardest to write at least 1,000. It was HARD WORK but very rewarding, too.
What advice would you give someone who is trying to become an author?
  1. Write what you want to write! You have to be passionate about what it is you’re creating, so write what you love and what you know. Set goals for yourself and just do it!

EJ is on Facebook! Get to know EJ Payne and read up on all her crazy adventures now:

Series Publication Information
Diary of a Real Payne Book 3: Oh Baby by Annie Tipton / Diary of a Real Payne Series, Book Three
September 2014 / $5.99 / 192 Pages / Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-62836-864-2
Available as an e-book!

Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story by Annie Tipton / Diary of a Real Payne Series, Book One
September 2013 / $5.99 / 192 Pages / Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-62416-131-5
Also available as an e-book!
Winner of the Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s Blue Ribbon Award for Best Children’s Book for 2013!

Diary of a Real Payne Book 2: Church Camp Chaos by Annie Tipton / Diary of a Real Payne Series, Book Two
March 2014 / $5.99 / 192 Pages / Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-62416-826-0
Available as an e-book!

The Payne family has just adopted a roly-poly package of pudge with bright eyes and a sparkling smile. In true sisterly fashion, EJ can’t wait to teach baby Faith how to be amazing at everything (just like her big sis!). But when EJ learns that she’s losing her role as flower girl to the adorable newcomer in an upcoming wedding, it’s almost more than she can handle. Who thought a baby sister was a good idea, anyway?

Read this title now by clicking here:

Watch the trailer for this series:

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