Michael, please tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Michael Klaus Schmidt. I am an artist and illustrator, but I've recently started writing my own books. I also dabble in video game design.
What is the title of your book?
My book is called “The Adventures of the Salamander.”
Please, tell us a little about your book.
“The Adventures of the Salamander” is a children's fantasy/science fiction adventure story. “The Adventures of the Salamander” is a story about overcoming tremendous odds, and fighting against injustice. It focuses on a young salamander named Slippy, whose village is invaded by mean-spirited lizards. The lizards are forcing the poor salamanders to bake cupcakes for them, and Slippy gets thrown in jail for speaking out against it. From there, Slippy escapes to find help, but winds up stumbling from one adventure to another, all the while trying to get back home to save his family. Every place he goes, there are illustrations and maps which describe his adventure. To summarize, this is the book I would love to have read when I was a kid.
What inspired you to write this book?
A few years ago, I was searching through my mom's attic, when I happened across a story I had written when I was five years old. It was called “The Adventures of the Salamander.” It was only a page long, and it had these very crude illustrations that I'd done with a marker. My mom had typed the text for me. I was very excited about finding it, but when I read it, the ending was so bad, that I just had to write it over again. That's how it started.
Which of your characters is your favorite and why?
Slippy the Salamander is the main character in my book series. He is also my favorite character, because no matter how rough it gets, he never backs down, and he never gives up. He's also an honest guy and a good friend, willing to help those in need.
Do you have other books? (Feel free to list them.)
I am currently working on the sequel to “The Adventures of the Salamander,” called “The Return of the Mirms.” I am nearly done writing it, and I'm starting to work on the illustrations.
What is your hope for your book?
Well, ideally the stories will catch on with the kids, and they will be the next Harry Potter. However, I'd be happy if the kids who do read them actually enjoy them and appreciate all the effort I put into them, and read them to their kids when they get older.
What draws you to the genre that you write?
Adventure stories have always been my favorite. I love the idea of the main characters travelling from one place to another, trying to solve some impossible quest, I also love the maps. My books have tons of maps.
Is your book educational? If so, how so?
Yes, in many ways. First, since I have five kids of my own, I wanted the books to be accessible to different age levels. For the youngest kids, I made sure there's at least one illustration for every set of facing pages. For kids who are starting to read, I've included easy-to-read captions under each illustration, which tell the whole story in a simplified manner. For the established reader, there is the main text, which reads like any normal book for mid-level readers. Finally, I included lots of little scientific facts, and some not so scientific ones, in the form of footnotes, and several appendices.
Is there a message, a lesson, or a moral to your story? If so, would you to share it?
Again, yes. The main story, as I mentioned earlier, is about Slippy trying to rescue his family from the injustice of the lizards. However, along the way, Slippy meets lots of interesting people and learns lots of interesting things. He discovers, for instance, that The Olde Slimy River, which runs through Salamander Village, is actually being polluted by a toothpick factory, highlighting the importance of protecting the environment. He meets a lizard on the moon, who happens to be a really nice fellow, demonstrating that you can't judge a person by what they look like on the outside. There are lots of little lessons in there.
What are/were your favorite and least favorite subjects in school and why?
I liked science, particularly biology, because of my interest in animals. I liked geometry, because of my interest in art. Of course I liked art class. I was weak in other types of math, though, specifically trigonometry. I actually really enjoyed a computer programming class in high school, but for some reason, I did not continue programming until much later in my life.
What literary character do you think you are like and why?
I've strongly identified with several characters from the books of James P. Blaylock. If I had to choose one of them, it would be Jonathan Bing, the cheeser from his stories “The Elfin Ship,” and “The Disappearing Dwarf.” Bing has a wonderful way of reluctantly trying to save the world, and questioning his own intentions along the way.
Please list whatever links you would like to leave.
My books: www.adventuresofthesalamander.com
My Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AdventuresOfTheSalamander