Interview with Stephen Nawotniak

Today’s guest is Stephen Nawotniak, author of Mubu the Morph:

Mubu cover

Go on a rhyming adventure with Mubu as he learns through trial and error the secret to being his best self. Vibrant colors and a playful tone amp up the fun factor in Stephen Nawotniak’s engaging story that’s sure to ignite the imaginations of children and adults alike. Illustrated by Jeffrey Scott Perdziak and published by People Ink Press, Mubu the Morph is suitable for children in grades K to 3 and the people who love them.

Welcome, Stephen! When did you begin writing?

Before the Mubu children’s book series, writing has been more of a journaling process about my internal struggles and dreams that became books such as Generation TreX: MyThoughts and Handbook for Healthy living with a Mood Disorder.  Mubu the Morph took me a year to write and another to find a publishing outlet.

Can you tell us about your most recent release?

This rhyming, rhythmical read along is perfect for the young at heart.  It is a tale of Mubu the Morph as he searches with a bird, dog and fish for his purpose.  In each case, he uses the talents of the animal to help him search for his hearts song.  Its only when he stops looking outside of himself, and turns to self understanding, that he begins to see that his own gifts and talents are what makes him special.  He then begins to understand that he gets to choose how he views his gifts and that personal choice plays a significant factor on how he lives.

An adult message in a child friendly tone, Mubu shows us that while we make take many roles and identities throughout our lives, our true identity is created from the inside out.

Mubu the Morph is written for children in grades K-3 yet lends itself to be a perfect tool for the parent, teacher or leader who wishes to pass on the theme of self image, self confidence and character development to another.  Its prose works well for a smooth easy read as well as multiple teaching opportunities in its use of the English language.  Its images are engaging drawing the reader to connect with the character of Mubu as he navigates his journey.  Its message is timeless and therefore applicable to children and adults alike.

May all readers experience a shift of self value and purpose from external validation or a comparison with others to an expression of their own internal gifts.  First without, then within…are you ready to begin?

How did you get the idea for the book?

The idea for Mubu came more from sketching sounds into rhymes and rhythms then sitting down to write a specific children’s book.  Over time, a story with a message formed that led to the current book, Mubu the Morph.

Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?

Currently, Mubu the Morph is the first published book/character.  With 4 more books written and in the publishing process, there are more characters to come.  My favorite parts about Mubu is that he represents the hope and choice within us all.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

The most challenging aspect of writing this book, by far, was maintaining the balance of a message, rhythm and rhyme that can make sense to children and provide enjoyment to the adult reading it.  My goal is that the reader is able to interpret the story in a variety of ways based on the perspective that they bring to it.

What is your primary goal as an author?

To provide entertaining books to improve self image through words and its art.

What projects are you currently working on?

I am currently working on 4 other books in the Mubu series including Mubu’s Christmas, Blue Mubu, Kookoo –ah-choo’s flight and Dr. Snoo.

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?

As uncomfortable the fear of rejection can be, put your work out there.  Both publishers and literary agents say no in very supportive ways.

About Stephen Nawotniak:

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Stephen Nawotniak OTR/L has a Self Designed Masters Degree from Buffalo State College and a Masters Degree  in Occupational Therapy from Utica College.  Steve is also an Eagle Scout.

Starting in May of 2000, Steve completed an 8 month, non-motorized trek from Buffalo, NY to Key West, FL.  He canoed across NY on the Erie Canal, sailed the Hudson River into New York City, hiked the Appalachian Trail to Roanoke, VA and biked to Key West, FL.  Along the way he gave presentations to over 1000 youth on the values of volunteerism and education and completed over 230 hours of community service along the way.  He studied the geology of the Eastern United States as part of his Self Designed Masters Degree.  These studies complimented his Bachelors in Earth Science, Secondary Education.

Two years later, in August 2002, Steve was hospitalized for a week with a major depressive episode and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The next 8 years of his life was spent learning how to live with his condition on the journey from hospitalized patient to licensed healthcare professional. Steve published the book Handbook for Healthy Living with a Mood Disorder sharing the skills and tools he uses daily to live, what he calls, a desired quality of life. Check out his website www.handbookforhealthyliving.com for more information on this book.

Steve has spoken at various events including the International Association of Peer Specialist, The Museum of disABILITY History and various high schools in the Western New York area to challenge the stigmas associated with mental health.

His children’s book Mubu the Morph speaks to the inner journey we all face as we discover our purpose.  Mubu’s concept was generated from Steve’s personal experiences of his bipolar condition with his professional experiences as an Occupational Therapist. Stephen currently lives and practices Occupational Therapy in Buffalo, NY.  Check out his website at www.mubuthemorph.com for more information.

Steve’s desire is to honor a quote by Art E. Berg, wheelchair athlete and motivational speaker, by extending his non-motorized trek around the US to promote volunteerism, education and the abilities of the “disabled.” Art’s quote is“Dreams are never destroyed by circumstances.  They are born of the heart and of the mind and only there can they ever die.  Because, while the difficult takes time, the impossible just takes a little longer.”

Connect with Stephen Nawotniak at the following links:

Mubu The Morph Children’s Book Series

Handbook for Healthy Living with a Mood Disorder

 

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Categories: author feature, author interview, authors to watch, children's adventure books, children's book, children's books | Tags: ,

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