Author Interview with George Neeb!
Hi, George Neeb, welcome to the Indie Publishing Group website! Introduce yourself to us. Tell everyone who you are, where you’re from, what you enjoy doing, your hobbies and interests.
My name is George Neeb and I am an author and illustrator living in Ontario, Canada. I enjoy travel, home improvements, nature, art, and history. I have taught elementary school for almost 30 years. My favorite place is to be at my cabin which I built beside a small, private lake in Ontario.
When did you start writing and why?
As a teacher, I have always enjoyed writing, especially writing class plays for my students to perform. I couldn’t find plays about Ancient Egypt or China or other topics we were studying, so I wrote them for my class. I have turned some of these plays into picture books.
Which is your favorite book you have written and what gave you the idea for it?
My favorite book out of the three that I have created is “Akia’s Adventure”. It is a sequel to my first picture book, “Pharaoh’s Arrow”. I love the story, the rhyming text and the illustrations that I created in Egyptian style. By my third book, I felt like I knew what I was doing to create a great book. I worked with an awesome editor and had a great experience working with Indie Publishing Group to design the book. I think it is beautiful. The idea came from readers asking about the main character’s journey in the first book. I didn’t have room to describe what all happened on her journey through the desert, so writing a sequel allowed me to continue the story but also a flashback to her time in the desert and answer some of those questions.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
“Akia” is the main character and I liked the alliteration of “Adventure”. The story has her going on an adventure through the Egyptian desert alone, but she also goes on an emotional adventure, as she confronts the person that killed her father.
Who helped you with the cover? Or did you design it yourself? What was your inspiration for your cover design?
I hired Indie Publishing Group to design the cover. I had ideas for color, the illustration and the type of font, but they put it all together for me and it looks great.
What are some of the themes of your story?
My Egyptian picture books deal with death, forgiveness, injustice, compassion, resilience, and perseverance. My second picture book, “Flabby Abby Beach Ball” is a more contemporary story and deals with bullying, self-esteem, healthy friendships and body shaming.
What’s your process when you sit down and decide to start writing a book and do you have a system?
With picture books, I use a 32-page storyboard and start mapping out the story. I tend to begin with planning the illustrations. The art is the part that I enjoy the most. If it is a rhyming story, the text takes the most time to get the rhyming and meter to work. I have done 25 drafts of some of my stories. I try to illustrate using art techniques that teachers can replicate with their students. I always include instructions in the back of my books about how I created the artwork. I have YouTube video links on my website with art demonstrations.
Who are some of your favorite characters and why?
I enjoy reading biographies, information and survival books. I don’t read a lot of fiction. I am a big non-fiction fan! I have over 30 books on Marilyn Monroe and have been a fan since 1982. I also have many books on Ancient Cultures, cooking, building, home renovations, and art. I really love the work of the Group of 7.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
When I was teaching school, I loved reading aloud books by Roald Dahl, Gary Paulsen, Patricia Polacco, Judy Blume, and Canadian Barbara Reid.
Have you got anything you’re working on now?
I am writing a story about the first Emperor of Ancient China. Like my Egyptian stories, I like to create books that teachers can use in their history lessons. Picture books are a great way to learn about history. This story will include factual information in a fictional story. I am dying the paper for the illustrations using tea so they resemble an ancient silk painting.
If you could have any superpowers what would they be?
I would love to fly (imagine what you could save on air travel!!!) and I think it would be great to be able to time travel.
If you could travel to any location in the world where would you go?
I would love to visit Antarctica. I think this unspoiled area of the world is disappearing quickly. I want to see it before it melts or is completely altered forever.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years’ time?
I hope to have 5 more picture books published!!!!
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