I met Maxine Sylvester first in the Facebook group ‘BookGoSocial Children’s Books’. ‘Ronaldo’ is a most exciting fairytale. From the first line of the first Ronaldo book, I was totally soaked up, as if I was part of the book myself. I love Maxine Sylvester’s writing style, she is a very gifted storyteller. Her books are funny, so well written, impossible to put aside once you opened, because at the end of every page there is a trigger, it makes you curious what is going to come next.
I also adore the underlying messages in Maxine Sylvester books. For instance, these strong words from Ronaldo’s grandpa’s, ‘Imagine! See it, feel it, believe it! You can do anything if you truly believe in yourself.’ Isn’t that a precious gift to children? And at no moment it sounded like the author was preaching morals. It just belonged on a natural way to the story.
I am so happy to present you, Maxine Sylvester, today
- Can you introduce yourself, what’s your name, where are you from… ?
Hi Lieve, I’m Maxine Sylvester, an author, and illustrator. I was born in London, but now live in Bali, Indonesia.
- Tell us something unexpected about yourself!
I was attacked by a titan trigger fish while scuba diving in Bali and had to have six stitches in my head.
- Give 2 things about yourself that you think matter the most?
Gratitude and kindness. Both are good for the soul.
- IDENTITY CARD
- Do you remember the first book you read?
Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day by A.A. Milne.
- What makes you laugh/cry?
I saw Game Night at the cinema a few weeks ago and laughed my head off. The news makes me cry.
- In which genre do you write?
Middle Grade, Ages 6-9.
- What makes your book special, how is it different from other books in your genre?
Ronaldo is a good role model for children; he’s conscientious and kind, but never boring. Reviewers say the stories are funny and heartwarming, with plenty of laughs for both the young and young at heart. I really hope children will connect with the characters and be inspired by them.
- How do you feel when you write, do you have a special ritual?
Sometimes I have a million ideas and can hardly sleep. Other times I can’t think of a thing to write. I take advantage of my good days when I can.
- What inspired you to write your first book?
I wanted a reason to illustrate so decided to write a story about a reindeer plush that I have in my bedroom. I stole the idea from A.A. Milne, who wrote about the toys in Christopher Robin’s room.
- How did you come up with the title?
The book is about a flying academy so it was a natural choice.
- If you could be any famous book character, who would you be and why?
That’s a difficult question! Probably Hermione from Harry Potter. She’s super smart.
- Is there a message in your book that you hope the readers will grasp?
There are messages in all three books. I try to make them subtle, so children don’t think I am preaching or talking down to them. The Reindeer Flying Academy is about believing in yourself and following your dreams. The Phantom Carrot Snatcher and Rudi’s Birthday Extravaganza are about friendship.
- What are your top 3 books of all time?
1) Any of the Harry Potter books. I loved them and used to feel like I was picking up an old friend.
2) The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. The book was life changing for me.
3) Wishes Fulfilled by Dr. Wayne Dyer. If ever I am feeling down or anxious I pick up a Wayne Dyer book and his gentle words always make me feel better.
- How important is marketing and social media for you?
It is essential nowadays. You can self-publish a book, but nobody is going to buy it unless you have a good social networking platform.
- Is it important for you to get book reviews? Do you read them?
Reviews are essential. I never book a holiday, go to the cinema or purchase a theatre ticket without checking reviews. It is the same for books. I do read reviews and am always grateful to people for taking time out of their busy day to write them.
- What advice do you have for other writers?
To believe in yourself and follow your dreams (it’s what I say to Ronaldo!). Also to take advice from people who have experience in the industry. My editor once annihilated the first draft of one of my books. I was so upset, I couldn’t look at it for a week. When I calmed down I read her comments again. She was 100 percent correct in what she said. I made changes and the book was stronger because of it.
Don’t let fear hold you back. Take a giant leap and be brave. Life is too short, if you have something to say, say it!
- Can you give your book information: blurb, link, genre (for children’s book, please tell for what age)
Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy
Hook: “You can do anything if you truly believe in yourself.”
Blurb: The story tells of Ronaldo, the top flying cadet at the prestigious Reindeer Flying Academy. He dreams of getting his flying license and becoming one of Santa’s reindeer, just like his hero, Vixen. At flying school, the second year flying cadets face their toughest ever flying test – the endurance challenge. Conditions are grueling for the two-snowflake cadets, but Ronaldo remembers his grandad’s inspiring words: “See it, feel it, believe it! You can do anything if you truly believe in yourself.”
Asin (Amazon): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0777JFZQR/
Ronaldo: The Phantom Carrot Snatcher
Hook: “Ronaldo’s head was buzzing; he didn’t know what to do. Fly west to break the speed record … or east to save Ernie?”
Blurb: Ronaldo is the top flying cadet at The Reindeer Flying Academy. After the first of three speed tests, he settles down to enjoy his carrots. But the carrots are gone! The Phantom Carrot Snatcher has struck again. Ronaldo discovers the culprit hiding near his house … and it’s a creature feared by every reindeer to have ever lived – a wolf! But Ernie has lost her pack. And Ronaldo is no ordinary reindeer. He is brave, and together with best friend, Rudi, the two embark on a superhero mission to help the young wolf find her family.
Rudi comes up with a plan to deliver posters to Ernie’s pack during the second speed test at flying school. But Ronaldo isn’t onboard with the idea. He desperately wants to break the speed record and the plan means jeopardising his chance of becoming champion.
Asin (Amazon): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N64ZOFF/
Ronaldo: Rudi’s Birthday Extravaganza
Hook: “Ronaldo pictured his classmates splattered over Heigh Ho Hill and Wing Commander Blitsen in floods of tears. Everyone would say it was his fault. He was lead reindeer.”
Blurb: Ronaldo and Rudi are beside themselves with excitement: Monty the Moose, the most incredible Magician in the whole world is performing at Rudi’s birthday party!
But before the festivities begin, there’s the important matter of The Reindeer Flyover, an ancient tradition of The Reindeer Flying Academy that marks the end of school term. Ronaldo is thrilled to be lead reindeer but his happiness soon turns to dread when he notices Dasher, Comet and Prancer behaving suspiciously. Ronaldo fears the worst. The menacing brothers are going to sabotage the event, leaving him to take the blame.
Asin (Amazon): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075ZX3H9T/
Here you can read first chapters of each book: www.ronaldotheflyingreindeer.com/first-chapters/
Social Media links:
- QUICK POP-QUIZ. (You can choose one or both, and please feel free to add a very brief comment)
Snow or sun: Snow
Soccer or (ice) hockey: Soccer
Dogs or cats: Dogs (but not Bali dogs – they chase me on my bike.)
Ice-cream or fruit: Fruit
Fact or fiction: Fiction
Music or silence: Both. I meditate but also love a bit of Guns ‘N’ Roses.
Sport or reading: Both. My dad used to take me to soccer matches as a kid so I do love my English Premier League. But there’s also nothing better than picking up a gripping book.
Sea or mountains: Both are magical.
Groundhogs or squirrels: Groundhogs (because I know you love them!)
Books or movies: Both. I go to the movies every week but also read every day.
E-book or print: Print. Nothing compares to holding a book in your hands, although I have to admit, when going on holiday a kindle is much lighter in your luggage and takes up less room.
- Is there anything more you want to tell your readers?
Thank you to everyone who has either bought or reviewed any of the Ronaldo books. I am very grateful.
Thank you so much Maxine Sylvester!