Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Meet MG Author Meg Dendler

Carpinello's Writing Pages welcomes Meg Dendler and her MG story Why Kimba Saved the World.

First, a bit about Meg:

Meg is an award-winning author and a former preschool, elementary, and middle school LA teacher who holds a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Eastern Michigan University. She has worked as a freelance writer for over a decade and has published over 100 articles in magazines, newspapers, and on websites. As a movie commentary writer, Meg had the chance to interview Sylvester Stallone, Dwayne Johnson, Kirk Douglas, and many other amazing people. Meg currently lives in Eureka Springs, AR, with her husband, two daughters, a loyal dog, and four crazy cats.

Why did you pick to write books for MG?

I loved teaching elementary school and the books that the kids and I shared in class every day. I still enjoy reading middle grade books. My writing is not limited to that age group, but when the story is about alien cats and outer space it is fun to write that for kids. I've had adults love it too, so it's certainly not limited to a middle grade audience, but communicating the story to kids that age was my main goal. They are such voracious readers and need lots of great stories.

What types of books do you like to read?

I'm a huge Anne McCaffrey fan and love those dragon stories (as well as some of her others). I definitely read other popular middle grade books to keep up with what is going on in that market. I just finished the Mother-Daughter Book Club series and loved them. As I run across other authors at conferences and events, I love to pick up their books. I found Lisa Yee that way, as well as Jan Morrill and Pamela Foster.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

I love watching movies, especially offbeat independent films. Several years ago I wrote movie commentaries and still enjoy watching a movie to just about anything else.

Tell us about Why Kimba Saved The World and how the story came to be.

Why Kimba Saved The World and Vacation Hiro have been in the works for several years. The idea of cats being aliens and communicating with a Mother Ship through mirrors in their houses is something I played with for years. It really started becoming a genuine story when we found Kimba and Hiro and adopted them. Kimba is just such a nut that I could see the plot develop in things she really did and how I could imagine those events as part of an alien cat conspiracy. Once the first book was in rough form, we took a vacation and saw cats watching us below our balcony. We decided those were agent cats sent to monitor us on our trip and the next book was born. Why Kimba Saved The World was my first published book. It won a Bronze Moonbeam Children's Book Award as "Best First Book" in the chapter book category, and both books have been honored with Silver Mom’s Choice Awards for outstanding products for children in the juvenile series category, so that is all very encouraging!

Here's a peek at Why Kimba Saved The World:

How can a young cat pick between everything she has ever wanted and everyone she has ever loved? Kimba lives the care-free life of a much loved house cat, but what she really wants is freedom and the wild life for which she was born. Then she learns a secret that changes everything, including her destiny. Will she join this mysterious cat conspiracy? Kimba must choose between the freedom she craves and the human family she loves.

Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.

The Cats in the Mirror books are my first published ones, but I also have a few in the drawer that may get redeveloped over time.

What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?

Book 3 in The Cats in the Mirror series Miss Fatty Cat’s Revenge will be out this September. I’ve juat ordered the proof copy! I can’t wait to share that story. And I am also putting the finishing touches on an adult paranormal-type book about ghosts living in my town of Eureka Springs. It's not the "boo" type of ghosts, just people who are stuck here on Earth and not sure how to get on with their lives. I have an agent who wants to read it and hope to go the more traditional route in publishing that one.

What advice do you have for other authors?

It would be the same as what they hear from everyone: write, write, write! Keep sending out query letters. If you want to self-publish, just be sure to do it absolutely professionally. Hire an editor. Pay a designer to make your cover. It's not about just putting something you love on Amazon and hoping it sells. Self-publishing is a serious business, and you become the publisher and have to take on all of those jobs.

Anything else you want readers to know?

I hope you enjoy my stories. And if you do, share them with someone you love!

Where can readers find you and your books?

Whatever I publish will be up at Why Kimba Saved The World and my other cat books are also available at Barnes in paperback form and through some local book stores. I also sell autographed copies through my website.


  1. Thanks for the wonderful interview- I love hearing about the "behind-the-scenes" about an author's writing process and what they're like "in real life". Ms. Dendler is certainly a woman of many talents!

  2. Thanks for helping me to get to know Meg better. I also enjoyed learning how the stories of Kimba and Hiro came to be. Best wishes, Meg, on Book 3!

  3. Thank you, Jan! And thanks for stopping by!

  4. Ooh,you got to interview Dwayne Johnson, Meg? Ok, a bit jealous now. lol Thanks for introducing Meg through the Kid Lit Blog Hop Cheryl! :-)

    1. It was when he was promoting "The Game Plan." He's not nearly as imposing as you would expect and was attentive and polite. He really loved when I asked him about what message he hoped his daughter would take away from the movie. I really miss that job, but there aren't many movie openings in the Arkansas mountainside. :)