I feel very fortunate when readers ask a question about The Mystic Travelogues, largely because it gets me thinking about what’s important in writing and keeps me working at always being a better storyteller. I may not be able to answer them all, but please do send me your questions and I will do my best to answer as many as I can.

Question: What is the next book in the series about, and when will it be out?

Answer: The next book in The Mystic Travelogues series is currently titled A Secret Passage to Noland (although nothing is final until the book goes to press!). Without giving too much away, I can assure you Tug and Jodie continue their travels to new and mystical places. We will learn more about Leopold’s past before Tug found him at Three Chimneys. And Uncle Oscar will reveal a grander destiny that neither Jodie nor Tug ever imagined for themselves. There is no set publication date yet, but the good folks at Eltanin Publishing are on track to publish the next installment in the summer of 2012.

Question: Where did The Mystic Travelogues title come from?

Answer: I have always enjoyed stories about adventures on the road, as well as non-fiction travel writing. When I began writing this fantasy series, I knew each book would be a journey, and each volume would be a sort of travelogue. As far as the use of the word “mystic,” that holds a very specific significance that is explored in the story. Tug, the main character, comes to realize the subtle distinction between “magical” and “mystical”, and a big part of his journey is finding a place for mysticism in his life.

Question: How long have you been writing?

Answer: When I was in preschool, a couple of years before I could write full sentences, I asked my teacher to write down a story I wanted to tell called “The Bird and the Frog Go for a Swim.” I dictated and she wrote down the story, and then I inserted drawings I had made and drew more pictures to accompany the story. I’ve been writing in much the same way my entire life; I sketch ideas for stories, and let the drawings that emerge shape the tale, and while I write I switch gears to draw pictorial vignettes that will augment the story. The Mystic Travelogues was created in precisely this way.

Question: Where did you get the idea for The Mystic Travelogues?

Answer: I know a lot of authors don’t particularly like being asked where they get their ideas. I have even heard authors announce they won’t answer that before they begin taking questions at a speaking engagement. But for me, it is one of the easiest questions to answer. I get my ideas from those things I love and am drawn to. My teddy bear, Leopold, is a lifelong companion and sits on my desk, so it seemed only natural that I would stare into his eyes and imagine the story he had to tell. Likewise, I’m very interested in learning about things I can experience for myself that have a degree of mysticism, such as developing my intuition or working with my dreams. I think it is very easy to look at the things you naturally care about and imagine what wonderful stories might grow out of those interests and ideas.