Visiting author is a ‘scary thing’

Published 7:20 pm Friday, March 5, 2010

Jeepers, creepers!

The students at Troy Elementary School smiled, giggled and even shivered a bit as author Michael Finklea told them stories from the books that he has written especially for them.

Finklea is a children’s author who loves words and children and, put the two together and he is one happy man. “I was working in a bank and being confined to a cubicle wasn’t for me,” he said. “I knew there was something else for me to do.”

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Finklea’s vivid imagination led him to writing but, for a while, it seemed as though maybe he was on the wrong path.

“Getting a book published was not easy, but I didn’t give up,” he said. “I followed a suggestion that I should try writing children’s books that I could sale myself. That’s what did and what I’m doing now – writing children’s books. I travel around the country, especially the Southeast, and talk to students about the importance of writing and the importance of never giving up. The message is a positive one and one that will make a difference.”

Finklea has spoken at 3,000 schools and to more than a million students and he is continually encouraged by the response he receives.

“Reading is important and I encourage students to read,” he said. “My books are about different things because kids like different things.

Finklea’s books include, “ Fester the Pester,” “Who Are You Calling, Junior?” “Tardy Marty,” “Good –Natured Nina the Nervous Gnat,” and “Creepers I” and Creepers II.”

The number one favorite books of children are ‘scary’ books,” Finklea said.

“They just love scary things. But, the characters in my scary books are insects – sci-fi creatures. And I use a lot of gross stuff. They like gross.”

Finklea also writes character trait books and he even has a joke book filled with jokes from kids in the schools where he has spoken.

“I use a lot of rhyming words because Dr. Seuss was my inspiration,” he said. “He received 27 rejection notices before he was published. “My message is always don’t give up. Keep trying and you’ll get where you want to go.”

Teresa Sims, Troy Elementary School assistant principal, said Finklea’s message is one of great value to young students.

“Having a real author here for the students to see was exciting for them,” she said.

“His message was one that was important for them to hear. He encouraged them to keep working and trying hard and not to give up. He told our students that they should learn from their mistakes and that it’s all right if they don’t get things right the first time. His message was a very positive one.”