Interview with Middle Grade Author Mirka Breen

Today I'm pleased to host an interview with Mirka Breen, author of the historical fiction novel, The Voice of Thunder. (WiDo Publishing, 2012)

Welcome, Mirka! Can you start by telling us a little about yourself as a writer? Is your focus mostly on middle grade?

I've been writing with the intention to be published for almost seven years. I write (mostly) picture book texts, and so I have not sought an agent. The landscape has changed and I’m now re-thinking this, as even picture books need agents to get through the door in most cases. But only a few years ago this was not the case and a writer had better odds getting their story accepted by a publisher than by a legitimate agent.
I did sell one picture book text on my own, and only six month later, my middle grade (which at one time was also a picture book text) was contracted.

Ah, yes, the familiar quandry of editor or agent? I find it interesting that your novel started out as a picture book. But before you tell us more about that, here's a summary of The Voice of Thunder.

West Jerusalem, early June 1967, the eve of war. Ten-year-old Mira Levi and her best friend Gili Moser share an awful secret. They have discovered a new radio station called The Voice of Thunder from Cairo. Broadcasting in accented Hebrew, it threatens the demise of their country, their city, and their families. As the menace beats the drums of war, on June 5th the danger becomes all too real. Mira finds her own voice as she struggles to drown the distant terror of The Voice of Thunder. In these first two weeks of June, not only are Mira and Gili's lives changed forever, but history will never be the same.

Sounds action-packed and exciting! Tell us more about the book's journey to publication. Everything happened overnight, right?

This MG took twenty years to become the book eventually contracted. First it was a short story/memoir for adults. Its next incarnation was a fictionalized biographical short story, again for adults. Next, once I began writing for children, it was a story picture book text subbed to an editor who expressed interest in seeing it expanded into a MG. Then it was a shorter middle grade, which, after a few rounds of revision, she promptly rejected. Finally it was a much changed and revised manuscript, accepted by my small publisher, no pre-contract revision asked for.
I was elated, only to have an editor go through five revisions, (only two of them substantive, the last three were tiny tweaks.) And voila, my overnight "success."

A well-deserved congratulations to you, Mirka! Your experience proves how vital it is to persevere. Where can readers pick up a copy of your book?

The Voice of Thunder is available from bookstores and online retail sellers. I'll be happy to have you visit my BOOKS page on my website, , for all the links, {and info on many of my kinks...} See you there.

Great, Mirka! Thanks so much.
2 likes ·   •  3 comments  •  flag
Share on Twitter
Published on January 20, 2013 08:38 Tags: middle-grade, mirka-breen, the-voice-of-thunder, writing
Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Ann (new)

Ann Herrick Just shows you should never give up! :)

message 2: by Evelyn (new)

Evelyn B. Enjoyed your interview, Mirka. It was fun to learn some more of the background of The Voice of Thunder. I hadn't realized it was originally written as a piece for adults. Thumbs up to you on your perseverence. Thanks, Dianna, for hosting the interview.

message 3: by Mirka (new)

Mirka Breen Thank you, Ann & Evchristensen.
I want to clarify that the book was not a story for adults in recognizable form to the Middle Grade that is published. But some small details from that story, the one from wa-a-ay back, did make it all the way to the novel published just months ago.
When authors say that a book took a lifetime or X-years to write, it means a lot of their experience is in the published book. But I doubt it would be as clear to a reader.

I want to thank Diana Winget for her generous interview and posting here.

back to top

Middle Grade Matrix

Dianna Dorisi Winget
A place to share tips, questions, answers, dilemmas, complaints, and the many joys of writing for ages 9-12.
Follow Dianna Dorisi Winget's blog with rss.