The Writing Life of: M.T. Sanders
This week I am thrilled to be interviewing author M.T. Sanders, who will be sharing with us details of his writing life, telling us all about his upcoming new book ‘Monty and Friends African Adventure‘, which will be released at the end of February and answering a few fun questions too. This post contains affiliate links.
MT Sanders is a writer, blogger and author of five children’s books with the sixth to be released at the end of February.
An accidental career began after he took early retirement and began writing stories on social media about his five dogs. Life according to Monty Dogge soon attracted a huge following and led to invites to blog live from Crufts and other high-profile events.
In 2017, 2018 and 2019 Vuelio placed it in the top ten UK pet blogs and the still growing readership encouraged MT to write a book. I’m not a Pandacow was the debut children’s book released in 2017 and this has been quickly followed by four more to date.
MT and Monty spend the major part of their time touring schools across the country bringing the tales to life as children get to meet the star of the books.
The latest book Monty and friends African Adventure featuring issues including poaching is a real passion project for the author who is a huge supporter of conservation projects and a champion for animal welfare.
1) As a child did you have a dream job in mind?
As a child I was never allowed a pet but always loved animals and wanted to be a zookeeper. I left school at 16 with no qualifications and with the naivety of youth applied for a job as Curator of Birds at a small zoo. Looking back now it’s unbelievable that I was successful and spent the next three years working there.
I then moved on to a bigger zoo working with giraffes but sadly it didn’t pay much and with a family to support I moved on. Those jobs have some stories though, that I’m sure will turn up in a book one day.
2) Who was your favourite childhood author (s)?
I’d have to say Roald Dahl, but I sort of grew up being read classic poems by my grandad, so they always figured in my influences. The first ‘proper’ book I ever read was the Hobbit and I remember being totally transported into that world and it was my first experience of a book feeling like that.
3) Was there a particular point in your life that you realised you wanted to be a writer?
I don’t think I ever realised I wanted to be a writer. Back in 2011 after taking early retirement, I decided I wanted to train a Newfoundland to be a water rescue dog. Monty came and changed my life. First of all, he didn’t like swimming and then was so naughty I thought I’d made the biggest mistake of my mistake littered life. I decided to write a blog seeing the world through his eyes and it just went crazy. We have followers around the world, and I was encouraged to write a book. I decided on a children’s picture book and that’s where everything started.
4) What is your average writing day like? Do you have any special routines, word count, etc?
My usual day starts with dog walks, Unsurprisingly. We have five Monty and Cookie the Newfoundland’s and the three Cocker Spaniels. I’m usually sitting down ready to do something around 11am unless we have school visits. I try to write some meaningful stuff for a couple of hours before updating social media and the blog.
5) How many books have you written? Any unpublished work?
The new book is my sixth to come out although I have written two more to come out in 2020 so hopefully the series should have eight titles by the end of the year.
6) Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Absolutely a Panster. Everything goes around in my head for weeks and then all of a sudden I just sit down and write until it’s done.
MT Sander’s new book isn’t available for pre-order yet so we are showcasing his last book.
A Plastic Disaster
Publisher – 2QT Limited
Pages – 36
Release Date – 1st April 2019
ISBN 13 – 978-1913071134
Format – paperback
Monty, Cookie and the spangles are back at the beach.
When Cookie sees a splash in the water her newfydoof instinct to rescue takes over and she immediately heads out to help.
What follows is an adventure that could turn out to be their biggest, and most difficult so far.
7) How did you go about researching the content for your book?
Even though it’s only a children’s book the content is important to me and this title Monty and Friends African Adventure introduces some issues like poaching, illegal trade in animals and snaring. While I obviously keep it child-friendly I want it to be factual, so I do research the content.
With this book I have been speaking to an adoption centre in Kenya and they will be adding their link at the back of the book in case children or parents want to find out more and get involved.
8) How long did it take to go from ideas stage to writing the last word?
I think it’s usually about three to six months depending on what else is going on. I churn it round and when I’m happy I have it right I get it down. Obviously then it goes to the illustrator who comes up with her plan and we finalise the ideas before she goes ahead and does the final pictures.
9) How did you come up with the title of your book?
I’ve kept with the ‘Monty and’ titles for this one so it’s Monty and Friends African Adventure -The mission to save Kaluwa. Kaluwa is the baby Elephant that the gang go to rescue and the name means Forgotten One in Swahili.
10) Can you give us an insight into your characters?
Monty is the main character but is joined by his naughty sister Cookie our other Newfoundland. The three spaniels (spangles) also feature in all of the books. I try to use their real personalities so it’s usually Cookie who initiates the adventures with Monty being the reluctant hero. The spaniels are usually doing the running around and I have used their ears dramatically in a few of the titles.
11) What process did you go through to get your book published?
I am self-published and work with 2QT in North Yorkshire. They are very helpful and supportive so it’s all very seamless really.
12) What’s next for you writing wise?
Three children’s titles this year and then I think a change as I am planning a chapter book for older children, a coffee table book which will be the Monty Facebook diaries, a silly poetry book plus a book about our time together and the journey we’ve been on. I would at some point like to do an autobiography for a laugh really because I’d love to document some ‘interesting’ episodes in my life.
1) If you could have any super power for the day which would you choose?
I’ve actually put quite a lot of thought into this over the years so it’s easy to answer – Invisibility. I think you could pretty much cover all the bases with this one, so that would be my choice.
2) Do you have any pets?
Monty and Cookie the Newfoundland’s. Molly, Poppy and Bailey the three Cocker Spaniels.
3) If you decided to write an autobiography of your life, what would you call it?
Another question I’ve thought about as I obviously mentioned I’d fancy writing one. I think the title would have to be ‘Hands up, who shot the Parrot?’
4) Your book has been made into a feature film and you’ve been offered a cameo role, which part would you choose, or what would you be doing?
As I feature in the books as unsuspecting and slightly dim hooman dad I think that role would be perfect for me…..no acting involved.
5) Where is your favourite holiday destination?
I’ve been very lucky to have visited Kenya and it will last long in my memory, but we have a caravan in Wales, nestled in woodland and to be honest it’s my little piece of heaven.
6) A baseball cap wearing, talking duck casually wanders into your room, what is the first thing he says to you?
‘I’ve come about the role of swimming stunt double for Monty’…..’Where can I put my hat?’
I would like to say a big thank you to M.T. Sanders for sharing with us details of his writing life and for a wonderful interview.
M.T. Sanders Author links