Amanda L Maybee
Amanda L Maybee has studied children’s literature and is a budding writer. The Mishmash character was created over 30 years ago at her first job as a babysitter. Mishmash has travelled a road full of many twists and turns with his author who has overcome adversity having won the prestigious Terry Fox Scholarship and completing three diplomas and a degree in health promotion as well.
MISHMASH stories have been told to many children since his beginning, two boys of which were the author’s children. The cute little character has an adventurous spirit that makes for exciting stories that always leave you wanting more.
Why did you write MISHMASH?
At my first babysitting job, over 30 years ago, MISHMASH was created as a negotiating tool. I needed a bedtime story with neat characters that captivated and calmed the children down before bed. We had eaten spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and that gave me an idea for a fun character. I created MISHMASH and my cousins fell in love with him. The deal was after I told a MISHMASH story, it was time for bed, and it always worked!
I told the stories for years babysitting them, at family functions, and whenever I saw them. I loved telling the stories. But MISHMASH stories were halted for a period as I had a life-changing tragedy when our car was hit by a drunk driver. My best friend died on impact, my Dad was in the hospital for two months, and I sustained injuries that gave me a 30% chance of living, remaining in the hospital for four months.
Being stubborn has not always been bad, especially in this situation. I began a road to recovery, learning to walk, talk and work towards being a normal 15-year-old again. Throughout this time, I used MISHMASH to help me heal, writing stories for myself while in resource class during high school.
Through a lot of tutoring, summer school and with the help of great teachers I graduated with my class! I went on to post-secondary school, then into the workforce, got married and had two children, both busy boys. I introduced them to MISHMASH, and they loved the stories too.
They began school and I began working at their school over nutrition breaks. I was with a very busy class one day, which reminded me of my first babysitting job and MISHMASH stories came to mind. I began telling them again, changing a few things and I have told them ever since.
I love sharing MISHMASH stories and watching children’s imaginations come to life! Lastly, I wanted to dedicate this book in memory of my very special cousin whom we lost much too soon. MISHMASH’s adventurous spirit mirrors hers.
Why did you think readers will care about this book?
Kids will fall in love with the quirky characters and get pulled into their adventures. These stories are fun-loving and use problem-solving skills, as in life, the characters (and hopefully children) learn many lessons along the way. This book will appeal to parents looking to enhance their children’s love of stories and to teachers looking for interesting readings to grab their students’ attention. Being a series, these books will leave the readers anticipating the next, ensuring continued interest.
How is your book different from other children’s books?
MISHMASH is a simple, quirky character that loves life and wants more out of it. He makes decisive decisions that have consequences as in real life. Some good, some bad but they all lead to him finding his identity and meaning to his life which he had been looking for all along!
How long have you been working on your book?
This book has been in the works for over 30 years. Finally, I wrote and illustrated my own personal book in 2017 and used it while I worked at a school during nutrition breaks. Eventually, the students would go home and tell their parents about MISHMASH. Parents began asking where they could get MISHMASH stories? That’s when I began researching about the publishing process. One year later, stories I created as a bedtime negotiating tool at my first babysitting job can now be a reality for many children to forever enjoy.