Debut Review Challenge with Tim McGlen

It is my pleasure to welcome Tim McGlen to the Debut Review Challenge Blog, where we dive deep into his writerly story.


Number of years writing:  

Ha!  Many.  Wrote first picture book ms on a whim 17 years ago.  A too-scary story about a witch, which clocked in at 1,000+ words (this from someone who’d previously written only adult fiction).  Got serious about picture books seven years ago.  Only subbed a couple of times, because I knew the mss weren’t ready.  SCBWI has been key: took an online course with other Florida SCBWI authors, and this really put success on the horizon.

Number of years from contract to published book:  

Just inside two

Date your book was released: 

April 30, 2019

Number of pages:  


Number of launch events:  

One; good one at local art museum, arranged by a friend. Populated by many of my current and former students and their families.

Number of days per week that writing takes a backseat to marketing & publicity: 

 Zero.  I’m far more prone to write than market.  But being a teacher cuts into writing big time, drawing from same pool of creative energy.

Number of critique partners: 

Two groups; the one that helped Antonino achieve its final state before subbing is just two other authors.

Number of books you hope to publish over the next ten years:  

Ten. So many mss so close.

Number of times you’ve pinched yourself that you really have a book out:  

One.  Then focus turned to what’s next.  And perfecting the next hasn’t been any easier than the first.  My pb styles vary from commercial to “serious,” a la Antonino.  Tough to analyze and apply crit feedback, and to choose which ms to prioritize.  Fresh eyes on a ms is a difference maker; currently I’m bouncing between three mss and hope to sub soon. 

Current number of reviews:

On Amazon, 7; On Goodreads, 6

A Few Questions…

  • Why do you write for children?  

I write for children because children are the light of the world.  It’s fun to try to fire their imaginations and give them subtle guidance in navigating their emotional path as they grow.

  • Who/what are your greatest inspirations?  

My greatest inspirations are the fifth- and sixth-graders I have taught for fifteen years at Indian Harbour Montessori and their younger schoolmates.  The challenge to help find each child’s star—or stars—is rewarding.  My sixth-graders read with their kindergarten reading buddies every Thursday, and it’s always entertaining and inspirational to hear their feedback.

  • Without giving anything away, tell us about your work-in-progress. What do you love about it so far? Where are you stuck?

Arc, arc, arc, that is where I am stuck, or at least according to crit partners.  Meanwhile I love the mc’s goal, the story’s imagination, and its end.

  • What does your work space look like? Tell us about a typical work session. (Time of day, length of time, pet companion, favorite snack/drink, writing or art routines, etc.)  

My work space is a good place:  wooden desk in extra bedroom, surrounded by books, with thesaurus front and center, a couple of pieces of good student art on the walls next to my first personalized rejection.  Works sessions vary:  summer I work three or four hours in a.m. and review mss in afternoon.  School year, works sessions are weekend mornings for a couple of hours.  But mss analysis and story ideas float abundantly throughout every day.  Need to be better about butt in chair on school days.

  • When you need to take a creative break, do you have another activity or hobby that recharges you?  

Bicycle!  That’s where I formed the idea for Antonino.

Thank you for joining us, Tim! Congratulations on your debut!

Wondering how you can get your hands on Tim’s book? Check your local library. If they don’t have it, please ask your library system to order it! That’s the best way to support debut authors without breaking the bank.

It’s time to write some reviews! Leave an honest review on Amazon, Goodreads, or other online site. For every five reviews you write for debut Kidlit creators, you can fill out this ENTRY FORM for a chance to win prizes. Tim has generously donated a signed book and a picture book manuscript critique. Thank you, Tim!

For BONUS ENTRIES, complete this Rafflecopter giveaway!

#DebutReviewChallenge #ReadReviewRepeat

Read on for more about Tim and his book

Bio: Tim McGlen writes to lift up people by pushing the boundaries of possibility.  He directs an upper-elementary Montessori classroom in Florida, where his students practice kindness and thrive at creative writing.  When he’s not teaching or writing, you can find him working out stories on his bicycle, cooking up flag football plays, or experimenting with herbs in the kitchen, each an engagement with the impossible dream.

Book Title:  Antonino’s Impossible Dream     

Author/Illustrator:  Tim McGlen/Sophia Touliatou

Publisher:  Beaming Books

Year: 2019

Synopsis:  Antonino is a young artist who dreams of painting a masterpiece, an impossible dream he calls Friend. When he gets stuck, inspiration comes from an unexpected place.

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