Congratulations on the publication of your book! Please tell our readers a bit about your book "Guardian Crew & The Mischief At The Museum" and why it's a must read?
Thank you! Guardian Crew is the story of five-year-old Jackson Mathis and his four stuffed animals that he calls, you guessed it, The Guardian Crew! They are his favorite plush pals and he takes them wherever he goes. He spends hours playing with them and pretending that they are an elite team of superheroes. Little does he know, his imagination fuels them, and they often to prevent trouble and disorder on the Mathis’ family adventures..
The first installment, Mischief at the Museum, follows the Mathis family to New York City and the Museum of Modern Art. A “normal” tour of the museum turns to chaos as alarms start blaring and the building is evacuated. In the haste to get out, young Jackson leaves behind his bookbag with the Guardian Crew still inside. As alarms blast, flames flash, and heroes clash, only a team can survive the sizzling situation!
Guardian Crew & Mischief at the Museum blends facts and fantasy, while delivering eye-catching illustrations and entertaining dialogue. It begins as a normal narrative story and transforms into a graphic adventure when our characters come to life, which has gotten an abundance of praise from kids and parents alike. Why Guardian Crew? Because it’s good to you, good for you, and totally cool!
So, four of you authored "Guardian Crew & The Mischief At The Museum," how did you all meet?
We actually all grew up in the same city. We went to two different school districts, but all four of us have been connected through church, family, or mutual friends since we were little kids. The four of us have distinct personalities, but the one thing that we all have in common is our drive to succeed and make a difference. No matter where this project (or future projects) may take us, we are four men who aspire to individually and collectively leave a unique and indelible mark on the world. We have passionate discussions at times, but it all circles back to that common appetite for something greater!
What inspired you guys to co-author your book? And why did you choose the genre of Children's literature?
I’ll start with a short introduction of the men behind our company, Four Men For Minds, LLC. It consists of Mitch Tucker, Derek Talley, Jared Moore and Wayne Henderson (myself). Mitch is the illustrator and also the one who brought us all together. Mitch had some previous experience with illustrating in the Children’s genre and thought it would be a great idea to bring in a few of his creative and business-minded friends to develop a project of our own. At a holiday party, Mitch got the four of us together and we began discussing the idea. Before you know it, we were having weekly meetings and really starting to believe we could make it happen! We had an opportunity to fill a need in the space of Children’s literature. Much of what attracts children in the market is entertaining, but lacks substance, with seemingly nonsensical or thoughtless content. We believe that children’s development is enhanced by edifying entertainment. Guardian Crew provides a balance of imagination and real-world knowledge to tap both sides of children’s minds. We believe that entertainment and education can go hand-in-hand and even be blended together in creative ways.
Wayne, what would you say is the best part about co-authoring with others?
The best part of about co-authoring is the process of generating ideas! We may have four completely different ideas when we come together, but the end result is always something better and more effective that what any one of us could have came up in isolation. I believe we have had an advantage with the creative experience, because all knew each other prior to beginning the project. We trust each other and respect each others talents. Because of that we have always been willing to try, and able to progress with faith and confidence, which are essential ingredients for a successful collaborative, creative enterprise.
What does the future hold for you guys? Do you plan to further explore the niche of Children's books or diversify into other genres?
We currently have a laser like focus on Guardian Crew. We are looking to develop a series of five books with Mischief at the Museum being the first in that line. Each book in the series will be supplemented with an enhanced eBook featuring read-aloud. The enhanced eBook for Mischief at the Museum is currently available on iBooks. We are now working to establish a market footprint and revenue stream for the production of future books, as well as an application for handheld devices. In the long run, we would like Guardian Crew to be a household name in the marketplace. We have aspirations for Guardian Crew animation, gaming, educational initiatives, and even film! We are open to the possibility of diversifying into other genres one day, but our main focus at this time is on Children’s literature specifically, Guardian Crew. We are well-rounded individuals with vastly different professional experiences that will be beneficial when we choose to expand. The mission of Four Men For Minds, LLC is to “cultivate intellect through imagination and entertainment”, and our greatest goal is to fulfill that mission for people of all ages.
Do you have any advice for the yet-to-be-published authors reading this?
If you plan to be picked up by a publisher, plan on submitting a lot of query letters and spending a lot of time seeking out different publishers. It can be very difficult and frustrating trying to find that one person, at that one publisher that is going to believe in your book and want to take you on. It can be done though! We did immense research and had intense discussion prior to deciding to self-publish. It came down to believing in ourselves. We live in an extremely technology-driven society with social media as a primary mode of communication. If you are persistent, creative, and candid, you can effectively promote your product, and yourself!
What we will tell new authors about self-publishing is to be prepared to work your rear end off when it comes to marketing! I think this is by far the biggest advantage that is lost by choosing to publish yourself. Even with mass communication technology available to all, the social media algorithms are getting more and more refined by the day and tailored to the consumer and not the marketer. This essentially means that it’s sometimes a pay-to-play game...those who pay the most will get the most reach and exposure.
Getting your message out there is certainly possible, but it takes grit and a lot of work. You really have to get out there and meet people, go to bookstores, do events, reach out to media outlets, and pretty much network with anyone and everyone you possibly can! If you’re willing to do these things, along with building an engaging website that provides value to people, self-publishing might be for you. The advantage of traditional publishing is that most traditional publishers have big marketing budgets and also the expert knowledge about how to do it efficiently and effectively. The downside is obviously losing a portion of your profits, but the upside could outweigh that if your passion is simply writing and you want to leave all that other “stuff” to be handled by others. If you’re willing to grind it out, why not try self-publishing? At the very least, you will learn a ton and meet a lot of great people. The exposure will come at some point. I mean, you are reading about us in Writer’s Life Magazine right now! :)
The first installment, Mischief at the Museum, fuses facts and fantasy to inspire the minds of young heroes. It introduces the Mathis family and five-year-old Jackson, whose adventurous spirit and plush pals, Guardian Crew, are more than ordinary. When the family’s vacation meets mischief and mayhem, flames flash and heroes clash! Only a team can survive the searing circumstances!
About the creators:
Founded in 2014 and forged in brotherhood, Four Men for Minds endeavors to cultivate intellect through imagination and entertainment. The four men that make up the group are Wayne Henderson, Mitch Tucker, Jared Moore, and Derek Talley. A fun-loving and dynamic production team, Four Men for Minds is “transforming” children’s literature with their graphic adventure series, Guardian Crew.
Meet tha authors: (from left to right)
Co-founder Wayne Henderson serves as our chief operations officer. He is an intuitive and imaginative thinker who uses keen analytical abilities to meet the needs of all stakeholders. Trained in journalism, organizational management and strategic planning, Wayne is able to see “the big picture”, while keeping process details in focus.
Wayne has over ten year’s experience in program and team development with Nationwide Insurance. His leadership skills and pursuit of new challenges have earned roles of increasing complexity and responsibility. A careful listener and believer in “leading by example”, his work has been considered transformational, particularly in wellness and diversity campaigns.
Charismatic, compassionate and clear-sighted, Wayne enhances 4Men4Minds’ synergy and organizational efficiency.
Co-Founder Mitch Tucker serves as chief creative officer. A multi-disciplinary artist with analytical sensibilities, he brings life to the imagined. Mitch specializes in visual communications and computer graphics, formally trained at the International Academy of Design and Technology and Columbus College of Art & Design. Membership in the American Institute of Graphic Artists (AIGA) and National Association of Independent Artists (NAIA) keep him on the cutting edge of industry and innovation.
Mitch offers over fourteen years of graphic and fine art experience. He leads projects from conception to production, proudly facilitating and ensuring customer satisfaction. This lead to notoriety as a freelance artist, as well as partnerships with local, national and international companies. Additionally, Mitch commits to the advancement of the arts by conducting workshops for young people.
Co-founder Jared Moore serves as chief editor and information officer. A versatile writer and charismatic speaker, he communicates with clarity and a refined social conscious. Jared is skilled in language arts and leadership, holding degrees from The Ohio State University (B.A., English, M.Ed., Integrated Language Arts & Educational Administration).
During his ten years of service, Jared gained extensive training in instruction and intervention, as well as invaluable experience in mentorship and cultural development. These experiences anchor his belief in “empowerment through education” and foster our educational initiatives.
A passionate, influential and forward-thinking educator, Jared helps ensure that 4Men4Minds is a resource and positive example for today’s youth.
Co-founder Derek Talley serves as chief executive officer. He is project-oriented, data-driven and dedicated to delivering a quality product and/or service. He earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration with a focus in Accounting (B.S., M.B.A., Franklin University) as well as a Black Belt Certification in Lean 6/ Six Sigma. Trained in Leadership and project management with many hours served in both for profit and non-for profit entities. Those skills, coupled with his technological savvy and visionary spirit, make him an integral part of operations.
Derek has a rich professional background with broad leadership training. He has managed multi-million dollar accounts and directed marketing efforts at the grassroots and industry level. Membership in the National Association of Security Professionals (NASP). Derek maintains a commitment to service by acting as an advisor for community and faith-based organizations. He is Operational Consultant for Columbus Bible Way, but is most proud of being a mentor in the church’s youth outreach programs.
A well-rounded analyst with a passion for innovation, Derek rallies 4Men4Minds to dream big, while maintaining the bottom line.
-The book can be purchased at guardiancrew.com
-The Book Loft in Columbus, OH
-Gramercy Books in Bexley, OH
-The enhanced eBook can be purchased on iBooks
Connect with Four Men For Minds: