Interview with author of The Adventures of Phatty and Payaso: Central Park, Marie Unanue!

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Denise Alicea

This blog was created by Denise in September 2008 to blog about writing, book reviews, and technology. Slowly, but surely this blog expanded to what it has become now, a central for book reviews of all kinds interviews, contests, and of course promotional venue for authors, etc

Phatty the cat loves nothing more than spending his days balanced atop his favorite chair gazing out his windows at Central Park below. Everything is simply fan-tabby-lous until one day when the meanest hawk in the park lands on his terrace and makes a terrifying announcement that he is coming for Phatty and his furry little friends.



Marie has always been an avid reader and an activist for children who are bullied. Marie plans to use the release of her upcoming children’s novel as the platform to become a kindness advocate, with the hopes of inspiring children across the world to remember to always treat each other with kindness and compassion.


Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!

I was born and raised in Toms River, NJ.  I love to write, I love all animals and I am trying to make a difference in the world.

Tell us about your book? How did it get started?

My story is about my animals. Phatty, Clyde & Stanley and my neighbor’s cat Payaso.  Every time Payaso was visiting NY and staying next door at his family’s apartment, he would insist on visiting our Cat Phatty. This friendship has been going on for over ten years.  After watching this unique friendship I realized it would make a wonderful children’s story.

How do you create your characters?

My main characters are my animals.  The additional characters, such as Max the young boy and Rackie the Racoon were fictional characters that were designed around character skills that I felt were important and wanted to include in the story.  In fact, all of the animals in the story were created around character skills that I wanted children to understand by their actions.

What inspires and what got your started in writing?

I have always loved to write.  For me writing is an escape. Writing is my world, one that I can create in and develop whatever character or story plot that I wish. There are no rules, no limits and I do not have to worry about anything but creating characters that the world to meet.

Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)

I need total quiet, I don’t prefer any sound at all.  I can write in a quiet room, my office or sitting outside on a park bench as long as I have my notebook with my story notes, a bottle of water, my laptop and plenty of sleep.

How do you get your ideas for writing?

For this story I used my animals and a list of character skills I wanted kids to understand and adapt to as the story evolved. I see ideas everywhere, in the chipmunk that lives in the rocks by my house to the mail lady that loves to sing while she delivers mail.  I look around and I have so many ideas of what to write about that I don’t have enough time in the world to sit down and actually do it.

What do you like to read?

Mysteries are my favorite. This is the genre I one day want to try writing, even if it is mysteries for children.  I also love cozy mystery series.  I love how they are able to mix in a little mystery with a nice love story.  They always keep me turning the page or wanting more.

What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?

Don’t give up!  Even if you get a million no’s, keep going.  I also don’t want other writers to make the same mistakes that I did.  Don’t get bogged down on one story.  Write it and while you are having it edited or pitching it, start writing another. I wrote this and then waited to hear what people thought and here I could have been writing more stories while I waited. If you feel like you’ve had too much of one story, put it aside and just keep writing.  I also urge every writing to keep taking writing classes, it’s so important to keep learning and letting others read what you are working on.


Anything else you’d like to share?

Write for yourself. Don’t write what you think people want to read, write what you want to express and don’t worry about what people will say.  If you don’t believe me, ask JK Rowling.



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