Q&A With Mike McDevitt


Today we have the pleasure of interviewing Mike McDevitt, retired Naval Officer and Operations Analyst turned children’s book author. Mike’s passion for writing began with a desire to create bedtime stories for his six grandchildren. His love for A.A. Milne and Disney’s animal characters inspired him to create his own animal character, Boris the Badger. In this interview, Mike shares the story behind the creation of Boris the Badger, how he connects with his illustrator, and his advice for aspiring children’s book writers. Mike also gives us a sneak peek into his current works in progress and his plans for 2023.

1.) Hey mike, first and foremost, take a second to introduce yourself. Tell me why/how you decided to

get involved with writing, or more specifically children's books.

My Name is Mike McDevitt. I am a retired Naval Officer (ship driver) and Operations Analyst (Math guy,

Modeling and Simulation). I had published in my technical field and I am very comfortable writing

reports and briefings. But, once I retired, even before, I decided I was going to write some stories for my

six grandkids.


2.) I’m dying to know the story behind the creation of Boris the Badger.

Before I retired I did a little research on animal characters and found that there were few stories about

badgers. So, then I researched badger habits and habitats. I have always been a fan of A.A. Milne and

the Disney chipmunks, foxes, dogs and bear stories. I wanted to write a bedtime story. The name Boris

came from Rocky and Bullwinkle. I wanted a “Russian” like name. The real star is Raven. Ravens can be

gender neutral because only a raven knows. People assume in Book 1 that Raven is male but as we find

out in Book 2 Raven is actually female and her name is Kuth. “Ka!”


3.) As a grandparent, do you directly write the stories to appeal to your own grandchildren or to a

general audience?

I have five grandchildren that are multilingual. I chose Russian for the first book and Hebrew for the

second. Just a smattering of names in the other language alongside the English. But other than the name

game, I wrote the stories to be universal in appeal. Each book has a story inside the story where Raven

tells a tale from the origins of things. Some are in part adapted from First Peoples’ legends.


4.) How did you connect with your illustrator? Do you use the same illustrator or vary from different


She is a friend of my daughter-in-law and lives nearby. It took me some convincing but, she soon

became enamored with Boris, Raven, and Jack. She puts little easter eggs in the illustrations for littles to

find. I find her watercolors brilliant and soothing at the same time. I plan to keep her around until I

finish the series of four books. Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring.


5.) What has been your greatest influence in writing ?

I am an insatiable reader of fantasy and science fiction. My favorite authors are C.J.Cherryh, Robert

Heinlien, and, of course, J.R. Tolkien. I also had a mentor, Erv Kapos, who encouraged my technical

writing. The best writers, in my opinion, are readers first. I also have two very kind sisters that have

been a godsend as editors and proofreaders.


6.) Writing a children’s story is harder then it seems, trust me I attempted it at one point. What advice

do you have for those who want to get into writing children's books?


Develop the characters and establish the scenes, I think visually and liken each scene to a movie or TV

show. I write the story then storyboard the story, then working the plot and lessons as I go. I like to find

an old saying and turn it upside down. The adults get it even if the littles don’t at first. Dialogue is hard

and it is written for early readers. I try very hard to keep the books age appropriate, sometimes


7.) Do you have any current WIP at the moment that you would like to share?

Boris Badger 3 is waiting to be illustrated. Boris and Raven solve a winter mystery. Raven tells another

Beaver “tail”.

Boris Badger 4 is my current WIP and is yet to emerge from its spring chrysalis. There will be bridges and

discoveries as Boris takes a walkabout. And of course, there are two stories in each book!

8.) What does literary success mean to you? Do you believe you will achieve it?

I would like to be recognized as a storyteller but more importantly I want recognition for my illustrator.

Without her beautiful illustrations the stories would not be nearly as enjoyable for the littles. It would

be nice to sell a few more than a hundred copies. Marketing is a pain.

9.) What plans do you have for 2023 that fans should expect to see come from you?

2023 is laid out for promotions, Book signings, readings book fairs. Boris Badger 2: Boris Goes to the

Market is the focus for 2023.

Connect with Mike today!


Thank for reading......

Jacob Keiter

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One Response

  1. Great interview Mike. Love hearing where you’re coming from with these stories and books. And yes - you are blessed with Olga’s illustrations and sisters helping you to succeed! Looking forward to your next book!

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