Welcome, Mark. What would you like for our readers to know about you personally?
I’m so appreciative of the responses I have gotten from people who have read my book and who have taken time to say a few words about it. I am an introvert, not the most outspoken person and am happy with just being a part of things without being front and center. Having a book out that reveals a lot about me on many different levels is still a little frightening, but I am happy it inspires and brings something uplifting to others.
Things I like to do include play guitar, run around and make trouble with my three kids, watch movies with my wife for the first 10 minutes before I fall asleep (almost every time), and any kind of activity that requires some amount of creativity. I also have recently gotten into reading a lot of poetry (Christian Wiman, Mary Oliver, Billy Collins to name a few). There are, in fact, very few things I do not like to do; I am always looking for new things to learn to do and experience. Writing a book certainly was a new experience! As a father of three kids, time for creative ventures is often on short supply. My “best” work often happens early in the morning before everyone is up. I teach early childhood special education for a living and have done that now for almost 15 years.
Tell us about your family.
I have been married now for 14 years. I met my wife Breanne in college at
MidAmerica Nazarene University
in . We moved to Olathe, Kansas Seattle
after I earned my Early Childhood Special Education Masters from the . My three kids, Xavier (9 yrs.
old), Sebastian (6 yrs. old), and Greta (3 yrs. old) were all born in the same
hospital on Capitol Hill in University of Kansas Seattle.
We are now living in Colorado
to be close to my wife’s family.
My parents were missionaries in
France for over 30 years, and that’s
where I grew up along with my two brothers. We went to French public schools,
had French friends, and appreciated the diverse amount of delicious cheeses
that exist there! Basically, we were French minus the times when it was just
our family at home and we spoke English predominantly. My family is essentially
bilingual, some trilingual, and a love of language has been present since I can
Have you written other nonfiction books?
This is my first book that has been published. I have been featured in the Exceptional Children textbook that is published by Pearson and edited by William Heward, as the featured teacher in the Early Childhood Intervention chapter. I wrote a short bit about myself, strategies for new teachers, and insight into what it is like to be an early childhood special education teacher.
Do you have any other books in the works right now?
I have a project based on fatherhood that is in its beginning stages. It follows a similar format with an illustration and written portion for each entry. One day, combing through Facebook, a good number of “fatherhood” pictures were showing up through my feed. The idea to sketch them and match them with a set of interview questions from a father’s perspective seemed like a good way to put it together. It is also a subject I am immersed in on a daily basis; I feel its themes are hard to exhaust.
What kinds of hobbies and leisure activities do you enjoy?
I play the guitar and love anything music related. I also enjoy playing basketball when I get the chance, along with volleyball, backyard football with my boys, and ping pong (I have an actual ping pong trophy won with my father in a doubles tournament!). I create artwork in a variety of media, but my two favorite remain collage and charcoal. I find a wide range of activities interesting, and sometimes I try to do too many things at once.
Why did you write the featured book?
I wrote Creation of Calm for a number of reasons: first of all, to inspire and help others with their battle with cancer. Secondly, to share the story of how God works through whatever circumstance may show—his peace can be felt no matter where you find yourself. Thirdly, it was a creative challenge that fit with pushing the limits of what I thought I could accomplish or achieve. My older brother and I have a creative competition of sorts that began with the publishing of a story he wrote, titled “Uncommonly Normal.” I told him if he would publish his story, I would hold my first gallery show soon after. And that I did! And I did not stop at that. This book is a continuation of sorts, letting him know that the ball is back in his court. Finally, I wrote this book for my children to leave a legacy of sorts, something that I hope can be around after I am not.
What do you want the reader to take away from the book?
I would like them to see that there is beauty in our everyday lives. We often miss it because we are so busy with a million things. Cancer forced a drastic slowdown in just about every aspect of my life, and this slowdown pushed me to see what was directly in front of my eyes. I also want readers to see that being invested in a creative pursuit can have such a positive impact on one’s life; in my case you could say it provided a means of healing.
Is there anything you’d like to tell my readers about you or your book?
I am always interested in finding out how readers respond to my book. I like to find out which entry is their favorite and why. Also, to see how they respond to the art, what are they moved by when they see the collage series titled “Calm.”
Where on the Internet can the readers find you?I happen to be on Facebook under Mark Fraley Art. I also have a blog, found at markfraley.blogspot.com. My current website www.markfraleyart.com is under construction. I hope it will be up come spring. I am reachable through email at email@example.com, and I would also like to guide you to Cladach Publishing. They are terrific people and have some info up on their website (www.cladach.com).
Thank you, Mark, for sharing your new book with us.
Readers, here’s a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
Creation of Calm : A Cancer Survivor's Sketchbook Story
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