James Mackey debuts first author talk at home campus

Author James Mackey, better known as JP Mackey hosted his very first author talk event Wednesday in the southwest corner on the first floor in the Memorial Library. It was free to attend; free food and drinks were available as well.

During the event, Mackey went through a slideshow talking about his history with writing, drawing and future projects and events he’ll be at. He even read a chapter from his newest book, “Ichabod Strange Bounces Back.” Then, Mackey answered some questions people had. 

A table was set up in the back with some of his books for sale as well as free copies of his “CRAP! Magazine” series, small monthly issues he distributed to coffee shops and other small businesses around Mankato and Minneapolis.

Mackey has been writing stories and drawing cartoons his entire life. He writes books for people of all ages and illustrates his books with his own drawings. Every book is based on stories and characters he’s had in his head for years, which tend to be in the sci-fi and fantasy genres.

Mackey started his own publication company called “Autumn Night Books,” which he self-publishes most of his books under without the struggle of finding an agent to work with.

When it comes to getting in a good headspace for ideas, some people take a shower. For Mackey… he does chores.

“I usually seem like I do my best work when I’m supposed to be doing something else, so if I plan on doing chores or work that I’m supposed to be doing, I usually do better writing or drawing if I’m supposed to be doing that instead,” Mackey said.

Some advice he has for aspiring authors is to put plenty of time and effort into writing and editing. Not editing enough on his earlier work is one of his biggest regrets. He encourages them to get multiple perspectives and ask close friends who you know can be brutally honest.

“It’s just a matter of putting the time and effort into it and doing what you love to do,” Mackey said.

Unlike most authors, Mackey doesn’t use a computer when writing and drawing books. Instead, he writes on his old typewriter and hand-draws everything with standard utensils. His reasoning for this is because of his other job, which forces him to use computers constantly.

Apart from his author career, for several years, Mackey has been a graphic designer for Creative Productions at Minnesota State. Creative Productions offers a wide range of in-house design and print services.

So if you ever see him on campus, don’t be afraid to ask for an autograph.

Write to Jack Harding at jack.harding@mnsu.edu

Header Photo: Minnesota State graphic designer for Creative Productions James Mackey reveals his alternate career with his first author talk in the Memorial Library Wednesday. (Alexis Darkow/The Reporter)

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