Welcome to Creative Kids Tales, Michael Wagner.
Michael Wagner has authored more than 70 books for children. His much-loved series, Maxx Rumble has kept children entertained with an amazing 20 titles in the series. The Undys is a heart-warming six-book series about Josh and his Dad, Phil Undy. The Undys love to play games; they love excitement and they love action. Their games never stop – no matter what!
Michael has written a variety of other titles including picture books Why I Love Footy, Bear Make Den and his latest early reader, Pig Dude: He Can Do ANYTHING!
Just like Pig Dude, Michael can do anything too launching his micro-publishing venture, Billy Goat Books in 2015.
Enough said, right! No this is just the tip of the ice berg for Michael Wager. Let’s go back to where it all began.
Born in Sydney in 1964, Michael was the second oldest of four children.
His family moved from Sydney to Kensington, Melbourne when he was two. Taking from his experience living in housing commission flats Michael used it in his popular series The Undy’s.
As Michael grew, he developed an appreciation for crayons and the power that comes with using them. He also learned that when you are told to do something you should listen, a valuable lesson to learn when you are six. Sadly, this lesson was learned after flooding the family unit by leaving on a tap and going off to school for the day. Oops!
On a positive note, he also was introduced to Dr Seuss not personally just the books. During his early school years, Michael and his family moved from Kensington to a house in Carlton, opposite the Exhibition Gardens and then onto Box Hill in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.
A new suburb meant a new school and Michael completed his primary school years at Box Hill Primary School before moving on to Blackburn High School.
It was during Michael’s second year of high school that his life took a new direction. In 1978 Michael’s father won Tattslotto and the sum of $250,000, back then and even today this is considered a nice amount. The family moved to a bigger house in Lower Templestowe and Michael continued commuting to Blackburn High despite two bus ride commute.
In 1981 Michael graduated High School and the family moved to East Doncaster.
He had only been a year into his Media Studies degree at RMIT when in 1983 the family lost their Tattslotto winnings and almost everything they owned due to being conned into a bad business deal. The pressure took its toll and sadly his parents split up. Michael moved in with his mother and focussed on his degree.
Before completing University in 1984 Michael friended Keith, and together they began to take the music world by storm. One thing was for sure Michael was reaching new heights and jumping from them too. He made sure his first plane flight was memorable by jumping from the plane and recording the experience for a radio show which he sold to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
In 1985 Michael moved out of the family home and kicked off his radio career with the All Out Cricket Show, taking a look at the humorous side of cricket.
His popularity continued to grow; Michael took up writing comedy for the ABC and his band now called The Grownups were gathering followers.
In the late 80’s Michael settled into his new home at Radio Australia where he spent ten years behind the mic talking about sport, music, the environment and the Pacific.
The Grownups, released their first single – Snakebite shortly followed by their second single in 1988, Into the Beyond. Juke magazine listed Into the Beyond as one of the biggest selling independent songs in Australia for that year. Wow!
During the next few years, Michael travelled to Europe and Egypt before meeting the love of his life, Jane Godwin. Jane is also a children’s author. They married in 1989 and welcomed their first child, Will in 1990. Their second child, Elisabeth was born in 1992.
By 1996 Michael had had enough of radio and said goodbye to the ABC. Now he was free to pursue his newly found love of writing. He wrote for film and animated TV including a few episodes of the popular series, Old Tom.
In 2000 his gamble paid off and his first book was released through Black Dog Books. It was illustrated by the talented Terry Denton.
In 2004 the Maxx Rumble series came to life. There were eight books published that year in the footy series and four in the cricket series. Now with twenty titles in the Maxx Rumble series they have been short-listed for lots of awards: YABBAs, KOALAs and COOL Awards.
Michael began work on The Undys series while working on the Indigenous stories Dust Echoes 2. The Undys series illustrated by Gus Gordon was released in 2007 through Penguin Books. Shortly followed by book two, three and in 2008 book four.
By 2009 Michael was a household name with books five and six in The Undys series released and he also branched out into the Aussie Nibbles series with The Newtown Tigers.
Destiny’s Right Hand, Michael’s first YA novel hit the shelves in 2010. The Grownups reformed and put together their first full CD in 2011. Ted a story which contains borrowed bits from his son was illustrated by Tom Jellett and released shortly followed by books two and three.
The next few years saw Michael released more titles in the Maxx Rumble series and his first picture book; I Love Footy.
In 2015 Pig Dude: He Can Do ANYTHING! was released and his mini publishing venture, Billy Goat Books took flight.
Here we are back in 2016 and Michael partnered with his wife, Jane Godwin and illustrator extraordinaire, Andrew Joyner to release Bear Make Den through Allen & Unwin.
I had the pleasure of meeting Michael earlier this year at the Meet the Publisher's festival in Melbourne. Michael was the undeniable star interviewer, keeping his questions topical and had the day running to schedule.
To read more about this amazing author, speaker and storyteller visit: michaelwagner.com.au
Here are some of Michael Wagner's books: