Interview with Tommy Greenwald. Author of the wildly popular, Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to NOT Reading.
My boys, Charlie, Joe and Jack, all hated to read growing up. It was very hard to find books that interested them. I figured one book they might like was a book that taught them how to avoid other books. And I knew that there were a ton of other kids out there - mostly boys - who hated to read too.
1. What inspired you to write a guide to not reading?
No, the weird thing is that I loved to read. That's why it bummed me out that my kids hated it. Don't get me wrong - they're great kids. Not reading is literally their only flaw. Well, that and complete disobedience.
2. Are you anything like Charlie Joe? Did you also hate to read?
They influenced me in several ways. First, their aforementioned aversion to reading. And second, the fact that they plan on going to college some day, which is EXPENSIVE, so i needed to figure out a way to make some extra dough. I'm hoping to earn enough money from my books to at least pay for their text books.
3. You mentioned your sons Charlie, Joe and Jack, how did they influence you in your writing this book?
The first draft took about three months, back in the fall of 2009. I got very lucky because editors were interested right away, and I ended up with the wonderful Nancy Mercado at Roaring Brook Press, which is part of Macmillan. Then, of course, the real work begins. I revised for about another six months before the book was ready to go.
4. Did it take longer than a summer to write your book? Tell us a little about the time it takes to write until the time to publishing?
I always loved the book ARE YOU MY MOTHER? as a kid. I think it's still in print. I loved the Matt Christopher books. Shel Silverstein is a master of all trades. And i think my friend Lauren Tarshis writes beautiful books. And Mary Stolz's THE BULLY OF BARKHAM STREET is still a fave.
5. Who are some of your favorite children's book authors and how have they inspired you?
The funniest thing about writing this book was trying to get my kids to read it while i was working on it. They would promise to read it, and then put it off. That happened about a thousand times. It was like life imitating art imitating life.
6. Did you have laugh out loud moments when you were working on this book? Tell us about them.
It's a good question. I do a writing exercise when I do school visits - I have all the kids write the title and first sentence of a book they would want to read. Then I read them all out loud to the whole class. They're usually hilarious. I think it shows the kids that there are books about EVERYTHING - and somewhere out there there's a book for them.
7. Besides writing this book, what are some other ways you can think of to encourage kids, especially boys, to read?
Finishing. I love to tell stories, but I'm inherently lazy, and I'd rather be watching TV or playing with my dogs or eating ice cream then writing. I can find any reason to avoid writing. I should write a book called TOMMY GREENWALD'S GUIDE TO NOT WRITING.8. What is your favorite part of the writing process?
Visit the author's website at www.tommygreenwald.com.
Thank you to author, Tommy Greenwald, for the awesome interview. I appreciate the funny and candid answers and I loved Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to NOT Reading. I'll be anxiously waiting for Mr. Greenwald's next book.
Click here to read my book review of Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to NOT Reading.
Click here to enter book giveaway courtesy of author Tommy Greenwald. Ends Tues. Oct. 4, 2011