Joe is an average kid on spring break when he’s abducted by alien spies. This sets off a series of events that are both fun and entertaining. What was the initial goal when starting this novel and how did it change as you were writing it?
EDWARD: It started out as a 14 page script; typed on loose leaf paper, back in high school when I was big into super 8 film (before VCRs or home computers were invented). Then it sat until I decided to convert it into a book (the iMac was invented but the iPod wasn’t.) and then it sat until two years ago when Al and I decided to give the self-publishing world a go. I figured if I was only able to write one book in my lifetime, (and it seemed to be taking that long) I would make it the book I’d want to read, so my target audience was one. And I’ve been my own best customer. There was pressure to follow market criteria for a successful book; a dazzling cover, writing to a customer base, grammar and punctuation, but I don’t do well that way. I’m a little rough around the edges and unrefined and my story is too.
ALLEN: As this was an idea Ed had back in our school days, I think we both wanted to maintain as much of our original “fun concept” and yet bring it a more grown up feeling. We wanted others to fall in love with Joe as we had over the years.
It seemed like you had a lot of fun writing this book. What was your favorite part to write?
ALLEN: As part of our process we would both send each other changes we wanted and Ed would choose what he thought was best. I would open up his changes and often be laughing out loud minutes later. Ed always had the better sense of humor. For me the beginning is the most fun to write as it is the most important part, without a good start readers won’t keep reading.
EDWARD: The most fun and most frustrating was weaving Poe’s ‘Raven’ into a chapter, but I also enjoyed turning the play by play of the Ali/Fraser, ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ into a diplomatic fray. Unfortunately Longfellow, Tennyson and Whitman took a beating too. Sometimes things don’t work out well like my attempt to turn a car chase into a foxhunt but that did spawn the British/Aussie feud between the helicopter pilots. I also enjoyed paying homage to all the sci-fi I grew up with by weaving a lot of trivia into the book, the numbers 42, 2001, 1999 and terms like space seed, Thunderbirds, and countless more.
Joe is an interesting character, that encounters many odd situations and aliens. What were the driving ideals behind the characters development throughout the story?
ALLEN: I have always felt we took the best of both of us and smashed it together to create Joe. So he is truly an average earthling. Other characters developed by trial and error. Whatever seemed best to throw Joe into some crazy situation seemed the direction that the other characters went. Then we tried to keep them as believable as possible.
EDWARD: I always found that ordinary people in extraordinary situations make the best stories. I also figured if we gave any character a name, they needed an idiom, because all people have their little quirks and it seems to make them more real. Other than that the characters drove the story, I was along for the ride and didn’t really know how it was going to turn out at times.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
ALLEN: We have a book in screenplay form coming very soon called “The Pen”. It is about a Squire helping his Knight win the affections of a damsel, while they defend the land from a ruthless enemy from the Knight’s past. Squire helps his Knight win the affections of a damsel, while they defend the land from a ruthless enemy from the Knight’s past. Squire helps his Knight win the affections.
EDWARD: I always have a bunch of half started storylines on my computer, but we are halfway through the first draft of what promises to be a more traditional sci-fi serial that Al developed (sorry Poe I took another shot at you in this one too). The Arturo Express (as mentioned in JOE) is beginning to form. And I’d love to write a Dr. WHO script.
It starts out with a very contrived first chapter setting events into motion for our hero, Joe, as he is accidentally abducted by alien super spies. They screamed like girls because the war is cold. And yet the book still continues with no well-defined antagonist, as a thief in the night complicates things further when data, the super spies are after, is stolen. This brings in the detective force with the android advantage. Soon after you fall into a precipice of idiocrasy, only to find that a painstakingly slow chapter ensues until we meet several minor characters one of which has a chapter named after him. A massive chase begins with Joe as the objective, and an old lady hits on a south of the boarder inamorta. A supplemental chapter is added because I couldn’t resist a childish bathroom joke. This just in! Joe finds out, that after her boyfriends, he’s not frightening. A quick night on the town with a montage is followed by mimosas and tomato juice. While Henry sits in the park. Intellegence? I dare say not. But there is a house party that leads into a musical interlude of Peer Gynt Suite I. Repetitive redundancy repeats itself with another chase of the same alien through the same town again…because…why not. And then we get to the last chapter which ends the book.
Posted in Interviews
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Oliver and Jumpy is book 4 in your children’s series that follows playful characters as they go on various adventures. Why was it important for you to create a children’s story that focused on kindness, friendship and helping others?
Many picture books have lessons to tell, but can be very obvious. Children don’t really like to be told what to do. A good example is always better and Oliver, although he is quite a character, shows that you can have fun and adventure, and at the same time do good.
The art in this book is wonderful. What was the collaboration like with the illustrators?
I thought a long time about which quality of illustrations I should pursue. I did not want to go cheap with dots for eyes figures. I would have loved to follow the very complex pictures of the fairy-tales books of 100 years ago. Unfortunately, being self-financed, this option would have been far too expensive. I grew up with Walt Disney and decided to follow that style, which is easy enough for most illustrators to create, but with facial expressions possible. I tried out six illustrators. The first one, Marvin Alonso, was outstanding. He did illustrations to about eleven of the stories before finding greener pastures. Then I found Maycee Ann Reyes who works together with her husband. The rest is history. This team was simply fabulous. They needed a minimum of supervision and created the scenes of the stories totally by themselves. I just provided the story and simple instructions. Maycee turned out a picture every 3-4 days. These series has about 500 illustrations. Oliver and Jumpy began 4 years ago and it was a herculean task which is now finished. This is a triumph of self-publishing. No run-of-the-mill publisher would have been able to produce such an elaborate work in that time.
My favorite story is Butterfly Trouble. What is your favorite story in this book and in the series?
I like the Dog story. I wrote this story because every time we have our daily walk through the neighborhood, there is a bored dog barking and my wife is saying that we should knock on the door and see if we can take him for a walk with us. My favorite story of the series is Story 18 called Moon Crystal. Oliver travels to the moon to bring healing crystals back to Sillandia. This book won the Readers Favorite Book Award Gold Medal.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will that be available?
I have been working and finished the Chinese and Spanish version of the series. I am now working on the German one and other languages will follow. My final goal will be to find a company who is willing to invest in a TV series. I would like to see children all around the world to benefit of the marvelous work of my illustrators.
Picture book: A cat series book for kids riddled with mystery and fantasy.
Oliver is an elegant tuxedo cat, who is full of himself. As a matter of fact he says: “I love myself!”, quite often. Naughty, isn’t he? But his best friend Jumpy, a kangaroo lady, is aware that he has a soft heart and will always want to help others. The great thing is Jumpy’s pouch, which Oliver loves to ride in! He calls her his kangaroo taxi! These little bedtime stories with their lovely illustrations are great for small kids. A parent can read the text and tell the child in his own words. These animal stories have sufficient text to keep early readers happy and provide some educational value. Love you all! Meow! Story 10: Unhappy Dog – The friends help an unhappy dog to escape his boredom. Story 11: Kite High – Flying high is everybody’s dream, but how to get down? Story 12: Butterfly Trouble – Butterflies don’t like to be caught.
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The Hungry Monster Book Awards are given to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and The Hungry Monster is proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.
Death Leaders by Kendra Hadnott
Jabberwocky: A Novella by Theodore Singer
Milijun by Clayton Graham
Derailed by Alyssa Rosy Ivy
Bar Nights by Dave Matthes
Death of a Gypsy by Janet Hannah
Mervyn vs. Dennis by Niels Saunders
Stage Door Comedies by Sally Roger
Asana of Malevolence by Kate Abbott
In the Eyes of Madness by Michael Pang
Welcome to Deep Cove by Grant T. Reed
The Six and the Crystals if Ialana by Katlynn Brooke
Thing Bailiwick: A Collection of Horror by Fawn Bonning
Tarbabies: The Shadow Man of Ichabod Lane by Allen Brady
Books have the ability to entertain and inform us. They can make the impossible possible. They are vehicles of time travel and windows into perspectives. In books, authors are gods and imagination is their power. Transforming letters into words; words into characters and places; and these into emotions and worlds. Even if we never meet, we are connected by the stories we tell.
Posted in Hungry Monster Book Award
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dalliance: [dal-ee-uh ns, dal-yuh ns] – noun – amorous toying; flirtation.
dillydally: [dil-ee-dal-ee, –dal-] – verb – to waste time.
Dalliance with dillydallying? Don’t worry about the title. You’re here! And now we can both move on together.
The Monster was asked by Steven Capps to guest post on his site, S.T. Capps. The purpose of his blog is to create a place where we can talk about how to become better writers and get some tips for the industry as well. The Monster was honored and provided a post about author interviews and how to make the most of them. If you’re interested in finding loads of good information on being a writer in today’s world go to https://stevencapps.wordpress.com/ and follow his site.