My most recent book is What’s the Trouble in the Forest of Kerfubble?
It is a story in rhyme, about a family of hares that panic when they hear a strange noise, the falling of a nearby tree. As they run away from the imagined danger they run into several other forest creatures. With each telling of the news, the imagined level of danger increases. Eventually a stampede of animals are running away from what they fear is an army of hungry monsters.
Tell us something about yourself.
I live in Florida with my wife Jennifer (the illustrator of this book) and our two children. I was born and raised in Wrentham, a small town in Massachusetts.
I have always had a vivid imagination and loved making up stories to tell family and friends which led me to study screenwriting and fiction through UCLA.
As a child, I would do practically anything to avoid reading due to a nervous stammer that came about each time I attempted to read aloud and the older I got the more embarrassing it became.
It wasn’t until years later, through the eyes of my own children, that I was drawn into the world of books. Reading stories to my kids became a game. At first, they had no idea that I wasn’t actually reading. I was looking at the picture and just making it up as I went along. Later I would quickly skim the text as we looked at the picture and just summarize using some of the goofiest voices I could come up with. Slowly but surely I grew less and less nervous
What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to use the game of telephone as a way to make a ridiculous example of the idea of following the crowd and just accepting something as true without question .
How did you choose the title?
Kerfubble was a word I made up as a child as a way to describe a confusing situation and this just seemed a good opportunity to use it.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
Jennifer and I wanted to work together on this and other story ideas we have, a partnership which sources tell me, is frowned upon by the larger traditional publishing house. The more we worked on the book the more determined we became to working together. Then our kids became involved with some of the other ideas we were bouncing around and we joked that this was becoming quite a “family business”. You see, our daughter Christina is quite artistic like her mother. She is actually the illustrator of two of our up-coming books. “Swoops and the Midnight Monster” on which she is my illustrator and “King-Sized Imagination” which Jennifer wrote and they illustrated together.
The “family business” idea was the key. We felt it would be a tough sell to the established publishers to take on a – Husband/wife – father/daughter – mother/daughter team of author/illustrators so we decided to form Inkblot Press LLC.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I’ve always had an active imagination and loved telling stories. I originally wanted to write movies, which is actually what I studied with UCLA. I was working on a screenplay idea that was rather complex, a story that wasn’t cooperating in terms of continuity in outline form so I asked Jennifer and Christina to storyboard the idea with me. The children’s books idea sort of grew out of this practice.
Do you have any writing rituals?
I keep a note pad and pen with me at all times including one on the nightstand next to the bed. I don’t have any set writing hours but write when an idea hits me. I will often put a story aside for weeks or even months in order to clear my mind and look at it with fresh eyes again before completion.
I only use mechanical pencils when writing. And only write blurbs and one-liners which I flesh out at the computer later. Not very efficient but it feels right to me for now.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
“What’s the Trouble in the Forest of Kerfubble?” is one book in which there really aren’t any character names simply because of the flow of the story but as a general rule my characters get named in one of two ways; either once drawn I say the first thing that pops into my head, or I will look up name meanings.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
I learned that like the old saying success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration, getting a book out there is 10% writing and 90% marketing.
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
I would begin marketing several months before the release.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite books are young adult fiction/fantasy – Harry Potter series, JK Rowling is a hero of mine and the person whom I would most like to meet. Everything about her personal story is an inspiration to me. John Flanagan and his “Ranger’s Apprentice” series is also a personal favorite of mine. Christopher Paolini’s “Inheritance Trilogy” which we are now awaiting the 4th book (4th book of a trilogy????) also ranks high on my list.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I am currently working on a book to be called “Snakes Have Feelings Too.” A young snake named Vincent wants to be an author. He’s an outcast as a snake for wanting to be with people and you already know how most people feel about snakes.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Write every day, if you want to be a professional writer then you should treat writing as a profession. And most importantly, since writing is rewriting, be willing to write badly – just get it on paper or on the screen now, you’ll have to fix it later anyway.
Most importantly don’t take no for an answer. JK Rowling and Harry Potter were turned down dozens of times, Stephen King had thrown his manuscript for “Carrie” in the trash because he was so sick of rejection letters. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school varsity team. The Beatles were turned down many times. – Don’t be pig headed though, some advice is good – take the advice that works for you and follow your dreams – keep in mind, It’s not how many times we fall that defines us, it’s how many times we get back up again (fall 8 times but get up 9).
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
As Much as I would like to say “everyone” it would be children up to the age of 12. We’ve found that pre-readers love to have this story read to them also (that’s a hint to the parents and grandparents out there)
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
It can also be found at http://www.inkblotpress.com as well