Dial M for Mongoose is the 15th title in the Chet Gecko Mysteries for readers aged 8-12. Imagine hard-boiled private eye Sam Spade, turned into a lizard, and plopped down in a 4th grade classroom — that’s Chet Gecko, Private Eye.
In his latest tale, Chet must get to the root of school-wide sabotage, including stink bombs, thefts, fire, and collapsing buildings — all while avoiding the cootie-filled embrace of Shirley Chameleon.
Tell us something about yourself.
I started off as a cartoonist, but the writing bug bit me while I was living in Tokyo, teaching English. Before becoming a full-time writer and speaker, I also worked as a deejay, a gardener, an actor, a tape salesman, and a corporate lackey.
What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?
For me, the hardest part of writing is plotting. Once I have the bare bones of the story, I can wail away at a first draft, and editing is rewarding, but oh, that plotting.
What’s next on your reading stack?
As soon as I finish THE HELP, I look forward to tucking into THE LONG FALL by Walter Mosley, one of my favorite mystery writers.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
I love adult mysteries and children’s fantasy novels the best, but I read in almost all categories — even biographies and business nonfiction. Favorite authors include Rick Riordan, Walter Mosley, Holly Black, Jonathan Tropper, Isabel Allende, Sara Gruen, MT Anderson, and the list goes on…
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Be persistent. Persistence is more important than talent. Although I self-published five books over nine years, all that time I was trying to get published by a major national publisher. It took me almost nine years and six manuscripts before I hit the jackpot with a three-book deal. Steel yourself against rejection, take comfort from personal rejection letters, keep writing, and never give up!
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?