February 3, 2011

Interview W/ Author Patrick Jennings

PatrickI am close friends
with author Patrick Jennings, writer of the books Guinea Dog, Faith and the Electric Dog among others.
Faith and the Electric Dogs Cover

I sat down and interviewed this wonderful author who's newest book "Lucky Cap" which will be released this April.

Q: Where did you get the inspiration for "Lucky Cap"?
A: Originally, from Buster Keaton, the silent era comedian and film director. He wore a flat cap and somehow always avoided injury, despite buildings falling down around him or his being stuck in railroad tracks with a train bearing down on him. He inspired a story about a boy whose cap kept him out of trouble. But I got the idea twelve years ago. It's gone through lots of changes since then.
Q: How do you come up with character's names?
A: I keep a list of kid names, which I add to when I do school visits and workshops. Chase and Lance came from that list. Kai was named for a young boy I knew. I allowed twin girls I met to name two of the Sisterhood (Enzo's four sisters). Enzo was a name I always liked. I like boy names that end in O, like Laszlo in WOLVING TIME. Evan Stevens was clearly a joke.
Q: Who is your main writing inspiration?
A: Authors and kids. The books I read and the young people I meet.

Q: What can readers look forward to in "Lucky Cap"?
A: A tragedy. (Boy loses favorite cap!) A mystery. (Who took it?) A comedy. (Boy ruins life trying to find it.
Q:What is your favorite book [written by you]?
A: I don't like to say. I'm afraid if the others find out they might hurt me.
What author do you get your writing style from?
A: Probably the writers I most steal from....er, emulate...are Roald Dahl, William Steig, and Mark Twain. Oh, and Benji Kenworthy.
Q:Why did you want to become a children's author?
A: I love books. I love kids. Seemed the thing to do.
Q: How many revisions do you usually have to make before the book gets printed?
A: I'd say twenty. Some less, some more. It takes me that many passes to get it right.
What is your favorite book?
A: Webster's Third International Dictionary. It sags in the middle, and the ending is predictable. (Hint: it starts with a Z.) But it's filled with excitement, intrigue, humor, mystery, treachery, mayonnaise, caramel, wienerschnitzel, and lots of other words.
Q: Besides "Lucky Cap" can you tell us about what else you're working on or is currently in th works of being published?
A: I'm working on a series of choose-your-own-path books called DIG YOUR OWN GRAVE. Each book tells the life cycle of an animal from birth to adulthood. The reader is the animal, and must make tough life-or-death calls. I'm also working on a book about aliens stealing Earth's dogs, and another about a kid whose fingers are coming off one at a time, then his toes, then his....well, you get the picture. Also my first picture book, BAT & RAT, will be published by Abrams in 2012. It will be illustrated by the great Matthew Cordell. It's about a bat and a....well, guess.

Q: I found out that your book is dedicated to Pato's Cave a group of young authors [which includes me]; how have they effected your writing career?
A: Immensely. Spending hours each week with the authors has taught me a lot about what kids want from books and what they definitely don't want. Plus they've been excellent research subjects for characters.
Q: What do you love the most about my blog?
A: I like your tag line: "Anyone who says they only have one life to live must not know how to read a book." I also like that you have "Anything by Patrick Jennings" under your Favorite Books.
Okay so thanks for reading that totally awesome interview I had with and even better author, visit his website at http://patrickjennings.com/ or Patrick's writing group at http://patoscave.blogspot.com/. Check out my early review of his "Lucky Cap" to be released April 26 this year. My review will be posted a at least a month before the book is released so you can decide before it hits stores!

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