Hello James, and welcome to The Hook! Since we are super-close friends, I am already aware of the many fantastic children’s books you’ve written (quite the impressive collection!) but please tell our readers a bit about them and the wonderful world of Junkyard Junction.
Thank you! I have written more than 30 picture books. Putting Junkyard Junction onto paper was a long process that took three years. Each Junkyard Junction character is passionate about something. Squirt is into sports, Hugo loves animals and gardening, Stanley is a handyman, Betty and Belinda Booger love to cook and entertain, Sally Star is an actress and model, while Bug, who is Sally Star’s biggest fan, is into the arts. I hope the characters inspire the reader and encourage them to pursue their own interests and dreams. This is important to me is because I was born and raised in extreme poverty. Although I had many childhood dreams, they were often overshadowed by my worries and made them appear beyond my reach.What inspired you to write books for children?
I have always been a writer and I have always loved picture books. In fact, I give my husband a picture book every year for Christmas. My mother was an avid reader who encouraged all of her children to read. Dubuque Iowa had a book mobile that stopped in my neighborhood every week and I never missed it. To this day, I am still inspired by and enjoy reading anything “Peanuts” or “Dr. Seuss.” One of my most prized possessions is a “Peanuts” book signed by Charles Schulz.
You also have other interests as far as writing goes, other exciting projects you’ve created. Fill us in on these, too!
My screenplay “The ABC’s Are Everywhere” is currently in production in India. I have a completed horror script entitled “The Patch” as well as a cartoon series called “Silly Square." I am never short on ideas for a writing project.In this very crowded literary marketplace, what is necessary, in your opinion, for any one book to stand out among the rest?
I have seen too many writers trying to follow trends. Be a leader not a follower. Start the next trend and let everyone else follow you.
Fill in the blank: If for some reason I could no longer write I guess I’d have to ___________________ instead.I think it would be fun to be a celebrity chef. However, I honestly have no desire to be famous. I love to cook and entertain. My mother taught all eleven of her children to cook at an early age. I remember her watching over me as I fried an egg in a cast iron skillet when I was five years old. I am “almost famous” for my homemade cookies and banana zucchini bread. I get more excited about the food I plan to make than the gifts I will receive during the holidays.
Fave quote (any topic): I don’t remember where I read this or who said it, but the quote that resonates to me the most is “The difference between a successful person and an unsuccessful person is persistence.” I recite this to myself whenever I get discouraged.
Which famous book (aside from your own, of course) do you wish you could say you’d written?“Charlotte’s Web” It was read to me and my 3rd grade class by my teacher Mrs. Malone. She would sit on an old couch situated between two classrooms and read to us every day after lunch. It was my favorite part of every school day. It has an important message that is told through a beautiful story. It made me believe that someday, I would find a way out of poverty and do extraordinary things.
Okay, we’re snacking now – salty or sweet?Hello! Both! All four food groups are represented when you slap them together! LOL!
How can we find you?
http://www.junkyardjunction.com My website is currently in a redesign process. The new website will be more animated and have some really cool stuff on it. I am not sure when it will be completed but I can hardly wait to show it off.Follow me on twitter @duffertweets But be advised, I love politics and I am not afraid to voice my opinion. Besides using Twitter to promote my own work, I follow many other writers and try to promote their work as well. I seriously need to check myself into a Twitter rehab facility. I absolutely love it!
Junkyard Junction is on Facebook and Myspace.The first book in the Junkyard Junction series “Squirt’s New Home” is sold on Amazon.
Thank you so much for being here, James! Best of luck to you in your writing career :)