Getting to Know: Eliot Sappingfield



If I’m allowed to judge a book by its cover, I have to admit I was immediately blown away the moment I saw an advance copy of Eliot Sappingfield’s debut middle-grade novel, A Problematic Paradox (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, January 23, 2018). The fine-line detail, the color scheme, the constellations and lettering; I knew this was one I had to read. If I’m then allowed to judge a book by its story, I soon found myself enthralled in this whimsical and exciting tale of a girl who attends a hidden school for geniuses, all the while on the hunt for her missing father, who has been abducted by a gang of extraterrestrials. Forget that school for wizards, this is the new place to be. I caught up with the author to learn more:

Me: Hi, Eliot. I love your new book. Can you sum up A Problematic Paradox for the uninitiated?

Eliot: Sure! A Problematic Paradox is a humorous sci-fi book where an awkward, yet unapologetically brilliant girl takes refuge in a community of friendly humanoid aliens after her father is kidnapped by a group of much less friendly and much less humanoid aliens. If you’ve ever seen Sleepless in Seattle, it’s nothing like that.

What sparked the creation of your work?

My daughters did. They’re interesting, intelligent girls… and they complained about there not being enough girl lead characters in science fiction, so I decided to try making one and within a week it had developed a life of its own.

Can you share about your creative process?

My process is erratic and obsessive, and probably not a good model for others to follow. I’ll spend weeks where writing is what I do with every moment I’m awake and not otherwise occupied, and weeks where I do absolutely nothing but kind of think about it from time to time, usually when I’m trying to solve a problem I’ve written myself into.

What’s the most surprising thing to you about your publishing journey?

Everything. When I finished the book I had a seriously misinformed idea of what the industry was like, and have had to pick it up as I go along. I still really struggle with self-promotion, it feels completely unnatural to me.

The obvious and not-so-obvious influences on Problematic are…?

The Hitchhiker’s Guide books and Lovecraft are pretty obvious. I also really love the absurd kind of humor you see in books by Vonnegut and Joseph Heller.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I have a day job that takes up a lot of my time. Some friends run a tabletop gaming group, and that’s a lot of fun. I also like to hang around with my wife and kids when they aren’t too busy for me.

Any advice to kids who like to write? And to adults who want to write for kids?

Read as much as you can, whatever interests you, even if it’s descriptions of shipbuilding methods from the 1880s. Write as much as you can and do your best to have fun while you’re doing it- if you’re writing something that feels like pulling teeth, that’s probably how it’ll feel to the reader.

As an illustrator who works on my own covers, I’m always interested in learning an author’s involvement in and reaction to their own cover?

I LOVE my cover. My day job involves more than a little graphic design, so right from the get-go I figured I’d want to offer input and advice on how it turned out. Then the artist John Hendrix, sent us his first draft and I honestly couldn’t find anything I’d change.

What’s next for Nikola and the gang?

More madcap hijinks, probably. I’m hard at work putting the final touches on book two, which will pick up where book one left off.

And lastly: Do they need any visiting art teachers at The School, and if so, think I have a shot at being hired?

I get the idea you might be too emotionally stable. Besides, there’s a very high chance of frequent exposure to radiation and ill-tempered sentient art supplies.

Thanks so much, Eliot. I wish A Problematic Paradox much success!

Learn more at:

Getting to Know: Jackie Yeager

This year, in my ongoing conversations with fellow kidlit creators, I’m going to focus on members of the Electric Eighteens, a group of middle-grade and YA debut authors. First up is Jackie Yeager, whose exciting STEM-friendly novel, SPIN THE GOLDEN LIGHT BULB (Amberjack Publishing), releases January 9th!

Me: Can you sum up your book for the uninitiated?

Jackie: Sure! Spin the Golden Light Bulb, a middle grade story of magical realism, is set in the year 2071. Eleven year-old Kia Krumpet, who has trouble keeping friends at school, is determined to build the 67 inventions she has thought up. But at the end of sixth grade, kids all over the country are sorted, forced to study one academic program for their remaining school years. Therefore, kids are forbidden to build inventions unless they earn a place at PIPS, the Piedmont Inventor’s Prep School.

When Kia and four other kids in NY state are selected to compete for spots at PIPS, they travel to Camp Piedmont, training camp for the Piedmont National Finals, where they encounter a world full of floating playgrounds, switching bunk beds, and robotic monkey assistants…and a technical task they must solve as creatively as possible against forty-nine other state teams. But working with teammates is hard and the level of competition is beyond what even Kia is used to. She and her teammates must learn to work together and create something incredible if they have any chance of earning their place at the best inventor’s school in the country—and keeping their newfound friendship intact.

What sparked the creation of your story?

For several years, I coached my kids’ middle school Odyssey of the Mind teams. The creative problem-solving competition involves solving a long term problem over several months by creating an object and then presenting it to a panel of judges in the form of a skit. In 2011, when my son was eleven, his team did very well and earned a chance to compete in the World Finals. It was an incredible several months for him, for his four teammates, and for me! After that trip, I realized I had a really great story in the making. That competition, along with the experience they had together as a team, was the springboard for Spin the Golden Light Bulb. The book isn’t about Odyssey of the Mind, but it was definitely inspired by it.

Can you share about your creative process?

It takes me a long time to formulate an idea for a story. I’ll spend months walking around in a fog, dreaming up characters and a rough plot before I sit down to write anything. I always start with a main character and put them into some sort of intense situation. Once I have that, the rest comes more easily. I make a loose outline and draft from there. But I’m not someone who can draft a whole manuscript without revising. I would be a horrible candidate for NaNoWriMo! I draft a few chapters and then revise, then draft a few more and then revise all that I’ve written to that point. It seems to take me forever to complete a manuscript! Once I write The End though, it’s actually pretty good—not perfect or polished, but not awful!

What’s the most surprising thing to you about your publishing journey?

Aside from the fact that it took me such a long time to find an agent, I’ve been pleasantly surprised how smoothly the publishing process has gone. I had heard some horror stories through the years but I’ve been fortunate not to run into any problems with publishers, editors, etc. I signed with a new literary agency, a new agent, and a relatively new publisher. They all took a chance on me and I suppose I took a chance on them as well. It could have been a recipe for the perfect storm but instead it has been a perfect collaboration. I guess I’m surprised (and thankful!) at how wonderful the whole journey has been!

The obvious and not-so-obvious influences on Spin are…?

The obvious influence on this book has been the Odyssey of the Mind competition and the kids I’ve coached. If you’ve ever participated in OotM, you’ll notice many similarities to the Piedmont Challenge and the Piedmont National Finals! The not-so-obvious influence? Nacho Cheese Ball! You’ll have to read the book to find out what that is, but an imaginary version was created by my real life Odyssey of the Mind team for the World Finals. This and other parts of their real life skits are sprinkled throughout the story.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I’m with my family a lot. Our house is always busy with teenagers and I love that! Just hanging out at home—when we are all home, is my favorite. With my daughter in college now though, I’d have to say I spend most of my time at hockey rinks, or track or cross country meets, watching my son in one of his many sports events. But I love going out to lunch, dinner, or even coffee to catch up with my husband or friends too. Chatting is my favorite thing to do, I guess!

What advice would you give to kids who like to write? And to adults who want to write for kids?

I would tell kids that writing is the best way to become better at writing, but traditional writing is not the only way it has to happen. I spent my childhood writing plays and skits, and thinking up cheers for my cheerleading squads—not very traditional! If you love words, play around with them in any way that makes sense for you, because if you love doing that, you’ll keep at it—you’ll keep writing, and that’s how you’ll become really great at it!

I would tell adults who want to write for kids that spending time with kids is ultra important. There’s no other way to know what kids are really like so that they can be portrayed authentically in your writing. Reading current middle grade books is equally important too. You’ll learn something new from every single one—both good and bad. But most of all writing a lot is a must. The only way to write an excellent manuscript is to write a poor one first—and maybe a mediocre one after that. My first few manuscripts were nothing stellar (far from it, in fact!) but I got better with each one and you will too.

What’s next for Kia and the gang?

I’m thrilled to say that their adventure is not over yet! Spin the Golden Light Bulb has paved the way for a sequel. Kia, Ander, Mare, Jax, and Jillian will be featured in the second of the Crimson Five books: Flip the Silver Switch…which will be released on July 10, 2018! There’ll be more inventions, more drama, and more creative tasks to solve. But this time there’ll be an international flavor with an extensive cast of characters, and even more secrets for the kids to uncover.

And lastly: Are you, like your characters, an aspiring inventor?

I wish! I’m constantly dreaming up ways to make everyday objects more fun and invent the next big thing. But I have no idea how to make any of the ideas I have happen! So I guess this book is a way for me to channel my inner inventor and showcase my own imaginary inventions!

Jackie’s website is: and you can follow her on:

Twitter: @JackieYeager
Instagram: Jackie_yeager
Facebook: Jackie Yeager, Author

Thanks, Jackie, and wishing your book much success!










Getting to Know: Ginger Rue

Of all hypothetical powers one may daydream about having, I have to admit I’ve always had a fondness for the ability to freeze time (especially in the middle of some of the hectic art classes I teach; instant quiet! Bathroom break! Time to kick back and read!) It’s a trope that comes up often in fiction, too, from the very-adult novel The Fermata, to one of the Halloween stories in the Simpsons. But up until Ginger Rue’s fun new chapter book series for 7-10 year olds, which begins with ALECA ZAMM IS A WONDER, I’d never seen this power depicted so well in kidlit before. I contacted Ginger to learn more about her series and her writing process.

Q: Can you sum up Aleca Zamm for the uninitiated?

Ginger: The ALECA ZAMM series is about a girl who feels like she’s not special in any way. Then, on her tenth birthday, she discovers she can stop time just by saying her name, and restart time the same way at her leisure.

Q: What sparked the creation of your series?

Ginger: I actually wrote a series of these stories when I was in sixth grade. It was kind of cool because my teacher (who was awesome) let me read them to the class, and my class loved them and kept asking for new installments. It was a reward at the end of the week: if everyone behaved well through Friday, the teacher let me read one of the girl-who-stops-time stories aloud. Did I save any of the stories I wrote when I was 11 or 12? Sadly, no, I did not. What I wouldn’t give to have those stories now!

Q: Can you share about your creative process?

Ginger: It was funny because I was having this really down time when I remembered the Aleca stories of my youth. I was in my 40s, had the flu or some really terrible sinus infection, and I’d pulled my back out on top of that, so I was on all this medication and feeling horrible, and I was lying in bed sort of re-evaluating my life choices, berating myself for thinking that I could make it as a writer. I tried to remember what in the world had ever made me think I was any good at writing, why I’d ever thought I could do this for a living. And that’s when I remembered the Aleca stories from sixth grade. I thought, “Man, the kids in my class absolutely loved those stories, and they were so fun to write!” I think one of the kids in my class had actually written fan fiction, even though that wasn’t a term we had back then. I thought, wow, maybe that’s the book I ought to write. So once I was up and about again, I emailed my agent and sheepishly said, “I know we still haven’t sold my last project, but I have this idea for a children’s chapter book series….” I was afraid she would think I’d lost my mind, but she said, “Go for it!” I sat down to write ALECA and was amazed at how much fun it was and how easily it came together. Maybe this was because I’d been doing 40,000-50,000-word manuscripts up until this point (ALECA is about 12,000), or maybe it was because I was just having fun with it, making myself laugh, never really expecting anyone else to see it, but I remember it came together sort of magically.

Q: The obvious and not-so-obvious influences on Aleca Zamm are…?

Ginger: Well, I think there is no way to get around how much Barbara Park’s JUNIE B. JONES influenced me as far as reminding me how much fun elementary chapter books can be. I read all of those to my daughters when they were young, and we laughed ourselves silly. I also really loved Beverly Cleary’s books when I was young. She always made me laugh. I think Junie B. and Ramona have the sort of sass and spunk that Aleca maybe inherited.

As far as influences on the characters, I had a great aunt named Aunt Zelpher. I didn’t meet her until I was in high school, but I’d heard my mom and grandmother talk about her for years. My mom’s family is from Mississippi, so when they pronounce things, it’s rarely like they’re spelled. They’d say, “Aint Zephyr this” and “Aint Zephyr that.” And I recall thinking that it was so magical and mysterious that this woman was named after the west wind. I was disappointed to find out that wasn’t actually her name! She was a tiny little spunky woman, and I liked her immediately, even though I think I was around her only once or twice. All the women on my mom’s side of the family are like that: sassy and no-nonsense and will say anything to anybody. So Aunt Zephyr in the book reminds me a lot of my mom and my aunt Betty, my mom’s sister. There’s a scene in the first ALECA book where Aunt Zephyr sees her nephew after many years have passed, and she tells him he hasn’t changed a bit, only to immediately follow that up with, “Of course, I’m lying. Your hair is gray and you’re developing jowls,” or something to that effect. It made me LOL when I wrote it, just picturing my aunt saying that. Also, when I hear Aunt Zephyr’s voice in my head when I’m writing, she sounds exactly like my 12th grade English teacher, Mrs. Roby, who was a tiny little woman who struck fear into the hearts of all her students. Aunt Zephyr is an amalgamation of all these strong women I’ve known. I guess I like the juxtaposition of a small, frail older woman with a big, strong presence. (Although my mom and my aunt Betty are not frail. They were both nurses and have the strength and energy of women half their age, combined with a take-no-prisoners attitude. The last time a coyote got into my cousin’s chicken house, Betty very nonchalantly just went out there and killed it!)

Q: What do you do when you’re not writing?

Ginger: I take my kids to the orthodontist! Seriously, between the three of them, I feel like I take somebody to some kind of appointment every day! But I am extremely grateful I get to do that. I also have a puppy who now runs much of my life. Other than that, I am a contributing editor for GUIDEPOSTS magazine, so I usually have one or two articles in the works for them at all times, if I’m lucky.

Q: What advice would you give to kids who like to write? And to adults who want to write for kids?

Ginger: Well, first of all, I’d tell those kids to SAVE THEIR STORIES…because you could wind up in your 40s reworking them! And it would be nice to remember specifically what plot points and characterizations appealed to you when you were that age. For adults who want to write for kids, I guess I’d remind them not to be preachy. Make the child character drive the plot. Get the adults out of the way as much as possible, unless they’re nutty and colorful and a kid at heart.

Q: What’s next for Aleca? Any non-Aleca projects on the horizon?

Ginger: After the fourth ALECA novel comes out, I’m not sure. I hope there will be more because I have a lot of places we could go with that, and I’m not sick of any of the characters yet, so that’s pretty cool. But we’ll see. Right now, I’m actually working on a nonfiction project for middle grade and on a young adult novel.

Q: And finally: if you could freeze time, what would you do with your power?

Ginger: I wish I could have a hallway with several doors, one for each year of my life, and that whenever I wanted to, I could open the door to that year, walk in, and be that age again for a little while. I have no doubt that the doors I would open most frequently would be the ones to the years when my children were little. Oh, to be able to rock them to sleep, or have them sit on my lap and color again, or to cuddle up and read a picture book together! It all goes by too fast, but if we could freeze it and keep it, we might never restart time—we might just stay there always. But it’s also pretty great to live in the now, when they are old enough to offer hilarious sarcastic commentaries! Each phase of life has its own charms, but yes, freezing time to savor it all a little longer would be wonderful.

Me: Thank you, Ginger. I’m wishing the Aleca Zamm series much success!

You can find Ginger at  or on her Facebook page at

Getting to Know: Rob Vlock

This summer, I had the pleasure of visiting four dead American literary figures in Concord, Massachusetts, and one live one. Concord, as my wife and I discovered on a trip to the area, was the home of Thoreau, Alcott, Hawthorne and Emerson. Verily cool! Not as well known is that in the next town over lives an author named Rob Vlock, whose wild middle grade debut SVEN CARTER AND THE TRASHMOUTH EFFECT just released this past week. Rob  showed us Walden Pond (there’s a swimming beach and gift shop!) as well as Authors Ridge in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where the above four literary giants eternally rest together. We also chatted about the joys (and frustrations) of writing humor and action for kids. More recently, I asked him about his exciting debut:

Can you sum up Sven Carter & the Trashmouth Effect for the uninitiated?

Sven Carter & The Trashmouth Effect is the story of a 12-year-old kid who’s perfectly normal in every way… except that he has an uncontrollable compulsion to eat really gross things. Oh, and he’s also a “Tick” — a super-advanced synthetic humanoid who’s programmed to wipe out the entire human population of Earth. When he discovers this little fact about himself, he, his best friend Will and his robot-hunting classmate Alicia set off on a quest to stop Sven from carrying out his mission. Along the way, they have to survive a whole host of Ticks — from terrifying clown-snakes to a 300-pound Chihuahua to killer roast chickens — that are determined to stop them.

What sparked the creation of your book?

I’ve always loved stories of self-discovery. So I knew I wanted to write a book about a kid who learns something truly unique about himself. Most stories of this sort feature a main character who uncovers a wonderful gift hidden inside him or herself. Like Harry Potter learning he’s a wizard. Or Percy Jackson finding out he’s a demigod. But I wanted to change things up a little. So I wrote a book about a kid who has to come to terms with the fact that his very reason for existing is to do something horrible. He a good kid who’s destined to do something very bad. Not only does he have to battle some bad guys along the way, he has to battle with himself to figure out who he really is and what his place is in the world. As soon as I came up with that central conflict, most of the story just snapped into place.

Can you share about your creative process?

I’m definitely what you’d call a “pantser” – someone who writes by the seat of his pants. I find that if I plot my stories out too carefully, the whole exercise becomes too mechanical, too inorganic. Instead, I constantly try to create problems for my characters and myself as I go. I’ll intentionally write my characters into a corner that I genuinely have no idea how to solve. Then I have to puzzle it out on the spot. Usually I can figure out a way out of that corner – and sometimes I have to scrap the whole scene and rewrite. But there’s something that’s so rewarding about finding a way to save your characters from a room full of deadly robots with nothing but an apple to defend themselves with.

What’s the most surprising thing to you about your publishing journey?

Before I became a published author, I don’t think I ever realized how many wonderful, talented people are working hard behind the scenes of every book. The author may be the person whose name is on the cover, but there are editors, art directors, illustrators, copy editors, proofreaders, typographers and a bunch of other people who all have to work together to bring your book to life. I benefitted so much from the passion and creativity all these folks poured into making Sven Carter the best book it could be. I was surprised and truly flattered to have that team standing behind me every step of the way.

The obvious and not-so-obvious influences on Sven Carter are…?

The science fiction influences are pretty obvious: Philip K. Dick’s stories — particularly Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (which was made into the movie Blade Runner); The Terminator movies; I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. I also found Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books to be inspirational. On the less obvious side, Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis was a big one; P.G. Wodehouse’s humor was profoundly influential to me; and I’d have to throw some of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books (especially the Death series) into the mix, as well.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I’m really good at finding ways to procrastinate, so there’s no shortage of non-writing activities I indulge in. I enjoy playing the trumpet (although my wife and kids probably don’t enjoy it so much). I love spending time in my workshop building things — pieces of furniture, musical instruments… I once made an electromagnet that could lift about two-hundred pounds. I was a little scared of it, to be honest, so I ended up taking it apart before I hurt myself. And, of course, I read. A lot.

What advice would you give to kids who like to write? And to adults who want to write for kids?

Don’t do it!!!! (Just kidding!) For me the most important thing is to have fun writing. This is especially important for kids. Writing shouldn’t be a chore. It’s an opportunity to be creative and get that great story in your head out so you can share it with the world. If you’re not enjoying it, the reader probably won’t enjoy it either, so don’t be too hard on yourself — that’s a great way to suck all the fun right out of it. Finally, be ready to revise and revise and then revise your revisions and revise the revisions of your revisions. It’s a ton of work, but it can be one of the most fun, satisfying things you can do!

Can you give any insight into what we might expect for Sven Carter 2?

Sven Carter & The Android Army will be coming out in the fall of 2018. And it’s been a blast to write. Without giving too much away, I can say that at the beginning of the book, Sven, Alicia and Will realize that the Ticks’ plot to destroy humanity is much larger than they originally believed. There are more Ticks out there somewhere, each with unique, potentially world-ending abilities. So Sven and his friends hop in Junkman Sam’s rusty RV and set out to save the world — again — from an even bigger threat. They make some pretty… unusual friends along the way. Readers can expect even more humor, grossness and head-popping action than in the first Sven Carter book.

You showed me some pretty amazing literary sites (photo = us at Thoreau’s cabin at Walden Pond). What literary site in the world that you haven’t visited would you most like to see?I’ve been lucky enough to have seen quite a few literary sites over the years — the café in Edinburgh where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter; James Joyce’s house in Dublin; Herman Melville’s and Emily Dickenson’s houses in western Massachusetts and a bunch more. But I’ve always wanted to go to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory (you don’t happen to have a spare golden ticket, do you?). But if not that, I’d settle for Ernest Hemingway’s house on Key West. I understand it’s filled with 54 six-toed cats, which may not be as good as a lifetime supply of chocolate, but is pretty darn close!

Thanks for giving me the chance to talk about myself, Jonathan! I really enjoyed it!

Rob can be found at and @robvlock on Twitter.

Getting to Know: Jonathan Rosen

We all have our profound fears: snakes, spiders, planes, and of course…cuddle bunnies.


Not frightened yet? Then you obviously haven’t read the new middle-grade novel, Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies (Sky Pony Press, August 29, 2017) by Jonathan Rosen. Like many Jonathans who write for kids, Jonathan is super serious and cool and not at all silly or nerdy, and I was happy to catch up with him for a chat.

Jonathan Roth: First of all, is it okay if I get to be JRo 1 and you can be JRo 2?

Jonathan Rosen: Ha! Since it’s your house, I’ll acquiesce to your proposal. And, yes, you’re right, I just learned the word acquiesce, and vowed to use it in a sentence.

JRo 1: Can you succinctly sum up Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies? Bonus points if you can do it without using any words from the title.

JRo 2: You’re sure not making things easy for this interview. Do you want me to answer without using vowels, also?

Okay, I’ll go for back cover copy then. Devin Dexter, a 12-year old, residing in the town of Gravesend, suspects his neighbor is a warlock, but nobody believes him. When that year’s hot Christmas toy starts coming to life and performing evil acts, Devin, and his cousin, Tommy, become convinced, and set out to to put an end to it, before the whole town is overrun by a mob of marauding stuffed animals.

(I think I did a pretty god job there! 😊 )

JRo 1: What sparked the creation of your book?

JRo 2: For a long time, I had been wanting to do a horror/comedy hybrid. There were many movies that I loved, like that, when I was growing up. Things such as Fright Night, Gremlins, etc. Funny and scary, is a good mix.

So, while I’m thinking about this, a previous manuscript of mine, went to committee at two different publishing houses. Both places ultimately passed, but both said that they loved the humor, which was a comment I got a lot through the years. That spurred me to go on and work on a really humorous middle grade, which became Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies.

JRo 1: What, if any, story details changed most drastically from first draft to last?

JRo 2: Believe it or not, not a lot changed. Really, only a few things. The first, was changing the character of Tommy, from best friend, to cousin. It was thought, that would be more logical, why they have to put up with each other.

Another thing, was more scenes with Abby. The little sister proved to be a big hit, so I was asked to expand her scenes.

The last thing was, the “villain”. Originally, I was going to have him be taken away or be gone at the end, but he was such a fun character, that I decided to leave him in the mix for sequels.

JRo 1: What is the most surprising thing about the publishing process?

JRo 2: The most surprising thing to me, is just how long it takes. From the time I signed the contract, to the time that Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies was going to be published, was well over a year. Everything moves at a snail’s pace.

JRo 1: The obvious and not-so-obvious influences on Cuddle Bunnies are…?

JRo 2: I already mentioned some, but all the horror/humor movies I liked to watch. I love when the two genres mix. Among my favorites are, Gremlins, Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland and Fright Night.

JRo 1: Do you write full time or also have a “day job”?

Not at the point where I can just write full-time, but I have, at least, also expanded my writing career. Have also done work-for-hire, ghostwriting, and about to do some other things as well as my own work. Hopefully, all of that will increase this year.

JRo 1: What advice would you give to kids who like to write? And to adults who want to write for kids?

JRo 2: First thing, and this applies to both, is to read, and read a lot. You start to see story structure, by reading other books. And read in the genre you want to write. I read way more middle grade books than anything else. For kids, I think it’s important to do a lot of writing for fun. Just freestyle and a lot of creative writing. There isn’t enough time devoted to creative writing in school.

For adults, learn your craft. Read books, get critiques from pros and perhaps be in a critique group. Any way you choose, you need feedback. Conferences are also a great way to learn things from people in the industry.

JRo 1: You post often and entertainingly, but what’s one interesting tidbit about yourself or your book that you have never admitted online or publicly yet to anyone?

JRo 2: And exactly why would I admit it here? 😊

But, one interesting thing is, I’ve lived in many different places. Different countries and different states. I’ve also visited many more. When I was a kid, I didn’t like moving so much, but later in life, I’m glad I did, since it gave me an appreciation of different people and different cultures.

JRo 1: Thanks, JRo 2, for sharing about your book and process. I’m wishing Cuddle Bunnies much success!


Jonathan Rosen is a transplanted New Yorker, who now lives with his family in sunny, South Florida. He spends his “free” time being a volunteer coach and chauffeur for his three kids. Some of Jonathan’s fondest childhood memories are of discovering a really good book to dive into. He currently writes middle-grade, because he finds that he shares the same sense of humor as that audience. Jonathan is proud to be of Mexican-American descent, although neither country has been willing to accept responsibility. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, FromtheMixedUpFiles.Com, The Tuesday Writers and his own website,