I figured I should get my interviewing skills up to par just in case I meet any high profile authors. So to get myself in interviewing shape I decided to interview the one author I knew who had the time, myself. Except for a couple of awkward moments I feel the interview went rather well. But I will let you be the judge. Enjoy!
I am very excited to have the talented and might I add, well dressed, Paul Czajak with us today. He exploded on the children’s picture book scene with his debut book Monster Needs a Costume published by Scarletta Kids.
Thank you Paul for joining us today and answering my questions.
Not a problem Paul glad to be here even though you couldn’t have picked a more inconvenient time to conduct this interview.
Well…I mailed you these question a month ago and you are answering them at your leisure so there is no time constraint.
Oh I see, it’s one of those typical liberal media “gotcha” type interviews. I get it, let’s do this!
Ok then… Tell us a little bit about your book; the premise and how you came to write it.
Didn’t you read it? I mean really how are you going to conduct an interview about a book if you didn’t read it? It’s only about 430 words. It’s meant for 2-8 year olds it’s not a difficult read.
Yes I read your book and very much enjoyed the story and the rhyme. I meant could you explain it to our audience.
Oh…that actually makes much more sense.
Let’s see Monster Needs a Costume is about a boy and a monster that are best of friends. They live together in the same house; I guess it’s like a Stewart Little type relationship. Boy helps Monster with all the things that one would encounter while growing up; such as picking out a costume for Halloween. Monster just can’t make up his mind, which I am sure most parents can attest to when it comes to their own kids and costumes!
Yes I know exactly what you are talking about! My children…
Excuse me Paul who is this interview about, you or me?
Now where was I. I came up with the idea when I was driving my daughter to day care and she said to me “My monster needs a haircut”. I immediately loved the line and had half the story written by the time I got to work. Then other stories such as Monster Needs a Costume followed suit.
So am I correct in saying you stole the idea from your daughter?
I think stole is kind of a strong word, more like inspired. I mentioned her in the acknowledgements.
I’m sure she will be comforted knowing she was “acknowledged” by the time she gets to college and is paying $2000 for text books.
Well played sir, well played.
You mentioned other Monster stories, what others have you written and are they going to be published?
Well you know about Haircut and Costume. I also wrote Monster Needs His Sleep slated for April 2014. Monster Needs a Christmas Tree, slated for September 2014. Then there is Monster Needs an Apron, Monster Needs a Bath, Monster Needs to Clean his Room, Monster Needs to go to School. And one of my favorites, Monster Needs to Pack a Bag, where monster wants to go on vacation. That one was fun to write because of all the exotic places around the world Monster and boy could visit which produces so many interesting rhymes.
Wow that’s a lot! I knew you were talented but this exceeds even my expectations!
Oh go on! No really keep going.
Sorry we need to keep this interview moving.
I thought I was writing this at my leisure?
Lets not confuse the audience.
So I should mention for our readers since you keep talking about rhyme that Monster Needs A Costume is in rhyme. Is there a reason why you chose to write in rhyme, since publishers are always saying they don’t want stories in rhyme?
I actually didn’t start writing in rhyme. I have no formal training in it and could not tell you the technical aspects of it. All I can tell you is that this story seemed to fit when it was written in rhyme. It’s funny that you mention how publishers don’t particularly like rhyme. I had heard that to and I tried rewriting my first monster story in prose, but when I read it, for a lack of a better term, it sucked. Then after doing more research via the internet and SCBWI conferences I found out that it’s not that publishers don’t like rhyme, it’s that they don’t like bad rhyme. Many first timers write a story in rhyme and send it out without getting any critiques or doing any research on where to send it. So publishers get swamped with bad rhyming stories. Creating a rhyming story that works takes a lot of rewrites to get right. Not only do you have to worry about the traditional things about a story; plot, pacing and voice. But now you have to make sure the meter is spot on, that the rhymes that are used are true rhymes. That nothing is forced purely for the rhyme. If you don’t have good critique groups to help you with this then you are already behind in the game.
All I can say is genius, you really blew my mind with that. Thank you Paul for sharing. Is there anything else you would like to tell writers trying to get published?
Yes, if you do get published try to find more prolific interviewers.
Whoa! Look at the time it has really flown by!
Actually I thought it dragged quite a bit.
Right …this is awkward.
Well it is now.
I’d love to have you back next time when Monster Needs His Sleep debuts in April 2014.
I’m thinking I’ll be too big for you at that point. Why don’t l have my people contact your people.
They’re the same people.
Let’s not ruin the illusion shall we.