Good morning and happy Wednesday! I’m delighted to introduce my Coffee Break guest today, children’s author Josh Funk. In addition to Pirasaurs!, which was reviewed by The Mom Who Runs this past weekend, he authored Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast and Dear Dragon. Two additional books are due out in 2017, The Case of the Stinky Stench (a Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast book) and It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk.
Between his writing, speaking at conferences, schools and story-time author appearances, he keeps a packed schedule, so let’s not delay any longer! Grab your morning drink o’ choice and settle in for the coffee break with Josh Funk!
First things first: Coffee or tea, and how do you take it?
Coffee. Black. Preferably from Haute Coffee in Concord, MA.
A writer after my own heart! *Refills her own black coffee one last time for the day…*
Okay, caffeinated drinks are up, so let’s get started! What is your greatest challenge when writing a new picture book? (And did this surprise you?)
Emotion. Connecting the reader to a characters. Making sure the stakes are high enough, the main character is at the lowest of lows before the ultimate success.
Many of my first drafts were almost like bullet lists of things that happen – things that I thought would be fun to see illustrated, of course, but still, just a list. I’m still learning how to add emotion to my stories, but this is definitely my greatest challenge.
Interesting! I would have guessed the rhyming or cadence to the book would be the most challenging. Perhaps writing children’s books is not so different from longer-length fiction for older readers as one might initially think!
That may have been a curveball. Next one’s right over the plate, promise. 🙂 What’s the worst (or craziest) writing advice you have ever heard?
Craziest advice? Hmm, sending out your manuscript out to everyone all at once. It might be tempting, but I don’t think it’s a good idea. You might have heard it worked for person X, but it’s better to be calculated about where you send your manuscripts (agents and publishers). You want to be sure your manuscript finds the right home, not just any home.
If you want my best advice, I’ve put together a list of resources for authors on my website here – including a 12-Step Guide to Writing Picture
You’ve offered some insightful tips there. The “12-Step Guide…” is great! I particularly like the end of lesson 10…what did the kids end up eating that day? Oh, wait, sorry, that’s me, distracted by the food…
Moving on! 🙂 I’m a big believer in kid’s books being for both genders no matter the subject, but I know not all parents feel the same. How would you pitch a parent who might be reluctant to pick up a pirate-dinosaur book for a girl?
An adventure is an adventure. A character is a character. There’s no reason why girls can’t like pirates and/or dinosaurs just as much as boys. There were just as many girl dinosaurs as there were boys. And I’m pretty sure The Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise is just as popular (if not more) with women than with men (I’m guessing Johnny Depp has at least as many female fans as male).
Plus, Captain Rex, leader of the Pirasaurs is a girl. The Mama T-Rex is the fiercest of them all (or at least that’s what I learned from Michael Crichton).
Well said. I do love that Captain Rex is female. She sure does keep that crew in line!
This is a favorite question from my Coffee Break interviews, for all parties, but it seems a bit like cheating for you, so I’ll add a twist! If you could be a dinosaur from any era, what would you choose, and why? Now for the twist: Who do you think would really win the Pirasaur clash?
Probably a Pteranodon. I think I’d like to be able to fly away if I were in a tricky situation. And I’d definitely bet on the Pirasaurs (as opposed to the ‘other’ dino crew). Little Scute, our main protagonist has the true heart to save the day.
Now, a better question might be “Which Pirasaur Are You?” – and YOU can take the online quiz here. I usually end up as Bronto Beard, but depending on my mood, sometimes I get Triceracook.
*follows the link to take the quiz…* I’m Triceracook! Well that’s pretty fitting with my daily life!
(And I might have had a REALLY hard time deciding on the board game and favorite subject, so I have gone back for a second time….Velocimate! Hubby would SO agree with the “taste for finer things in life.”)
Any who! 🙂 I’ve about drained my cup and am ready for a refill, so one last question: What can you share about what’s coming from Josh Funk Books in 2017?
And then on 9.19, It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk hits shelves. This book is a bit meta, where Jack doesn’t want to listen to the narrator. “I don’t want to climb the beanstalk! There’s probably a giant up there!” This one will be a fun read aloud, especially for readers theater.
Thanks so much for joining me for a Coffee Break to talk children’s lit and writing!
Thank you for having me! And enjoy the rest of your day!
Learn more about Josh Funk and his books here. If you missed the review of Pirasaurs!, click on the book title and check it out! If you enjoy the review, please be sure to follow the links to Amazon and GoodReads at the bottom of the page!
Have a question for Josh Funk? Please leave it in the comments section and it will be directed his way, then stay tuned for the answer!
- Dear Dragon: Illustrator Rodolfo Montalvo
- Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast: Illustrator Brendan Kearney
- Pirasaurs!: Illustrator Michael Slack
- The Case of the Stinky Stench: Illustrator Brendan Kearney
- Featured image: courtesy of Josh Funk