1.) Can you share with us a little about yourself?
I'm an author, screenwriter, and performer based out of Los Angeles, California. Aside from writing the Scary School series with HarperCollins and more fun series to come, I also love cooking, songwriting, and playing basketball. On the side, I teach children’s writing and young adult writing for Writing Pad in Los Angeles (writingpad.com). Sorry if that sounded line an online dating profile, not intended that way. Unless you're cute :)
2.) Favorite scary movie and favorite cartoon?
Favorite scary movie is Silence of the Lambs. Favorite cartoon is... hmmm... i was a cartoon addict when I was kid. I loved muppet babies, duck tales, X-men, The Tick, and Batman the Animated Series.
3.) I love how SCARY SCHOOL is scary and absolutely hilarious at the same time. Very entertaining. Did you ever intend for it to be just scary?
No, I'm a comedy writer by nature, so comedy definitely has a way of creeping and lurking its way into everything I write. My first goal was to write the funniest children's book ever, and second to give kids a few good frights along the way. Hopefully I succeeded :) I want kids to laugh at least three times every page.
4.) I have to ask how you came up with some of your very off-the-wall characters. I loved the creativity and uniqueness that each character has.
Many of the characters are based on famous horror movie characters that you already know, like Freddy and Jason. I thought it would be fun to imagine what it would be like if they all went to school together back when they were kids, and maybe also offer my own take on their origin stories. There's also the T-rex from Jurassic Park and in Book 2 of Scary School that comes out June 26, you'll even get read about what one of the most famous horror writers was like when he was a kid at Scary School!
Most of the other characters are ones I came up on my own, many inspired by elements of my own personality or kids I knew in school. I will usually start off with a basic problem that every kid goes through and then give that character a "scary" characteristic that heightens the problem. For instance, Petunia has trouble making new friends (something a lot of girls go through), but it's much worse considering she's completely purple and has bees flying around her all the time since she's half-flower, half-girl.
5.) Would you step inside of SCARY SCHOOL?
Only if Johnny the Sasquatch kid had my back. But luckily, all of you can test whether you'd be too afraid to enter Scary School or not if you go to the website at www.ScarySchool.com. You can tour the school. Meet the students and faculty. And there's also lots of fun easter eggs. If you beat the video game on the website, you will win the weirdest trophy ever. And after you finish Book One, you'll have to go back to the website in order to unlock the secret last chapter that will lead you straight into Book 2!
6.) Will we ever get to hear about any events that take place on the school bus?
I've actually had a school bus chapter written for a while, but it keeps ending up getting cut out. it will make it in eventually, but not in Book 2. Possibly in Book 3 or 4.
7.) Did you have any input in the illustrations?
A little bit. I will throw out ideas if I had something specific in mind, and I will check the drawings to make sure there are no mistakes or inconsistencies, but for the most part, it all comes from the amazing talent and imagination of Scott M. Fischer - one of the best children's illustrators in the world! You can check out more of his art at fischart.com
8.) Do you think that we'll get to meet new characters in all the books to come?
Yes, you will meet LOTS of new characters in all of the books to come!!
Thank you so much Derek!
Make sure you get ready for the newest release of SCARY SCHOOL: Monsters on the March by preordering today! You can find it on Amazon.