Tag Archive for James Preller photo

Random Author Photo: “Pointing at Book” File

And here we go . . .

 

CARRY ON!

Me & My Dog

This is our rescue dog, Echo. He’s about 15 months old, part Border Collie, and we’re crazy about him. Very smart and energetic and fast. I work at home in relative solitude. Together Echo and I usually go on two long walks in the woods, or near the river, and wherever there’s open space. He’s great off-leash and comes running whenever he’s called. Love him. Anyway, this is a recent (unsmiling) photo of me, a few days before my 59th birthday. Still feel alert and creative and strong. Not dead yet! Many more books to come — so long as there are readers. Thanks for stopping by.

Seven Photos from the 11th Annual Hudson Children’s Book Festival

Thought I’d throw some photos up here, documenting my school visit to Montgomery C. Smith Elementary in Hudson, plus a shot from the pre-festival soiree, and the magnificent event itself. My thanks go to Lisa Dolan, Jennifer Clark and Bridget Smith for the kindness, the coolness, and the support. Besides, it’s not often you see me in a laundered shirt, so I had to over-share. Let’s do this, people!

This is the banner that greeted me in the main hallway of the school. Literally a great sign that it would be a happy visit. 

Besides my presentation to the 3rd grade in the auditorium, I was given the opportunity to visit an eager classroom for a cozy Q & A. At the end, this boy, Logan, was eager for me to see his writing. To bear witness. To be seen. Isn’t that what we all want? These are the moments, folks.

My basic go-to move in a photo is to point at something/anything. For some reason I went with the triumphant fist pump thing here: an abject failure. Though staring directly at the photographer, I seem unaware that a photograph might be transpiring. Oh, sigh. What a warm, beautiful, diverse group of students. Treated me like I was something special. Go figure.

Two of my pals in the book business: Matt Phelan and Jennifer Sattler. So much talent. It’s one of the nice parts of these festivals, getting together with fellow authors. We don’t actually complain ALL of the time. True story!

Signing The Courage Test. That title sold out early! All my “Scary Tales” disappeared quickly. Bystander, too. But more importantly: how do you like my shirt?

 

 

This shot is a little blurry — the day was a blur — but I remember this young man vividly. He drew this picture, based on a Jigsaw Jones book, sometime over the winter. He was eager to bring it to the Festival so he could give it to me. Proud of what he’d done. He knew it would make me happy.

A festival is full of small, intimate encounters such as this. Brief conversations about books, reading, life, school, whatever. To my right is a boxed lunch which I never did get around to eating. Thank you, Hudson Children’s Book Festival!

Me and My Dog

 

If anyone in our family sits on the floor, our puppy, Echo, comes and sits in our lap. True story. I have evidence.

FAN MAIL WEDNESDAY #236: Jigsaw Jones, Long Island, Getting Ideas, My Favorite Color, and More

postalletter-150x150

 

Let’s do this people!

Good afternoon,
 –
I am a 4th grade teacher in Ludlow, Massachusetts.  My students have been selecting books to complete projects on and share them with their 51o-ewktyll-_sy344_bo1204203200_peers.  Today, 2 students shared your books, The Case of Hermie the Missing Hamster and The Case of the Great Sled Race.  As the students were sharing facts about you, we all learned that you are from Wantagh!  Guess what?  I am from Wantagh as well!  What a coincidence!  Did you attend Wantagh High School?  My parents still live there and I go back to visit quite often.  My class would love to hear from you!  They would like to know the following about you:
 
* How old were you when you started writing books?
* How did you get interested in writing?
* How do you get the ideas for your books?
* What is the title of your favorite book that you’ve written?  Why?
* What was your favorite childhood book and author?  Why?
* Do you have a favorite sport?  Hopefully you are a New York sports fan!
* What is your favorite color?
 –
We would love to have you visit our school!  If you are ever in Western Mass. please contact me!  Happy Thanksgiving!  We’re looking forward to hearing from you!
Elysa B, WHS class of ’91
 
I replied:
 –

Elysa,

Thanks for your note, and thanks for reading my books in your classroom.

Yes, Wantagh, that’s my old stomping grounds. I did go to Wantagh High School, class of ’79. My parents moved away when I was in college — don’t worry, they told me where they moved! — so I lost my reason for visiting “home.” One of my first jobs was working at Jones Beach, a job I later gave to a character in a YA book, Before You Go. In the book Bystander, I blended the towns Bellmore and Freeport to create “Bellport,” where the book takes place. Sadly, I later learned that there really is a town called Bellport on Long Island. That was mistake I regret, though I think very few people actually noticed or cared.
The alma mater, a little before even my time.

The alma mater, a little before my time.

 
Anyway, questions:
 –
1) I wrote, illustrated, and sold books to my neighbors at an early age. In second grade, I teamed up with a friend, William Morris, and we wrote a play together, which we performed for our classroom. It involved bank robbers, as I recall. I published my first “real” book when I was 25 years old, in 1986.
 –

2) I often say that all writers are readers, and that’s true. But even though I am a social creature, comfortable with people, I’ve always needed time alone. That seems significant to me today, because you can’t create anything unless you unplug and spend time alone with your thoughts. For whatever reason, I’ve always carved that out in my life. And during those alone times, I’d often find a pen and a blank page.

3) Ideas are never a problem. They are everywhere. It’s just a matter of opening your eyes and ears. I also read a lot and try to learn something every day. The world is an endlessly amazing place. There are many difficulties when it comes to writing, hard times indeed, but ideas are not one of them.

Cover art from the upcoming Jigsaw Jones book, THE CASE FROM OUTER SPACE (August, 2017, Macmillan).

Cover art from the upcoming Jigsaw Jones book, THE CASE FROM OUTER SPACE (August, 2017, Macmillan).

4) I’m usually most excited by my newest work. I’m very happy with the book that just came out, The Courage Test (grades 4-7). In addition, there’s a new Jigsaw Jones title coming out this summer, The Case from Outer Space (Macmillan) and I’m over the moon about it. I love those characters, and I’m proud of the kindness & gentle humor of those stories. 
 –
5) As a kid, I loved a book called Splish, Splash, Splush — about three ducklings who couldn’t swim. I also remember looking at the pictures in a big, fat collection of stories: there were evil genies, a cyclops, men with swords and other fierce creatures. I couldn’t read, but I’d look at those illustrations for hours. Maybe it led, in some subtle way, to my “Scary Tales” stories (just right for 4th grade).
 –
6) I am a big baseball fan, love the game with all my heart. My team is the New York Mets. In 3rd grade, I actually attended the 1969 World Series. I remember it vividly.
 –
7) Favorite color? The older I get, I find that I’m partial to . . . gray. Go figure.
 –
Going gray. Not old. Dignified! Right?

Going gray. Not old. Dignified! Right?

– 
My best, 
 –
James Preller