Tag Archive for Jeffrey Scherer
Thank you, interwebs! And hat tip to my pal, the brilliant Jen Sattler, who tirelessly hunts this stuff down to bring it to the attention-deficit masses.
As it happens, tooth-brushing has figured large in my ouvre.
There’s this, from Wake Me In Spring:
And this, from A Pirate’s Guide to First Grade:
Yikes, I feel a trilogy coming on.
So, yes, obviously, I have some dental issues. Carry on!
I love this illustration by Jamie Smith from one of the Jigsaw Jones books. I mean, the glove looks like it might have been drawn by an Englishman, which it was, but the spirit is right. I am very grateful that Jamie illustrated so many books in the series; he was, I think, exactly right.
And, yes, I’m glad to see my love of baseball creep into another book.
On school visits, readers often as if I am a particular character.
Am I Eric in Bystander? Jude in Before You Go? Am I the great detective Jigsaw Jones? Or the mouse in Wake Me In Spring?
(Okay, no one has ever asked that last question. And the answer is: no, I am not the mouse in Wake Me In Spring! Yes, we both have beady little eyes and whiskers, but beyond that the similarities are purely accidental.)
Back to the Jigsaw question. No, I’m not Jigsaw Jones. It’s rare for any character to fully stand in for the author. But, of course, there are elements of my life and personality — most definitely exhibited in Jigsaw’s sense of humor — in that character. And there are trappings of my childhood in his world.
Like me, Jigsaw is the youngest in the family. Like me at that age, Jigsaw’s grandmother lives with him. And like me, the boy loves baseball.
It was easier to write that way, more natural; I intimately knew those feelings.
But as I’ve grown as a writer, especially from my early days in college, I’ve learned how to distance myself from my characters. The writing, in my case, has become less autobiographical and more fully its own creation. The characters seem to stand and move around on their own two feet, acting according to their own (fictional) inner compasses. I don’t ask what I would do; I ask what they might do. At the same time, parts of my life, my world, leak into everything. How can it be any other way?
Anyway, I didn’t expect to write this muddled post today. I mostly wanted to share my excitement about the coming baseball season. I am coaching again this year, a really nice group of 15-year-old boys. We’ll play a travel season and enter some tournaments. My 10th-grade son, Gavin, will be playing JV baseball. It’s an impressive accomplishment; not so easy to make those teams in our town. And last but not least, my heart is filled with hope about my beloved New York Mets.
Dare I say it? I think they might actually be good this year.
I often sign copies of Six Innings the same way. “Dream big, and swing for the fences!”
Is there any other way to play?
This lovely letter comes from Paige, and she even drew pictures of six little hamsters.
How lucky am I?
Wow, you are a writer and an illustrator. That way you can do your own books and not have to share the money! When I do picture books, like Wake Me In Spring or A Pirate’s Guide to First Grade, I only get half because I’m not good enough to draw my own pictures.
It’s a funny thing about that first Jigsaw Jones book. You are right, Mila is allergic to fur, so Jigsaw uses her as a hamster detector –- she sneezes when the hamster is near.
Illustration by R. W. Alley.
However, I soon realized that I had written myself into a corner. Do you know that expression? Maybe it would help if I showed you a picture . . .
Anyway, Jigsaw has a big, furry dog named Rags. I couldn’t have Mila sneezing all the time in every book! That would get pretty gross. If Mila was allergic to fur, she couldn’t be hanging out with Rags. So in a later book, I mentioned that Mila had new allergy medicine that worked really, really well. That way Mila and Rags could be friends.
Thanks for reading my books. Keep up the good work!
P.S. This is the cover of Wake Me In Spring, a book I wrote more than 15 years ago. Jeffrey Scherer drew the illustrations — and I think he did an awesome job!