Things Are Not What They Seem is the name of a Tween fantasy adventure of ours that is centered around a talking pigeon in Central Park, New York City, and the kids who make him into a man again. It also describes the way life is. Much is done to create a visual for the world to see, and rarely do we get to go behind the scenes and see what people are really like.
Today we hope to change that by running an interview that Anne and I did in which the walls separating us from our readers were torn down and the embarrassing truth was revealed. Here we go!
About the Book:
Since Ken and Anne are co-authors of Things Are Not What They Seem, they have asked for permission to answer individually. Here goes:
- As succinctly as possible, tell us why someone should read your book.
Ken: Because otherwise we’ll burn your house down and make you cry!
Anne: I think that may be the wrong approach.
Ken: It works for the Mafia.
Anne: Let’s tell them about the great characters they are going to meet—the surprising things that the reader will learn about the characters and that the characters will learn about each other and about themselves and about friendship and love and loyalty.
Ken: They may still cry. I cry when I read about Mr. Bags.
Anne: I’m going to try not to cry at the next question.
- What is YOUR favorite part of the book?
Ken: Can I do this one? My favorite part is when Whitehair leads the other pigeons on a bombing mission and—
Anne. Wait! First you have to tell them that Whitehair is actually a man who was turned into a pigeon 160 years ago when he recited a magic spell incorrectly.
Ken: I like that part too. But I really like when they dive-bomb those nasty bullies and —
Anne: Couldn’t we talk about something that is a little less infantile than pigeons doing their business on a few bullies?
Ken: We could. But it wouldn’t be my favorite part.
3. What is the main message you want to convey to your readers in your books?
Ken: Pigeons are God’s creatures too. Feed them once in a while!
Anne: That would be Whitehair’s message, Ken. He’s the one who’s always hungry. The message we are trying to convey is about friendship and love and the effects of those uplifting emotions on the lives of the characters.
Ken: But people should still feed the pigeons, right. One of them might be Whitehair.
Anne: Right… I think I’ll handle the next question.
- Can we expect more books from you in the future?
Anne: (Looks at Ken and makes a face). Sure….I guess …
Ken: Are you kidding. We have one in our brains right now and it’s kind of annoying because this plot involves an actual battle with cannon and muskets and so the scenes are very loud inside my head— Ouch! Why did you kick me?
Anne: We are indeed working on a sequel involving Jenny and James, Sleepy and Katylyn, and of course, Whitehair the person turned into a pigeon. They will be traveling back to the Revolutionary War, trying not to do something that will change the course of history in unforeseen ways.
Ken: That’s very deep, Anne. Wow. Change the course of history….
Anne: Your turn, Ken.
About Being an Author:
- What has been the best compliment you received as an author?
Ken: Easy peasy. My fourth grade teacher said, “Really, Ken you actually wrote a book?”
Anne: Ken, I don’t think that was meant as a compliment.
Ken: From her it was a compliment.
Anne: What about when people say that our characters seem like real people, or that they cried or laughed when certain things happened, or that they are looking forward to reading the sequel, or that the book stayed with them well after they were done reading.
Ken: I’ve got to remember all that stuff when I see my fourth grade teacher again.
- How do you react to a bad review?
Ken: Another easy one. When we get a bad review, we look up the person on the internet and burn their house down.
Anne: We do not! Why are you saying these things.
Ken: (Whispering) Just in case. You never know who might be reading this.
Anne: But that is not what we do. We are upset, of course, because it is as bad as someone criticizing our children. However, in the end we say, “It doesn’t matter.”
Ken: We do?
Anne: Yes, because if the reviewer is right and our book really is bad, then we deserve the negative comments and, anyway, we’ll be getting a lot more bad reviews. But, if the book is good, one bad review won’t make a difference. You see, in the end it doesn’t matter.
Ken: You are so wise, Anne. Were you this wise when I married you?
Anne: Apparently not.
7. What is the best advice you received as an author?
Ken: This is another one that I’ll ace. Again, it was my fourth grade teacher. She said, “What in the world makes you think you can write a book?” And then she started laughing.
Anne: How was that good advice?
Ken: Because, just to prove her wrong, I sat down with my wonderful wife and wrote a book. And then we wrote another one and another and…. How many have we written now?
Anne: A lot , Ken. And that is a very sweet thing for you to say. But don’t you think the best advice was not to give up? To keep working? To rewrite and rewrite again until you can read it aloud and feel as though someone else wrote it?
Ken: True. But it is a little creepy when the book is so polished that it seems someone else wrote it. I mean, what if someone else really did write it?
Anne: (Sighing again). Are there many more questions?.
- What advice would you give someone aspiring to write a children’s book?
Ken: Don’t do it!
Anne: Why would you say that?
Ken: (Whispering again) Because there’s enough competition already.
Anne: But do you want to deprive anyone of the pleasure of writing a book for children. Do you remember how much fun it was when our own daughter read the chapters as we were writing them.
Ken: It was the best, Anne.
Anne: So I think we should tell people to find a child of the appropriate age and write it for that person as if he or she is listening.
Ken: And if they walk away in the middle, give it up!
Anne: No! Keep writing and rewriting until you get it right!
Ken: You give the best advice, Anne. Will you marry me?
Anne: We are married, Ken.
Ken: I know. But if we get divorced, will you marry me?
Anne: That really doesn’t make sense.
Ken: It sounded kind of romantic in my head. But, you know, with all that musket and cannon fire, it’s hard to always tell.
Anne: Say goodbye to the listeners. Ken
Ken: Goodbye listeners, and don’t forget to pay the fire insurance.
Ken: Only kidding.