Author Interview & Book Giveaway – Scary School by Derek the Ghost

Welcome to Author Derek the Ghost.

Bio:

Derek is an eleven-year-old ghost who haunts the classrooms and hallways of Scary School, writing down all the spine-tingling often hilarious things that go on there. Despite his ghostly state, Derek still enjoys reading comic books and hopes to one day become a master ninja. If that doesn’t work out, he will continue to share the fun of this very special, very secret school, so all kids can experience the scariest school on earth. Derek the Ghost communicates through the first-time ghost whisperer Derek Taylor Kent, who is a writer and performer in Los Angeles, California.

Links:
Website: www.ScarySchool.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/scaryschool

Interview:
What is one book everyone should read?
The one book (or multiple everyone should read) though it may sound hokey, is the Harry Potter series, for sure. It revolutionized reading amongst the youth and made it something that was fun and cool again. It might be the biggest pop culture phenomenon ever. Even if you aren’t into the genre, I think it’s important for all writers to read those books and analyze what made them work so well if it is your goal to become a successful author. I teach classes in YA and Children’s writing here in Los Angeles, and we extensively discuss why the character’s she created resonated with so many kids and adults, and how JK Rowling was able to create a unique yet believable world that got millions of readers as emotionally involved with the fictional characters as their real lives.

Night owl or early bird.
Night owl. I get a lot of writing done without the distractions of the day.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
Because I guarantee you will laugh out loud three times every page!

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
Yes, the Scary School series will be continuing with new books coming out ever June. Book 2 comes out June 26, 2012, Book 3 June 2013 and hopefully many more after that. I also have a couple book offered exclusively through my website (www.ScarySchool.com). One is called Rudy and the Beast Book One: My Homework Ate My Dog! That one was my attempt to do something akin to Harry Potter. It’s a book about a boy who learns he has magical powers and must use them to rescue his dog that was dog-napped by an evil wizard. There’s also a picture book adventure about space called Simon and the Solar System, which was illustrated by internet sensation “MaryDoodles” (search it on YouTube), Mary Gutfleisch. I recently finished a new middle grade book about a boy who becomes principal of his school called Principal Mikey and I’ll be working on some fun new books this year – possibly a spin-off of Scary School.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
It’s been really awesome getting fan email everyday from both kids and adults saying how much they loved the book, and when I make my appearances at schools, bookstores, or libraries, it’s awesome to see the kids’ enthusiasm not only for Scary School but for reading in general.

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?
Well, funny you should mention that! I’m actually a songwriter as well, and I composed the theme song for Scary School! You can listen to it when you go the website (www.ScarySchool.com) and also get it through iTunes! Just search Scary School Theme Song.

What is your favorite Quote?
TS Eliot has a great one: “If you don’t impose your terms on life, life will impose its terms on you.” Another one a like, though it’s a bit cynical: “99% of everything you ever hear in your life is someone trying to convince you something that’s not true in order to get into your pockets.” That quote is actually a big reason why I love writing these books. With Scary School and my other books, I feel like I give kids something that’s genuinely entertaining, funny, and educational, plus it’s relatively cheap! I think it will instill a love of reading amongst the audience. Basically, I’m not selling any BS, which I’ve to at some of my other jobs, so I can feel good about what I’m doing every day.

Favorite Food?
I am a ridiculous foodie. I love all food so much and I also love cooking. I kind of did a Julie and Julia thing, but I cooked my way through Mario Batali’s book (don’t worry, I didn’t blog about it) and my favorite thing I made was a Frutti di Mare pasta in Cartaccio, which is a baked seafood pasta in a bag. When you take it out of the oven, you open it up like a present and the steam hits you in the face and smells like the ocean. Yummm.

How do you react to a bad review?
Luckily, the reviews have been about 99% positive, which would be an amazing score on Rotten Tomatoes! I actually really enjoy criticism though and love taking notes. When my editor, agent, or friends give me notes about the writing, I generally like to implement the notes they gave even if I might not agree with it, just to see how it works out. So if a reviewer has a honest criticism, I will take it into account and try to make those improvements in future books. If someone just doesn’t like it without any good reasons why… i think they’re insane.

If you were a bird, which one would you be?
My favorite animals are actually Macaws. I had a pet Dusky Conure (a small parrot) named Darby who was my best friend sine I was ten years old. I actually started writing children’s stuff at that time by writing a series of funny poems called Derek and Darby that were about me and my bird.

Which authors have influence you most how?
For the Scary School series, my biggest influences were Kurt Vonnegut because I just LOVE how he interweaved creative, imaginative, hilarious short stories into is books, which was what I tried to do with Scary School. I also loved the stories of Martin McDonough from his play Pillowman. The humor and tone of Scary School was most influenced by Louise Sachar’s Sideways Stores from Wayside School

Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is….
Ready Player One. Took all my geek love from my childhood in the 80s and turned it into an awesome adventure. So upset I didn’t think of that first! But glad Ernest Cline did it so well.

Write a Haiku about your book
The drawbridge lowers.
Learning, horror, and mayhem.
Don’t eat me, teacher!

In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with?
Actually, it looks I might be co-authoring a book very soon with one of my favorite authors, Jessica Brody! We’re talking about it right now, but it could happen this upcoming year!

Pizza or Pasta?
Pasta.

Gum or Breath Mints?
Gum.

PC or Mac?
Mac.

Scary School by Derek the Ghost

You think your school’s scary?

Get a load of these teachers:

Ms. Fang, an 850-year-old vampire
Dr. Dragonbreath, who just might eat you before recess
Mr. Snakeskin—science class is so much more fun when it’s taught by someone who’s half zombie
Mrs. T—break the rules and spend your detention with a hungry Tyrannosaurus rex!

Plus

Gargoyles, goblins, and Frankenstein’s monster on the loose The world’s most frighteningly delicious school lunch

And

The narrator’s an eleven-year-old ghost!

Join Charles “New Kid” Nukid as he makes some very Scary friends—including Petunia, Johnny, and Peter the Wolf—and figures out that Scary School can be just as funny as it is spooky!

Giveaway Details
3 winners will each receive a copy of Scary School
Open to US & Canada Only
Ends 12/14/11

Optional Extra Entries:
+1 http://www.facebook.com/ScarySchool
+1 http://twitter.com/derektheghost

Winners:
Sherry Lebow
Patsy Hagen
Viva