The Legend of OinkADoodleMoo by Alan St. Jean – Interview

alanAuthor Alan St. Jean

Author Alan St. Jean was born on Christmas day, 1962. After a twenty-year professional career, Alan made a life-changing decision to fulfill his dream of becoming a children’s book author. His first book, Aidan of Oren, was a Children’s Book Sense Pick and a Benjamin Franklin Silver Medal winner. He is also the author of “The Daydreams Collection.” When not writing, he spends time visiting schools nationwide, teaching children about the writing process. All of his books are Accelerated Reader approved.

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Interview

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?

Mmmmm…a Cheese omelet with salsa on top.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
Because it’s fun and heartwarming message will leave you better off for the read.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
I’m writing two more books to go along with the new ‘Legend ofOinkADoodleMoo’ book. They will be called ‘OinkADoodleTwo’ and ‘OinkADoodleWho’.
What inspired you to want to become a writer?
The love of telling a good story.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
I remember this well…it was the first time I saw my name on abook. The realization that my words would be around even after I’m gone was a most emotional and powerfully humbling experience.

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
The Chronicles of Narnia, because CS Lewis wrote for all of the right reasons. To teach his children, and their children, lessons about life…and about good and evil.
Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters? 
Actually, there is. I write music, and write a song every time I write a book. It is not by design, it just happens that way. The theme song for the Aidan of Oren trilogy, which was my first writing, is called McKenzie’s Song. The URL for this song is http://www.alanstjean.com/jukebox5.html Feel free to take a listen, it’s free (c:
Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
Yes. I see myself as Ralphie in The Daydreams Collection book series. He’s eight years old, kinda chunky, and has a crazy imagination. His experiences WERE my experiences. Writing from personal experience is very satisfying, especially if you can pass on lessons learned.
 
How do you react to a bad review?
Much better now that I did the first time I saw one…lol…
What do you do in your free time?
I write music and spend time with family. There’s nothing like family.
If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be? 
Through the Fire.
What’s your favorite season/weather?
I love the fall, the changing leaves, cool air…it just makes one feel so alive…
Did I mention the beginning of football season? (c;
How long do you generally let a story idea ‘marinate’ in your brain before you start the book?
For a picture book, not long at all. Sometimes the story comes immediately, as in the new ‘Legend of OinkADoodldMoo’ book. Now, for a novel, it could take two to three years…or more. I’m going to start a novel soon that’s been ‘marinating’ for about six years. It will be my first adult audience book, and I believe it is the book I was born to write. But, oops…I’ve said too much.
Pets? – childhood or adult
Well, over the years there were a number of tamed parakeets. I love ‘em! My best pet, however, is Katie the Wonder Dog…she’s sitting at my feet even as I write this. She’s a sheltie, about nine years old, and is by far the best pet I’ve ever had. Had I knowna pet could be so good and so loved, I never would have had kids! (c;

Where do you write?
I write in my office. I turn on the TV in the next room, not too loud, though. I must have some background noise in order to concentrate. Absolute silence is hell for me. Don’t know why, it just is…
Favorite/most influential teacher
I don’t remember her name, but she was a teacher I had in the fourth grade. She was African American, with crazy curly hair and goofy glasses (at least to me, as a kid, they seemed goofy). Our family was experiencing difficulty at the time…this was the second of three schools I visited that year. The school was located in Ft. Worth, Texas. It was in December, just before Christmas break, when this teacher handed me a math test I had taken. There was a big ‘F’ at the top of the page, telling me all too clearly that I had failed it. The teacher could see that I was upset and knelt down beside me, putting her arm around my shoulders. Her words of encouragement that day changed my life forever. This is why I hold teachers and school workers in such high esteem. They have the power to change lives…what a tremendous responsibility that is!
Do you write as you go or do you have the book all planned out from page 1?
Both. I have a particular plan for the book, and I follow ‘markers’ and points in the story that are critical to the plot. However, the story often writes itself as I go, with details I had never dreamed of popping in when least expected. This is one of the things I enjoy most about writing. I never know exactly what’s going to be in the story until I write it…
Is there something specific you need as you write? Cup of coffee, pen, candy, certain room, etc.
YES. Cup(s) of coffee, my office (most of the time), and usually the late night hours. For some reason I write my best stuff after ten in the evening.
Do your characters really talk to you?
No, they don’t talk to me. But, I can hear them, literally, when I write. They talk to each other. I’m just the guy ‘watching the movie’ and writing down what I see…
Are you for or against books being made into movies?
I’m all for it. Do you hear me, Mr. Spielberg? Mr. Jackson??
Not everybody reads. Movies expose the masses to literature that would otherwise go unnoticed. Of course, sometimes movies butcher the books…a most unfortunate reality as differing visions of the story often vary from the author’s original intent.

oinkadThe Legend of OinkADoodleMoo

In the Wild West countryside sits a charming farm called OinkADoodleMoo, with a black and white farmhouse and a big, red barn. Three crazy critters live in the barn: a pig (Oink), a chicken (Doodle), and a speckled cow (Moo). One day, a dark shadow is cast across the land when a hungry grizzly bear shows up, looking for food. What will become of the barnyard friends? How will they avoid ending up a bear snack? Only the music will save them, with the help of one big cowboy boot!

 

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