WoW!! I am back after a long break of blogging!! And I come now with a few reviews in the works!
I will start today with my first Middle Grade Review. Now, I normally don't read much YA, or even younger levels than that. But after reading about this book, I had to accept.
Let me start with the author, Derek the Ghost, with a Q&A with him!
Derek the ghost:
What made you decide writing about Scary School was your "final act", so to speak?
Well, I would actually consider it my first act since becoming a ghost since I realized I was meant to become a writer post-mortem when I found myself unable to leave the Scary School grounds until I started writing about all the spine-tingling, hilarious things that go on there.
How long did it take you to figure out that writing down the goings on's of the school was it?
When I became a ghost, I couldn't write anymore with a pen and paper because my ghostly hands go straight through solid, earthly matter. But, I found a ghost pad and a ghost pen right away that I could use (the ghost pad never runs out of paper and the ghost pen never runs out of ink), and I realized that I was supposed to use those items to write down everything that happens at Scary School so all the kids of the world could learn about this amazing school that's never, EVER boring.
Is it possible for me, as a non-ghost, to get my hands on these cool ghost pads/pens? I really want them!
I'm afraid the only way a living person would able to experience those items would be to pay a visit to the ghost dimension, which you will learn all about in Book 3 of Scary School that comes out in June of 2013!
Derek Kent, the ghost whisperer that hears it all!:
It takes a certain type of person to write for a young audience and grab their attention, were you nervous about writing for them?
Not really, because I've always been young at heart and have been working with and entertaining kids my whole life. When I was in middle school, i was a bit of a class clown and loved making all my friends laugh. I guess I just never stopped enjoying making kids that age laugh. Later in life I performed in children's theater productions and ran drama at a bunch of camps, where we would put on funny plays that had all the kids in stitches, so I guess making kids laugh is what I was born to do.
Have you always wanted to be an author? Particularly, a middle grade author?
I've always wanted to be a comedy writer since I was seven years old. That manifests itself in many different forms. I write screenplays, which are definitely for more of an adult audience. I also have a production company called Sad Ninja Comedy (SadNinja.com) that produces funny sketches, music videos, and commercials - also for more of an adult audience. But I've also been writing children's books very seriously since I was 15 years old. I was pretty obsessed with Dr. Seuss and then later on, Harry Potter, and I had a deep need to create magical worlds like JK Rowling did. Because of my inherent comedic sensibilities, the books took on a much more humorous tone, but I very much enjoy the middle-grade genre because one of the main goals is to create FUN, so that kids will enjoy reading their first chapter books, and hopefully spark a life-long love of it.
What gave you the idea for Scary School?
The first novel I had written was originally called SCARY SCHOOL: BOOK 1 - MY HOMEWORK ATE MY DOG! - it's a middle-grade fantasy series very similar to Harry Potter. The only problem was, it didn't have a whole lot to do with a "scary school". I just thought of that title and wanted to use it before someone else did. So my editor at HarperCollins read the book, and almost acquired it, but in the end, they ended up passing on it, but gave me the recommendation to write a book series called SCARY SCHOOL that was lighter, funnier, and more school-centric. I took their advice, which became the Scary School series we know today.
The original book ended up becoming RUDY AND THE BEAST: BOOK 1 - MY HOMEWORK ATE MY DOG! which is available exclusively through my website at http://www.scaryschool.com/bookstore.html - and you can get it on Kindle (just $2.99!) or paperback! For those who like dark fantasies like Harry Potter, I've gotten many responses that young readers enjoy it even more than Scary School!
What is the worst school memory have and did it play a part in Scary School?
My worst school memory was when I started at a new school in the 7th grade after being with the same group of friends from kindergarten through 6h grade. I didn't know anybody at my new school and was very lonely and scared and had a hard time making new friends because I had never had to do that before. That experience plays a HUGE role in both RUDY AND THE BEAST and SCARY SCHOOL. Scary School starts off with young Charles Nukid entering Scary School as a new kid and having to go through not only the usual struggles of making new friends and learning all the rules of the new school, but also having to find out just how he's going to survive the scariest school in the world, where a teacher just might gobble you up if you break a rule! Every kid whose ever had to start at a new school should be able to relate to poor Charles Nukid, and hopefully this book will put things into perspective for them that things could be much worse!
What was your favorite school lunch? Mine was always turkey and gravy, I think it was magic because I can't even look at it now! O.o
My favorite was Pizza Day every Thursday. My class would sell the pizzas to raise money, and as part of the student council, I was in charge of the sales. I had a lot of fun selling those pizzas. I do the same exact thing at book shows now when I'm trying to sell my books! Little known fact: if you slab a little mustard on them, my books are surprisingly delicious.
When you were in middle school, what types of books did you read? I think I had Sabriel by Nix permanently checked out of our library for years!
I remember the first books I thought were hilarious were Sideways Stories from Wayside School and Dr. Doolittle. I also loved Swiss Family Robinson, the Choose Your Own Adventure books, and a series called Two Minute Mysteries. One of my biggest early comedy influences was also Calvin and Hobbes. I miss them so much.
If you'd like to add any questions or anything else for that matter, feel free!
I'd just like to take this time to thank all the awesome fans of Scary School who have written to me through the website - ScarySchool.com - and have such nice things to say. For those not familiar, make sure to visit the website and see if you can find all the easter eggs! There's a fun game you can play, and if you beat the game, you will win the weirdest trophy ever! You can also tour the school, meet the students, and read the secret last chapter of the book if you look carefully.
And to remind everyone, Scary School #2 - Monsters on the March comes out on June 26 of this year! If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter @DerektheGhost - you'll get all the latest updates and hear all the funny musings of that wacky 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!
Gargoyles, goblins, and Frankenstein's monster on the loose The world's most frighteningly delicious school lunch
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!
I will honestly say this book had me laughing out loud. It is exactly the type of book I would have devoured at age 9. It was fun, quirky and had just enough references, that I, as an adult, was completely entertained. In trying to keep with the thought process of a nine year old, I kept thinking back to what I actually read at that age, and I couldn't think of anything that had me giggling so much! The characters were odd and eccentric and kept you on your toes! Especially the teachers! Mrs. T totally reminded me of my fifth grade math teacher. The whole school was weird and yet oddly I could relate to it with some memories. Hehe. I would recommend this to any of my friends with children 8+ (7 or so if read together).