Today, I am excited to welcome author, Jenny Meyerhoff to Kid Lit Frenzy. She answers some questions about her newest book The Barftastic Life of Louie Burger, about her writing and more. Thanks Jenny for stopping by and chatting.
Can you share with readers a little bit about The Barftastic Life of Louie Burger?
Louie wants to be a stand-up comedian, but he’s got one big problem. He’s afraid to do his act in front of other people. He’s just fine when he performs in his closet in front of tennis shoes and baseball caps. He’s even got an amazing catch phrase…Barftastic! It means amazing times fantastic plus unbelievable. Squared. For Louie, life is barftastic, until his dad decides Louie should perform in the school talent show and Louie’s best friend starts spending all his time with the new kid. Louie wonders if doing well in the talent show will make all his problems go away. He just doesn’t know if he will kill (that’s comedian talk for do really, really awesome) or if he’ll bomb (that’s comedian talk for stink worse than the tuna sandwich you accidentally left in your lunch box over spring break.)
On your blog, you mentioned that you got the idea for this book from something that happened with your son? Were there other ways that he and his friends influenced the story or characters?
All of my kids (and their friends) are large influences on my writing. I steal character first names and last names from their friends. I’ll often ask to borrow bits of dialogue that I overhear. And the experiences that are happening in their lives often wind up in the book I’m writing at that moment, from a friend who hasn’t lost any baby teeth, to square dancing lessons in gym, to being homesick at camp. In the case of The Barftastic Life of Louie Burger, my son was also my first reader and gave me lots of great suggestions, like changing the word girl-illas to girlzillas. I also may have borrowed some of his most embarrassing moments, but I’ve promised him never to reveal which ones. ☺
Louie wants to do stand-up comedy, but struggles with stage fright. Do you have anything on your list of fears you would like to conquer?
I don’t have stage fright the way Louie does, but I often feel that way about my writing. I don’t want to let anyone see it. That’s kind of a problem if you want to be a published author. Letting people see what you wrote is an essential part of the job. So every day, I work on my fear of letting my work out into the world and trusting, that it will somehow find the readers it is meant for. I do have lots of other fears—jumping from airplanes, fighting tigers, and accidentally going grocery shopping in my underwear, for example. But I do not plan on conquering any of them.
If you could spend the day with any fictional character (not one of your own), who would it be and what would you do?
I’d like to make myself thirteen again and send myself to Avonlea to hang out with Anne of Green Gables, and all her friends. I’d be game for any of her adventures: acting out dramatic poems, thinking up scary stories in the haunted woods, or serving ourselves up a “grown-up” tea. I hope she’d find me a kindred spirit!
Where do you like to write and what does your writing space look like?
I mainly write in my office, which is a converted storage space in my husband’s business suite. I find it challenging to write at home with consistency and used to write at cafés. I still do that now sometimes for fun, but I love my cozy little room, filled with inspirational pictures and sayings. When I walk in the room and shut the door, the real world disappears and the worlds I create are all that remain.
If you could claim credit for another children's book (one written by another author), what book would it be and why?
I’m going to go with Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Montgomery, again. I’d love to create a character as lovable as Anne. Anne is flawed, but charmingly so. Even though she’s always making mistakes, readers are rooting for her to find love and happiness on every page. I think that’s one of the reasons the book is so enduring.
Who would you credit as having the most influence on your work?
The authors I read over and over growing up were Judy Blume and Shel Silverstein and I think that their styles and aesthetics just seeped into my cells. I don’t know if I would be a writer at all if I hadn’t read their books to shreds.
Can you share about any future projects that you are working on?
Right now I’m focused on the second book in Louie’s Barftastic life. It’ll be out next spring. It’s still a work in progress, so for now I’ll just say, Halloween, square-dancing and coupons.
What top 3 books do you recommend for 8 to 12 year olds for summer reading?
I am going to recommend two series that the 8-12 year olds in my house are reading. These books are being read over and over, which is about the best recommendation I can think of!
The Charlie Joe Jackson books by Tommy Greenwald. Funny and a little bit subversive in just the right way.
The Astronaut Academy Books by Dave Roman. Awesome graphic novels!
And lastly, I recommend Dorko The Magnificent by the hilarious Andrea Beaty. This book about a boy magician pairs great with Louie Buger! Those two could hold one heck of a talent show.
Jenny Meyerhoff is the author of a young adult novel, Queen of Secrets, and three books for young readers--Sami's Sleepaway Summer, Third Grade Baby, and most recently, The Barftastic Life of Louie Burger, a story about an aspiring stand-up comic with an unusual catch phrase. Unlike Louie, Jenny is not a comedian, but she does know a lot about barf. After all, she’s a mom. Her three kids love fluffernutters, comedy and reading. Jenny lives in Riverwoods, Illinois with her funny kids and her delightful husband. For more information, visit her website: www.jennymeyerhoff.com.
Check out all of the stops on the blog tour:
Monday, June 3 I Read Banned Books - http://www.jenbigheart.com/
Tues, June 4 Green Bean Teen Queen - http://www.
Wed, June 5 Sharpread - http://sharpread.wordpress.
Thurs, June 6 The OWL for YA and Hooked on Books - http://owlforya.blogspot.com/
Fri, June 7 Dear Teen Me - http://dearteenme.com/
Mon, June 10 Mother Daughter Book Club - http://
Tues, June 11 Geo Librarian - http://geolibrarian.
Wed, June 12 The Children's Book Review - http://www.
Thurs, June 13 The Book Monsters - http://www.thebookmonsters.com
Fri, June 14 Ms. Yingling Reads - http://msyinglingreads.
Sun, June 16 Nerdy Book Club http://nerdybookclub.
Mon, June 17 As They Grow Up http://www.astheygrowup.com/
Tues, June 18 Kid Lit Frenzy - http://www.kidlitfrenzy.com/
Wed, June 19 Mundie Kids - http://mundiekids.blogspot.com
Thurs, June 20 There's a Book - http://www.theresabook.com/
Thank you to Blue Slip Media for The Barftastic Life of Louie Burger Giveaway for participants with US mailing addresses.- Enter below: a Rafflecopter giveaway