Bruce Hale is the author-illustrator of nearly 30 seriously funny books for kids, including the popular ‘Chet Gecko Mysteries’ and ‘Snoring Beauty’, one of Oprah’s Recommended Reads for Kids.
For what age audience do you write?
I write for kids from preschool through 7th grade, and for adults who never grew up.
Henry: Excellent, I’m in!
Tell us about your latest book.
I’ve got two books coming out at once. ‘Playing with Fire’ is the first in my new School for S.P.I.E.S. series <www.school4spies.com>, a sort of mash-up between Oliver Twist and James Bond. It’s an adventure with lots of humor, intended for ages 9-13. I’ve also got a fun picture book called ‘Clark the Shark’ debuting this month — about a hyperactive shark who learns how to chill out.
Henry: Oliver Twist and James Bond!? “Please M, may I have some more gadgets?”
What aspect of writing do you find most challenging?
What’s hardest for me is turning an *idea* for a book into a workable plot. It takes lots of staring at the wall, brainstorming, cursing, and hard thinking. And after all these books I’ve written, the process is still a bit of a mystery to me.
What has been a memorable experience that you never would have had if you had not been a writer?
Two memorable experiences spring to mind. First, I rode on the public library’s float in a small-town summer parade, tossing candy to passersby with a bunch of kids. (Many of these kids tossed candy like a major-league pitcher.) And second, I was a “celebrity judge” for a school’s County Fair — which consisted of eating 20 chocolate chip cookies made by different bakers and picking a winner from among them. I swear I could only eat savory food for three days afterwards.
Henry: Death by chocolate chip cookie violates the Geneva Convention.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Be persistent. It’s more important than talent. All the talent in the world won’t help you if you give up before you get published.
Do you have any favorite quotes?
“If it’s not fun, why do it?” – Jerry Greenfield (Ben & Jerry’s)
Henry: Because you’re being persistent? 🙂
Do you have any strange rituals that you observe when you write?
Other than bathing in Aqua Velva, sacrificing a warthog to the Muses, and wearing my Hat of Invisibility? None at all.
Henry: That reminds me of an author I found on Twitter who’s scifi book title included the word Vitalis. I don’t think he knew the history of the word…
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
The ability to fly like I do in my dreams. Why? Because it would be awesomely cool, and also would cut down on airfare.
Henry: That’s a good one, but does anyone work out the implications of superhuman flight? We’d have to fly low and slow or we’d have problems with breathing, the cold, having our clothing ripped off by the wind…
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I like to stay active — doing everything from hiking, to yoga, to kickboxing — and I sing with a latin-jazz band called Mezcal Martini. Also, my wife and I love going to the movies.
Henry: I love that you do both yoga and kickboxing. Perhaps you could fuse them into kick-yoga…
Where can readers find your work?
You can find my books in most any bookstore — on-line or brick-and-mortar — as well as in any discerning library. Or at www.brucehale.com
This article is also posted to the San Diego Children’s Books Examiner.