Friday, September 5, 2008

Cheers, Dan: an interview with my favorite children's author, Dan Gutman

As you know, my favorite children's book author is Dan Gutman. I love love love (did I mention love) anything and everything written by him. Besides Franny K. Stein, I give him credit for getting my oldest son, Zach to read. His Million Dollar Putt, from his Million Dollar series, was the first book Zach ever read without being prodded. It was also the only book he's read in which he pretended he couldn't play so he could finish. Gutman's Baseball Adventure series hooked us from the start, and they are the only books I buy in hard cover as soon as they're released. I read all of them to my sports fanatic boys because as soon as I'd crack the cover and open my mouth, they would freeze (highly unusual). At times Zach couldn't handle the pace and would read ahead on his own.

Gutman's series books are all targeted for different age groups and audiences, and though you're guarenteed to adore them all, you wouldn't even know they were written by the same author.

Not only is Gutman a great author, he's also a really nice guy, who granted my son an interview for his history day project about Jackie Robinson. He also granted us an interview for this blog.

My kids and I came up with a list of questions and . . . drumroll, here are Mr. Dan Gutman's answers:

Q. What is your writing process/schedule?
Dan Gutman: After my kids leave for school in the morning, I head upstairs to my office and try to write for a few hours. Then I'll come down for lunch. The afternoon is usually spent on paperwork, email, research, busy stuff like that.

Q. How much time do you spend writing each day?
Dan Gutman: About 2 hours. After that, my brain stops working.

Q. Would your kids say you are a funny dad?
Dan Gutman: I'm not sure. They claim my jokes are lame. But I don't stop making them. It's not like living with Henny Youngman (which wouldn't be much fun, because he's dead), but I try to keep things light when possible.

Q. Which authors or books did/do you like?
Dan Gutman: None of them. No, just kidding. A few favorites: Dave Barry, Mark Twain, Carl Hiassen, Gary Paulsen, Robert Benchley.

Q. Who were your inspirations?
Dan Gutman: The Beatles, Woody Allen, Mad Magazine, Laugh-In, Get Smart, Picasso, Edison. But mainly, The Beatles.

Q. How do you get all your crazy ideas?
Dan Gutman: They're beamed to me from outer space. Also, my kids, my wife, and reading the newspaper every day. Reality is weirder than anything I could ever make up.

Q. Do you have any hobbies?
Dan Gutman: Riding my bike, photography, music, movies.

Q. You said Johnny Hangtime was your favorite work so far? Why is that your favorite?
Dan Gutman: Because sometimes you have a good idea and poor execution, and sometimes you have a bad idea and great execution. But on that one, I think it was a great idea and great execution. So why is it one of my worst selling books?

Q. Do you plan on writing any more of your current series books? What can your fans look forward to from you in the future?
Dan Gutman: My Weird School will extend to 30 books. There will be 11 baseball card adventures. After those two series are finished, I plan to have a nervous breakdown and then start all over again.

Q. How much time do you spend doing research? I notice all of your books are
more than just entertaining, they are very informative and even touch on some
important social, political and emotional issues.
Dan Gutman: It's about time somebody noticed! I spend a LOT of time learning all about my subject. If I can sneak a little learning in there while I'm telling a good story, and the kids don't even notice, well, I've achieved my goal.


For more information about Dan Gutman and his books visit:

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