Friday, April 27, 2018

The Properly Improper Jordan J. Scavone

I met Jordan a few years ago on Facebook. It's amazing how many kidlit people I meet on social media. Anyway when I met Jordan had just released his book "Might E". Since then he's done a lot of school visits and learned a lot about the writing world. Today Jordan is here to talk about his experiences and his new book "The Mud Princess"!


Dani: How long have you been writing?

Jordan: Technically, I wrote my first children’s book when I was 7! It is 1000% bad, and I actually still have it. It’s called “The Animals Look for Food!” and I will give you one guess what it is about. I bring it with me when I do events sometimes, and a second grader once raised her hand mid-reading of it (they asked me to read it) and said “Okay…you can stop now…” So, more or less, I’ve been writing, and interested in writing since I was able to write!

Dani:  What is the hardest thing about doing school visits?

Jordan: Setting them up and not being able to give every kid at every visit a free book. As an independent author, I have to arrange all of my school visits on my own. This means, I have to contact schools (sometimes I am lucky enough to be contacted.) So, I have to negotiate appearance fees, if the school is ordering books. At my last school visit, because it was so close to my house, I actually only took half the payment they offered, and they used the rest to order books to raffle off to the kids.

Dani:  Who is your literary hero (author or fictional character)?

Jordan: Author wise it would be Sendak, with Mo Willems as a close second. Sendak’s ability to write stories for children, while keeping adults engaged as well is incredible. He had the ability to write dark stories that dug deep into the imaginations and minds of those who read his books.

Dani: Yes or no to monsters and why?

Jordan: Yes, all the monsters all the time. I have a decent idea brewing in my brain meats for a monster story. Fictional monsters, prepare kids for the real monsters of the world, and being prepared sooner than later is the best idea.

Dani: What is your new book “The Mud Princess” about?

Jordan: The Mud Princess, is about just that, a dirty, loud, and “unproper” princess who is mocked by the other princesses in the kingdom. Georgia (The Mud Princess) is a stoically strong silent type who doesn't let the other girls get to her. When she is invited to a party, under false pretenses, by The Princess Eating Dragon, she is forced to act, and decide if she wants to help those who mocked her or let them be eaten.

Dani:  How is your work different than other books?

Jordan: One of the thing that I strive to do when I write is write books that aren’t “dumbed down” for children. I hate that phrasing, but that’s the simplest way express it. My books are long, Might-E my first book is close to 1,000 words long, and The Mud Princess is around the same length, and I don’t shy away from unfamiliar words. I use the word “gusto” in Might-E and almost every time I read it to kids they ask what that word means. Which, ultimately is what I want. I want them to ask questions like that, I want the to learn things, and I know that they will sit and listen, or sit and read the books. Very recently a friend came up to me who picked up the book about a month before and said,

“Jordan, I have an issue with you.”
“Oh?” I asked quite anxious.
“My kid won’t stop asking to read your books, I’ve read it almost every day.”
“Just almost every day?” I asked jokingly.
“Yeah, I work nights so I’m only home at bed times a few days a week, my wife reads it every other day!”
That’s what I like to think makes my books different. I don’t talk down to kids, I keep adults interested, and I’m able to keep kids coming back more for, apparently every day for over a month.

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