Today I'm happy to welcome another debut author from The Elevensies. Allan Woodrow's first novel, The Rotten Adventures of Zachary Ruthless, releases May 1, 2011 from Harper/HarperCollins. It is a Humorous Middle Grade, for ages 8-12.
Welcome, Allan! Can you tell me about your book in seven words or less?
World's most evil kid, up to rottenness.
Ha. Sounds great! Other than your main character, who's a favorite character of yours in your debut novel and why?
Zachary Ruthless would be helpless without his henchman, Newt. But despite his lofty evil position, doubts remains about Newt's true rottenness. After all, he has freckles and evil people never have freckles. True, one of his freckles looks like a small rat. Well, maybe it's the shape of a kitten. No, definitely a rat. But he does play a "Jiminy Cricket" role to help guide Zachary down less evil paths. He's the "heart" of the books.
Can you tell my readers a little bit more about yourself, Allan?
Growing up, I was cursed with a boring, happy and loving family, giving me nothing interesting to write about. I resented it for years. Eventually, a voice inside my head convinced me to write children’s books. At least that’s what I think the voice said; i had a head cold at the time. The Rotten Adventures of Zachary Ruthless is my debut novel, with additional Adventures launching every six months. Additionally, I have written for TV and work as an advertising Copywriter and Creative Director. I live in the Chicago area with my family and two goldfish. The goldfish are wanted in 22 states.
What's been the most surprising thing about your path to publication so far?
Although I write this sheepishly ... how easy it was. I didn't write for years and get tons of rejection slips, which is what I expected and was prepared to endure. I promised myself to be positive and persistent. But I didn't need to be. I decided to write children's books as my New Year's Resolution, 2009. By the time 2010 rolled around I already had an agent, a book deal for four books with HarperCollins, and a boatload of hope. But I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'm sure I'll need to suffer through years of writing turmoil at some point, maybe soon.
Wow, I must say, that's the first time I've heard that! But congratulations on a quick and painless journey! May it continue to be that way for you, Allan. What's one piece of writing advice you would give to aspiring authors?
Your book isn't going to write itself. At the risk of sounding like an athletic shoe, Just do it. I dreamed of writing a novel forever and never tried it because I assumed I was going to be rejected; I wasn't good enough. Why risk my dream being crushed? Then, when I finally decided to go for broke, it happened quickly. Ignore the negative in you. You just never know.
Are you swept up with promotion for your debut book right now or can you give us a sentence or two about something new you're working on?
I have two different .mss in my agent's clutches, both potential series starters: one chapter book and one older MG; and have been hired to create an entire imaginary world, humanoid characters (but not human), and three books for a potential book/TV/merchandising series . None of which I will go into detail about, in fears I'll jinx any/all the projects. But I keep busy.
Wow, a busy guy! They both sound very interesting. What did you write when you were a teen? Did you journal? Write poetry? Write overly literary or emotional stories? Or avoid writing altogether?
Lots of short stories and unfinished random books which I haven't looked at since I was a teen but might be in my basement somewhere. I wrote for my High School literary magazine and a short story I wrote for was the inspiration behind, "The Rotten Adventures of Zachary Ruthless."
What's the last book you read that you really loved?
The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness. I could say the Hunger Games Trilogy, but that's like saying I like the Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest trilogy -- very unoriginal, although I loved them both, too.
If readers want to find out more about you and your writing, where should they look?
My website: allanwoodrow.com
The book website: evilbadguystuff.com
Follow Zachary on Facebook: www.facebook.com/zachary.ruthless
My blog: woodrowbooks.wordpress.com/
Great! Thanks so much for visiting, Allan, and all the best with your first book's release!
Interested in seeing more? Here's the book trailer for THE ROTTEN ADVENTURES OF ZACHARY RUTHLESS! Enjoy!