Interview: Author Sands Hetherington

 Sands Hetherington, author

Night Buddies 
and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare

. . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . .ISBN:  978-0-9847417-1-7

Hi Sands, welcome to Kid Lit Reviews. 

Hi Sue, and thanks for having me. 

Your book has an intersecting title:  Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare.  The review will be here tomorrow, until then, let’s find out a few things, shall we?

Is this your first children’s book? 

Yes, I did adult stories a long time ago, but this is my first children’s attempt. 

What inspired or compelled you to write a book? 

I wrote it for John and to enshrine our night-time buddy. 

Did you deliberately set out to write a book for boys?

I never thought about appealing just to boys.  I hope that doesn’t happen.  It hasn’t happened at classroom readings.

Yes, school visits are part of your marketing plan for the book.  What do you enjoy most about these face-to-face events?

I enjoy reading to the little ones.  I suppose it’s the performer in me.  The kids seem to enjoy me too.  The usual player/audience symbiosis

 Where did you get the idea for Night Buddies?

My six-year-old son John invented Crosley as an after-lights-out companion, red color, goofy name and all.  John and I started batting Crosley ideas around after that and inventing episodes.  Crosley became a real family pet.  About a year later, I decided to do an adventure after lights-out book featuring John and Crosley.  Once I figured out why on earth Crosley was red, the elements were already there and things just fell into place.

Did John contribute to any writing of the book?

Not the actual writing; he was a bit young for that.  But I give him a huge amount of credit.  He invented Crosley out of whole cloth to be his lights-out companion, and all I did essentially was flesh the business out.  Call John the writer and me the editor and rewrite man.

 How long did it take from when you began writing to the completed manuscript?  Do you recall the number of revisions you made?

I think I started in about 1987.  The number of revisions is legion.  There were approximately 6,000 troopers in a Roman legion.

Your young protagonist, John Degraffenreidt, has a long family name that is difficult to pronounce.  Are you worried kids might not remember this character’s name?  Is John, the character,  named after your son John, and is he portraying your son?

The book was really for and about my son, and I wanted a long surname like ours.  My son doesn’t have a middle name and the John character doesn’t either.  This is addressed on page eighteen.  I don’t think the long name will bother kids.  They enjoy latching onto unwieldy words and names as often as not.  You see them everywhere.  My character’s surname scarcely comes up in the story anyway.  (The iguanas call him “Grassinreeds.”)  To answer the last part of your question, (1) yes, and (2) pretty much.

The other main character is Crosley, a crocodile, with a strange condition—he’s red.  I thought the part about Crosley not being able to get wet was truly imaginative.  He can make himself and a companion disappear with one word.  Is there anything else we should know about Crosley?

Nothing that doesn’t turn up in the book, so let’s not give it all away.  Actually he doesn’t become invisible with a word.  He uses his I-ain’t-here doodad from his bunch of magic whatchamacallits hanging on his belt.

Night Buddies must stay on their program.  Crosley mentions this to John but never explains (that I recall), what is the program?

This is spelled out on pages eleven and twelve.  PROGRAM is the Night Buddies word for adventure/assignment.

So John and Crosley must stay on their assignment until finished.  Will there be another Night Buddies starring John and Crowsley, or will a different Night Buddy take over?  Do you have plans to make this into a series?

Night Buddies, Imposters, and One Far-Out Flying Machine is due out in the fall and stars our same two adventurers.  It is a much longer book with many new characters.  My favorite part is the absolutely fabulous flying machine that needs to stay a surprise.

Is there anything else you would like to add? 

You mention “lissen” and “probly” (as being misspelled).  The orthography is deliberate.  I’m trying to give a hint of kid-speak.  For better or for worse, the whole book is full of dialect.

Thank you for coming by today.

Thanks much for having me, Sue.

You can follow Sands at Facebook www.facebook.com/nightbuddies

and at the Night Buddie website. www.nightbuddiesadventures.com

Tomorrow, look for the review of Sands book, Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare here at Kid Lit Reviews.  For another view check out A Children’s Book Author review HERE

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