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PrincessReviews, Eric Luper
1. Can you explain what Jeremy Bender vs. The Cupcake Cadets is about?
Jeremy Bender vs. the Cupcake Cadets is a story about a boy who, in an effort to win a $500 prize to fix the damage he’s done to his father’s antique boat, enters a model boat race called the Windjammer Whirl. The trouble is that the competition is only open to Cupcake Cadets… and the Cupcake Cadets (think Girl Scouts) is only open to girls. Jeremy, along with his best friend Slater, decide to masquerade as Cadets, enter the contest and win the prize. After all, what could go wrong?
2. What inspired you to write it?
One day, I was trying to think of the most embarrassing situation I could think of for a 12-year-old boy. At the top of the list was the idea of standing in front of an auditorium filled with people dressed as a Girl Scout…and being discovered. The idea led to so many questions:
- How would the kid have gotten there in the first place?
- What other funny/embarrassing things could happen to a few kids dressed as cadets?
- What ARE the differences between boys and girls, if any?
- And of course, can you get away with wearing purple tights if your uniform is orange and yellow?.
But thinking about the idea led, not only to more and more funny situations, but to some deeper questions about friends, loyalty and gender differences.
3. Who is your favorite character from Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto? Why?
I love so many of the characters from Love Manifesto and I love them for different reasons, but if I had to pick just one, it would have to be Dimitri. Sure he’s rude and crude, but Dimitri softens all the difficult and awkward parts of the story with his humor. I had fun writing Dimitri because I could let the bawdy part of my imagination run free and I love reading Dimitri’s sections because I still can’t believe he says half the things he says!
4. What is your favorite color?
That all depends on what it’s a color for. If I just had to pluck a color out of the air, though, I’d pick slate blue.
5. When did you start writing?
I started writing when I was about 3. Of course, that was mostly coloring but I was good at using the sharpener on the back of the crayon box. I started writing seriously (read: with the intent of getting published) in 1999. Just so you know, I got my first contract in 2004. But those 5 years were really important for teaching me what to do and what not to do!
5. Which book do you relate more closely to, Bug Boy or Big Slick? How?
I’d have to say Big Slick. Although I love the world I created in Bug Boy, I feel less connected to the world of horse racing in 1934 Saratoga than I do to the gritty, contemporary, dark humor-filled world of Big Slick.
6. Who is your favorite author?
I’d have to say my favorite author is Douglas Adams. His use of humor is simply brilliant. In my mind, unparalleled.
7. What is your favorite book?
My favorite book has got to be The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. It’s the book that kindled my love of reading. I remember seeing a review of that book on a kid’s television program and I ran to the library to get it before anyone else did.
8. What genre do you like to write the most? Read the most?
I like to read middle-grade and young adult best. I always gravitate toward humorous books with heart. For me, it’s got to have both to be a real winner. If it’s funny, but has no substance I lose interest.
9. What age group do you try to appeal to?
I try to write a book that will appeal to all ages. I want a kid, an adult, a boy or a girl who happens upon my book and reads a few pages to raise his or her eyebrows and decide to read on.
10. Which of your books was the most fun to write?
My favorite book to write is always the book I’m working on at the time. I have to be jazzed up and passionate about what I’m working on or else I lose interest and start finding excuses not to write.
11. Which book took the longest?
Bug Boy took about twice as long to write as my other books. That is because it was so dependent on research. I knew nothing about 1934 depression-era Saratoga and I knew very little about horse racing when I set out on that journey. I consider myself fortunate to have met so many people along the way willing to share their knowledge. Oh, and the librarians all know me now!
12. What languages do you speak?
English, some Spanish, some Latin, Pig Latin. Because of Latin, though, I can read and understand many romance languages.
14. Any pets?
Do kids count as pets? I have two of them. Otherwise, not at the present time. I had a black lab named Loki until recently.
15. Thank you for your time! Is there anything else you'd like to say?
Just thank you back! I appreciate your time and your interest in what I do!