Thursday, July 9, 2015

Interview with juvenile fiction author A.J. Cosmo

Today’s special guest is A.J. Cosmo to chat with us about his new juvenile fiction work that he authored and illustrated, Soaked.

During his virtual book tour, A.J. will be awarding a $75 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (winner’s choice) to a randomly drawn winner. To be entered for your chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too.

A.J. Cosmo is the full-time independent author and illustrator of over forty children’s books including the best selling “The Monster That Ate My Socks.” He is also a consultant and publisher to other independent writers and illustrators.

Welcome, A.J. Please tell us about your current release.
Soaked tells the story of Aiden who, on the last day of class, stands up to Jacob, the all-powerful school bully. Jacob texts the entire school on the way home declaring a "$500 Gamestop gift card and full immunity for the kid that brings me Aiden Jones." Aiden has to rely on his friends, and his wits, to make it home safe and ultimately stand up to the bully that plagues everyone.

What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to tell a modern story of bullying and childhood war. I believe strongly that media attention to violence and war-themed video games have produced a culture that seeks violent solutions to nearly every problem. Our children take that information and use it to template their lives. The bully in Soaked knows the powder keg and all it takes is a simple text to bring war to a neighborhood. You cannot solve violence with more violence. Aiden, our hero, learns that his "cowardice" (pacifism) is actually his greatest strength and he uses non-violent means to systematically destroy the bully.

Excerpt from Soaked:
We ran into the woods and weaved through the trees. Ben grabbed my hand and pulled me into one of the crusty drainpipes that marked where future homes would be put. We waited there for the patrol to run past.

"You left him," Ben said.

"You left him? How about we left him?" I said.

"It was your idea to make a break for it. Your plan, you're blame," Ben growled.

We stopped, looked out of the pipe, and waited for the sound of the rallying kids to come near.

"I'm sorry," I said as I looked down at the dirt.

Feet stomped by overhead and we dropped our voices.

Ben shook his head. "They're not after me," Ben whispered. "I could walk out right now and no one would care."

"Don't say that," I said. I couldn’t help but feel a bit betrayed. "What makes you think they wouldn't bother you?"

"I nearly got soaked back there." He pulled out his cell phone. He looked at his phone as if it was the most precious thing in the world. And you know what? To him, it was. I knew that if something happened to it that it would take at least three grades before he would be able to get a new one.

"Is it okay?" I asked, not caring about the phone at all.

He tapped the phone. Then he shook it, pawed it, and pleaded with it.

It didn't work.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I'm not ready to divulge too much yet, but the theme of the story is the transition between immaturity and maturity and the title of the book is "Poop." ;)

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I looked around and saw that my only income was coming from writing (and illustrating) and that I literally could do nothing else with myself. I still have a hard time believing it, but the more you call yourself something (or are introduced as it in a public setting) the easier it is to accept it.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I work every day. Every. Day. And the time varies from a few hours to the entirety of daylight. It helps to give yourself hard deadlines, even if you're the only one paying attention to them. I carry many projects at once and am considered a workaholic. I average a book every two weeks. At such a breakneck pace, even my mother hasn't heard of all my books.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Very young it was a paleontologist (dinosaur scientist) and from ten years old on it was either a film director or a screenwriter. At no point did I ever consider being a full-time writer (though I did write my first novel at 18.) Honestly I think children need to have a wider variety of career options shown to them at a younger age. Nurse, cop, firefighter, and scientist need to be alongside accountant, teacher, mechanic, inventor, programmer, and barista.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
One thing that I wish authors would talk about more with readers is how important their feedback, specifically their reviews, are to us. True, some writers never read their reviews, but just the fact of having them in the first place puts an enormous weight behind the work. So if you read this and want to help a writer, any writer, leave them a review. Heck, review all of their work. Tell your friends to do the same: you'll be the house on Halloween that gives out full-sized candy bars. 


Thanks, A.J.!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Mai T. said...

If you were a super hero, what would your name be? What costume would you wear?

Unknown said...

I think I would be something across between Nightcrawler (teleportation) and Jean Gray (telekinesis). For the super nerds out there, that would be something like the Scarlet Witch only with less magical crimson. I like the idea of being able to move quickly between places and also being able to manipulate things with my mind. It's sort of the blue sky dream of an extremely lazy workaholic multi-tasker. :D As for the costume, I have no idea, but I've always been fond of black, purple, and blue combined.

Unknown said...

Lisa, thank you so much for having me!

Victoria Alexander said...

I love the premise of this book and I think it is awesome that you would write about something like bulling and show how it is a part of daily life for children whether directly or not. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

It's an intriguing excerpt!

--Trix, vitajex(at)aol(Dot)com

Rita Wray said...

I enjoyed the interview.

Unknown said...

Thank you Rita!

Patrick Siu said...

I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

Unknown said...

Amazing cover! Great interview! Thank you for sharing!

Unknown said...

Thank you Betty! That means the world to me :)

Kate F. said...

Thanks for the great giveaway!