For today’s post, I’m interviewing Sands Hetherington, who has just released a children’s book called Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare. I started by asking Sands about his book and the suggested reading age.
Thanks for having me, Pete. Maybe 7-9 years for reading, and 2 isn’t too young for listening. The book is the first in a series featuring John, a young city kid who isn’t ready for bed yet, and Crosley, a bright-red crocodile who shows up in his room to rescue him and take him on an adventure. Both of them are fond of pineapple cheesecakes, especially Crosley, and it so happens that the world’s supply of pineapple cheesecakes is mysteriously disappearing. Major emergency, so our Night Buddies’ “program” for tonight is to find out what the problem is and set things to rights. They sneak past John’s parents with Crosley’s invisibility doodad and ride the subway to the great (and only) pineapple cheesecake factory across town. On the way Crosley explains why he is red. He is red because he is allergic to water. In a roundabout way, that is. If he gets wet he breaks out doing the Black Bottom dance for hours and hours. Unless he takes his antidote pills. The pills stop the Black Bottoming well enough, but (you got it!) they turn him red. They get to the pineapple cheesecake factory and meet Big Foot Mae the gigantic manager. Crosley discovers what’s been happening to the pineapple cheesecakes, and that’s when the scare and all the crazy stuff really get started—–
How long did you have the idea for Night Buddies before you wrote it?
Actually it was my six-year-old son’s idea (whose name happens to be John). We always had bedtime stories. And one night out of whole cloth he presented me with a red crocodile named Crosley that he had invented for an after-lights-out companion. We started making up John-and-Crosley episodes, and Crosley got to be a regular member of the family. About a year later it got into my old head that this stuff might be decent fodder for a book. I think I started writing stuff down a few months later.
When did you realise you wanted to be an author?
It was in tenth grade and there was this really foxy student English teacher named Ellen. I handed in some sappy poetical piece and she gushed over it. She was an older woman and spoken for, but that did it for me right then.
What’s the best part about being an author?
Mark Twain said it: “I hate writing. I love having written.”
I love that quote and can relate to it myself as I’m currently trying to churn out my next novel. Do you have any tips for would-be authors?
Set yourself a schedule and really, really stick to it. Three hours is plenty for most people. If you try to go all day you will eventually give it up, but don’t ever skip your two or three hours. Read and read and read, and never shirk this either. And get out and look around you and have experiences.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
The short answer is everything else. I used to be a single parent to young John and was a money manager and housekeeper and multisport little league dad. Now I’m just a housekeeper and like to travel.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Night Buddies, Imposters, and One Far-Out Flying Machine is the second book in the series and comes out this fall. It starts the same way: It’s been awhile and John is wide-awake at bedtime again. Crosley shows up per their Night Buddies contract and they sneak out of the house. They borrow a really fantastic flying machine and fly off to investigate the vandalism that’s been happening all over town. Vandalism by a red crocodile! This book is much longer than the first one.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts today, Sands. I really enjoyed having you as a guest on my blog.
Thanks for letting me in, Pete.
The World of Ink Network will be touring author Sands Hetherington’s nighttime adventure for kids, Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare published by Dune Buggy Press all through July and August 2012.
You can find out more about Sands Hetherington’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour
Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare by Sands Hetherington is an after lights-out adventure story that will delight young readers and middle graders who relish roller coaster fantasy and fun, filled with unforgettable characters and an astonishing and inventive collection of magical whatchamacallits.
The book is all about the night time adventures of a young boy named John, who is not ready to go to sleep, and his friend, a bright red crocodile named Crosley who turns up under John’s bed.
They sneak out of John’s house using Crosley’s “I-ain’t-here-doodad” which makes them invisible to John’s parents. They then embark on an adventure chasing down enemies and cleaning up one mess after another as they solve the earthshaking mystery: who stole all the pineapple cheesecakes from the only factory in the world that makes them!
The investigation starts out fine but things get a little crazy when Crosley, who is allergic to water, gets wet. Hilarious things happen when Crosley’s allergy to water kicks in, and when they get to the pineapple cheesecake factory and meet Big Foot Mae, the investigation gets more complicated and zany than either of them bargained for.
Night Buddies is an astonishing and inventive adventure with unforgettable cast of characters that will make you laugh and win over your heart. The book has lots of thoughtful, multi-layered twists, giggles, and perils — things kids can relate to and enjoy.
Paperback 128 pages Also available in Kindle and Nook
Publisher: Dune Buggy Press; One edition (June 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0984741712 ISBN-13: 978-0984741717
Available wherever books are sold and online. For more information visit www.nightbuddiesadventures.com
The story is filled with well-drawn fascinating characters embellished with some excellent illustrations by Jessica Love. The fonts change with emotion and circumstances, a fact that makes every page a little artwork that keep the child’s eye involved in the book. And just to make sure the youngsters reading this book have the inside information for a mystery, a glossary of ‘Night Buddies Uncommon Words’ is supplied – explaining ‘Jeeks’, ‘Wuff’, ‘Snerk!’ etc. The 128-page book is packed with all-new picture drawings by illustrator Jessica Love.
About the Author
Sands Hetherington credits his son John for being his principal motivator. Sands raised his son as a single parent from the time John was six. He read to him every night during those formative years. He and young John developed the Crosley crocodile character in the series during months of bedtime story give-and-take. Sands majored in history at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and has an M.F.A. in creative writing and an M.A. in English from UNC-Greensboro. He lives in Greensboro.
About the Illustrator
Jessica Love grew up in California, with two artist parents. She studied printmaking and drawing at UC Santa Cruz, then went on to study acting at The Juilliard School in NYC.
Jessica currently resides in Brooklyn, New York, toggling back and forth between her work as an actor and her work as an artist.
What People Are Saying
“This little book is a winner!”
—Grady Harp, Hall of Fame Amazon Reviewer
“Hetherington seems to have the right ingredients for a classic children’s whodunit—talking animals, an unsolved mystery and a brave hero willing to face unforeseen foes…”