Friday, August 3, 2012

Author Interview with Connor Wilson, author of A Giant Pencil--We're making history here! The first interview with the youngest traditionally published American author!!

Happy Friday, everyone!  Can you believe it is August already... and almost time for school to start?  Some of you may already be back in the halls.  My oldest will go back August 20th, and for the first time, I'll have all three in school--the other two will begin PreK August 27th.  What in the world will I do with all that free time???? Hahaha... I'm SURE I will find plenty to occupy my time.

Well, today we are making history! My very special guest is Mr. Connor Wilson, who is the youngest traditionally published author in America!  Connor has written A Giant Pencil, which will be released August 11th.  You may recognize this name because Connor's very proud father--Jeffrey Wilson, author of The Traiteur's Ring and The Donors--has been my guest a couple times.

As soon as I get my copy, I will share my review with you guys... I know we're going to love it!

Author Interview
Connor Wilson
A Giant Pencil

GL:  Can you tell everyone a little about yourself?

Connor:  Okay, I’m Connor Wilson and I am 11 years old. I live in Tampa, Florida, with my family, and I have written a children’s book called A GIANT PENCIL. It’s really cool, because I found out not too long ago that I’m the youngest fiction writer in America, which was a really neat surprise. I’ve always loved to make up stories and write them down, but I didn’t really think I could write a whole book until I did it.

I like a lot of things other than writing stories, though. I really love to skateboard—that’s something I could do, like, every day. I play basketball for my school. I’m learning to Scuba Dive (which is pretty freaky), and like all the other kids I know, I love video games.  I have a little brother and little sister. I love playing with them, but sometimes they can be a pain. Having a little brother and sister helped me write A GIANT PENCIL, because I could kind of think about what would Jack and Emma like in a story. I also have a best friend named Josh, who lives across the street, and we play together kind of every day. Actually, he and I are doing the Scuba lessons together, which is cool.

GL: Very nice to meet you, Connor! Sounds like you stay really busy! Taking Scuba lessons (with your best friend) sounds really neat. I'm not sure I could do it because I'm claustrophobic J. I'm getting kinda panicky just thinking about it...

GL:  Now, tell us about your book, A Giant Pencil.

CW:  Well, it’s a children’s book for kids in elementary school. It’s a picture book, but a little longer than, like, a little kid book, so maybe for second grade through about fourth or fifth grade, probably. The story is about a boy named Billy who is totally grumpy all the time. He always thinks that everyone is picking on him, like all of his brothers and sisters, and his parents, and the teachers and kids at school. Then one day he finds this giant pencil in the woods near his house and only he can see it. Then he finds out that with the pencil he can erase people he doesn’t like, and they really disappear. So you can kind of guess what happens to people he thinks pick on him. In the end, he learns about how much his family and friends really mean to him and that helps him be a better person.

GL:  Why did you decide to write A Giant Pencil?

CW:  Well, like I said, I have always liked to make up stories and write them down. In school I always get great grades on stories and my teachers like to read my stories as examples (which I hate and is totally embarrassing). Anyway, my dad is a writer and I see him writing his stuff all the time, and he tells me about his stories sometimes. I told him I thought it would be really cool to write a book, and he told me I should just try and do it. So, I decided I would try to write a children’s book. I honestly was a little surprised I was able to do it, but not as surprised as my dad, although he says he knew I could. Anyway, from there my dad helped me learn about editing (which totally stinks and is much harder than writing a book—like 100% harder) and then he helped me find a publisher. The first couple of publishers didn’t buy it, because they said it was too long for a picture book, but it was just neat to get these letters with my name on them. So, anyway, I had to edit it again to make it shorter and then the next publisher, Weaving Dreams Publishing, said they wanted to buy it. That was an AWESOME day because my dad called me and I totally flipped out. Sometimes I still can’t believe it.

GL:  That is really cool! I would flip out too… And, I'm an editor, so I get to do the hard part ALL the time J.

GL:  What message are you hoping the readers are able to take from the book?

CW:  That you should never wish that you have nobody in your life. I hope the story makes kids appreciate their friends and their families. Are you listening Jack and Emma?

GL:  How long did it take you to write it?

CW:  It took me about 3 months to write the rough draft, but then I learned how hard it is to edit. I could totally write it faster now, because I’m older now. When I wrote it, I did it in pencil in a notebook because I was, like, nine years old and didn’t know how to type on a computer. Then when I had to do all that editing, I learned more about using the computer to write. Now I do everything on the computer.

GL:  Imagine what life was like for writers BEFORE we had computers… even typewriters!

GL:  Who did the illustrations for the book?

CW:  Alyssa Machete did my illustrations. I met her when she was going to University of Tampa. She graduated already and is now a graphic designer in New York. She really made the pictures look like what I wanted and she is really nice, too.

GL:  Find out more about Alyssa on her website:

GL:  What was it like getting your book published?

CW:  When I heard my book was getting published, I was so excited. I felt like I was on top of the world. Then I had to edit. Ugh! When I found out I was the youngest writer, it totally freaked me out. It still kind of feels like a dream sometimes.

GL:  Are you as excited as your dad about being the youngest traditionally published American author?

CW:  Oh, yeah, I am so excited about that part. At first I thought I was just some other author, but then I found out I was the youngest and it was the best feeling. I guess because it made it more special or something. My dad is actually probably more excited. He tells everyone he sees, which is totally embarrassing. You know how dads are.

GL:  I do, but what a blessing to have a dad that is so supportive and proud of you! We moms can be pretty embarrassingly proud sometimes too J

GL:  Are you a better writer than your dad? ;-)

CW:  I am way better than him on writing children’s books, but horror books—not so much.

GL:  Do you play video games? What is your absolute favorite?

CW:  Yes, I play tons of video games. My favorite is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, or at least this month. I also like HALO, a lot of different skateboard games like Skate 3. I really love the sports ones like NBA 2K12 and the Madden Football series, especially the college football ones. Of course, my five year old brother is getting into video games now, so sometimes I play his games, like LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean and Toy Story 3—gotta do the big brother thing, you know. Plus, my dad is terrible at video games so someone has to teach the poor little guy.

GL:  Hahahahaha… We are big LEGO game fans here.  I don't have much time to play, but I love playing with the kids.  But, Clayton, my seven-year-old is already getting better than me!

GL:  If you could do absolutely ANYTHING, how would you like to celebrate your next birthday?

CW:  I would celebrate it at Skate Park of Tampa or maybe Laser Tag with my friends.

GL:  What is your favorite subject in school?

CW:  My favorite would be P.E.

GL:  Who would you really, really love to meet?

CW:  I would love to meet Ryan Sheckler—what an awesome skateboarder. I already got to meet Tony Hawk at Skate Park of Tampa last year, which was one of the greatest things of my life. He signed my helmet and I have a signed skateboard from him on my wall.

GL: Wow!

GL:  Do you know what you want to be when you grow up?

CW:  I would maybe like to be a predator drone pilot in the Air Force. Maybe I could be in the Coast Guard and rescue people. Whatever else I do, I hope I will always be a writer.

GL: Sounds like a great plan!

GL:  What is your least favorite food and why? Favorite?

CW:  Sweet potatoes, because they are too sweet. Weird, because my favorite would be ice cream and it’s really sweet—but, it’s so good.

GL:  Mmmm… I love both sweet potatoes and ice cream!

GL:  Are you writing anything else right now?

CW:  Well, I’m thinking of ideas for a bunch of new books. I have a few ideas kind of outlined, and that part is really not so easy. I do finally have a new project that I have started on. I hope it will be done by Christmas break this year. This one is not a picture book, but a chapter book for older elementary school kids, like maybe fifth grade.

GL:  What fun things do you have in store for the release of A Giant Pencil?

CW:  It’s really cool because the Glazer Children’s Museum in Tampa is going to sponsor my book launch at the museum on August 11th. I will be a part of their “end of summer bash and back to school fair.” There are supposed to be all of these people that are going to be there, and I have to read my book to the kids at 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. I also get to meet with people and talk to kids and sign books and stuff. If anyone is in the Tampa area on the 11th I hope they stop by and say hi at the museum. Honestly, I’m pretty nervous about it, but my dad says I’ll be fine once I get going. Supposedly, I might have to talk to people from the TV news, which is cool, but kind of scary.

GL:  That is so exciting!  I really wish I could be there… I know you are going to do great and have a blast!

GL:  Do you have a website? Where can we find out more about you and A Giant Pencil?

CW:  Yes, I have a website. You can learn more about me and my books at I also have some book and movie reviews that I do on my site and I post a blog about once a month. There are also some cool pictures there, and there will be a ton of new ones after the book launch I bet.

You can also find my book at Barnes & Noble online and at

It was really nice to meet you, Cassie.

GL: Thank you so much, Connor! It is great getting talk with you and sharing your new book with everyone.  I can't wait to read it with my kids, and I know we'll be seeing lots more of you and your work in the future…