Kristi’s Book Nook Interview w/ Author Gwendolyn Hooks
KBN: Tell us about your book(s) and illustrations.
GH: I have 11 published books with seven more scheduled for 2011. People are surprised when I tell them I don’t know the illustrators. I think my editors have done an amazing job of finding the perfect illustrators for my books. My four latest books are part of a new series, The Pet Club Stories: The Best Trick, Find the Cat!, The Noisy Night, and Pets at the Party. They’re all illustrated by Mike Bryne. He did a fabulous job. He made the kids and their pets fun to look at and I hope I made the books fun to read.
KBN: How long did it take you to get this idea to where it is now?
GH: The books are easy readers with about 300 words each. I am a plotter and an outliner. Once I have those two things in place it doesn’t take me long to write the story. I knew there would be four books, so I decided to focus each book on a different character and their pet, but all of the kids would be in each book.
KBN: What will kids love most about your book(s)?
GH: The books are a fun read. And they feature pets. I don’t know if I ever met a kid that didn’t want a pet. I even stretched myself and included a pet that I’m too scary to have in my house—a rat!
KBN: What will parents and teachers love most about your book(s)?
GH: Because they’re easy readers, kids will be able to read the books themselves. The illustrations will help. Each book introduces the characters and their pets which means a person can read them in any order. Plus there is a word list in the back of each book that parents and teachers can use to strengthen the reader’s vocabulary.
KBN: What’s your next project?
GH: I am working on a picture book biography. I watched an HBO movie, Something the Lord Made and fell in love with Vivien Thomas. I had never heard of him before. Vivien was an African American man who lost his college savings in the Great Depression and became a laboratory technician instead of a medical doctor. At Johns Hopkins Medical School during the 1940s, he developed the equipment and technique that made open-heart surgery on Blue Babies possible. In 1976, Johns Hopkins finally honored with an honorary doctorate degree of medicine. His portrait now hangs in the university.
About the Author
Gwendolyn Hooks has written eleven books and several magazine articles for children. She writes in a variety of genres including eight fiction easy readers and three nonfiction books and sells articles to magazines such as Highlights for Children and JAKES. In 2011, Stone Arch Books, Red Chair Press, and Bebop Books will publish seven more of her easy readers. Her Mystery of the Missing Dog, Three’s A Crowd (Scholastic Book Fair
selections) and Can I Have a Pet (Bebop Books) have sold over 230,000 copies. Gwendolyn lives in Oklahoma City. She writes to encourage young readers to explore their world.