This week we will begin a new feature on Writing on the Sidewalk- The Author Spotlight. I would love to say that this will be a regular weekly or monthly feature, but we probably procrastinate too much for that.
Here is a little of Bruce’s Bio:
Raised by wolves just outside Los Angeles, Bruce Hale began his career as a writer while living in Tokyo, and continued it when he moved to Hawaii in 1983. Before entering the world of children’s books, he worked as a magazine editor, surveyor, corporate lackey, gardener, actor, and deejay.
Bruce has written and illustrated over 25 books for kids. His Underwhere series includes Prince of Underwhere and Pirates of Underwhere. His Chet Gecko Mysteries series includes: The Chameleon Wore Chartreuse, The Big Nap, The Malted Falcon, Hiss Me Deadly, and others.
What was your road to publication?
I started out by self-publishing picture books, which ended up being sort of a master class in children’s books. I learned with every book in the 5-book “Moki” series. The whole time I was working on those, I was also submitting stories to major publishers and collecting rejection letters — lots of rejection letters. This went on for 8 1/2 years, until I finally met an agent who liked my Chet Gecko story and helped me land a 3-book contract at Harcourt.
Can you tell me a bit about your writing process? Do you plot or not?
When I write mysteries, I plot my stories. Usually the first 2/3 of the story and the ending are plotted, and I leave a chunk of the book unplanned, so I can be surprised during the writing process. But right now, I working on the first draft of a book that had only a vague concept at the start and is being revealed to me day by day.
Are you working on any new projects that you can tell us about?
I can’t talk about that new book (it’s too soon), but I did just sign a contract with Dial Books for a picture book called, EVIL BABY. It’s about a baby with dreams of world domination.
Describe your studio or usual work space for us.
I work out of a home office, with a view of the oaks outside our house, stacks of books, and a sweet mutt that wanders in and out.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Either jazz singer or animator.
What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I’m a wild dancer and perhaps the only non-beef-eating rancher in California.
In your Chet Gecko series you make quite a few references to Film noir dramas, are you a huge fan?
Absolutely. I grew up on those old black-and-white movies, and in fact it was one of the ways my dad and I bonded.
Can you share your thoughts on humor in writing?
Humor writers are like Rodney Dangerfield — usually, we don’t get no respect. But I agree with the late Sid Fleischman, who used to say that “humor is the oxygen of children’s literature.”
We here at Writing on the Sidewalk tend to procrastinate with our writing, where do you fit in Procrastinator or Proactive?
In addition to writing Bruce is also a great speaker. I was privileged to hear him speak at one of our local San Diego SCBWI meetings. Be sure to check out Bruce’s site for speaking information plus more more of his great writing information and tips.
Thanks Bruce for sharing with us.
Writing on the Sidewalk