Book Nerd Interview
What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
This or this, Rebecca?
I’ve eaten ants, grubs, crickets & frogs, but I refuse to eat stewed tomatoes or caraway seeds.
I have rambled through all 50 states, 5 continents and 19 countries on all kinds of transportation from tuk-tuks to tricycles, bajai to buses and bicycles, ojeks, rickshaw and rafts, trains and planes, helicopters and horses, dogs, elephants, camels—oh yeah, cars and feet, too!
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I “wrote” my first book, SHERLICK HOUND AND THE VALENTINE MYSTERY, in 1985; it was published in 1987. I wrote it with my writing partner of about 20 years, Ronnie Davidson. How old was I??? Somewhere between birth and now…
What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
After reading & writing…team sports, especially Volleyball!
In your new book; Vampire Baby, can you tell my Book Nerd Kids Community a little about it and why they should read your picture book?
When his adorable baby sister, Tootie, sprouts fangs and starts biting, Big Brother jumps to the logical conclusion—she’s a vampire. When mom and dad don’t believe him, brother decides to take matters into his own hands and “place” Tootie where she belongs—with a Vampire Family, of course! It’s a funny, twisted sibling story I hope makes readers laugh, and at the same time, realize that having less than wonderful thoughts about our loved ones from time to time is, as Dad would say, “Perfectly normal!”
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Oh my!!! I’d love to get Tootie and Norman the goldfish together…It would be absolutely hil-lar-i-ous! I can just see Tootie scrambling after Norman, snapping her fangs while he flipped and flopped all over…and Tootie’s brother would be racing around trying to catch them both while shouting “Tootie! No Bite!”
You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Prep young listeners by adding this introduction:
This is the story of a big brother with a big, big problem.
His baby sister bites!
Does it hurt to get bitten? . . . YESSSSSSSS.
Is it nice to bite other people? . . . Noooooooooo.
Do we like to get bitten? . . . Noooooooooooo.
As you’ll soon see this brother needs all of our help to get his sister to stop biting so . . .
Whenever he get’s bitten, he’ll say: YOUCH, TOOTIE!
We’ll join in by shaking our fingers and saying “NO BITE!”
Try it with me: YOUCH, TOOTIE!
What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?
I used to go to work in my Poppy’s floorcovering store once a week with my Grandmother. I organized linoleum and carpet samples. My favorite part was working the ancient—even back then—crank cash register. For lunch, we walked down to the town’s only department store and sat at the lunch counter. I had great fun playing “shopkeeper”—and I got paid!!!
What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a kid?
The first one. I would love to zip back in time to 1904 so I could go to the World’s Fair in St. Louis in my high-top button up shoes, flouncy dress and hat, like Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis. Everything was new and wonderous! It’s where the ice cream cone was invented.
What scares you the most and why?
Snapping, biting, stinging animals & insects—people too.
My brother was bitten by my aunt’s dog when we were tweens. We knew the dog well, romped with it, slept with it. To think it would turn on my brother like that make me realize any creature so armed is potentially dangerous.
What is your greatest adventure?
Trekking through the Baliem Valley in Papua, sleeping in traditional villages, meeting indigenous people.
When was the last time you told someone you loved them?
Today, yesterday, every day. I tell my loved ones I love them each time we speak. I don’t think we can express our love too much!
Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
My husband, Curtis—bless his fuzzy head! He talks me back to normalcy.
It happens overnight: little sister Tootie goes from cuddly, ga-ga-googoo, I-want-my-ba-ba baby...vampire baby. Now she’s sinking her pointy fangs into everything — furniture, toys, and especially her big brother ("Youch, Tootie! No bite!" ). Mom insists that it’s just a phase, but Tootie’s brother knows better. Just look at her hairline! Or the fact that all her favorite foods are bloodred! With perfect comic timing, Kelly Bennett and Paul Meisel give a fresh slant to the new-baby story, proving that even monstrous little arrivals have a funny way of staking their siblings’ affections.