1)What inspired you to write Bye Bye Balloon?
I first came up with the idea for Bye Bye Balloon when I was at a parade. I saw little boys and girls who had accidently let go of their balloons. It was a combination of seeing them upset and the striking sight of a couple balloons on their own, rising higher and higher in the big blue sky. I wondered where the balloons were going. In my mind, I turned the children’s sadness around and felt that they had done a good thing. Now these balloons were free and they could go explore the world and see many of its beautiful sights before they ran out of air. I thought of a few places where I’d like the balloon to see and then I went home and looked at a map to make a course for the balloon’s journey.
2) How long did it take you to write the book? There’s not a large amount of words in the story, just a sentence on each page. However, it took me a while to get to that. I wrote a few versions of Bye Bye Balloon over the years. The first was a rhyming version with a lot of content in the words. I really liked the rhymes, but the story was kind of hard to read. After that I wrote a few different versions that contained human characters. Eventually I just totally stripped it down and just made it about the balloon and the sights it would see. Simple and to the point; while letting the pictures show the wonders of the landmarks. As a writer, I tend to write a lot of words, but in writing children’s books, I find it best to say a lot in as few words as possible.
3) What are some of your favorite books from childhood? Were there any specific authors who inspired you?
I’ve never been into specific authors, just good stories. One of my favorite books from my childhood was Me Too Iguana by Jacquelyn Reinach. It was all about being yourself and how friends can help you see what it is that makes you special. I also really liked The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and Watch Out for the Chicken Feet in Your Soup by Tomie de Paola.
4) If you could go anywhere that the balloon goes in your book, where would you go and why?
The only places I’ve been to where the balloon visits are New York, Los Angeles (Hollywood), and London. So there are a lot of places where the balloon went to that I would love to go see. But the places I’d most like to visit are probably the pyramids in Egypt or Japan.
5) Where did you come up with the vision for Spaghetti Eddie?
I came up with the vision for Spaghetti Eddie by wanting to write a story that showed sharing in a different way. I got the idea for using spaghetti from a scene in Tomie de Paola’s book, Watch Out for the Chicken Feet in Your Soup. I love spaghetti and that seemed like a great way to show sharing. After I brainstormed a couple silly ways to use spaghetti, and not for eating, I knew I was onto a great idea. I came up with the story for the final assignment in a children’s literature class I took in college. It’s pretty amazing how that one assignment changed my life.
6) What is your favorite song that you’ve written?
That’s definitely hard to say. I thankfully really like them all in different ways. But if I’d have to say it might be the Spaghetti Eddie song or So Many Books. I’ve performed those songs so many times and they don’t get boring. There’s a lot of life to them.
7) If you could live anywhere on earth, where would you choose?
There’s not really any place in particular where I’d like to live. I think, like the balloon, I would want to explore all different places throughout the world. But definitely spend more time in each place than the balloon did. Hopefully I’ve got more air in me than the balloon.
8) Where can we purchase a copy of Bye Bye Balloon or Spaghetti Eddie?
Both books are available through my website www.littlekingpress.com. Books can be personalized and autographed. Both books can also be ordered through Amazon or Spaghetti Eddie can be ordered at major bookstores.