Author Interview with Alan H. Jordan
I’m interviewing Alan H. Jordan today, author of children’s picture book “The Monster on Top of the Bed”. Welcome to my blog, Alan, and thanks for answering my questions.
1) When did you know you wanted to be an author?
That’s an interesting question. I knew that I enjoyed writing when I was 13. I was the editor for a newsletter for a high school fraternity, the Joan Freemark chapter of AZA. I used to write the newsletter using “masters” that worked on a “spirit duplicator” machine which allowed me to print multiple colors on one page. They were faded out colors by today’s standards, but it was cool to be able to mix purple, gray, blue, green and red on one page and make content that looked attractive as well as being informative.
If you define an author as someone who writes articles and books then it was age 13 when I was editing that newsletter. If you go one step further and define an author as someone who writes and then takes an active role in getting their work recognized by readers, then I knew I wanted to be an author around age 25 when I started publishing magazine articles.
2) Where did you get the inspiration for The Monster on Top of the Bed?
I wrote this book because I wanted to share some of my most important values with a yet-to-be conceived grandchild. I realized that it might be possible that I would die before my grandchild was born. When I was a kid I was afraid of monsters in the closet and under the bed. I wanted to tell that child, even if I couldn’t be here, that the key to banishing monsters is The Golden Rule—“Do unto others as you would like to be done onto you.” It works because it’s difficult to be afraid of a friend, and the key to making a friend is to put yourself in the place of the other person and to treat them with dignity and respect.
3) What is your editing process like?
My editing process is quite different for a picture book than a non-fiction book or a novel, and yet there are similarities. In a novel, the story is carried by the words. In a picture book, the artwork provides a separate story that needs to interweave with the written words. For example, in The Monster on Top of the Bed, the slippers move around the room and point to important things. Children understand on a subconscious level, but they discover the movement rather than being aware of it. When I edit a picture book, I’m looking at the rough-cut black-and-white sketches to see what story the artist is telling. Then, I may alter the words of the book so that the written story and the drawn story complement each other. I also edit the words I’ve written in a variety of ways. I look at them on the computer screen, on a printout of the book and I listen to them. I read the story and listen to myself read it, and I also use a text-to-speech program to read the story. It’s amazing how many times, I can read what I think I’ve written, not what I’ve written. That’s not true when I hear a computer dispassionately read a story—I often hear mistakes that I just wouldn’t notice if I read a manuscript—there I often read what I think I’ve written. My Monster on Top of the Bed presents the book without the words—with a title page and cover where each child can write their own name—they become the author. Whatever the child writes is a solution that they will accept because they came up with the story. In my editing process, I choose to leave most of the background noises in the book because they help to inspire the child’s own story.
5) Did you set any writing goals for 2014? Did you accomplish them?
I decided that I wanted to self-publish the family of books that include The Monster…, My Monster, and The Creative Edition of The Monster and In 2014 my goals were
(1) To refine and The Monster on Top of the Bed, start it on its way to becoming a classic book like Frog and Toad are Friends or The Little Engine that Could. I’ve accomplished that goal. The books are unique, something that becomes evident up in the many four-star and five-star reviews;
(2) Involving educators and parents in what I call the Monbed experience—that is getting them to create resources and blog about how the books help children. A number of bloggers have written blog posts that show their children using my books and the first activity book that was prepared by Becky Castle, a teacher, is available from http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Monster-on-Top-of-the-Bed-Supplemental-Activities-1598016;
(3) Exploring my ability to write a number of stories/books for adults that will probably be published by a major house. I’ve achieved this even though I don’t feel comfortable enough to release the stories and novels that I started. I also have some marketing goals, but these have taken a backseat to my writing goals.
6) What are your writing goals for 2015?
In 2015 I plan to finish Karrit and Suzy’s next adventure, which deals with bullying, to finish my work on a children’s book that combines affirmations, constructive questions and photographs into a 12 short books—one for each month of the year. I also want to start promoting, Zoey’s Letter to a Soul, which helps children (and adults) to process grief. It does this by coupling a poem with the stunning photography of the Hubble Space Telescope and by hyperlinking directly to The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s site so that children can discover the beauty of life and the Universe. I also plan to refine some of the writing that I’ve started for adults and present the books to a major publisher.
7) Are you working on something now? If so, can you tell us a little about it?
I’m working on all of the above projects now. One of the books for adults is tentatively titled Good Fortune and it features Jewelanna Diamond, a sort of 21st Century Stephanie Plum who, along with her sidekick, Zularita White, are the Shoe Store Detectives. It’s the first in a series of comic mysteries. (I sold shoes for seven years while I went to night school at college, and I have a deep knowledge about how to make women’s shoes feel comfortable that I intend for Jewelanna and Zula to share with my readers.) The other book I’m working on for adults is a thriller, but I don’t want to go into details about that book right now. When it comes to Suzy and Karrit’s next adventure, I’d like to get my readers involved in some of the fine points of the book, and the title.
About The Book
Author: Alan H. Jordan
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Once upon a time there was a little girl named Suzy, who used to jump up and down on her bed having just a great time. This scared a young critter named Karrit who lived under Suzy’s bed and he wanted her to be his friend. Still, Suzy ate strange things like cakes made out of pans (pancakes) and the toes of toemays (tomatoes) and—he couldn’t believe it—he heard her talk about eating something truly horrendous.
One day Karrit heard Suzy tell her mother that she was lonely and needed a friend. Because of that Karrit decided to visit Suzy. At first Suzy was afraid of Karrit, who had red, scaly legs, and a blue nose. But Suzy noticed that Karrit seemed scared of her too. So, Suzy treated Karrit the way that she would want to be treated if she had gone to his house.
As they grew to know each other, Suzy figured out why Karrit was afraid of her, and she was sorry to have scared him. She showed him a hotdog (she didn’t eat dogs that were hot) a tomato (she didn’t eat the toes of matoes) and a carrot (she definitely didn’t eat Karrits).
Suzy made Karrit feel that she liked him, and that she wanted him to be happy. Because of that, they kept getting to know each other better until one day they both realized that they didn’t have to be afraid of each other, and that it was a mistake for each of them to think of the other as a “monster.” Suzy and Karrit became best friends, and neither was afraid of monsters again.
Alan Jordan writes poetry, spiritual books, self-help books, childrens’ books and business books. He’s working on a comic mystery and a thriller that are scheduled for release in 2016. His Kindle books , I Am Here, Dad; Can You Feel Me, Mom?; and Zoey’s Letter to a Soul, contain full color photographs taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory with hyperlinks so that when you click on the links you go right to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) web page that provides full details about the picture.
His children’s book The Monster on Top of the Bed was written to pass on his strongest beliefs and values to a grandchild, just in case he should pass away before my daughter got pregnant and had a child.
Watch some videos that explain the advantages of “The Monster n Top of the Bed”: http://monbed30.max-opp.com/videos/for-kids-and-parents/