Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare: Author Guest Post and Giveaway!

I am thrilled to be a stop on the book tour for Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare, by Sands Hetherington! This delightful children’s tale features a young boy named John Degraffenreidt and a red crocodile named Crosley who shows up under John’s bed. The duo sneaks out of the house using Crosley’s “I-ain’t-here doodad” (which makes them invisible) and embark on a Program (the Night Buddies word for Adventure). In this particular Program, they must find out why the pineapple cheesecakes are disappearing from the world’s only pineapple cheesecake factory! I’m pleased to present the following exclusive and delightful letter that author Sands Hetherington wrote to me about how he came up with this idea. He also offers advice for getting little ones to read. Enjoy!

Hi Susan,

I understand you have lots of sons and are interested in how my young son and I collaborated on the Night Buddies stories. To put it somewhat loosely, he was the writer and I was the editor.

But let me start at the top:

I raised John as a single parent from the age of six. Bedtime stories were an essential to us, like food, air and shelter. It may be that we never missed a night for six or seven years, even on trips. I read him everything from Aesop to Tolkien and Dahl. (Harry Potter hadn’t come along yet.) By the time John was twelve we had gone through most of Dickens and Victor Hugo. So he was always immersed in stories. He’s a linguist now, and thirty-two and still likes hobbit movies.

The Night Buddies series features John and Crosley. John is a young kid pretty much like mine was, and Crosley is a bright-red crocodile. He sneaks John out of the house for adventures on nights when John isn’t ready to go to sleep.

John invented red Crosley from whole cloth. One night when I was done reading, I may have suggested he make up a night companion to go off to sleep with. Maybe I didn’t. He may have done it by himself. But in any case, before long, there was Crosley, goofy name and all. I couldn’t have come up with something like that.

So at bedtime we started batting Crosley stuff around. I encouraged John to make up episodes. I mostly listened. If he did come up with something, I told him how super it was and when could I hear the next installment? I think he was still six. He got pretty facile, and I had visions of him becoming a writer. After a year or so, John tired of the game and went back to listening mode. But by then Crosley had become such a family member that he would pop up in conversation for years. Our friends even knew about him and asked about him. He was too real to fade away.

With me anyway. I started wondering about how I might write him and John up. The puzzle was Crosley. A kid with a talking animal buddy is fairly standard stuff, but why on earth was Crosley red? If you put something that bizarre into a story, you need to explain. I could have simply dropped the red part, but then why even use a crocodile? Besides, Crosley was a family pet now, and I didn’t want to change a single knot on him.

It was a eureka moment. Everybody has them. You just keep the problem in the back of your mind, sometimes for days or weeks but never letting go, and, often as not, the answer bubbles up as it were unbidden. Taking walks helps me.

But enough of that. Crosley was red because he was allergic to water, of course! Kind of. If he got any water on him, he broke out doing the Black Bottom dance and had to go on for hours unless he took his antidote pills. The pills had this side-effect, though. They turned him red! Plenty goofy, just like Crosley, who I decided had to be as goofy as his color.

So it fell into place: Crosley began as a lights-out buddy, so let’s take it from there: make him part of Night Buddies Amalgamated, whose members sneak kids out on adventures when the kids aren’t ready for bed yet.

The plot had to be as goofy as everything else. So Crosley becomes a pineapple cheesecake fanatic, okay? And it happens that all of the pineapple cheesecakes are disappearing at the world’s only pineapple cheesecake factory. Our two Night Buddies need to take care of this right now!

Susan, you asked about methods for getting little ones to read. The only one I know is immersion. From the age of a few months or even a few days. Read to them every day without fail, so that by the time they are two or three, they will expect it and know literature as a pleasure. Because it is a pleasure except to some who come to it later as a foreign language. Then, when they learn to read, they will want to read. It’s so simple. Look at otherwise educated people who don’t read. Odds are the first book they ever read or heard was in junior high school. The ardent readers get their enthusiasm in their mothers’ milk, and I’ll bet some of them get in on the process just like John did.

John and I hope you like our little book, and thanks for having us.

Sands Hetherington

Learn more about Sands Hetherington and the Night Buddies series at www.nightbuddiesadventures.com. And be sure to like the Night Buddies Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nightbuddies. Read on to find out how you can win a copy of Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare!

GIVEAWAY

One lucky winner will receive a paperback copy of Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare, by Sands Hetherington. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 11:59 PM EST.



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30 comments:

  1. Jessica Love grew up in California, with two artist parents. She studied printmaking and drawing at UC Santa Cruz, then went on to study acting at The Juilliard School in NYC.

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  2. Sands majored in history at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and has an M.F.A. in creative writing and an M.A. in English from UNC-Greensboro.

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  3. Love the MEET THE CHARACTERS page. It's always nice to have a cute little cameo of each character. Especially for childrens character books. :)

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  4. i like the red crocodile chosley crystletellerday@yahoo.com

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  5. Anonymous12:43 PM

    They introduce you to the books characters.
    marypopmom@yahoo.com

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  6. Its a series of books that revolve aroung evening adventures of John.

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  7. What a wonderful Story, I would very much enjoy reading this to my boys.. Thank you missiekay1980@aol.com

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  8. I learned that the author's favorite children's book are the Oz books

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  9. I learned that the Illustrator Jessica Love
    is also known as Miss Jess- emscout9 at Hotmail dot com

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  10. Like that the book is about a boy who does not want to go to sleep, hope it is not too scary.
    seyma_bennett@hotmail.com

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  11. The first book in the series is Night Buddies and The Pineapple Cheesecake Scare. The Program for the night is to find out why all of the pineapple cheesecakes in the world’s only pineapple cheesecake factory are disappearing.

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  12. I like that the "creature under the bed" is his traveling companion... it takes some of the scary out.
    Lisa Hackney
    yankssssrule08@yahoo.com

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  13. the red crocodile is cute

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  14. They have a lot of applause from 2nd-4th graders!
    Tam Sweeps RC/FB

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  15. I liked Crosley!!
    ptavernie at yahoo dot com

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  16. You can schedule the author to visit your school.

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  17. Sands majored in history at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill).

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  18. I like the crocodile facts like this one: The eggs of a crocodile are almost the same size as that of a goose.

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  19. As a lover of books especially Children's Literature I am so excited about this book as I love the author. I know my son, Tobias is looking forward to reading it! :)

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  20. I love that you can request Sands to come visit your school....and the section on meet the characters is awesome!

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  21. Sands favorite authors include Dickins, Twain, Faulkner, Hemingway, and Roald Dahl.

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  22. I like the meet the characters page. they introduce you to all the characters

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  23. second book in the Night Buddies series. It’s called Night Buddies, Imposters, and One Far-Out Flying Machine.
    vmkids3 at msn dot com

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  24. I learned that Crosley is "...bright red all over—the only crocodile in the world like that."
    kimbuckjr

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  25. i learned about jessica love the author of the book who grew up in california

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  26. I like that it's an adventure/fantasy for kids

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  27. I learned that Sands majored in history at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and has an M.F.A. in creative writing and an M.A. in English from UNC-Greensboro.

    ginaferrell3 at yahoo dot com

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  28. I learned the author liked the oz books.

    email/ daveshir2005@yahoo.com
    fb/ shirley greenawalt zolenski

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  29. I learned that the author is working on his second book of the series: Night Buddies, Imposters, and One Far-Out Flying Machine.
    cinderwhims at gmail dot com

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  30. The story is filled with well-drawn fascinating characters embellished with some excellent illustrations by Jessica Love.

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