The Next Big Thing and My Next Book

February 13th, 2016

Just as I was finishing up a very fast first draft of #3 (see question 2 below), the wonderful Jenny Meyerhoff tagged me to be included in the Next Big Thing, a blog campaign started somewhere by someone in Australia. And that last phrase, I just realized, sounds like the old Telephone Game where the details of the message get lost or totally muddled. The fact does remain that I’ve been asked to answer the following questions about my next book and in doing so, it’s my responsibility to tag a few more willing souls.

So here goes…

1) What is the working title of your next book?

At the beginning, it was The Gollywhopper Games: Season 2

Then it became: The Gollywhopper Games: Bigger, Braver, Bolder

But we’re still looking for the right title. I hope to announce it soon.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

Gollywhopper 2 (& 3) came as a result of kids and parents and teachers and librarians who embraced the original so hard, it squeezed out the opportunity for me to write a couple sequels.

As for the new characters, they crept into existence during hours of brainstorming followed by sessions of interviews until I narrowed it down to my worthy contestants.

3) What genre does your book fall under?


I like to call it (okay, so I just made this up) contemporary puzzledom with a fantastical bent. Not fantasy, mind you. Everything in the book could happen. But isn’t it everyone’s fantasy to be part of something exciting that puts you in a position to win a million dollars?

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?


Actors come and go so fast these days, by the time the book comes out, they’d either be out of the business or too old to play my kid characters. But there is one man, Old Man Golliwop, who I’ve always pictured being Dick Van Dyke as he portrayed crotchety gentlemen of age.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

I could probably answer this in one sentence with use of creative punctuation. It’s easier, though, to pull from the newly written flap copy.

What is Cameron even doing in the second Gollywhopper Games? Solving puzzles, that’s what. Doing stunts. Racing against the clock. But it’s not as if he has a real chance. Not like his brother Spencer. Not like the 999,999  other kids competing for one million dollars.

6) Who is publishing your book?


Once again, it’s the talented, creative and totally wonderful team from Greenwillow/HarperCollins.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

About 9 weeks.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

You mean outside The Gollywhopper Games, the original? Others have compared what I write to The Amazing Race meets The Westing Game and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Calder Game and the Winston Breen books.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Many times, I’ve written and spoken about the initial idea for The Gollywhopper Games; about the 5th grader unable to find a book he wanted to read after Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Ask me if you need and I’ll go into full detail. I don’t want to bore you if you’ve already heard this story twelve hundred times.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Don’t be surprised when characters from the first Gollywhopper Games make an appearance.

Thanks for making it to the end. And please check out posts from a few of my cohorts from The Smack Dab in the Middle blog: Dia Calhoun, Naomi Kinsman and Christine Brodien-Jones (who is also here)

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