Author Spotlight: Drew Daywalt
We are delighted to present to you award winning author, DREW DAYWALT this week! KidLit411 is super excited because Drew is the author of one of the most brilliant picture books on the market, the New York Times bestseller, THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT.
Hi Drew, thank you for agreeing to this interview and for being featured in our AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT (and for being and all around awesome, talented guy who also happens to rule the seven seas!)
We've got some really great questions for you Drew, so let's begin!
|THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT|
In grade school, I was a class clown, but I was the worst kind, because I wasn’t ever trying to make the kids laugh. I was always trying to make the teacher laugh. Some loved it. Some embraced it and nurtured it. Other grumpy ones were annoyed with it, but mostly because they hated life, love, liberty, apple pie, motherhood and puppies.
How did you come up with the idea for THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT?
I was brainstorming for book ideas in my studio, I was literally staring at a box of crayons on my desk, and couldn’t help but notice how unevenly they were used. Blue and red were nubs, pink was untouched, peach had had it’s wrapper torn off… poor little thing. What if they could say anything they wanted to me? What if they could just let me have it? I bet I’d get an earful.
And that’s when it hit me.
Do you write every day, 5 days a week?
I wish. But then again, I’m kind of writing 24 hours a day. Not literally. Not like with my laptop, but like a dog chewing on a bone relentlessly for days. I go about my life, always mentally chewing on that bone, ya know? I’m living with the characters in my head, adding problems to their lives, watching them solve them. So, most of my writing process is very internal and cerebral and from the heart. Then, once I feel I’ve got something, I start typing. Then I’m gone for days, typing away, reaping the rewards of my daydreaming for weeks and months prior to touching the keyboard.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
Again, I wish I did. But as a dad actively raising a 10 year old and a 4 year old, my day is theirs. But my mini-mental vacations throughout the day always take me to my plots and characters. But when I finally get to actually putting fingers to keyboard, it’s at night. Usually only 4-6 hours max, because I don’t like to burn out, or leave the writing cave creatively exhausted. I like to get a great final idea for the night, not execute it, and save it for tomorrow, so that I’m excited to sit down the next day and start. It’s like I’m writing my own serial and I can’t wait to see what happens. If that’s going on, then I know I’m on the right track. I know that if I’m driving around town, or waiting in line somewhere and my mind is on my writing, then I’ve got something good. And I write for myself and only myself. If it entertains me, it’s good. If anyone else likes it, that’s a bonus.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
My dad, who was a fireman in Twinsburg, Ohio at the Chrysler car factory had no idea what I was about to face when I went off to be a professional writer, but as I got into my fully packed car after college, to move to Los Angeles, he gave me the greatest motivational phrase of my life, “Son, I don’t know what you’re in for, but I know people. Work hard and be nice. You’ll do fine.”
And he was right.
What books are you reading at present?
Right now, I’m starting to write my first middle grade novel and I’m re-reading books that inspired me in grade school. Mostly Roald Dahl - THE TWITS, MATILDA, DANNY CHAMPION OF THE WORLD. I’m also enjoying SHILOH by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. I also loved THE GREAT BRAIN series, so I’m reading that too. It’s fun to go back as an adult to what inspired me as a boy.
Anchovies on Pizza?
Absolutely not. But not because of taste. I have no problems with the little guys. It’s all sense memory. I was lost at sea as a baby and raised by a family of anchovies. They taught me to swim, to speak fish, and defend myself. Eventually, I became the king of the oceans, with all sea life bowing to my power. In return, I vowed never to eat anchovies, as a way of thanking them for saving my life and helping me become the ruler of the seven seas.
Ever since his childhood in one of Ohio’s most haunted houses, writer director Drew Daywalt has been writing escapist fantasy and building worlds of his own. With a degree in Creative Writing, and a concentration in Children’s Literature from Emerson College in Boston, Daywalt set off to Hollywood where he spent years writing for Disney and Universal on such beloved shows as Timon & Pumba, Buzz Lightyear, and Woody Woodpecker, and where his animated series The Wacky World of Tex Avery garnered an Emmy nomination.
His first trip into live action landed him studio screenwriting and feature film directing work with such Hollywood luminaries as Quentin Tarrantino, Lawrence Bender, Tony Scott, Brett Ratner and Jerry Bruckheimer.
With an eye toward picture book writing, Daywalt’s first book THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, debuted on the New York Times Best Seller’s List in June 2013, and has since become a Number One Best Seller.
To learn more about Drew and all of his books, visit him online at www.DrewDaywalt.com
He can also be found on Twitter (@DrewDaywalt) and Youtube.