Meet the Author: Alex Schumacher (and win a signed copy of his book!)

Nov 19, 2014 by

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Our rainy weather is perfectly timed for Alex Schumacher’s Saturday book signing of his newest picture book, The World’s Crummiest Umbrella!

“Once there was a boy who received the world’s crummiest umbrella. It was a gift from his mother, and he couldn’t believe she would do this to him. The umbrella was huge, multicolored and had a heart on a spring that popped out of the top. Ugh! The boy knows he’ll be the laughing stock of the entire school. But the boy soon learns that some gifts, even crummy ones, are not what they seem to be.”

Intrigued? Meet Alex and find out more at his upcoming book signing at Old Capitol Books in Monterey! In the meantime, enter to win your own signed copy of The World’s Crummiest Umbrella below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We had the privilege of asking Alex a few questions about his writing process-find more about his writing philosophy and picture books at his book signing event on Saturday!

November 22, 2014

Children’s Author Alex Schumacher – 11/22/2014 at 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

When did you decide to become a writer?
I knew I wanted to be a storyteller from a very early age. I loved creating my own worlds and sharing all the characters and whacky situations they found themselves in with others. I come by it honestly as I am from a family full of characters!
Which writers inspire you?
The list of those who have inspired me really runs the gamut as I’ve been, and continue to be, moved and influenced by creators in many mediums from movies, to animation, to literature. A (very) short list of some of my favorite creators includes Shel Silverstein, Ralph Bakshi, Jim Steranko, Roald Dahl, Chuck Jones, and Gail Simone. A comprehensive list of influences would require an entirely separate feature.
What draws you to the picture book genre?
Like comic books, picture books are a very unique way to combine both visuals and text to produce an engaging reading experience for both the young and the young at heart. Both comics and picture books were integral to my upbringing and development as an artist and I am thrilled to be able to contribute to and be a part of the mediums.
Do you write every day, 5 days a week?
I try to at least write or draw (create something) every day. Even if that is something so simple as devising a new character or idea in my mind to be recorded in later. It’s important to keep the creative momentum pushing forward and it’s easy to become idle if you break that progress for any extended amount of time. I have spiral-bound notebooks and sketchbooks scattered throughout my house so that I may quickly jot down or sketch anything which may come to mind.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
There is no set amount I aim to produce each day. I find setting an exact goal such as that is setting myself up for failure. Creative types such as myself tend to not be the most organized people, which is why we find agents and publishers.
Where do your ideas come from?
I always find this to be an interesting question, as the answer varies from project to project. At times, such as withThe World’s Crummiest Umbrella, I can find my muse in a real life event. Other times an idea can come from something as seemingly insignificant as a quip or a phrase overheard in conversation. Then, there are ideas that just pop right into your brain. So, again, it really just depends.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
Most of the time, it feels as the though the idea tends to take over while I’m making the attempt at an initial outline. My attention span is rather short, so usually I’ll just let it ride and go back to clean up the stream of consciousness mess afterward.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Picture books tend to flow fairly quickly, while comic book manuscripts can take weeks or months depending on the allotted page count. Animation scripts can take a decent amount of time as I prefer to combine the writing with storyboards to help facilitate understanding of the action, expressions, etc.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
The best advice I can give regarding writer’s block is steer into it. Writer’s block happens and there’s no use in forcing yourself to produce or power your way through, because that’s when things feel forced. Plus you’ll only find yourself getting more agitated. So instead, take a break, have a cup of coffee, go for a run, read something which will stimulate your creative process, etc. and return to writing/creating when the mood returns, because it certainly will.
What book/s are you reading at present?
Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie, and Art Spiegelman’s Maus.
Tell us about the cover and how it came about.
With the cover I wanted to convey the absolute absurdity of The World’s Crummiest Umbrella in all of it’s glory. I also wanted to give a clear depiction of just how the boy in the story felt about his new monstrosity of a gift. Having the boy hide behind/underneath the umbrella made his outlook on the situation very evident.
Do you have any advice for kids on writing?
First and foremost, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t succeed. Dream big, work hard, and you can reach your goals. Write for yourself, because I guarantee that if it is a story that you enjoy then others will enjoy it as well. Be true to yourself and write what you know. Also, be sure to laugh at least once a day.

 

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