Middle grade author interview, Paul R. Hewlett

Today I have the honor of interviewing Paul R. Hewlett. Paul is the author of the Lionel’s Grand Adventure series. Lionel Goes to Camp is the third book in the series. In addition to writing the Lionel’s Grand Adventure books, Paul does freelance writing and co-authors a children’s/middle grade/young adult blog called Sher A. Hart: Written Art. You can learn more about Paul at paulrHewlett.weebly.com

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 8.03.29 PMLionel is dying to go to summer camp to try to learn more about his dad. Lionel will have to endure Martha the kitchen lady, wander through the desert in the old west, find his way through the woods, escape bad guys, and collect all the scavenger hunt items before everyone else if he wants a chance to spend the day with Carrie at Lake Yellhorn, survive summer camp, and find out the mystery of his dad. Luckily, Lionel has his magical charm to help him out, or will it land Lionel in a mess-and-a-half he can’t get out of? The signed books are available on Paul’s website: PaulRHewlett.weebly.com and unsigned books on Amazon.com.

1. How did you get started writing children’s books?

Most of the ideas I come up with seem to really fit into that category. I admit, I’ve tried to write novels, but as I write I seem to always veer towards more of a children’s/middle grade theme. I really enjoy writing stories that are somewhat straightforward on the surface but, perhaps, with a little more to them underneath the surface.

2. Tell us about Lionel Snodgrass.

Lionel is just your typical, everyday kid. He’s a little overweight, self-conscious, and looking to fit in. I think nearly every one of us has felt like he does. Many have moved to a new town, had an older sibling pick on them, had a crush on a girl, wanted to do well in our activities, etc. Nowadays, many children live in single parent households too. Many of us have had that awkward stage; it just happens as we grow up. Most of all, Lionel is a good-hearted kid that just wants to fit in and have fun. The situations Lionel finds himself in have a way of highlighting his strengths and all of the things that make him special. We all have strengths and are special in our own way. I think Lionel is a good representation of this.

3. The theme of bullying is evident in all Lionel books. I love how Lionel handles it so creatively. Were you ever bullied as a child?

Of course. It wasn’t a big deal, but there was this kid (a big kid) a few years older than me that just didn’t like me. I keep going back to the theme that many have experienced these things, but sometimes we come across people that just don’t like us. For whatever reason, we aren’t even given a chance. Luckily, in my case, I was faster than him so anytime he saw me I was able to peddle my bike or run away faster than him.

4. What do you believe is the best way to get kids (especially boys) to read?

This is a topic I’ve discussed a lot. I think there are many ways to accomplish this. It always helps to start reading to your child at an early age. I also encourage parents to expose children to reading in as many ways as possible. Take your child to the local library, get them a library card when they are old enough, have family story time, and most importantly encourage, ask questions, and praise children when it comes to reading.

5. What is your favorite children’s book or who is your favorite children’s author?

Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol and The Three Investigators by Robert Arthur. I love the simplicity and genius of Donald J. Sobol’s writing. I still pick up Encyclopedia Brown books for inspiration and enjoyment. I really loved The Three Investigators too. They had the coolest club house. It was located deep in three investigator Jupiter Jones’ uncle’s junkyard (with secret entrances). Both authors seemed to write in such a simple, yet rich, way that really connected with me. If you look really close at the Three Investigators logo on the original covers (up in the right hand corner of the cover) you just might see a resemblance to the Lionel’s Grand Adventure logo.

6. Any question you wish someone would ask you, but they never do.

Ha! I’ve been asked a lot of questions but never this one. Not really, though. I would really just like to take a moment and salute all of those out there working so hard to promote reading to children all across the globe. I can’t think of anything more important than reading. It helps develop so many things in a child. Reading develops critical thinking, imagination, helps with spelling, comprehension, and the list goes on.

Hope you enjoyed this interview with Paul Hewlett. Please view his Lionel’s Grand Adventure series on Amazon.

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