1. What manuscript do you have out on submission now?
My MG Fantasy, I’M HERE TO SAVE YOUR DAY–THE ADVENTURES OF BO WOLF is complete at 37,000 Words.
2. Give us the three to four sentence pitch.
At eleven years old, Bo Wolf was born to conquer bullies. Sure, his arms look like flexi-straws, and the other kids tell him to go back to his home on Dweeb Island, but Bo doesn't care, because with his mad fencing skills and soon-to-be smoking good looks, he's convinced he's on the road to awesomeness. But when Bo puts the smackdown on a playground bully, he finds a much more powerful adversary in the kid's mom, the school lunch lady, who's actually a witch, plotting to poison the school with her irresistible gingersnaps. It falls on Bo to face his fears and save the school from an imminent cafeteria-induced death.
Oh this sounds so great!!!!! Love the humor and I can hear Bo’s voice in the pitch. Nice job, Jared.
3. Would you care to share the opening line or paragraph?
I never lie. Never. I’m all about telling the truth. A long time ago, there was this man named George Washington who told his dad he couldn’t lie. And then the guy became President of the United States. I’m exactly the same way. If I lived way back then, George and me... we’d be best bros’ forever. I’m sure of it.
Very cute opening. We get a good sense of Bo straight off. Nicely done.
4. How would your main character describe you? If you entered into a scene in your manuscript, how would you be introduced, how would the MC perceive you?
Bo turned to Reagan. "Hey, who's the new teacher on the swing? He's about to bust the entire jungle gym." Bo pointed at the wooden beam that the swing chains were bolted too. "Look at that baby bend. It's gonna snap!"
Reagan narrowed her eyes, focusing on the unfamiliar face. "I don't think that's a new teacher, Bo."
"Weeeeeeeee!" yelled the man. He flew off the swing and landed in the woodchips below.
"He's weird," said Bo. "Who the heck is he?"
"No clue," said Reagan, keeping her gaze cemented on the stranger.
The man looked at them as they stood on the highest deck of the jungle gym. He walked toward them.
"Eh, he's coming this way," Reagan whispered. "Do something."
Bo patted her arm. "I got this."
He walked toward the oncoming stranger, working his way through the jungle gym's different gizmos and tunnels.
Then, they met. Right smack dab in the middle of the balance beam.
"My name's Larson. Jared Larson," said the man. "And I hear you're handy with the sword?" His hairy eyebrow arched as he waited for a reply.
"Yeah," said Bo. "So what?"
"I just thought you'd be up for a friendly duel."
The man pointed at the balance beam. "How about here? Right now?"
Then, Bo withdrew his trusty plunger handle he always kept in the back of his pants for purposes such as these. His hands tightened on the smooth, wooden grip. "Let's do this."
The man smiled. "En-guard!"
LOL! Okay, so if my kid met this Jared on the playground I sure the heck hope he’d run—like FAST. Just saying. No offense or anything : )
5. hat is your least and most favorite word? Use each in a sentence, writing in the voice of one of your characters from any of your manuscripts.
Least Favorite Word: HATE
"Hate is a cruel word and it will get you nowhere in life."
Most Favorite Word: LOVE
"If you have love, you have it all."
I hate the word hate too. In fact, I wasn’t allowed to say it growing up and my kids aren’t either, though my characters at times insist.
6. What are you working on while you wait?
Well, I'm elbows deep in a first draft of a MG ghost story at the present called, Inside the Walls. It's a bit of a different direction for me, but as a kid, some of my most prominent memories are being afraid when I was alone. I thought I'd play off of those fears and thrills and see where it goes. So far things seem to be coming along nicely… and terrifyingly (what an adverb!) But hopefully not too scary. Never mind, hopefully too scary.
Sounds great. There’s definitely a market for ghost stories it seems. Good luck.
7. What book have you read in the past six mo that’s inspired you and why?
I've been middle grade hungry for the last two years and have been trying to get my hands on everything MG, just because that's what I'm writing at the moment. But I did read Steven Pressfield's, Gates of Fire, about the last 300 at Thermopylae. It's definitely not MG, but historical fiction, and magnificently graphic. It was powerful and mind-numbing—such a huge triumph for literature. Great stuff!
Thanks, I’ll have to check it out.
8. Did you have a literary-character crush as a teen, or if you were a teen or MG-er now, who would be yours?
Well, I'd have to say my first big crush was the character Diana, from Lloyd C. Douglas's, The Robe. Such a good book!
Probably the most prominent literary-crush would have to be Eowyn, from The Lord of the Rings. When I read it at sixteen, I was so emotionally involved with that book in such a transcendent way. I felt a part of Middle-Earth. It was unreal. And when I delved into the Rohan part and discovered Eowyn in her agony, her suffering, her need to be loved and cared for, oh man… did I want to be that guy to hold her! To tell her it would be okay. She was a beautiful character. Sorry Arwen. You're awesome too. But Eowyn stole my heart.
But if I was a kid again, I'd definitely say Hermione. She is such a powerful and compassionate character.
Ah yes. I remember crushing on Rohan when I was young, now that you brought it up.
9. Any random fun-facts you’d like to share about yourself?
I think there are more random facts than fun.
Oh come on, think.
I did find my own Eowyn who needed rescue, but as it turned out, it was me that needed rescue and she pulled it off brilliantly.
Aw, that’s so sweet.
We have three beautiful kids who are the greatest joys of our lives. When we don't feed them, they take care of the ant problem in the house at meal times. You'd be surprised how it saves on grocery budget, and they do say ants are a good source of protein. We don't have to waste money on ant bait. Just sayin'. But here and there and quite often, I'm up for a good Nerf sword fight, or a tea party with one gorgeous little girl and three psychotic looking marker-colored dolls.
And there's the fun! LOL. We have (or had) a psycho doll with one arm, one eye, marker-ed up body, and the most hideous hair cut ever. The daycare woman asked me to please not let my daughter bring it with her anymore because it frightened the other children.
As far as fun… eh… I got nothing. I'm boring. Sorry.
As far as fun… eh… I got nothing. I'm boring. Sorry.
Oh! I hike! I love to get away and hike. I live in Utah, so there are national parks everywhere. Great hiking spots! Okay, that's all.
Keep on climbing, literally and figuratively, toward that peak. Good luck with I’M HERE TO SAVE YOUR DAY–THE ADVENTURES OF BO WOLF. It’s the perfect premise for this age group and I know my son would LOVE it!!! Keep us posted on your success.
If you'd like to know more about Jared Larson and read some great interviews visit his blog here.