September 21, 2016

Weerdest Day Ever!: Interview with author Richard Scrimger

Today I'm please to present, 
as part of Orca Book Publishers' blog tour for
  the Seven Prequels

my interview with 

the author of 

Weerdest Day Ever!
by Richard Scrimger
Orca Book Publishers
216 pp.
Ages 9-12
September 2016

Richard Scrimger
(looking very dapper in a hat)

Many thanks to Orca Book Publishers' publicist Melissa Shirley for arranging this blog tour and to author Richard Scrimger for answering my questions about Weerdest Day Ever!, Bunny and the writing process.


HK: Of the seven grandsons in the Seven series, Seven Sequels and now Seven Prequels, Bunny is my favourite (please don’t tell the others).  I don’t know if it’s his humility or his special learning needs–perhaps as a teacher I really want to “help” him–but I am consistently drawn to him and his stories and am never disappointed.  How did you ever find Bunny’s voice?

RS: Bunny’s is one of my favorite of my voices.  For all the things he doesn’t know, he knows himself.  And that’s the coolest knowledge of all.  Bunny goes his own way.  He doesn’t ‘fit in’ well – and he is totally ok with that.  Kind of like me.


HK: As Bunny will attest, his spelling is not always the best.  As an author whose vocation it is to write well, how difficult was it to write as Bunny, spelling and grammatical mistakes and all?

RS: Writing and spelling are different things. I care about writing well.  That is my vocation. I really don’t care about spelling.  My mom would tie herself into knots about the subjunctive mood or the misuse of an apostrophe, but I don’t give a donut. Because I can spell, it’s a bit tricky to write like Bunny.  I have to put myself into his mindset.  Once there, I rite like him.  As you see. Problem is I hav trouble turning him off.  So a letter to a friend mite sound like Bunny and shed rite back: Are you feeling OK?  What’s wrong?


HK: Readers learn so much from the way characters see and interpret and react but perspective is key.  However, Bunny is very much prone to misinterpret circumstances. Right from the onset of Weerdest Day Ever! Bunny witnesses a re-enactment and believes he’s in the middle of a war.  To what do you attribute his frequent misinterpretation: his naiveté, his inexperience, his gullibility, his benevolence, or something else entirely?

RS: On a human level, Bunny believes what people say. Whether that’s naivete or great wisdom is up to you.  In fact, nothing gives you away so clearly as the lie you tell.   Why are all my stories about people who don’t fit in? Why are they all funny? Why do they all have sadness or loss underneath the humour?  I am telling the truth while I am lying.  This is who I am.  In the same way, re-enactors are not really fighting, but the truth is that they are war-obsessed attention seekers playing dress up.  There is truth there.  And Bunny sees this truth – or some of it.


HK: Bunny may be a character in a book but, as I’ve read his stories, I’ve come to care what happens to him.  So, please tell me, what kind of a future do you foresee for him (and I’m not talking books here)?

RS: Bunny knows himself, and likes himself well enough. He gets along with his brother, makes new friends, and doesn’t mind risking his heart even though things don’t always work out.   In the long run, Bunny’s going to be fine. (Now if I could just believe that about myself!)


HK:  I’ve heard you and your collaborative team of Seven series authors discuss the writing process and how the series began.  It sounds very collegial.  Collaboration between two individuals can be tricky, balancing writing styles, egos and intent.  How do you manage it with a group of seven extraordinary writers, each with their own style and vision and probably egos as well?

RS: In fact all of us like each other and play off each other, and tours are a whole lot of fun.  This is good question to ask me specifically, because my and Ted Staunton’s books are probably the closest linked of any in the series.  The problem is to develop story lines that work together.  We want plots that dovetail but don’t give away each other’s endings. For the sequels, I wanted Bunny to be kidnapped. As soon as I said that Ted snapped his fingers and said, “And I know who kidnapped him!” The prequels are extra tightly linked since the brothers share a campsite for a couple days and keep just missing each other.  Ted’s and my plot conversations usually involve a bottle of something.  This conversation went from history to re-enactors to the War of 1812.  Then Ted smiled.  “I just saw Spencer in Laura Secord’s costume,” he said.  “Isn’t that funny,” I replied.  “Because I just saw Bunny as … “


HK:  Are the Seven Prequels the last of the Seven-based series or is there another in the plans?  Or do you anticipate any other multiple-author collaborations, similar to the Seven series books, with these same writers or others?

RS: As of now, there are no more ‘7’ plans. We’ll wait and see how this one does.  BUT it’s funny you should ask about other co-productions.  Ted and I were talking about how humour writing never gets a fair shake.  So we made some phone calls.  Scholastic jumped at our idea, and (drum roll!!) in two years Kevin Sylvester, Lesley Livingstone, Ted and I will put out 4 linked books starring teens with goofy superpowers.

Be sure to check out all the blog stops on the Seven Prequels tour, each highlighting one author:

Norah McClintock at Lost in a Great Book
Richard Scrimger here at CanLit for LittleCanadians
Eric Walters at Literary Treats
John Wilson at teenreads
Ted Staunton at Young Adult Books Central
Shane Peacock at MrsReadsBooks
Sigmund Brouwer at Lost in a Great Book


Read the Seven Prequels in any order you want. 
But you'll want to read them all!

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