Friday, July 15, 2011

Childhood favorites with Matt Blackstone

This smiling gent is Matt Blackstone! His debut novel, A Scary Scene in a Scary Movie, is out in the wilderness right now for you to snatch up and enjoy. I thought that before you go grab up a copy, you'd like to get to know him better. So here's a little look into Matt's life via his favorite childhood books!

As a kid, what was your favorite book? Have your tastes changed since growing up?

As a kid, my favorite was definitely Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. Alexander is such a whiner, but you gotta feel for him: gum in his hair, getting smushed in the back of the car . . . life in Australia probably would be better.

Honorable Mentions:

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and Sam Who Never Forgets by Eve Rice. I now realize that my three favorite children’s books are about screw-ups. Alexander and Sam are forgetful, and Max is a troublemaker. I’m not sure if I’d categorize my kid-self as a forgetful troublemaker, but I sure loved reading about them.

My tastes haven’t changed all that much, as I’m now immersed in YA novels that feature a host of loopy, loony characters who like to stir the pot. And plot. Catcher in the Rye is an obvious, almost cliched choice by now for favorite YA novel, but it's an honest one. Holden definitely fits the bill for a forgetful screw-up--how could leave the fencing equipment on the train!--and it was the first novel that made me say, "Ahah! Someday gets it!"

Harry Potter also meets the qualification for forgetful screw-up, and come to think of it, most childrens' book protagonists do. It's easy to root for a character who is human--has flaws, makes mistakes, learns from them. That's what I sought out to do with A Scary Scene in a Scary Movie. Both Rene and Gio have flaws: Rene's are more obvious, with all of the rituals associated with his OCD, but Gio ain't perfect either. He's even more a screw-up than Rene, especially academically.

So, raise your glass and toast. Here's to mistakes! Here's to being a forgetful troublemaker! Here here!



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