Good Crooks #3: Sniff a Skunk! - 4/21/2015
Twins Billy and Jillian want to be good, and that’s a big problem. Why? Because their parents are crooks! In the third book of this hilarious series (for ages 7-10), the infamous parents, the Crooks, expect the kids to find a new place to rob. Instead, the twins discover a lonely little orphan skunk in need of help. Will they be able to rescue the skunk and keep their parents from pulling off the next heist? Will their new furry friend help by raising a stink? How can a good deed smell so bad?
What inspired you to write this book?
I often get ideas because characters talk to me. I simply hear a voice in my head. The Good Crooks series began because I was hearing a boy’s voice, talking about his extraordinary circumstances: he’s the son of crooks, yet he wants only to do good deeds.
What do you love most about your book?
As a child, I always enjoyed those “upside-down” moments in a book when the kids seemed to know more or be wiser than the adults. That’s the fun of the Good Crooks.
Who was your favorite character to write? Why?
In this third book in the series, the twins run into a baby skunk. Again, I like to play with the unexpected. So, it’s a skunk who is scared and doesn’t know that it has this amazing defense mechanism: the superpower of stink. I loved writing this new character. Because she doesn’t really speak, I had to show her personality and her thoughts through her actions. This was a challenge and a delight.
What has surprised you most about being a published author?
Before I became published, I thought writers and illustrators would work very closely together. I was amazed to find out that publishers typically keep authors and illustrators as far apart as possible. I know now that it’s because the artist needs to have the psychological and creative space to do what she or he does best.
Okay, now a little about you. (And yes, I stole these questions from In the Actor's Studio with James Lipton.)
What is your favorite word?
I can’t imagine really having a favorite word. I love words that are more grandiose than normal and play around a lot with this in my novels for older readers. In Get Happy, my latest YA, the main character and her best friend get addicted to the words: Vigor and Vim. Love those words.
What is your least favorite word?
I can’t stand the overuse of “like” as in, like, she said, like, “OMG, that Big Gulp is, like, so big.”
What sound or noise do you love?
I play music a lot when I write. And I write music to play. Did you know that there’s a song in each of the Good Crooks Books?
What sound or noise do you hate?
I know bees are good for the planet, but I still get scared when I hear one buzzing too close to my ear.
What profession, other than your own, would you most like to attempt?
I’d love to teach people stuck in hospitals to learn how to play the ukulele.
Mary Amato is an award-winning children’s book author, poet, playwright, and songwriter. Her MANY books have been translated into foreign languages, optioned for television, produced onstage, and have won the children’s choice awards in several states.
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