What inspired you to write Bubba and Giganto?
I find kids nowadays have no understanding of the hurt they cause to other children by their bullying. Bullying can be anything from name calling, shunning because of how one looks or dresses, to the actual physical pushing and shoving. There are consequences for their actions. All of these areas I use to get the message to children that bullying is a no win situation.
Past events in my children’s lives was the inspiration to write about. Although my children were brought up knowing making fun of others, or pushing others is not acceptable, they were in situations where they were bullied because they stood up to help other children who were being terrorized. I’m talking about elementary age here. Very frightening that they start so early, and because of this I believe the more books that show consequences, various ways to combat anger and frustrations, can only be a plus in a child’s life.
What themes are woven through the book? How do you insert them, or do your characters decide for you?
My characters show me the way in most of my books. I create, flesh them out, but when the story begins they take a life of their own. The themes I use are:
Friendships and its importance
bullying, its outcomes, and the danger associated with it
the victim’s need to retaliate but in a way that is dangerous to them
and soccer, a sport that can help to learn sportsmanship
You said you like to end chapters like episodes in comic books.
I love to use cliffhanging chapter endings only to entice the child to continue reading. As writers we need to instill a love for reading and writing in our younger generation. Since kids love to read comic books I figured the closest connection – seeing how my books for that age level don’t have pictures – is to use these cliffhanging endings, use humor that kids can relate to, come as close to their ‘lingo’ as possible, and use social themes they can associate with.
What do you hope to give kids or inspire in them with your writing?
The most important thing for me is to instill a love for reading. That’s why I believe with all my heart that writers need to try and touch kids with their words using areas kids can relate to: using humor, their ‘now’ speech, and characters they can step into their shoes and say, “Wow, sounds like me.”
What do your characters teach you, if anything?
They teach me patience. I try to move them at my pace but that never goes as planned. They have their own speed I need to work with.
The reviewer said ‘another surprise ending.” Do you ever get surprised by your endings?
Oh heck, yes, all the time. I write when I get a title. From the title I know who my characters are and what the obstacle will be. As for the ending, that pace I mentioned above, comes from my characters and they lead me to their conclusions.
How do you spend your downtime? (Do you get downtime as a full-time mom and writer?)
Downtime? Shoot, I knew there was something I was missing. I read, watch TV, go to the movies, play board games with my kids, and if there’s time…I sleep.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I’ve begun another adventure with Bubba and Giganto. This time the boys will combat students’ indifferences when it comes to children who have disabilities.
I hope you check out Lea and her book as well as continuing with the tour.