Monday, November 21, 2011

Interview With Jeremy Rodden, author of Toonopolis: Gemini


Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a stay-at-home dad who formerly has worked as a High School English teacher and a manager in two different Fortune 500 retail companies.  I spend my days taking care of my two boys (6 and 1) and my hard-working emergency physician wife.



What inspired you to write Toonopolis: Gemini?
I wanted to write a story that was designed mostly for entertainment, much like the cartoons that the book parodies.  I find that too often, fantasy stories are trying to send a message or have some underlying theme instead of just allowing people to have fun while they read.  That isn't to say there aren't any messages or lessons to be learned in my book, but that's not the primary purpose.
What are your favorite children's authors/books?
I am a big fan of both Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson) and Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl).  They both have created wonderful urban fantasy worlds that are fantastic but still grounded in the real world.  While my work is more of a high fantasy (in that it takes place in an other-world, like Alice in Wonderlandor Wizard of Oz), I still very much admire their ability to create such wonderful works.
What advice would you give other aspiring writers?
Read, read, read.  Never stop reading is my mantra.  I fell into a little bit of a funk in my writing after completing Gemini and found that I had stopped reading.  As soon as I started reading more aggressively again, I was able to pick up the pen (so to speak) and get work done.  Delving into other people's fantastic worlds helps me find both the motivation and inspiration to get back to work on my own.
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
I've never been asked "boxers or briefs", but I guess I'll go with a different one as that one's a little trite.  How about "What is your favorite section of Toonopolis?"  That one's never come up!  I'd have to go with Adventure Realm, I think.  It is the section of Toonopolis that parodies roleplaying games, my favorite genre of video gaming.  I am able to take lots of jabs at the games I loved as a kid and still love today while pointing out some of the silliness that we RPG gamers have just blindly accepted over the years.
How old were you when you began to write?
I recall creating characters and writing little stories as young as ten or maybe even younger.  I know I spent a good deal of time in junior high school (12-14) writing poetry and other stories.  It wasn't until High School that I started getting into longer form stuff but never tried to tackle a full length novel until I sat down to work on Gemini.
What do you do in your spare time when you’re not writing?
I laugh at your "spare time" theory! When I'm not chauffeuring my six year old or changing diapers or folding laundry, I like to play basketball and softball.  I also try to maintain my geek status with video games and movies, but find it hard to maintain.  I am able to justify watching cartoons as "research" for my books and my cartoon review blog.
Describe yourself in 5 words.
Clever, sarcastic, silly, dedicated, father.






Do you have any other books you are working on? If so give us a sneak peek.
I have actually just released a new novella called Toonopolis Short: Anchihiiroo.  It is a coming-of-age hero story about a minor villain in Toonopolis: Gemini.  We learn how Yoshi of Higeki became the anti-hero turned villiain of Animetown (a section of Toonopolis based on Japanese cartoons).  It is a little more serious of an adventure story than my debut novel but still has a taste of my humor and sarcasm that people have enjoyed in my writing.

Next on the list is Toonopolis: Chi Lin, the sequel to Toonopolis: Gemini.  It is a story about the last real unicorn on Earth who transports himself to the Tooniverse to try to keep himself and his maiden, Avantika, from facing death.  He learns lessons on humility and humor along the way.
Is there a lesson to be learned from your book?
The major theme is to learn to accept who you are and try not to be something you're not.  Gemini comes across this lesson when dealing with some of the Rogues of Toonopolis, creations who have changed who they were by attacking their own creators' minds.  There are lessons on compassion and forgiveness along the way as well.
Has there been any obstacles in your writing career?
Life!  My wife and I had our first child at 23 and got married the same year.  My wife was in medical school so I had to work full-time while completing my own degree.  When she began her medical residency, I went back to graduate school for a Masters in Education but I still had to work full-time to help support our family.  It wasn't until our second son was born in 2010 and my wife began working as a 'real' doctor that I became a stay-at-home dad and found time to work on my writing.  I have no intentions of looking back from this point and my wife has been incredibly supportive of my chosen path.
Anything else you would like to share?
I have mentioned a few times in this interview my stay-at-home dad status.  Inspired by this as well as the fact that I opened my own publishing company, I recently opened submissions for a non-fiction essay anthology called The Myth of Mr. Mom.  I am seeking stay-at-home dads to share their stories about their transition into the homemaker profession in an effort to raise awareness that men are not only capable, but should consider it as a viable career.

Where can we buy your books? Do you have a web page or fan page?
Buy links for Toonopolis: Gemini.

"Buy" links for Toonopolis Short: Anchihiiroo (it is currently free at Smashwords!)

I can be found at my cartoon review blog/author blog at http://www.toonopolis.com/.  I am an active Twitterer @toonopolis and my Facebook fanpage is http://www.facebook.com/toonopolisfiles/.  Thanks!


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