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True Story Blog

5 Favorites from . . . Jonathan Roth!

Author/Illustrator Jonathan Roth

Jonathan Roth is the author-illustrator of the chapter book series Beep and Bob (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin), which is aimed at elementary kids who like funny, exciting stories and cute, bluish aliens. Jonathan travels daily through both space and time, from his Rockville, Md. home where he lives with his wife and two kitties, to the school where he teaches art to the creative minds of today and tomorrow.


So what are Jonathan's 5 Favorites?:

My favorite place to write:

I keep meaning to find my muse in scenic riverside cafes. The mundane reality is that most of my writing and drawing is done at an old wooden drafting table in my small home office.Though when kids ask where I get ideas, I tell them much of my best thinking is done as I'm walking or cycling. Butt in chair, but also move that butt too!

My favorite mentor text:

For wit and wisdom, humor and heart, I probably owe Charles Schulz and Peanuts more than anyone. As for my sense of fantastical space absurdity, where would it be if not for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? And I can't neglect a plug for Lynda Barry, whose Picture This, What It Is and now Making Comics are mind-blowing texts on creativity.

My favorite writing tip:

"No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader." I would also substitute "fun" for "surprise". This doesn't mean writing isn't sometimes (usually) a terrible struggle, but if you're not also hitting those zones of pure creative enjoyment, then what's the point?

My favorite marketing tip:

Be part of a diverse, genuine a community of writers, artists, librarians, booksellers and educators, even well before you have a book out, and pay it forward. I prefer to do this locally and in person, though I have the benefit of a large metro area (DC).

My favorite book event of the year:

My favorite book event of the year, as both an attendee and a speaker, is the Gaithersburg Book Festival in Maryland. Amazing authors from around the country in a homey civic park atmosphere. With the occasional tooting of a passing train! (Books, parks and trains are an evocative combination to me.)


To learn more about Jonathan and his work, visit his website.

 As always, if you have read any of the books discussed here, please consider writing a quick review using the links above.

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