Can you give us a brief description on your latest book?
I'm currently working on two separate children's series for Scholastic. The first is called KEY HUNTERS, which is a story about two kids who discover a secret, magical library underneath their school. In this library, any book they open whisks them away into the world of that book. The kids are trying to save their missing librarian who has disappeared into one of the books. The other series is called THE CHOCOLATE LAB, which is about a family that owns a chocolate shop and their dog who goes crazy every time he smells chocolate. Problems arise when another chocolate shop opens in town and the kids have to figure out a way to save the family business...with Cocoa the dog tripping them up every step of the way! I also write Mad Libs and books for Cartoon Network.
What inspired your to write it?
I've been writing children's literature for almost 20 years now. I started writing Young Adult and have progressively written for younger and younger audiences. It's taken almost that long to discover my voice. Now that I'm more comfortable with the material I'm working on, things are blossoming.
Did you always want to be a writer?
I only discovered I wanted to be a writer when I got to college. It took several creative writing courses with some very good professors at Rutgers University to convince me of that.
How did you get started writing for Cartoon Network?
Originally, they reached out to me. One of the editors was familiar with some of my other books and felt I'd be a good fit. My first book with CN was for a show called The Amazing World of Gumball. Since then, I've written books for The Regular Show, Teen Titans Go, Ben 10, and a few others.
What were some of your favorite books to read as a child? What do you read for pleasure now?
I enjoyed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl and The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. I also loved Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein and lots of comic books!
Do you believe children --- and teens --- should have more of a choice in what they read for school assignments (such as summer reading and book reports)?
I feel that kids should be given a lot more autonomy than they currently get, but I also think challenging kids to read things they might not otherwise pick up is a good way to broaden horizons. Literature is a great way for us to understand each other socially and culturally.
In what ways can parents help their children get excited about reading books?
Bring kids to the bookstore or library. Let them pick out what they want to read (as many as they'd like!). and don't roll your eyes when they pick something you perceive as too easy or ridiculous. I'd bet Captain Underpants has created more avid readers in the past 20 years than Huckleberry Finn.
You're both a writer and a chiropractor, correct? What advice would you give to young people who are interested in pursuing multiple careers but believe it’s impossible to do so?
I launched a new business, wrote my first two novels, got married, had two kids, and owned a house all in the same timespan (1999 to 2004). It's very hard to make a living as a writer, so if you want to be successful you'll either have to marry rich or find the time. It's all about sacrifice and how badly you want it. I gave up things like television (or at least scaled it back) in order to make space for my writing. Also, pace yourself. It's not a race to finish line. Even an hour a day is enough to get a book written.
Will you be participating in any future book signings or book events? Please tell our readers where and when they will be.
These days, I travel a lot for my writing. I enjoy doing school and library visits most. Over the past few months, I've visited schools in California, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, and Florida. I'd love to hit all 50 states!
Eric Luper's more than 25 titles include the Key Hunters series and The Chocolate Lab series, Jeremy Bender vs. the Cupcake Cadets, and Seth Baumgartner’s Love Manifesto. He has also been doing super-cute books with Cartoon Network for numerous televised shows including The Amazing World of Gumball, The Regular Show, Teen Titans Go and Ben 10. In addition, he writes Mad Libs books for Star Wars, Star Trek, Scooby-Doo and Pokémon. One of his books was recently optioned for motion picture. Eric lives near Albany, but he spends many of his weekends in nearby Lake George. Learn more about him at www.ericluper.com.
Eric's books can be purchased at any local independent bookseller, at B&N, or online at Amazon.com.