Posted in Colorado, Young Adult on March 23, 2012

I am not a huge reader of YA books…of course this is coming from the person that LOVED Hunger Games and can’t wait to see the movie.  Anyway, YA books generally aren’t a category I read but I was intrigued when author Del Shannoncontacted me about reading his book, Kevin’s Point of View.  The cover art is courtesy of a child that read the book and sent it to Del.

Del was also kind enough to allow me to interview him!

What inspired you to write this story?

There were quite a few influences and inspirations for the Kevin’s Point of View. My own daydreaming and imagination is probably the most prominent inspiration. When I was a kid I was constantly daydreaming and imagining myself as a wide range of characters – Dracula clamping onto the neck of my unsuspecting mother, Evel Knievel jumping nearly anything I could find with my bike, Reggie Jackson hitting home runs during the World Series, or my absolute favorite, Indian Jones, crawling through caves in search of undiscovered treasure.

Another huge inspiration was Saturday morning cartoons. Saturday morning was THE BEST time of the week and I would religiously watch Rocky and Bullwinkle, Scooby Doo, the Super Friends, and the Looney Tunes, which were my favorites. There were two Looney Tunes cartoons that I especially liked, called Boyhood Daze and From A to ZZZ, and they stared an obscure character named Ralph Phillips. Like me, Ralph was a perpetual daydreamer and always imagined himself in some wild adventure. The cartoons are on YouTube and they’ll make you laugh.

I need to make sure I also mention the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip as an influence. Calvin was also a wild daydreamer and his alter ego, Spaceman Spiff, was in my mind when I created Kevin’s alter ego – Captain Disaster.

I saw in the video interview that it took you 10 years to write and then about that many years to publish which you decided to self-publish, how did you stay so patient during that time?

I definitely didn’t stay patient in the 10 years of writing and 10 years looking for a publisher. It’s been incredibly frustrating at times and I gave up dozens of times, but eventually I would always come back to the story, fiddle with it, make a few edits, and keep writing. At one point I decided to cut an entire character (Mr. Neumann), which required me to rewrite or completely delete about 6 chapters. What kept me going was the response I would get from kids when I’d go to classrooms and read the story to them. While I was writing I would beg my teacher friends to let me come to their classrooms to talk about writing and to read from whatever I was writing at the time to see if the kids enjoyed it. After one of these classroom visits I received this huge stack of thank you notes, including one from Ruben Quintana who drew a picture on the cover of his card of Kevin jumping out of the bathroom window completely naked. I LOVED this card and would go back to over and over when I would get discouraged or receive another rejection letter. I read the card quite often because I’ve received well over 100 rejections. Sigh…

If Kevin’s Point of View were to be made into a movie, who do you see playing some of the major characters especially Kevin and Scratch?

Even though he’s British, Freddie Highmore (Finding Neverland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) reminds me of what I think Kevin looks like. And if Sean Penn were 30 years younger he’d make an excellent Scratch. But my real preference would be to have actors who aren’t widely known to play all the characters. It would enjoy seeing actors relatively unknown to the broader public playing characters created by someone DEFINITELY unknown to the broader public.

How were you able to get the schools to put this book in the library?

I asked them. Most libraries love getting free books, so I donated the book to them. A few bloggers have also been donating the book to their local school libraries after finishing their review. Other bloggers are also teachers and they’ve shared the book with their school libraries.

What book(s) are on your nightstand right now?

A Voyage Long and Strange, by Tony Horwitz is my current read. It’s a book that looks at all the explorers who ventured into the Americas (Vikings, Columbus, Conquistadors, etc.). This probably sounds a little strange for someone who enjoys writing fiction, but I really enjoy reading non-fiction. I’ve devoured all of Malcolm Gladwell’s books, and also really enjoyed Entanglement (a book about quantum physics) by Amir Aczel. But I do enjoy fiction and religiously read Carl Hiaasen’s books.

Synopsis from the website:

Kevin Tobin is a relatively ordinary twelve-year-old dealing with the ­aftermath of his father’s death in a mountain biking accident near their home in Boulder, Colorado. To escape from his emotional turmoil, Kevin has ­developed his imagination into a dangerous foil and a powerful ally. While he antagonizes his mother and sister through his superhero antics on an average Wednesday ­morning, his ability to escape inside a character’s head becomes critical to his ­survival after his life is once-again turned upside down a year after his father’s death.

A mysterious package arrives in the mail, Kevin and his best friend are hunted down by a ruthless villain set upon world domination who is determined to ­retrieve the package, and after enlisting Kevin’s teenage sister and her pizza-­delivery boyfriend in a battle for control over time itself, the secret of Kevin’s whole existence is revealed to him by a source we never expected.

My Thoughts:

WOW! pretty much sums up my thoughts on this book.  While geared towards a younger reader, it definitely sucked me in to the story line pretty much right away.  Kevin is an interesting child with a great sense of imagination (which I think some kids lack today).  I find it amusing that he is able to outwit the bad guys by morphing into an alter ego from the cartoons he watches.  The ending had quite a twist that I wasn’t totally expecting.  Part of it I had a feeling would happen but not the rest.  I think that this book would appeal to the middle school child with Kevin’s crazy antics and his wild imagination.  All in all I give it 5 stars and 2 thumbs up.

The Giveaway:

Now for the fun part!  Del sent me a copy of his book to read and review and now I want to give it away to one of my followers.  It is pretty simple, fill out the form below (US residents only) by Sunday, April 1st and I will choose a winner at random and send it out to you.