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Interview with 'Warning' picture book author Adam Lehrhaupt

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Adam has traveled to six continents, performed on Broadway, and lived on a communal farm. He firmly believes that opening a book is a good thing, even if there are monkeys in it. Adam currently lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA, with his wife and two sons.

For what age audience do you write?

'Warning: Do Not Open This Book!' is a picture book targeting 4-8 year olds. I have several other picture book manuscripts waiting in the wings, and I've begun work on a science fiction chapter book trilogy that I'm very excited about.

Henry: Will the sci-fi trilogy involve space monkeys? Do aliens tease homo sapiens because monkeys flew in space before we did?

Tell us about your latest book.

It's dangerous. You really shouldn’t open it. I’m serious. There are monkeys in it. Mischievous monkeys. If you open the book, they will get out. Do you know how much mayhem monkeys can cause? Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Henry: You gotta love a picture book that comes with a disclaimer. I wonder if the mischievous monkeys were inspired by your boys…

What do you hope readers will get from reading that book?

I hope they have fun. Reading a book should be an experience. Especially a picture book. You can interact with them on so many levels. Hopefully readers feel a sense of adventure and enjoyment every time they open one of my books.

What aspect of writing do you find most challenging?

I think the most daunting aspect of writing is sending your manuscript out. You spend so much time fretting over each detail that it is hard to know when to let go and send it out. Then there is the waiting for responses. Ugh. I'm changing my answer. It's the waiting. Definitely the waiting.

Henry: I'm on the other end of the spectrum - I need to fret more before sending it out. Some advice I've received on that score includes (a) when you think your manuscript is ready, wait two weeks, and (b) read your manuscript aloud.

What is a powerful lesson you've learned from being a writer?

I've learned to let go. Sometimes the idea that you fall in love with just doesn't have the legs to make it as a story.You move on from it. Maybe a piece of it ends up in something else down the line. It's really hard to do, but it can be cathartic as well.

Henry: Sadly, the fact that it is good advice doesn't make it go down any easier. “Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it – whole-heartedly – and delete it before sending your manuscripts to press. Murder your darlings.”

Click to read the complete interview at Henry Herz's blog on KidLit, Sci-fi & Fantasy books.

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