1. Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
Answer: I've been performing theater for nearly my entire life, and a number of years ago I began branching out into the "solo performance" form. Writing a show and a book that could both entertain and education children, was a departure from the rest of the body of work that I've created in the past, and that decision opened up a very big door of newfound creativity for me.
2. How did you get interested in writing children's books?
Answer: I've always loved children's books, even when I was an angry, rebellious teenager doing angry, rebellious "teenagery-things." Deep down, I think I've always wanted to write children's books. They're what I feel most connected in terms of what I read. I grew up exposed to great children's books. They were intimately connected to my childhood. They have my mother's voice in them. Finally, when I became a professional teacher, I realized that not only was I interested in really diving in and writing children's books, but I saw how large of a need there was to write them, and share them, for kids. The funny thing is, I still never think of children's books as books necessarily for children. The best children's books are universal, applicable to everyone, no matter what age.
3. What kind of research did you do for this book?
Answer: During the last few years, I've spent a large amount of time working closely with elementary students on the nature of fear and dreams in writing performing workshops and the classroom environment. I'm fascinated with what happens to students when their dreams are threatened because of stage fright, comparison to others, peer pressure, bullying, etc and I'm also equally fascinated when students "go through the fire" to find their dreams again.
4. What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
Answer: I spend the majority of my day teaching kids, on an elementary, junior high, and high school level. I gave up the idea of a structured writing life years ago, and find that as long as I can put in a good five hours a week wherever and whenever I can get it, then anything beyond that is a bonus.
5. What is the hardest part of writing for you?
6. What’s the best thing about being an author?
Answer: I love the secretive feeling of walking around in the world, knowing that something right at the edge of my fingertips is about to be carved out and given to the world.
7. What are you working on now?
Answer: Promoting both the children's book and the show of "The Night the Moon Ate My Room!" as well as my other solo show and book for high school and colleges, "Face the City."
8. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Answer: Shock yourself. Move yourself. Look deeper. Do it with one hundred percent commitment to the truth. Ditch cleverness.
9. Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Answer: Many. One my favorite children's books is Maurice Sendak's "Outside Over There," and for young adults Salinger's "The Catcher In the Rye." Both books underscore the celebration of aloneness like no other books I've read.
10. What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
Answer:"If you could go back in time to any day in history what would it be?" Years ago, I might've answered "listening to the premier of Beethoven's 9th" or "when Van Gogh cut off his ear," but now I think I'd say I'd go back to the happiest day of my father's childhood because I'm pretty sure my dreams (or delusions) are so much tied in with his, and I think it would give me so much more insight into my own dreams(or delusions) which is a major theme in the next novel that's currently being edited.
11. If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Answer: Everything I write, even if its made up, is really about my life! A teacher I once worked with said it perfectly: "You can't escape your story." Maybe that would be the title!
About Jesse Wilson:
A life-long involvement with theatre and film as both performer and writer began early, growing up in Hollywood, CA, where he performed in plays, TV shows and commercials. A graduate of the LA High School for the Performing Arts, Jesse traveled east to attain a BFA for theatre in the prestigious Juilliard School. Remaining in New York, and later Philadelphia, he developed material for his one-man shows, performed throughout the region. His most recent production, “Face the City,” written for high school and college audiences, combines visual and animation projections in a multimedia presentation of the artist's journey to find themselves in the "real world." “The Night the Moon Ate My Room!” written and performed with music for young audiences to experience self-discovery, is created with the support of The Kennedy Center’s Imagination Celebration and Pikes Peak Library District. Jesse teaches theatre and music at Academy for Advanced & Creative Learning, and The Colorado Springs Conservatory.
About "The Night the Moon Ate my Room!":
The moon was bright and full that night, bigger than I could ever even remember it.
Maybe because it was moving towards me...
After giving the worst violin recital of his life, and being laughed at by the entire school, the boy vows to never play music again. Later that night, when the moon swallows up his bedroom, it shares the secrets of being a true artist, helping the boy re-claim his self-confidence, overcome the pitfalls of perfectionism, and believe in his own dream.
Each of the five stories in The Night the Moon Ate My Room! is designed for young readers to experience the joy of self-discovery, valuable life lessons, and the adventure of turning their greatest dreams into reality.
"In lyrical prose Jesse Wilson explores fundamental childhood issues: overcoming adversity, discovering your courage, and the power of dreams."
-Laurel Schmidt, author of Seven Times Smarter: 50 Activities, Games, and Projects to Develop the Seven Intelligences of Your Child.