Tell us about yourself!
By day, I am a middle school teacher. By night, I am a writer. By weekend, I am a preacher and speaker.
Tell us about your books.
Super Jake and the Fashion Police is an action-adventure superhero novel for middle grade readers from roughly fifth to eighth grade. It is the first installment of the series that follows the middle school hero Super Jake who has the power to shoot ice cream from his hands.
With his wacky powers and lame humor, Super Jake battles sinister foes who want to force their values and standards on the rest of the city.
What kind of child are you trying to reach with your books?
Super Jake and the Fashion Police is designed for middle grade boys who love humor and a spirit of adventure. Kids in fifth through eighth grade attending public school might get the most out of it.
Parents and kids alike will love that the humor is clean—but it’s also ridiculously enjoyable. While there are a few references to church and prayer, it can appeal to a wide variety of religious backgrounds.
Give us a little flavor of some great characters or the setting.
An excerpt from Super Jake and the Fashion Police:
Fearing he had sucked up all his options, Jake placed his palms together in a gesture of peace as he absent-mindedly traced a circle on the ground with the tip of his sneakers. “I have an idea. What if we—and just hear me out —don’t fight. Okay? And then, instead, we just—we still don’t fight—at all—and then we move on with our lives. Peace and happiness for all eternity. Sound good? You down? Paulo? David? Thoughts from the crowd?”
“You know what, Williams?” Levi barked, sending spittle flying onto Jake’s nose and glasses. “I never liked you. You clearly think you’re way cooler than you actually are. And your jokes are terrible! But I know guys like you. You don’t amount to anything! Never gonna rise up the ranks. You got anywhere to go but down. You’re invisible, and you’re going to stay that way. Just a nobody.”
Jake opened his mouth, but he couldn’t speak. Levi’s words hit him harder than any punch.
What inspired you to write this series?
It all began in fourth grade when I was feeling a nice dose of existential dread. I just didn’t “have a thing.” I wasn’t cool. I wasn’t interesting. I struggled to maintain a sizable friend group, which I felt was important to my preservation in school life. But I realized one key thing about popularity: it’s very, very, very, very, very arbitrary.
To this day, I can’t recall the precise train of thought that lead to my plan, but I settled on the most insane plan to cement my social status: I started calling myself “Super Jake.” That was it. That was the whole plan. I gave myself a nickname that, although not terribly descriptive, advertised that I wasn’t any ordinary fellow. I was super. Obviously. Because non-super people don’t just give themselves nicknames. No siree, they do not.
The simple name endued me with powers, though not the superpowers that I would later develop for Super Jake’s mythology. By the time I was in fifth grade and had built my first website, I was even writing stories about Super Jake. My friends would beg to have their own made-up alter egos included in adventures with wacky powers of their choice. Best of all, though, even teachers got in on the game and would call me Super Jake—talk about a great move to get me to participate in class more!
The fake identity, though extraordinarily silly, changed who I was. I credit it in part with giving me confidence to be weird in public. Plus, I can’t begin to describe how much debt I owe to that silly name for getting me into creative writing.
My first published novel, what do you know, is all about Super Jake! Just 15 years in the making . . . and the silly nickname is a whole book!
How did you know you wanted to be an author?
It started in fifth grade. The assignment was something about creative writing—I don’t remember the details. But what I do recall is that I loved my story. I couldn’t have been prouder of my overly dramatic retelling of entering fifth grade: “The Horrors of C-Hall.”
In my school, fifth and sixth grade were in a whole different hall than the rest of the school, so I talked about the trials and tribulations of having to experience C-Hall. Based on the story, I developed probably the first book series I ever created—a series about life in fifth grade, hyperbolized and dramatized to make it fun. And I very much intended to write and publish the book series by sixth grade, but I don’t think I ever even wrote another word.
When I wrote “The Horror of C-Hall,” I realized that writing could open up a whole new world. Something just clicked. My brother and I always had active imaginations, but only in crafting the story did I realized I could take what went on in my head and put it on paper to share it with the world! What possibilities!
I didn’t fall in love with writing because people praised me for it, or because I got more friends, or because I calculated that it would be a steady source of income. No! I fell in love with writing because it’s fun and exciting and invigorating.
There is beauty, in my opinion, to using human languages to challenge, teach, and entertain—but whatever the aim, I desire to use language to evoke a change in people. I love to spend my life bringing to life a story that hopefully brings life to others.
What’s one middle grade book you always recommend?
I really like the Percy Jackson series.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
The hardest word to write is the next one. But keep going. Amazing things happen to those that keep going.
What formats are your books available in?
Find them here.
New novels come out roughly in March, August, and December. Super Jake and the Fashion Police is my most recent release.
If you’re in the market for middle grade books, I’d love to share my series with you!
Power Pup is a Christian superhero adventure series for readers ages 9-13.
Calvin Quinn is a long way from the corn fields of Nebraska.
The rookie canine reporter dreams of bringing criminals to justice with his front page headlines, while working alongside famous investigative journalist team Mittens Meow and Alex Digger.
But Calvin has a secret:
He’s also a rookie superhero!
After months of training, Calvin Quinn is ready to hit the streets and defend the innocent as . . . Power Pup!