Author website/social media: howard-wong.blogspot.com
1. When you were my age (10), did you like to read?
I loved reading at a young age. The library was my favorite place to visit and still is.
2. What is a book that made an impact on you?
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I borrowed a well-read copy from the library with a cover that had seen better days during a summer when I was ten. I read the whole thing in one afternoon while visiting my grandparents. I just couldn’t put it down. The whimsical adventure that Charlie took me as a reader inspired my imagination.
3. Is it hard to come up with book ideas?
Sometimes it is. Inspiration for ideas can come from anywhere at any time. I tend to collect some ideas that come to me that aren’t ready to be a full story yet. I like to revisit these unfinished ideas to see if I can mold them into a story.
4. What author or book have read recently that impacted you?
Rick Remender’s Black Science series, which isn’t a book. It’s a comic book series which has been one of my favorite stories I’ve read in a while. It has all kinds of adventures set in a world where we travel through multiple dimensions with different versions of the world we know, interesting character development and many twist and turns. It’s not fit for young readers though.
Is there a new or lesser known author you think kids should be aware of?
Oliver Jeffers is one that I point out to friends when we talk about picture books we love. Lost and Found is one of my favorites of his. His stories and beautiful art compliment each other perfectly to tell funny stories with heart.
Why do you think graphic readers like yours are important for kids?
I think all kinds of books are important for kids. Having grown up as a reader, books for me then and now are the magical gateway to incredible worlds, adventures, mysteries, and self-discovery! I wrote The Unhappy Little Pig from the inspiration of how we try to be like other people we feel are better than us, but it’s really not the way to find happiness. By the end of the story, we discover what makes the unhappy little pig truly happy. This is something that I hope kids will find true for themselves too.
7. What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?
Read different genre of books. Even ones that you think you don’t like just to try them out. Like trying new types of food, you never know if you like it until you give it a go.
Write every day, but don’t worry about it being perfect the first time. When we write we make mistakes, come up with better ideas, and more. We go through many drafts before we get to the version we like most, which is the one you’ll see in a book. So don’t worry about changing things in your story. We do it all the time.
Share your stories with your family and friends. Ask them what they like and don’t like about your stories. This will let you see what works well and what parts of your story you’ll need to work on a bit more.
8. As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that?
I have readers who’ve commented on my work on social media and in person like at TCAF. I like readers sharing their thoughts, feelings, and opinions of my stories with me. I get to know what that like about my writing, but I also get to share stories of how I came up with certain things like using an old photo of our first dog as one of the characters.
9.If you could portal into any book (yours or another person ’s), what book would it be?
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The whimsical world alone would be fun to experience, but of course there’s also all that chocolate and candy too!