I'm pleased to welcome Allan Woodrow to Michigander Monday!
Debbie: Allan, please tell us a little about yourself.
Allan: I grew up outside East Lansing … moved to Michigan right before first grade from sunny Southern Florida; I still remember my sister and I wearing jackets, freezing, while everyone else wore shorts. Mom and Dad still live in the house where I grew up, but I don’t get back as often as I’d like. I went to University of Michigan. Quite a few locals accused me of being a traitor to that other Big 10 school around the corner.
I wanted to be an author since elementary school, but it took me awhile to step up to the plate. Fear of rejection and the busy-ness of life are both to blame, pretty much equally.
Instead, I spent my career as an advertising copywriter and Creative Director, writing TV and radio commercials, and such. Wrote a little for TV and the stage on the side. Worked in and outside Detroit for big ad agencies. Moved to St. Louis for a brief spell, and then to Chicago.
When I finally set my mind to finally going after my life-long dream of being an author, it all happened quickly. From declaring I was going to write a book (my 2009 New Years resolution) to figuring out what book I would write (I had the resolution months before I had any good ideas), from writing it to finding an agent and getting a four-book contract … it all took less than a year. It was a bit of a whirlwind.
Debbie: Wow! Please tell us all about the first book in the series.
Allan: The Rotten Adventures of Zachary Ruthless (HarperCollins) is the story of the world’s most evil kid. Zachary would do anything to join the Society Of Utterly Rotten, Beastly And Loathsome Lawbreaking Scoundrels, the world's most horrible gang of super villains. But first he must perform a truly terrible deed. With the help of his henchman Newt, Zachary battles the horrible Mayor Mudfogg and other felonious foes, not only to join SOURBALLS but to survive! Bwa-ha-ha! For ages 7-10.
Debbie: Other books and projects on the horizon?
Allan: The Rotten Adventures of Zachary Ruthless, Book 1, came out this past Spring. Book 2, The Stench of Goodness comes out this winter, Book 3 (SOURBALLS) comes out next Spring and Book 4 (The Undersea Lab) launches a year from this winter. Books 5 through 432 are under negotiations.
I just completed a non-Zachary book and my agent is in the process of sending it out, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Even with Zachary Ruthless books constantly being written, I have a number of books in various stages of disarray.
Debbie: Upcoming appearances?
Allan: None in Michigan, I’m afraid. At least at this moment. With Book 2 coming out this Winter, I’ll be planning some signings, but nothing definitive right now.
Debbie: Do you have favorite Michigan bookstore?
Allan: I haven’t lived in Michigan for awhile, I’m afraid. When I was a kid, I loved an old used bookstore in East Lansing called the Curious Book Shop. I would ride my bike there almost every week and buy old comic books and baseball cards with my paper route and snow shoveling money. I was the kind of kid who was always trying to earn money.
Debbie: How about a favorite place in Michigan?
Allan: There’s no place like home (hmmm, I should use that line sometime in a book. Has it ever been used before?...)
Debbie: Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?
Allan: When people think of Michigan they often think of Detroit, and often those thoughts aren’t flattering, which is a shame. I lived outside Detroit for a number of years after college, and miss the area quite a bit. I love going home, too, and I’ve visited all sorts of places on vacation, from the U.P. to Mackinaw to Saugatuck. I’m constantly delighted at how eclectic the state is, from the metropolitan cities, to the beaches and small towns. Michigan is so many things, and so many of its people are wonderful. So for any non-Michigander: Detroit is only a small part of Michigan, so don’t pigeonhole it.
Debbie: Finally... Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally, what’s the better term: "Michigander" or a "Michiganian"?
Allan: I grew up with Michigander, so I’m heavily in the gander camp.
Debbie: Michigander it is! Allan, thank you for joining us today for Michigander Monday.
To learn more about Allan and his books, please visit his web site and his blog, The Shelf Life. You can also view a Zachary Ruthless book trailer over on YouTube to determine if you can laugh as evilly as Zachary Ruthless! And you can find Zachary Ruthless on FaceBook.