If You’re Reading This, It’s Already Too Late: Interview with Pseudonymous Bosch

with 6 comments

thenameissecretSecrets can be told behind closed doors. Secrets can be hidden in a handshake. Or a chocolate bar (as Bosch can probably attest to). Most secrets, though, are just dying to be told. Author and impostor extraordinaire, Pseudonymous Bosch, takes the dangerous plunge of narrating the mysterious adventures of Cass and Max-Ernest with The Name of This Book Is Secret illustrated by Gilbert Ford. Cass, a compulsive survivalist and her chatty chum, Max-Ernest, explore the cryptic origins of a box labeled The Symphony Smells. As their investigation ensues, they encounter a magician, secret societies, alchemy, some more secrets, and other things that would require me to suddenly leave the country, change my name to Bruhelda and quietly tend to sheep herding for the rest of my life. Bosch continues, with both fair warning and anguished forthcoming, the enigmatic exploration of Cass and Max-Ernest in If You’re Reading This Book, It’s Already Too Late and the resigned, This Book Is Not Good For You. “Only bad books have good endings” states Bosch however the notorious narrator reveals (after much chocolate bribery) that good beginnings can also make great books in the following interview.

1) When and how did the need for all this secrecy begin?
Hm, if I tell the secret story behind THE NAME OF THIS BOOK IS SECRET can we keep it just between you and the thousands of readers of your blog…? Very well.

The truth is, I first wrote the book in elementary school. Not as a student, alas, but as a volunteer. I was part of a program called Writing Partners wherein fourth and fifth-grade students were partnered with adults outside their school for the purpose of exchanging writing through the mail for “comment and critique.” As peers, writer-to-writer, you understand, rather than as grown up and child.

My writing partner, May, sent me poems, stories, and a terrific cartoon strip she’d drawn about a chocolate bar that was afraid of n271963being eaten. I didn’t have anything to send so I decided to write her a novel– but I couldn’t think of a title I liked, no matter how hard I tried. Well, maybe that’s because the name of this book is secret, I thought! Then I asked myself what the book should be about. The answer was obvious…a secret! I started by sending a few pages that I wrote under duress minutes before they were due.But May’s reaction (and the reaction of her friends) was so enthusiastic that I was soon sending larger installments, and I kept writing long after my volunteer stint was over.

A key feature of the program was that I was supposed to remain anonymous. Hence I became Pseudonymous Bosch. May, meanwhile, always signed WP May (for Writing Partner May), the name that appears on the dedication page of my book.

And the rest, as they say, is secret history.

2) You seem like a well-read fellow. What sort of books and things do you like to read about?
Books about chocolate, of course! My all time favorite being CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. (As you know, my third book, THIS BOOK IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU, is all about chocolate, and there are those who accuse me of stealing the idea for the book from Roald Dahl. But I prefer to call my book an homage.) I should say that I also quite like mysteries. Tonight, I plan to reread a few stories by Edgar Allan Poe in honor of the reenactment of his funeral.

3) What else would you be doing if you weren’t writing, reading, and keeping secrets?
Eating chocolate. Dark chocolate. Maybe cheese. Stinky cheese.

4) How did these books get published in spite of your warnings?
I will tell you this much: when I first met them, my publishers had a lot of fun with me by donning white gloves and pretending to be members of the Midnight Sun. (At least I hope they were pretending!) They gave me quite a scare. After that, I was willing to do anything for them…

9780316040860_388X5865) Have you ever been tempted to reveal your identity or come close to someone finding out who you are?
I will take the fifth here.

6) What other secrets and adventures are in store for Cass and Max-Ernest?
There is a not-so-secret secret pattern to the Secret Series. Each book concerns one of the five senses. Book 1, which features a box of scented vials called the Symphony of Smells, concerns the sense of smell. Book 2, which features a magical ball of sound called the Sound Prism, concerns hearing. Book 3 has the Tuning Fork and concerns taste–in particular the taste of chocolate. Book 4 I am working on now and I don’t want to give too much away. But it’s going to be called THIS ISN’T WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE and it concerns the sense of sight naturally. That leaves, you guessed it, touch for Book 5.

7) Where else will the…er, umm…impostor be appearing?
My spies tell me that the Impostor will next be appearing Wed Oct 14 at 4pm at MRS. NELSON’S TOY AND BOOKSHOP in La Verne, CA–about half hour from downtown LA. At the end of the month, I, er, I mean the Impostor!, will fly to Austin for the Texas Book Festival. There he is scheduled to appear with Jon Scieska and Rick Riordan on a Halloween panel about series writing…

Speaking of Halloween, if you don’t mind, I’d like to close by plugging a new book, HALF-MINUTE HORRORS, an anthology of very very short very very scary stories. My contribution is called THE ATTACK OF THE FLYING MUSTACHES and it’s creepy indeed. Proceeds from the sale of HALF-MINUTE HORRORS go to First Book, an organization that gives books to children in need. Readers can write their own half-minute horror stories and post them at  www.halfminutehorrors.com –Boo!


6 Responses

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  1. Hello,I would like to ask something to the inter viewer.First I would like to ask how you got to interview Pseudonymous bosch for i would like to ask him a few questions myself?In private of course I would not share my question and his anwers to others if he wishes me not to.So if you wouldnt mind mabe asking him or you could send me some information.Thank you.And great interview!

    david thompson

    October 22, 2009 at 2:19 am

  2. loved, loved, loved this interview. I’m one month shy of 20, but I still adore this series. I stumbled upon them in a bookstore a couple of years ago. I think it was because of the cover art initially…then, when I read the title, I thought, “OH REALLY?” I like that Bosch kind of sets up a challenge. Granted, my mind is pretty much that of a 7 year old’s, BUT ALL THE SAME, I wanted to know why it was secret. I bought it, took it home, then I pretty much devoured it like a Baby Ruth.

    I’ve always been the student who wrote herself into every story. Not exactly to let the world see what a narcissist I am, but more as a commentator – exactly what bosch does. I love it, really. And also, I find the humor in it invincibly funny. Again, I’m pretty easily amused so perhaps this isn’t the biggest of comments, but bosch managed to make me laugh quite a few times throughout the series thus far.

    Actually haven’t had a chance to read THIS BOOK IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU. Life has gotten in the way of my fun-time reading; however, making a sticky note that says to go buy it. YAY CHRISTMAS MONEY! Also, any homage or resemblance to Dahl is most welcome in my world. One can never have too much Dahl.

    Great interview, and you’re so fortunate to have had this opportunity!


    January 4, 2010 at 10:51 am

  3. You’re real name’s either Raphael Simon or Gilbert Ford!_! I’ve figured it out down to 2 options!_!


    February 15, 2010 at 4:35 am

  4. I think that his name is David Bosch. Something or rather. I think that the anonymousness is to keep readers interested, instead of desperately advertising (he does advertise a lot…desperately though?)


    March 9, 2010 at 2:36 am

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