If You’re Reading This, It’s Already Too Late: Interview with Pseudonymous Bosch
Secrets 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 being 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…
5) 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!
Written by corvusblue
October 14, 2009 at 4:47 pm
Posted in Interviews
Tagged with Cass, chocolate, First Book, Gilbert Ford, Half-Minute Horrors, Halloween, If You're Reading This Book, Interview Pseudonymous Bosch, It's Already Too Late, Jon Scieska, Max-Ernest, Midnight Sun, Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Bookshop, Poe, Rick Riordan, Texas Book Festival, The Attack of the Flying Mustaches, The Name of This Book Is Secret, This Book Is Not Good For You, This Isn't What It Looks Like
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