I’m excited to share my recent interview with Erica S. Perl.
Erica is the author of several children’s books including bestselling books Chicken Butt! and Chicken Butt’s Back! Her most recent book, Ferocious Fluffity, introduces readers to a cute but crazy classroom pet.
Erica was kind enough to answer a few questions about her most recent publication and life as an author.
How long have you been writing and when did you publish your first book?
I have been writing since I was able to form words (and even before, sort of, because I would draw pictures and dictate the stories to my parents). My first published book was CHICKEN BEDTIME IS REALLY EARLY, which came out in 2005.
Which book have you enjoyed writing the most?
That’s a good question! I really enjoyed writing FEROCIOUS FLUFFITY because it is a rhyming book and I love rhyme, rhythm and meter… but the truth is I’ve enjoyed writing all of my books.
What inspired you to write FEROCIOUS FLUFFITY?
The first inspiration was a classroom hamster we took home for a weekend. I reached in to pet it and it bit me so hard that when I pulled my hand back it was still attached! Later on, my daughter had a guinea pig that bit everyone and that’s when I started writing the story.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a children’s book writer and illustrator. And an actress. And an ice skater. And a marine biologist. (One down, several to go!)
What was your favorite book as a child?
Charlotte’s Web. It still is, actually.
Who is your favorite character from any work of literature?
Imhrat Khan from The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar by Roald Dahl.
Who has most inspired you in your writing career?
Lots of people! My aunt, who is also a writer, was an early inspiration. And then when a dear friend died too young, I realized that life is too short to put your dreams on hold. So that inspired me to make more room in my life for my writing.
What struggles have you faced on your way to becoming an author?
My biggest struggles, to this day, are with myself. It is hard to confront the blank page, it is hard to take feedback and revise, it is hard to put your characters in peril, and it is hard to take creative risks… all of which you need to do in order to create great books.
What advice would you give to young writers?
Read all the time. Write the kind of stuff you’d want to read, even if you’re convinced no one else would want to read it. Meet authors whenever you can. Don’t listen to that little voice that tries to stop you from writing by telling you what you have to say is not important or funny. That little voice is FEAR and he doesn’t get to tell you what to do. If his voice is really loud, get a box and put FEAR in it (literally – open the lid, shove FEAR in, slam the lid shut, and go write).
Do you have any hobbies?
I like to bake (pies, crisps, and bread) and I like to run (with friends and with my dogs). Recently, I’ve been rediscovering how much I love drawing, thanks to John Hendrix’s book DRAWING IS MAGIC.
What is the most interesting place you have visited?
Rikers Island (I used to be a criminal defense lawyer, so I have been to jail – only to visit, mind you – many times).
Name one interesting fact about yourself unrelated to writing 🙂
My initials are ESP, so I always hoped I would develop clairvoyance. I haven’t yet… but hopefully someday.
Where can readers learn more about you and your books?
My website: http://www.ericaperl.com/. You can also go to your local library or bookstore, stand on a chair and say in a loud voice, “Do you have any books by Erica S. Perl? I love her books!”
Anything else you’d like to mention about FEROCIOUS FLUFFITY or your writing career?
Yes. It is a lot of fun to write funny books, but it is also hard to do it well. I think funny books – and the people who write them – deserve to be taken seriously because they are successfully doing several things at once. Kind of like Ginger Rogers dancing backwards in high heels while smiling and not falling down. Or, in my case, dancing backward while running from a rambunctious rodent!
A big thank you to Erica for the great interview, and to her publisher Abrams Books for Young Readers.