Author Chat with Joseph Kuefler (THE DIGGER AND THE DARK), Plus Giveaway~ US ONLY!

Today we are very excited to share an interview with author Joseph Kuefler!

Read on to learn more about the author, the book, and a giveaway!





Meet the Author: Joseph Kuefler

Joseph Kuefler is the author-illustrator of the Digger series, Beyond the PondRulers of the Playground, Pillow Places, and Bigger Than a Bumblebee and the illustrator of Night Is for Darkness by Jonathan Stutzman. He lives in Minnesota with his wife and children.

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About the Book: The Digger and the Dark

From the acclaimed author-illustrator Joseph Kuefler comes the fourth book in his beloved Digger series—a sweet and funny bedtime adventure for the big machines that also features a duo of adorable raccoons.
After a long day’s work, Digger and the other big trucks are ready to tuck themselves into bed. They wash, they brush, and they sing a goodnight song. But before they can fall asleep, two mischievous raccoons appear. And they are not tired—at all.
Surely, just a few more minutes of playtime won’t hurt…will it?
~Author Chat~

YABC:  What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

I’ve tried to take a break from books about Digger, but he has a way of revealing new books all the time. This book began with the title, oddly enough. I often play with the title convention of these books to see how far I can extend the series; The Digger and the Dark had a poetic ring to it. I wasn’t sure what Digger would find in the dark, but I knew it would offer something new to the series, something scary, or zany, or…nocturnal.

YABC:  Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

I would say it’s to “just write.” People often feel like they need to know everything about a book before writing—every detail, every character motivation. Planning is helpful, but eventually it becomes a crutch, a safe space to hide. For me, it’s all about sitting down and moving your fingers across the keyboard. Know a general direction you hope to travel, and just start moving there. Trust that the words and ideas will find a way of leading you in the right direction. Rather than sitting and obsessing about ideas, I sit and write them. I have found that the best ideas come after the planning. They appear during the writing phase. In my earlier days, I would think more, I would worry that I needed to know it all before beginning. I would also live in the conceptual phase of a book for too long. Every idea is perfect in those phases because you never have to encounter the complexity and difficulty that will undoubtedly arise. The real work is in the writing.

YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?

Every Digger cover needs to be both compelling and similar to the Digger covers that came before. As a series, you want to ensure the collection of books hold together. This presents fun challenges. I loved incorporating the raccoons, and I love how the crooked D hints at the zany energy of the story. It is a simple detail, but I like simple ways to express important concepts.

YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2024?

I love William Grill’s books and art. To me, his work is perfect. I can’t wait for his next book, Cloudspotting for Beginners. The art will be gorgeous and humbling. I’ve preordered it already.

YABC: What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?

The adult reader in me has recently discovered and fallen in love with Claire Keegan’s work. Foster and Small Things Like These are two of the more extraordinary books I have read in a very, very long time. They are small—practically novellas—and efficient and profound and perfect. Both books moved me to tears.

The childlike reader in me was blown away by Superworld: Save Noah. Think of it as Brian Selznick meets Pixar. Huge, gorgeous black and white imagery fills 385 pages of action and humor. It’s a story about superheroes and underdogs. It truly feels like you’re watching something from Dreamworks or Pixar. Every young reader will love it.

YABC:   What’s up next for you?

More Digger! HarperCollins and I have recently decided to extend the series. One will be holiday-themed, and another will involve a sea turtle. In between those books, I’ll illustrate something my wife, Nikki Powers, wrote. It’s a hilarious Christmas book. I can’t wait to collaborate with her.

YABC:    What is the main message or lesson you would like your reader to remember from this book?

With every Digger book, I hope to spark a love of the natural world. I am deeply passionate about the climate. I created this series as a kind of personal activism. I wanted to contribute something to the cause—a series that makes children curious and empathetic about plants and animals and wild things, but that also feels more like candy than medicine. We won’t stop global warming tomorrow, but the books might help to nurture the next generation of planet lovers. That’s my hope.

YABC:   What advice do you have for new writers?

The only difference between new writers and seasoned writers is reps, at bats, practice. Choose whatever metaphor you like. Back to my earlier point, you simply need to write, write, write. Many early writers have one idea—their perfect idea—and they hold onto it like some precious rare metal. Your first idea will never be your best one. You need to find a way to let go and write. Writing is, after all, a verb, it’s an action. You would never expect a baseball player to get great by simply thinking about hitting. You would never expect a ballerina to perfect his or her form by pondering the idea of being a ballerina. Like any craft or talent, you need to practice the thing itself. Write, write, write. Stop obsessing and worrying and thinking.

Author: Joseph Kuefler
Illustrator: Joseph Kuefler
Release Date: 6/25/24
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN-10: 0063237938
ISBN-13: 9780063237933
Genre: picture book/fiction
Age Range: Ages 4-8

~ Giveaway Details ~


Three (3) winners will receive a hardcover copy of The Digger and the Dark (Joseph Kuefler) ~US Only!


*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*


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