Author Chat with D.J. Steinberg (Christmas, Here I Come!), Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we are chatting with D.J. Steinberg, author of
Christmas, Here I Come!
Read on for more about D.J., his book, and a giveaway!
Meet D.J. Steinberg!
D.J. Steinberg is the best-selling author of more than 20 children's books that have sold close to 2 million copies to date, including the popular "Here I Come" series, award-winning picture book "King Louie's Shoes," a line of humorous poetry readers including "GrasshopperPie and Other Poems," and his graphic novel series The Adventures of Daniel Boom AKA Loud Boy. His alter-ego David has served as an executive, producer, and artist on animated movies and TV shows, at studios like Disney and Nickelodeon. He lives in Los Angeles, California with a beautiful wife, 3 boys, a cavapoo, and a house with secret doors in the bookcases. For more, see www.djsteinberg.com.
Meet Christmas, Here I Come!
Celebrate Christmas with a collection of funny and festive poems from the author of the hugely popular Kindergarten, Here I Come!
It's the most wonderful time of the year, and everyone is getting into the Christmas spirit! From writing letters to Santa to picking the perfect tree, these heartwarming poems -- plus a page of stickers! -- from author D. J. Steinberg are sure to delight even the most sullen Scrooge.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
The “Here I Come!” series is all about looking at the big moments in life through the eyes of a child. The series began with books about going to the different grades in school. Those books covered all the fun events and activities kids can look forward to experiencing in Preschool, Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades. It was only natural to go from there to the holidays that kids celebrate every year, which can be so incredibly magical when you are young. And of course the big kahuna of them all is Christmas, so I was especially excited to write this one--and now I’m even more excited that the book is finally here!
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
I have a running character in the Christmas book named Bobby, who I have to say is my favorite. He’s a kid who likes writing letters to Santa. On Bobby’s pages in the book, the illustrator, Laurie Stansfield, made the pictures look like Bobby drew them himself with markers. Even though Bobby’s not real, I felt like I knew Bobby very well when I was writing his letters. They always come out sounding very polite and altruistic, but then there’s always some sneaky angle that comes out by the end of the letter. Like one where he wants to trade out broccoli instead of cookies on Santa’s plate in the name of making Santa healthier—which sounds like a really lovely thought, doesn’t it? But then you can’t help wondering by the end if maybe it was all just a very good excuse for Bobby to eat Santa’s cookies himself!
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
Because this is part of a series of books, the title came first. I agreed with my editor—who, by the way, is legendary author Jane O’Connor!—that we should do a book called “Christmas, Here I Come!” Then we got down to work talking about what things about the Christmas season the book would focus on.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
The “Here I Come!” books are each formatted as a series of rhymes, and each poem is a different scene of people celebrating the holiday. It’s hard to pick one, but I think I would point to a poem called “Peace on Earth” about two neighbors, Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones, who are battling to see who can hang the most lights on his house. They each put up so many lights that they shut down the power grid and that is when they have to make peace at last! It pokes fun at how sometimes the spirit of the holiday can get a little lost in the tinsel and glitz of it all. I also have an attachment to the poem because I will always have an association of where I wrote it. I was in a hotel room in Paris looking out across the city from my balcony. Unforgettable! I wish I could write all my books from a Parisian balcony.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to?
I’m excited to say that this 2021 holiday season, I have yet another new book coming out as well. “Hanukkah, Here I Come!” is a companion book to “Christmas, Here I Come!”, especially for children who celebrate the Jewish holiday of lights—and dreidels and potato latkes!
YABC: What’s up next for you?
It’s been so great to see the amazing reception I have gotten to the “Here I Come!” books so far. And the greatest thing about having a best-selling series, is that I am getting the chance to write more and more “Here I Come!” books, covering more holidays and life events. So I am keeping very busy writing and if you keep an eye on my website (www.djsteinberg.com) you will see a lot more fun titles coming your way!
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Which do I like more… drafting or revising? Would it be a cheat to say I like then both the same, but different? Drafting is fun because you get to brainstorm ideas and make something out of nothing. Sometimes it can be frustrating, because I can’t get certain ideas to work or I’m not feeling like ideas are flowing, but then sometimes words come out of my fingers that I feel an instant rush of satisfaction, like “Yeah—this is going to work!” Creating from scratch is fun that way. But the drafting part is only about 5% of the work.
The other 95% is revising. And truly, that’s where the magic happens. Because once there is a draft—even a stinky draft (and my first drafts usually are!)—then the sculpting begins. I see it like Michelangelo chiseling away at one of his statues, chipping away the unnecessary bits of stone and honing what is left until it feels just right. Especially with poems, that time is so necessary, to pick just the right words and phrasing to make the meter and rhymes flow naturally. I love getting notes from my editors, because at some point I can’t read my writing with a fresh eye and I need their insight. And even though it can be painful to throw away parts that I worked hard on—and there is a lot of that in revising—in the end I love the sense of each page feeling taut and polished.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
My superpower—although I usually try to keep it a secret that I am a superhero!—is that I can see and think like a child. Now maybe that’s because I never totally grew up, or it could be I just have a good memory of things from way back then, or maybe having my own kids made it all come back to me. But I feel like I am pretty good at knowing how kids think. And whenever I visit schools around the country for author visits, I feel a creative connection with the kids—because they are naturally so creative and imaginative!
Christmas, Here I Come!
Author: D.J. Steinberg
Illustrator: Laurie Stansfield
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap
Publish Date: October 12th, 2021
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