August 4, 2011

Guest Post: Jonathan Auxier Author of Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes +GIVEAWAY!!

I have been seeing reviews on Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, so imagine my suprise and excitment when I was approached to have the author, Jonathan Auxier, guest post on my blog! But wait there's more AND to host a giveaway for the book!  I love blogging :)

Ok, ok, enough of that - time to welcome 
Jonathan to The O.W.L.

Hey there readers -- I’m pretty excited to be here at The O.W.L.!  My name is Jonathan Auxier, and I just wrote a brand-spanking-new book called Peter Nimble & His Fantastic Eyes!  It’s the story of a ten year-old blind orphan who also happens to be the greatest thief who ever lived. Today, I thought I’d talk to you a little bit about where I got the idea for my story.

Most every writer out there gets asked where their ideas come from. Whenever I’m asked this question, I tell people that I get ideas the same way Peter Nimble gets treasure:  I steal them!

Now before you call the cops, let me explain.  Pretty much every good idea is really a combination of older ideas.  I mean, whatare "ideas" other than observations about the sights, smells, sounds, and stories all around us?  My job as a writer is to keep my eyes and ears open, absorbing as many of these details as possible -- jokes I’ve read in magazines, funny signs in shop windows, a new word I’ve never heard before.  Eventually these bits will connect with one another to form a story!

And how do I store all this wonderful material?  I keep it in one of these!

Every writer and artist I know uses a journal of some kind to put down the things they see.  Sometimes I have more words than pictures:

Sometimes I have more pictures than words:

 And every once in a while, I have an idea for a new character whomay just end up having his very own book!

It’s never too early to start journaling!  All you need is a pen, a notebook, and open eyes!  Here are some journaling tips I’ve learned along the way:

1) Find the right tools for you.  Every journaler I know has aspecific notebook and pen that they like to use.  Some people prefer a small notepad that fits in their pocket, others like a larger book with plenty of room to draw.  Let yourself experiment to find the perfect book/pen combo that is both convenient to carry around and easy to use.

2)  Stay away from “I”.  An artist journal is different from a diary.  In a diary, you write about yourself; in a journal, you write about everything but yourself!  Just take notes about the different things you encounter -- eventually all those entries will become a sort of personal reference library for when you want to tell a story.

3)  Your Journal is NOT a work of art!  Don’t worry about making it pretty -- no one’s looking over your shoulder. A journal should get beat up.  Words should be scribbled out. Rip pages out when you need scrap paper. Use it as a seat when you’re on wet grass. When you break your pen, use spit and a jelly bean to draw a picture (I have done this)!

4)  Never leave the house without it.  I promise that the one time you leave your journal at home will be the one time you’ll wish you had it!

5)  Write at least one thing down every day.  It doesn’t have to be a lot -- just put something down.  Doing this will keep you in the habit of paying attention to the world around you. Also, all of those short entries will eventually add up to something pretty impressive …

That’s it for me!  If you want, come visit my website,, where I have information about Peter Nimble as well as a collection of pictures from my journals -- and feel free to tell me about your own artist journal.  Happy scribbling!

Wow!!! Thanks Jonathan.  That was super cool to hear about and gave me lots of ideas for my own writing!

Now for the giveaway.
If you'd like to win a copy of
Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes:
Must be a US resident.
Must be at least 13
Must fill out form.
+1 for leaving a response for Jonathan :)
Ends Aug 11th


  1. I love the idea of having a sketch journal. The five tips would work great with kids and adults. Thanks for a wonderful guest post and a giveaway that I hope I win!

  2. I really enjoyed this book! I love Jonathan's tips on journaling.

  3. These are some great journaling ideas -- great for kids to get started with their own journaling too. I love the sample pages!

  4. Jill,
    Thanks again for letting me post on your site!

    If you have any questions, feel free to ask me -- I'll be checking in all week!


  5. Great post, Jonathan. My son won't carry anything around with him, so I've left journals in practically every room of the house for whenever he wants to write or draw.

  6. This guest post makes me love this book all the more! I bet he'd be great to get for a school visit! Love the pictures of the journal and I cracked up when I read the jelly bean advice. :) Thanks for writing that up Jonathan, you made me laugh! Loved your book and can't wait to see what you write next. :)

  7. I first heard about this book through another blog and was so enamored of the premise that I put it on my wish list. Now that I've read this delightful interview, I see that this is a must own book. Jonathan, I'm heading over to your site to have a looksie.

  8. Thanks for the tips. I am passing them onto my daughter, the writer.

    Amy @ bookgoonie

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your Writer's notebook. I love being able to show my students how varied and different they can be. My budding artists will love to see that Writer's can sketch their thoughts too. I love how you say that it's important to take the I out of the opens up a whole different avenue. I can't wait to get my hands on your new book.

  10. One of the most amazing postes of the year.
    I will start start journaling too :) ...

  11. Hey everyone isn't he awesome?? :) One of the nicest authors I've worked with!

  12. Great ideas to share with my students! My favorite piece of advice: stay away from "I", or never leave home without it, or just write one thing every day! Oh, it's all good advice! I've been hearing about your book on Twitter. Looking forward to reading it!

  13. I wish I could draw, your artwork looks great! I have dozens of notebooks with all kinds of stories, but I haven't finished one. Yet. :)

    Thank you for the great post and giveaway!

  14. Thank you so much for putting this together!

    That is so incredibly outstanding. I really can't even begin to place a value on resources such as those blog posts. It's pieces like those that dispel the common misnomers of technology in the classroom.

    I had to fight to get acces to blogs, and this is why. I would so much rather share what authors do as opposed to "teaching" them what to do. It's just so much more authentic.

    Thanks again.

  15. lol. his pictures crack me up. plus WOW...what an awesome artist...