March 18, 2012

Author Interview: Derek (the Ghost) Kent - Scary School +GIVEAWAY

Today I am welcoming Derek Kent (aka Derek the Ghost) author of Scary School.  If you haven't heard of this book I think you'll really like it, and I think we'll be hearing a lot more about it.  I can see my students really liking it!

You think your school's scary? 
Get a load of these teachers:"Ms. Fang," an 850-year-old vampire"Dr. Dragonbreath," who just might eat you before recess"Mr. Snakeskin"--science class is so much more fun when it's taught by someone who's half zombie"Mrs. T"--break the rules and spend your detention with a hungry "Tyrannosaurus rex" 
Gargoyles, goblins, and Frankenstein's monster on the looseThe world's most frighteningly delicious school lunch 
The narrator's an eleven-year-old ghost 
Join Charles "New Kid" Nukid as he makes some very Scary friends--including Petunia, Johnny, and Peter the Wolf--and figures out that Scary School can be just as funny as it is spooky.
Welcome Derek to The O.W.L. so very excited to have you here today to learn about Scary School and you!

Let's start with the easy questions 

POV -  It's technically 3rd person limited. The narrator of the book is also one of the characters, Derek the Ghost, an 11-year-old ghost who lives at the school and writes down everything that happens, so the stories are all told through his ghost eyes.

MAIN CHARACTER - Boy and Girl - Charles Nukid and Petunia.

GENRE - Middle-Grade Comedy/Horror

FOR BOY'S OR GIRLS? - Mainly boy due to the genre it's geared toward boys, but the characters are evenly boys and girls and deal with girl issues just as much as boy issues, so it's appealing to both.

The Serious Questions!

For your MG novel what part are you most excited about? What part do you think they'll
enjoy reading the most or was the most fun to write?
In Scary School, there are lots of super-crazy, fun chapters. Each chapter you get to read about a different wacky student or teacher that inhabits the school. So, each chapter was really fun to write because I  got to think of something totally new and off-the-wall and have a lot of fun with each one. One of my favorites to write was the story of JASON (you know, the guy with the hockey-mask) and create my own version of why he wears the hockey mask at all times and how he learned to use his chainsaw. I also really loved writing the chapter about Lindsey who can't find a date to the Dance of Doom even though she's the prettiest girl in school (at least she thinks she is) and will have to make a tough decision when her last choice is a hideous monster exchange student! 

It was also lots of fun to create the Scary School website.  www.ScarySchool.comYou can tour the school. Meet the students and faculty. And there's also lots of fun easter eggs. If you beat the video game on the website, you will win the weirdest trophy ever. And after you finish Book One, you'll have to go back to the website in order to unlock the secret last chapter that will lead you straight into Book 2! By the way, Book 2 of Scary School comes out June 26 of this year, and Book 3 in June 2013. 

When you were in middle school kind of student were you? Did you write then? Did you
Yes, I was writing stories as soon as I could write. I remember when I was seven years old, I was the weird kid who would sit at his desk and read the dictionary during reading time because I liked learning strange new words.  Then I become known as the kid who always wrote the longest, weirdest stories during creative writing time.  I was kind of a class clown. I always liked to make my friends laugh, either through my stories, skits I wrote, or telling a funny joke. I guess i never really grew out of that because making kids laugh is still what I seem to be best at, and all I wanted to do with the Scary School series was write the funniest middle-grade books ever. Hopefully I succeeded! 

And because it's the owl my standard question always is: WHOOO do you admire when it
comes to writing? OR WHOOO do you like to read or really enjoyed in HS or middle school?
I remember when I was in middle school, everyone loved reading the Wayside School series. Those books were the first ones that really opened my eyes to how funny books could be that didn't feel like an arduous task to read. They were so much fun! And you will definitely see their influence in the Scary School series. I also loved the Dr. Doolittle series. When I got older, my biggest inspiration was Dr. Seussand the Harry Potter series. All of my first books were in the style of Dr. Seuss, and I thought I could be the next him. But when Harry Potter came out, I was so enthralled with it, I wanted to create my own unique, magical world just like JK Rowling did, and fill it with characters we all care about so much it's like they're family. 

Why MG instead of any other age level?
I think I'm still that 11-year-old version of myself deep inside who just wants to make his friends laugh, so writing for that age group seems to come natural. It's also the age-group where the most important components are imagination and humor, which are my biggest strengths for sure. 

The Fun Questions! (based on what 7th graders do!)

Do you chew gum? Yes or No If yes favorite kind?
Yes! Big League Chew or Extra Doublemint. 

Do you text?
Yes, I love texting. Since I'm a writer, it's like another element of writing. 

Was school lunch just as yucky then as it is now?!
Haha... back when I was in school, we didn't even have a cafeteria. All we had was a lunch truck, and it was pretty yucky. However, atScary School they have a school lunch unlike any other. Every single meal there is AMAZING. Can you guess why?  Because every meal you eat there may be your "last meal." Imagine what you would eat if you could choose anything in the world for your last meal. That's how good lunch is at Scary School. The cook is a master chef named Sue, the Amazing Octo-Chef - she's an Octopus who can cook with eight arms at once! The students sit at tables with their class and are waited on by zombie waiters who always suggest they "try the braaainns!" You could get some pretty gross stuff like Spaghetti and Eyeballs or Shark Brain Ravioli if you want! 

Thank you so much Derek for sharing all that! I love that you read the dictionary!  And as a teacher I can completely imagine what kind of student you were :)

Now for a giveaway
Derek has offered up an ecopy of Scary School.  

To enter
Fill out the Rafflecopter
Must be at least 13
International since it's an ecopy

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This looks like a fun book and it was a fun interview to read. Thanks.

  2. Derek the Ghost has certainly been making the blog rounds lately! Scary School sounds hilarious - I can't wait to read it myself and see if it really is "the funniest middle grade book ever."

  3. I have tweeted about the giveaway >>>!/NeveyB/status/183551156881076224