I’d like to welcome B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Gerry Renert today to talk with me about his book. Gerry has been a writer/TV producer for over twenty years. He began his writing career when he was eleven years old (under protest) on the blackboard of Miss Peterson’s sixth grade class. Once out in the real world, he wrote television commercials, which lead to his meeting a TV star who gave him a shot at writing TV sitcoms. Luckily, he ended up writing episodes for two of the highest rated TV series in the history of CBS Television. In 2002, he co-created the animated preschool TV series, ToddWorld, which aired in most countries around the world. The series has won three “Parents Choice” awards, an “iParenting” Award and has been EMMY nominated three times for “Outstanding Animated Children’s Program.” His two picture books in the “Nathan Series” have won “Mom’s Choice” Gold Awards. His first storybook App, “Brave Rooney,” was included in the popular information series, “iPad Kid’s Apps For Dummies. “The second in the series, “Brave Rooney and the Super-Sized Superheroes,” has won a “Mom’s Choice” Gold Award, a Childrens eBook Award (CEBA) and a B.R.A.G Medallion. He’s been a long-standing member of the Writers Guild of America and currently president of his own company, SupperTime Entertainment.
How did you discover indieBRAG?
It was either via LinkedIn or in a Google search. I can’t remember for certain.
Tell me about your book, Brave Rooney and the Super-Sized Superheroes.
Rooney is the only ‘regular’ kid in an elementary school of superheroes. When he wants to play soccer with his superhero classmates, they shun him because he’s a mere mortal. Meanwhile at school, all the superheroes get involved in a daily eating contest, which Rooney shuns. After a while, the superheroes become so heavy, they’re bursting out of their superhero suits. Even worse, they are unable to fly and utilize their super skills in the championship soccer game, but Rooney comes in and saves the day. “Brave Rooney and the Super-Sized Superheroes” is designed to encourage a fun appreciation of healthy eating.
What has lead you to choose to write children’s books?
I got into writing kid’s books kind of by default. I wrote for a couple of TV sitcoms that were family oriented with key roles for kids. I then found myself feeling comfortable enough to write an original comedy screenplay where the main character was twelve years old. Following that, I co-created an animated preschool TV series that was EMMY-nominated three times for “Outstanding Animated Children’s Program.” When one of my stories was turned into a TV tie-in book for preschoolers, I realized it would be a good time to focus on kid’s books.
Are there any challenges?
Many challenges. The key one being the importance of properly connecting with the age group you are writing for. You want the communication to be part of a loftier theme, but you also want it to be simple and fun enough where kids really enjoy and understand it. With picture books, you want the text to compliment and play off the artwork for a more dynamic communication. If the text just describes the artwork, there’s really no need for text then.
Is there a particular message in your story you would like readers to grasp?
My BRAVE ROONEY series is really about the compelling desire kids have to “fit-in.” After all, Rooney is the only regular kid in a school where all the others students are young superheroes. (Talk about a tough crowd to fit into.) But yet Rooney always seems to prevail by doing what comes natural to him, what he feels to be right, and instinctively making the right choices. In this story, Rooney makes the right lifestyle choice to not overeat and participate in a food-eating contest, despite the intense peer pressure. His choice turns out to be the right one, and he’s the only kid fit enough to play in the championship soccer game
Does any of the superheroes in your story have powers?
The superheroes collectively have a myriad of super powers: flying, leaping, running at super speeds, blowing gusts of air to put out fires, tugging ships, etc.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
I like including the hero’s name in all my titles and being simple and provocative at the same time. I usually don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the title. Thankfully they seem to come easy to me.
Who designed your book cover?
Illustrator Barry Gott?
Where can readers buy your book?
They can buy it on Amazon .
Or buy the interactive version (MY PARTICULAR FAVORITE) via this link: itunes
What are you working on next?
I’m helping shape a book series I co-created, entitled “The Pinkaboos.”
Do you stick with just genre?
Yes, children – mostly ages 4 – 9 years old.
Where in your home do you like to write and what is your process?
I have a dedicated office and am most productive in the early AM or at the end of the day. Lying on my deck has also produced some good ideas for my stories.
Is there a favorite food or drink you like to enjoy while writing?
A cup of organic cocoa, sweetened with Stevia, combined with Almond milk. Hmmm!
When you’re stuck on a scene in your story, what do you do?
Convincing myself to think of anything but my story usually takes the pressure off me, and the ideas start flowing naturally. If that doesn’t work, I rub my dog’s tummy.
Is there a particular hobby you enjoy when you’re not writing?
Learning to speak Italian and planning my annual trip to a different part of Italy.
A Message from indieBRAG:
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Gerry Renert who is the author of, Brave Rooney and the Super-Sized Superheroes, our medallion honoree at indieBRAG . To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion TM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Brave Rooney and the Super-Sized Superheroes, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.