Hello and welcome!
Today I have an amazing author of children’s books. But not any kind of books, they are relevant to today’s struggles school-aged children face and their triumphs in difficult times. Personally, I think they would appeal to readers of any age.
Please welcome Howard Shapiro!
He lives in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife and two sons. The Controller for the Pittsburgh-based Visual Effects firm, Animal Inc., he has also written four children’s books and The Stereotypical Freaks is his debut Graphic Novel. His 2008 book, Hockey Player for Life, has been the #1 downloaded children’s hockey e-book on Amazon’s Kindle chart since its arrival as an e-book in November of 2011. His Hockey Days book was the only book featured in the December 2007 Sporting News Annual Gift Guide as a Best Buy Gift for Children. Through a corporate sponsorship program he set up and maintains, since the 2010-11 season, both of his children’s hockey books have been given to NHL teams, over 2,500 copies to date, for use in their community and educational initiatives. Since 2006 his annual charity raffle, which he matches dollar for dollar donated, has raised funds for several hockey-related charities including the Mario Lemieux Foundation, Hockey Fights Cancer and the Keith and Lisa Primeau Scholarship Fund.
Here is my review for “Stereotypical Freaks“: “I bought this book for my son in the hope that will help me give him the ‘reading bug’. He doesn’t like reading, but he loves comics and as this is written as a comic book he actually reads it … YAY ME!!! It has a very good topic, being different which as we know is a big thing for the school-aged kids. I of course read it already and I recommend this book to any child or adult.” 5 stars
And now onto the chat, pull up a chair and read on.
Do you have a nickname?
No, I haven’t had a nickname since I was a teenager. Back when I played baseball and was the first baseman my teammates used to call me Stretch Armstrong cause of my long legs and arms. If the ball was thrown anywhere near first base I could usually catch it.
What is one word best describes you?
What makes you laugh out loud?
Lately my teenaged son has been watching “Angry Grandpa” videos on youtube and when he shows them to me we both laugh hysterically. They are pretty dumb and vulgar but that’s what makes them so funny, I guess!
What is your favourite smell? What does it remind you of?
I have to say the smell that you get in any bakery. Whether it’s the bread or the cookies, I can’t think of a better smell. I think that maybe that reminds me of the times when I was young and my dad would take me into this bakery near where he grew up.
Favourite place to spend time in.
Actually, it’s the office I work in. I really enjoy my time here. We have a great office and where I sit is very quiet and its very conducive to writing, especially after 6:00 PM and mostly everyone is gone.
Is there a genre that you refuse to read?
No, not really. There’s certain genre’s that I don’t read a lot of (children’s and chick lit) but that’s not because I have anything against those genres. Mostly, I read graphic novels but I think anyone who writes should be constantly reading and reading anything and everything that you come across. It’s almost like a musician, the best musicians are the one who are influenced, and listen, to many styles of music not just one type. The only way to learn and grow is to be open and have your eyes and ears open at all times!
Writing! What started it?
I loved, I mean LOVED, the Encyclopedia Brown books when I was young and ever since reading those I wanted to write. I kind of took a bit of a detour in my teens and wanted to be a sports writer but that came and went. But, the Encyclopedia Brown books were the biggest influence on me.
If you could choose another career what would it be?
It would definitely be being a drummer in a great rock and roll band. I played back in my earlier years but never in a band or even jamming with friends. But one day, maybe I’ll get back behind the drums and see if I could improve enough to be a decent player!
Audiobooks! Any plans to have any of your books in audio format?
Actually, my publisher is looking into that possibility whether it is through a audio book publisher or doing them on their and then selling and distributing them on their own. I really hopes this comes to fruition!
Does your work convey a specific emotion or message?
That’s a good question! I would like to think that the reader will get really into the story and feel like they the characters. I usually try to elicit a certain emotion like I did with “The Stereotypical Freaks” and also with “The Hockey Saint.” So, the goal is always to move the reader and have them invest in the story and hopefully get the emotions and feelings and message that you as the writer are trying to put forth.
Who is your intended audience and why should they read your books?
Because I’ve done two graphic novels, I think that people kind of think that they are just for kids but I really feel that they are for anyone ages 10+. I think adults can get just as much out of them as the life lessons I convey are pretty universal. Hopefully, adults take away as much from my books as do kids!
What is next in your writing?
Thanks for asking!! I am, as we speak, writing the final book in my “Forever Friends” Trilogy. It will take place 10 years after the end of “The Hockey Saint” and have a nice thread to that book as well as part one, “The Stereotypical Freaks”. The writing is coming along and I have a great team lined up to illustrate and letter the book as well. I’ll be doing a cover and title reveal event on my Facebook page on my 50th birthday on September 10th. Also, we’re looking to have the book done and out in the summer of 2016.
Thanks for this wonderful opportunity, Eniko!! It was a lot of fun to do!!
Thank you Howard for taking time out of your busy schedule to spend in my chat room!
Hope you enjoyed the chat and you will give Mr. Shapiro’s books a try. These books make great gifts for any age.
To keep in touch with Howard Shapiro and check out his other books, follow these links:
Here is a chance to get you started, as Mr. Shapiro is graciously offering a signed copy of “The Hockey Saint“ along with one promo t-shirt. Winner will be picked by random.org from those who comment before 3pm EST, Friday March 13, 2015. GOOD LUCK!
Until next time read a book, listen to a book and don’t forget to show your love by leaving a review!