Last week Houston Parenting Multiples featured a story about a local author, Joe Sutton, who recently published is first book, “Wanda and the Oblahlahs.” He told this story to his daughters when they were young. The story was written and put away. 35 years later, it was found in an attic and is now being published. You can read the entire article and find out about the book readings and giveaway here.
I was given the awesome opportunity to interview Joe Sutton:
What was the main motivation for this book?
As a child, my oldest daughter liked to chew gum and we had a difficult time getting her to take it out when she went to bed. I invented Wanda to drive home the point. From that, Wanda became the little girl I used to point out what would happen if my daughters didn’t do as they were told.
What age were your daughters when you started writing stories?
My oldest daughter was about 3 and my youngest was just born.
Did you write as a child?
I did enjoyed writing stories as a child but never thought I was very good at it and migrated to sports. But I always liked to tell stories. Still do.
Were the characters or places based on anyone or anywhere? Where did the idea Oblahlahs come from?
Not really, the location is the town in which I grew up, Bridgeville, Pennsylvania. But the rest of the cast is just sort of the ideal family at the time it was written. The Oblahlahs are just the sound I thought one might make if his vocal cords, etc. were stuck together with gum…oblahlah,oblahlah.
How did you feel when your daughter, Megan, discovered these books?
I had forgotten about the book but still told the story to my grandchildren. They liked it, as did their mothers. I continue to tell the Wanda stories. When Megan found the book, it was her idea to publish it. We may do more.
Is the book the same as the original story you wrote 35 years ago?
Yes it is the original” Wanda and the Oblahlahs.” I actually wrote it 35 years ago and my sister illustrated it at the same time.
Will you publish more of your stories?
We may publish more. We have discussed it since the first one is doing so well.
Do you think reading these stories to your daughters had any impact on their behavior?
Yes, they seemed to learn the lessons well from the stories.
Do you have any favorite authors that inspire you?
I enjoy reading most children’s books but the origin of the Wanda stories come mainly from “Aesop’s Fables.” I enjoy reading Rudyard Kipling and as you know he authored several children stories, most notably his “jungle Books”. I also enjoy reading military and sports biography. Two of my favorite authors are William Manchester and Charles Alexander.
A portion of the proceeds from book sales will go to Children at Risk, why did you choose this charity?
I chose this charity because I think it is deplorable that in this country that child trafficking exists and that two out three runaways end up as victims. This is something we should be able to stop if we get behind it.
Joe Sutton will kick-off his book tour with a reading today at Clear Lake City-County Freeman Branch Library at 2:30. Click here for more Houston area readings.
You can also get a chance to win the book, lunch bag and water bottle by “liking” Wanda and the Oblahlahs on facebook and emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. See complete information here.
I would like to thank Joe Sutton for his time and for doing this interview!
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