- I grew up reading all of your books, from the picture books to the adult books, with the original The Pain and the Great One being one of my favorites, and am so excited to see another book on the way. What made you decide to continue this series and not to pursue another novel or stand-alone book?
JB: Thanks for reading and remembering. I first wrote about the Pain and the Great One when my kids were six and eight years old. I've always wanted to write about these characters again, but this time in a longer book where I could get to know their family and their friends. I wrote one story a couple of years ago just to see if I could do it. I liked it and thought, "This is going to be fun!" But then other projects got in the way so I had to put the Pain and the Great One away. Finally, I said, "It's now or never!"
2. Are your characters Abigail (The Great One) and Jake (The Pain) and their experiences modeled after anyone?
JB: I have a daughter and son, two years apart. Originally, they were the inspiration for the Pain & the Great One. They’re grown now and my daughter has a son of her own. Jake and Abigail, the brother and sister duo in these books, have taken on their own lives though some of the story ideas came from memories (don’t ask what my son did with his first magnifying glass – ouch!) and others came from spending time with my grandson -- the Gravitron ride at the Fair, the boogie-board (he was a whiz, like Abigail). But that’s just for inspiration. Everything else is imagined. Hey, it’s fiction!
3. Will we continue to see more of The Pain and the Great One or are other ideas brewing?
JB: For now, four books is enough. (Friend or Fiend? will be published next May.) Time for me to start a new project. Don’t know what yet. This is supposed to be “thinking” time.
4. As a children's librarian, I recommend illustrator James Stevenson's work quite often, to both children and adults. What's it like working with him on The Pain and the Great One series?
JB: I’ve admired Jim’s work for years so it was a thrill to have him illustrate my books. We didn’t actually meet until the 3rd book, Going, Going, Gone!, was about to be published. A mutual friend who knew how badly I wanted to meet him, invited us to dinner. Nevermind that I was on a liquid diet preparing for a routine colonoscopy. Nothing was going to keep me from that dinner. He was as sly, witty, and charming as his illustrations. I couldn’t be more pleased. He brings such humor to my characters and stories.
5. I would love to know your dream place to write. Do you have an exotic locale you would love to write in or a specific food/comfort you want next to you while your creative mind works?
JB: These days I spend seven months in