Thursday, July 14, 2011

7 Questions For: Author Tommy Greenwald

Tommy Greenwald is the author of Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading. Click here to read my review.

Here is Tom Greenwald in his own words:

Who would like to read about the details of my childhood and how I always wanted to be a writer and how after all these years it’s so awesome that my dream has finally come true, and therefore I ROCK!

Didn’t think so.

Here’s all you need to know, really.

My wife is named Cathy, and she doesn’t want her picture on the website because even though she’s gorgeous (seriously), she always thinks she looks horrible in pictures.

My three kids are named Charlie, Joe and Jack. (Charlie Joe Jackson, get it?)

My two dogs are named Moose and Coco, just like in the book. They’re both rescued chocolate labs, and they are ridiculously awesome.

My job when I’m not writing books is executive creative director at Spotco. We make ads for broadway shows. If you want to know more, check out our website:

This other thing I wrote is a musical called john and jen. It was done in NYC in 1995 and still gets done around the country and in Europe and stuff. If you want to know more, google it or go to; if you want to buy the CD – and really, who doesn’t? – go to

And now Tom Greenwald faces the 7 Questions:

Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?

I'm just starting to read kidlit so I'm going to have to go with adult books, hope that's okay! Catch 22, by Joseph Heller; Letting Go, by Philip Roth; The Magus by John Fowles. Fave kid book so far: Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree, by Lauren Tarshis

Question Six: How much time do you spend each week writing? Reading?

I used to read a lot until I started this whole writing thing. I write on the train going to and from work, so usually about 5-7 hours a week, then some touch-ups on the weekend at the library. I can't write at home. Home is for television.

Question Five: What was the path that led you to publication?

My three boys - Charlie, Joe and Jack - all hated to read growing up. It was a helpless feeling trying to get them to read. I decided to write a book especially for kids who don't like books. Thus, Charlie Joe Jackson was born.

Question Four: Do you believe writers are born, taught or both? Which was true for you?

I think it's a combination. An ear for dialogue and authenticity is something that i think is more innate than learned. But everything else - structure, plot, pacing, character development - is worth learning about. And by learning, I mean everything from taking classes to reading a lot of books and writing a bunch and simply talking to people. I've never taken a writing class, but have soaked up a lot of knowledge in other ways.

Question Three: What is your favorite thing about writing? What is your least favorite thing?

My favorite thing about writing is finishing. My least favorite thing is starting. At heart, I'm a reluctant writer. Which is maybe why I write for reluctant readers.

Question Two: What one bit of wisdom would you impart to an aspiring writer? (feel free to include as many other bits of wisdom as you like)

I'm a firm believer in word count. Word count is your friend. Word count can keep you going. Word count can help you set goals, and achieve them. And don't be afraid that keeping an eye on word count will ruin your artistic vision. For me, it helped my pacing and my discipline.

Question One: If you could have lunch with any writer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

Woody Allen. I'd like to know how he's had the energy and desire to make one movie a year for 45 years. And I'd like to know how he comes up with the names for his characters. (My fave: Fielding Mellish)

1 comment:

  1. Great interview. I have learned the hard way that word count is a friend.


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