Teachers & Librarians

Penguin Young Readers

Author Access Geoff Rodkey

Geoff Rodkey grew up in Freeport, Illinois and began his writing career on his high school newspaper, the oddly named Pretz News. During college, he wrote for both the Harvard Lampoon and the Let's Go travel guide series. After graduation, he wrote for magazines, a video game, a newspaper, a standup comedian, a syndicated columnist, a government-funded economic think tank, several popular television shows, and hit films Daddy Day Care, RV, and the Disney Channel's Good Luck Charlie, It's Christmas. He's currently at work on Blue Sea Burning, the final book in the Chronicles of Egg adventure-comedy series that began with Deadweather and Sunrise now in paperback and continues with New Lands, to be released in May 2013.

Geoff lives in New York City with his wife and three sons. They have no pets, mostly because the whole experience with the goldfish was just too upsetting.

You can learn more about the book series at www.chroniclesofegg.com.

Learn more about Geoff Rodkey here. If you are interested in hosting an appearance by Geoff Rodkey at your school, library, or conference, please use the online request form, send an email to authorvisits[at]us.penguingroup.com with possible dates, your school name, location, details about the day, and your contact information.

 

Author Appearance Q&A with Geoff Rodkey:

What can a school, library, or conference expect when you are making an appearance? What do you do differently with audiences of varying sizes, ages, and interests?

I've spent most of my career writing jokes, so I'm good at making audiences laugh… but I also have what I'd like to think are interesting things to say, both to kids and adults.

In twenty years of writing books, films, TV, and other media, I've learned a lot about how to create a good story, and I like to help kids understand how stories work—not just as readers and viewers, but as writers themselves. Depending on their age, this can be as simple as "a character with a problem" or as complex as explaining the three-act story structure.

Adults tend to be more interested in process, particularly as it pertains to Hollywood, so when I talk to them, I usually end up telling horror stories about my experiences in the film business.

What makes your author appearances unique?

I've written in enough different media that even if my name isn't familiar to them, most people have seen or read at least something I've written.

Kids tend to know either Deadweather and Sunrise or movies like Daddy Day Care, RV, and The Shaggy Dog—and many of them are huge fans of Good Luck Charlie, It's Christmas, which aired on the Disney Channel in 2011. Most adults have never heard of that one, but it was the highest-rated live action TV movie of that year, almost entirely due to kids under twelve.

And adults might have seen work I did back in the '90's, for shows like Politically Incorrect and Beavis and Butt-head, or read books and other pieces by Al Franken or Arianna Huffington that I had a hand in helping to write. (This was back when Arianna was a Republican, so at the time, I was working both sides of the political fence.)

Do you enjoy making appearances for adult audiences? What do you do when presenting to adults?

I do enjoy talking to adults. Like I said, they're often less interested in storytelling per se and more interested in process, so my anecdotes about horrible experiences in the film business tend to go over well. Plus I get to tell all the jokes that younger audiences don't get.

What can schools and libraries do to ensure a successful appearance?

The ability to plug my laptop into a screen so I can show a PowerPoint is ideal (I do a mean PowerPoint presentation), but it's not necessary. I'm low-maintenance.

Do you enjoy traveling to other parts of the country for appearances?

Absolutely! As long as we can work out the logistics, I'll show up anywhere.

Do you ever make appearances at more than one school in an area? Could schools and libraries from one area join together to bring you to their institution?

That would be fantastic! Especially if I have to travel a considerable distance, I'd much rather do more than less while I'm there.

What do you hope your audience will come away with from your presentation?

The knowledge that even the youngest of them are capable of creating their own stories; that there are many different ways to tell those stories, some of which they can actually make a living at when they grow up; and that Deadweather and Sunrise is an awesome, ridiculously fun book that they should read immediately (if they haven't already).

What was your most memorable appearance experience?

Deadweather and Sunrise hasn't been out for very long, so my bookstore appearances haven't attracted huge numbers of kids…but the ones who do show up tend to have pretty intense feelings about the book. One girl at Words in Maplewood, New Jersey was literally jumping up and down when she met me, and her mom told me she was more excited to come see me than she was to go to Disneyworld. That was probably hyperbole, but it really made my day.

 

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