Friday, February 15, 2013

All About Middle Grade Interview: Paul R. Hewlett (author of Lionel's Grand Adventure)

Please, help me welcome Paul R. Hewlett, author of Lionel's Christmas Adventure, to the blog.

About the author:
Salesman by day, writer by night. Air Force vet. My aim is to write books that are constructive for children and encourage them to read, even if reading is not their favorite thing. I live in the midwest with my wife and dog (he's a "senior" that we adopted from the local rescue shlelter). Lionel's Grand Adventure: Lionel and the Golden Rule is the first book in a series. It is my first book (reviews & feedback would be much appreciated). Lionel's back in Lionel Turns the Other Cheek. Check out his comical adventures as Lionel heads off to summer camp. Look for Lionel's Christmas Adventure this November on Amazon. (from Goodreads)

1. In seven words can you tell us a little about your book, Lionel's Christmas Adventure: Lionel Learns the True Meaning of Christmas?

Be careful what you wish for…

2. What made you want to make the story about Lionel as he learns the true meaning of Christmas?
This is the 3rd book in the Lionel’s Grand Adventure series and I thought it might be fun to write a holiday story. Writing about the true meaning of Christmas seemed like a great topic. All the Lionel books attempt to convey a message and have some meaning so what better message for the holidays?
3. Why do you think readers will enjoy reading about Lionel and the adventure that is surely awaiting him in your book?

The book is entertaining and fun. I mix magic, fantasy, and humor all through the eyes of a loveable main character everyone can relate to, Lionel Snodgrass. The adventures and high jinx that happen combined with a relatively short story make for something even reluctant readers may enjoy.

4. What was your inspiration for writing Lionel Learns the True Meaning of Christmas? What do you hope readers will take away from Lionel's latest adventure? 

My inspiration comes from my desire to get children to read. The benefits of reading are nearly countless. I know it can be difficult to get children to read, especially today with social media and electronics fighting for a child’s attention. I hope in reading Lionel that readers will realize what is important. Many times it’s the things we already have that are important, friends, family, health, you name it. It’s hard for adults to realize and accept this at times let alone children. Hopefully readers will take away that the easiest (and sometimes the hardest) thing to give is that which doesn’t cost a thing.

5. Could you tell us a little about the illustrations in your book? Do you think that they capture the essence of the story?

At this time the only illustration is the cover which was done by my wonderful illustrator Pat Sauber. The rest of the cover was done by Laura Wright LaRoche at LLPix Photography. I think the cover most definitely captures the essence of the story. It’s apparent even at a young age Lionel is acting a bit like a curmudgeon. One also gets a feel for the personality of Lionel as well as the imagery in the book. I am pleased to say that I am currently working on adding chapter illustrations to all of my books.
6. Three middle grade books that you think every kid/person should read at least once in their life? Why?

Oh wow. That’s tough. I am such a huge middle grade fan. A good middle grade book is my absolute favorite. First off every kid/person should read Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol. Classic book never gets old. Then I would say any Three Investigators books by Robert Arthur. I’d recommend The Secret of Terror Castle since that’s the first one. These characters and books are classics. The main characters are so much fun and so original. I love detective stories and these are so clever and entertaining. I don’t know any child (particularly boys) that doesn’t want to solve a good mystery. How many times have we all sat bored on summer vacation dreaming of an adventure or something to do? Lastly I will add one I just read last year and absolutely loved, Alligators Overhead by C. Lee McKenzie. The main character in this book Pete Riley is just super. The story mixes in some magic, humor, excitement and there is a wonderful underlying lesson that kids/people will learn without even realizing they are learning it.

7. I hear that you are retired from the Air Force, was it difficult transitioning between being in the military to writing books for children?

I’m not actually retired. I just served in the Air Force, but not long enough to retire. However, I think I am still qualified to answer the question. It is very tough. The military is very structured. There is no question what you are going to do every day. It’s really quite simple. Get up and go to work or go to jail. Obviously that’s not the case in the civilian world. I think many veterans feel a bit lost transitioning. It’s hard to determine what you are qualified for and what you want to do. It’s even harder to get a job. And the work place is so different than the military. I really wish there was a better system for making the transition. I know the military has really improved their out-processing procedures to accommodate this, but there’s very little in the civilian world to help.

8. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose? 

Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider. I’m not sure why I picked her; I just went with the first person to pop into my head. Maybe if Jennifer Aniston played a heroine in something-- I just realized how jealous I am of Brad Pitt.

9. Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?

My writing cave is my office. It also doubles as my White Sox room. I’m a die hard Chicago White Sox fan and it is decorated in White Sox stuff. I spend a ton of time in there writing/working and watching the Sox on TV. There are post it notes all over and lots of paperwork. I really need a bigger/better desk, right now. I use a TV tray as an extra desk top. I actually bought a new desk, but I’ve been sidelined since May with shoulder injuries so I can’t put it together or move the old one out of my room.

10. Any upcoming projects that you can sure with us?  

Sure, the fourth book in the Lionel’s Grand Adventure series is in my critique group right now. I wanted to add to those that don’t like series that these are not a continuation. They don’t end in cliffhangers is probably a better way to put it. You could read the third one first and would be fine. If you’re familiar with the first two of my middle grade must read books above, that’s what my series is like. You don’t have to read all the Encyclopedia Brown or Three Investigator books or read them in order. They are just unique stand alone stories with the same main characters. I’m also working on a longer middle grade novel with a new set of characters. It is in its infancy right now.

Lionel's Christmas Adventure: Lionel Learns the True Meaning of Christmas (Lionel's Grand Adventure, 4) by Paul R. Hewlett, November 10, 2012.
Have you ever wanted something you couldn't have? Meet Lionel, a loveable bully-magnet who desperately wants a new sled and will do anything to get it.This fun Christmas book follows Lionel from Larrystown to the North Pole. His magical Three-Toed-Potbellied Walbaun foot is back and is as unpredictable as ever. Whether Lionel's sledding, ice skating, or in a life-sized gingerbread village, it takes him on some grand adventures. Filled with great Christmas imagery, this book is perfect for young readers and family story time. This 2012 holiday, be careful what you wish for, you never know what might happen!


  1. Thanks so much for having on me The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia! I loved being interviewed and they are such great questions. I love following the All About Middle Grade challenge too.

    Paul R. Hewlett

    1. Thanks, Paul. It was a pleasure having you on the blog and talking about your book. =)

  2. What an excellent interview. I enjoyed learning more about Paul! I think his reason for writing is fabulous! I have read all of his favorite books except The Three Investigators. I will have to give that series a try- since I love the other books he mentioned. :)

    1. Paul definitely has an excellent reasons for writing. I feel bad that I have not read any of the books that he mentioned as favorites (must remedy that). =)

  3. Hi Jess,
    Thanks for stopping by & commenting. I love the Three Investigators. They are kind of a different version of the Hardy Boys. I just liked them better. I loved their hideout in Jupiter Jones's uncle's junk yard. I hope you enjoy them.

    Paul R. Hewlett

  4. Orchid, thanks for the interview.

    Paul, Good luck with your fourth Lionel book!
    I too loved Encylopedia Brown books while I was growing up. Also, thank you for your service to the country.

    1. Hi Cynthia,
      Thanks so much for stopping by and for the well wishes. It is coming along pretty good. I'm so happy you too enjoyed Encyclopedia Brown. Oh, and your welcome :)

      Paul R. Hewlett

    2. Thank you, Cynthia, for stopping by!!!

  5. What a fun interview. Great questions and I enjoyed learning more about Paul.

    1. Thanks for the kind words Cool Mom! I appreciate you stopping by and reading my interview. Have a great day!


  6. I love the questions and answers in this interview, too, especially the part on Paul's working cave. Buying a new desk ~ a writer's desk, must be exciting. Tweeting this for sure!

    1. Hi Claudine!
      Thanks for stopping by & for the comment. I am in desperate need of a new desk, that's for sure.

      Paul R. Hewlett


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