Brandy Herr, Hello, we are so happy to have you on Spotlight, you may want to tell us a little about the things you do a lot in a day, in a week, or even in life, smiling, laughing, talking, sightseeing, travelling, or writing?
Brandy Herr Hi! Thank you so much for having me. My days are usually spent pretty calmly. I'm an Army wife with a dog and a cat, and I generally just stay at home tending to them while trying to network my book. I love reading of course; I love getting those books I just can't put down, the ones where when you have to go do something else, all you can do is think about getting back to that book, to read just one more chapter! I also love getting out and exploring, either around town or for little getaways. We don't really get to do large travelling too much, but we try to adventure wherever we can.
Shah Fazli What do we read in your book, a lot of adventures, anything about army, family matters, or is it something totally different?
Brandy Herr Well there is adventure, since that's in the title. :-) Not anything about the Army, though that might make for an interesting story for another book in the series. It's mainly focused on travel and meeting new people and realizing that no matter where we are, we all pretty much have the same thoughts, feelings and experiences.
Shah Fazli Do you want to tell us the title and a little bit more about your book please?
Brandy Herr The book is The Adventures of Freddie Spaghetti and Meat Ball. It's the first in a series of children's picture books starring a talking noodle and his meatball dog sidekick. In each book they travel to a different location in search of adventure, meeting different food along the way. All characters are food items, and there are lots of silly food-related puns throughout. In the first book, they travel to Mexico and meet Enrique Enchilada and Teresa Taco and help to reconcile the lost friendship between the two. The age range for the book is around first through third grade, though the younger kids might need to have the book read to them since it might be difficult for them to read themselves.
Shah Fazli Interesting, why did you write this book, did you start telling such stories to kids and then writing them in a book, or it just came into your head and you wrote it?
Brandy Herr Well actually the character was created by my Granddaddy. When I was little, we were over visiting my grandparents when he randomly picked up a sticky note pad, did a little doodle, and gave it to me. The doodle was of a stick figure with a squiggly body, and it said, "To Brandy, Freddie Spaghetti, Love Granddaddy." We lost him to cancer in 1991, when I was 8 years old, but I still have that doodle in my scrapbook. My Granddaddy loved children, they were everything to him. He even had to give up his job as an ice cream truck driver after just one day because at the end of the day, he had given away so many free ice creams, he owed more money than he made! So then one day it dawned on me, what better way to commemorate his memory than to write a children's book based on the character he created, something to make children everywhere happy? That would be the best legacy for him.
Shah Fazli Thank you, do you want to tell us about a few adventures your main character faces on its journey to Mexico, just briefly please?
Brandy Herr Well mainly it's about Freddie and Meat Ball meeting Enrique and Teresa. They learn about how their friendship ended, and Meat Ball jumps in to save the day and reunite the two. Before meeting them though, they are mostly in amazement at how different their environment is from their original home. This is the first time they have ever been away from their kitchen table, so they are just relishing in the newness and the fun.
Shah Fazli What do they say to one another when they meet, a few dialogues if you remember please?
Brandy Herr When they first meet Enrique, he is sitting on the ground against the wall crying. When Freddie asks him if he can help him, Enrique replies, "No, sadly, there is nothing you can do to help. Not unless you can find a cure for a broken heart on your travels!" When they meet Teresa, she is stomping up the street toward them, scowling at everyone. Freddie approaches her, but she whirls around to him and says, "Did you really just come up to me in the middle of the street, interrupt my afternoon stroll, just to stammer nonsense at me?"
Shah Fazli Thanks, do your characters relate themselves to any relatives, or parents, for instance, does meatball call a couple of other meatballs its parents, sisters or brothers, how is it there please?
Brandy Herr Not really. It's alluded that the rest of the pasta on the plate where Freddie lives are his friends and family, but he's really so caught up in the boredom of every day being the same thing and his longing for new experiences that they really aren't considered. The only real relationship is that between Freddie and Meat Ball; they are best friends and inseparable to the end. I have written three other books in the series so far, and their relationship becomes more established as we go along.
Shah Fazli Brilliant, do your characters argue, or do they talk about us, human beings, is there any kind of such relationship, do they say that we should stop eating them, and let them live and be friends, for instance?
Brandy Herr No, humans aren't a factor in this world. The world where Freddie and the other characters live could be considered more like a parallel dimension to ours. The world is the same as ours with the same locations, but it is populated entirely by food. I thought that would be the safest way to portray it, so I hopefully don't traumatize children from eating spaghetti or anything!
Shah Fazli Understand that, so tell us what is it that you want children to feel or to learn from reading it please?
Brandy Herr I want to instill in them the thirst for adventure and knowledge, for always wanting to learn new things and be willing to reach out and meet new people. I want them to not accept the status quo just for what it is, but to realize that the world is rich with experiences, history, and just life in general. And if I do this, with this book series, then hopefully it will help those that don't necessarily have the means to actually travel. They can use these books, and consequently other books they may seek out in the library, to find their adventure and discover new worlds in their mind. And then they will also see that everyone, even those of other cultures and in other countries, actually have the same problems, emotions, and situations as we do, that we are all connected.
Shah Fazli Can you read from your book for us please?
Brandy Herr Here is the opening to the book:
Freddie Spaghetti had a problem. In fact, he had a big problem. He had Life’s Great Problem. He lay there, day after day, on the plate with all ofhis family, pondering Life’s Great Problem. “Is this all there is?” he would ask himself. “Nothing more to life than to be twirled on a fork? No, it can’t be. Surely there is more than that!” Then he would give a great sigh, and go back to lying there, stewing in his own sauce. For, you see, Freddie was bored. All his life had been spent lying there on that plate, day in and day out. Freddie yearned for adventure. Sure, he’d heard tales of other places, other kitchen tables very different from this one, and different and exotic food Freddie could only imagine in his wildest dreams. And he wanted to meet them all! One day, inspiration struck. Why couldn’t he go seek adventure? Who ever told him he had to accept the usual for the rest of his life? He had control of his life, and if he was going to live it, the time was now! He sat up suddenly on the plate, wiggling slightly as spaghetti so often does, trembling with anticipation. “My life starts today! I will see the world! There is no time to waste!” Freddie put his fingers in his mouth and let out a shrill whistle. “Grrruff! Grrruff!” came the answer as his best friend Meat Ball leapt to Freddie’s side, his tail wagging. “Come Meat Ball! We’re off to adventure!” And with that they rolled off the plate, jumped down from the table, and were out the door.
Shah Fazli Very interesting, I enjoyed it, so how do you think adults would enjoy this book, reading them to their children, or you think there are other things as well?
Brandy Herr I think adults would like it as well. I wrote it to be enjoyed by all ages. There are silly puns that adults might be more likely to get than children. It appeals to everyone's silly sides. I didn't want to talk down to the children with baby talk, so I wrote it based on how I would have liked it as a child, while still making sure I was enjoying it as an adult.
Shah Fazli What else do you want us to know about your book please?
Brandy Herr I just hope children and adults enjoy it and will hopefully continue to enjoy it as the series progesses. I have very big plans and dreams for this series, with merchandising and other possibilities, and am doing what I can to see that Freddie Spaghetti reaches his highest potential. If anyone would like to follow the progress, please like the fan page atwww.facebook.com/FreddieAndMeatBall
Freddie Spaghetti and Meat Ball
Written by Brandy Herr The Adventures of Freddie Spaghetti and Meat Ball was in
spired by a Post-It. That's right, a Post-It. When I was a little girl, my granddaddy grabbed a pad of Post-Its and randomly started doodling. He drew a stick figure with a squiggly body, and wrote "To Brandy: Freddie...
Shah Fazli We ask our guests to give us tips on writing, what would be yours please?
Brandy Herr That one is a little bit difficult, since my writing technique differs from what you'll learn in writing classes. I basically write everything in my head as it comes to me. Gener, since my writing technique differs from what you'll learn in writing classes. I basically write everything in my head as it comes to me. Generally my process is, I lay in bed at night trying to sleep, and a story will start forming, and I will go with it. I usually have pretty much the whole story written before I fall asleep. Then the next day I will get up and write down everything that I thought up. Using this process, each book has only really taken an hour or so to write. So I guess from my experience, the best advice I could give would be to always leave your mind open, since you'll never know when the right story will drift into your head. Don't dismiss your random daydreams, since those can often be your best ideas.
Shah Fazli Thanks for giving us the pleasure of knowing about your very interesting book, we enjoyed every minute.
Shah Fazli Visit: http://shahsightshop.blogspot.de/2012/09/the-adventures-of-freddie-spaghetti.html
ShahSight Literary Book Shop: The Adventures of Freddie Spaghetti ... Brandy Herrshahsightshop.blogspot.com
Brandy Herr Thank you so much for having me! I had a great time and appreciate what you are doing for authors.
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