Questions from a Young Reader

A young reader recently asked me some great questions. I thought others would be interested in hearing them and my responses so, with Molly’s permission, I’m sharing our interview here.


MOLLY: What inspired you to become a writer? Also, writing children’s books instead of grown-up books?

JCB: I’ve always been an avid reader and I think reading lots of great stories is what inspired me to become a writer. I wanted to learn how to do that myself.

I like writing children’s books because I like children, first of all, and the thought that I might contribute something memorable or important to a young person’s life seems like a very worthy thing to do. Also, the time in my life when books were the MOST amazing to me was when I was about 8-13 years old. I’ve always enjoyed reading, but that was the period of time when stories felt the most magical–even the books that had no actual magic. The characters I met during those ages have stuck with me like old friends. And finally, the story ideas that come to me usually have young main characters–I don’t really know why that is. Probably because of the reasons I stated above, that’s where my subconscious goes when it’s sifting through ideas for stories. If I got an idea for a story about a grown up that I was really excited about, I would write that too, but that doesn’t happen.

MOLLY: What gave you the ideas for the personalities of Emily, James, and Matthew? Do you have a version of them in your life?

JCB: Emily probably started out as being a version of myself–we’re both bookish and introverted and imaginative. Matthew was probably inspired a bit by my own older brother. And James started off as a mix of several different people I’ve known who are smart, funny, and don’t seem to let peer pressure to act or be a certain way get to them. But that’s just where those characters started. With all three of them, their personalities took on their own shapes the more I wrote about them. Now Emily, James, and Matthew seem like their own people to me as opposed to fictionalized versions of real people.

MOLLY: Have you ever thought about making the Book Scavenger website a reality?

JCB: Yes! It actually is a real website right now. If you go to you will see a scaled down version of the game being played with people hiding and finding copies of the book across the United States. I would love for that to grow into something that more closely resembles the real Book Scavenger game, with the ability for people to make their own accounts and track books and for the books to be hidden outside the US, as well as other features. But whether or not that actually happens will depend on a lot of different things. It will take time and money, for one, and my priority right now is finishing writing the sequel. But the most important factor will probably be readers–if there is enough passion and interest in the game becoming a true reality, then I imagine it will happen. It would be amazing if that were the case.