What is the Next Big Thing? It is an author blog tour. What’s a blog tour? A blog tour gives those on the tour a chance to meet different authors by way of their blogs. The Next Big Thing began in Australia. Each week a different author answers specific questions about his or her upcoming book. The answers are posted on author’s blogs. Then we get to tag another author. On and on it goes.
Now for the questions.
What is the title of your next book?
My next book is… ta da: The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
The idea came from my sons. First Aaron came home and told me about this mathematician who didn’t have a home and traveled all over the world doing math. Aaron was (and is) a real math guy, and so I kind of put Erdos in the category of someone only a math person would be interested in. When, three years later, Benjamin told me about Erdos with the same enthusiasm, I took note. Benjamin liked math, but he wasn’t a real math guy like his older brother. So I read a little bit about Erdos and was immediately hooked. I fell in love! (And as a quick aside: just yesterday I read the book for the first time to a group of children–Benjamin’s second grade class!)
What genre does your book fall under?
It’s a nonfiction picture book. I guess you’d call it a biography, too.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I think Daniel Radcliffe could play Paul Erdos at most of his ages. You need someone who is smart and eccentric and warm. I think Daniel could do that.
Who is publishing your book?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I don’t know how to answer this exactly. I did so many drafts of this book that I can’t even think …. OK: I started working on it in 2004. I sold it in 2006. So maybe we can say that the first draft took two years. I continued to work on it, though, until, the very last minute. They practically wrestled it out of my hands. A book is never really finished, right? It is surrendered.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My sons, as I said, but also Erdos himself. His life is such a story of triumph and beauty and kindness and brilliance.
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
It’s a book about a boy who loved math, but more importantly it’s a book about how someone who didn’t fit into the world in a “regular” way figured out not only how to live his life happily, but also how to contribute to the world in a very special way. You have to read the book to find out in what way. It doesn’t come out until June, but you can pre-order it here and here and here!
And wait until you see the magnificent illustrations by LeUyen Pham. They rock! She put math in the art in such gorgeous and inventive ways. The illustrations scream: math is fun, math is part of our world! They don’t just scream–they laugh and giggle and roar!
And now, drumroll, please! Who is next?
For the next Next Big Thing, I am tagging a new friend of mine, Linda Urban. Her answers will be up soon. Tag, Linda, you’re it!