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The 20 Question Interview with our very own Turkeybird is a new feature interview that will be happening with all of the picture book authors, illustrators and poets he loves! Today the Turkeybird is interviewing author Deborah Underwood, who has published numerous children’s fiction and non-fiction books including The Quiet Book as well as the recently released, The LOUD Book! Because we all know being LOUD is a forte for a four year old, this was the perfect opportunity to get to know a little bit about the author behind the book. So, without further hesitation on our part, the Turkeybird’s 20 Question interview with Deborah Underwood…

1. Quiet and Loud. I’m more of a loud guy, what about you?
I’m mostly a fan of quiet—it’s hard for me to write when it’s loud—but I really like some louds, too. Fireworks without noise wouldn’t be as fun, and loud laughs are much better than quiet ones.

2. Do you like to sing loud too? (Littlebug sings loud all the time! Sisters.)
I do! I like to sing songs from operas sometimes, and they can be VERY loud.

3. Crayons or Markers?

4. Why?
Because you can get thin markers and thick markers and somewhere-in-the-middle markers.  I am extremely picky about pens and sometimes run all over my apartment looking for just the right one. Once I was convinced I couldn’t start writing a book until I found a pen the perfect shade of blue. But I loooooove the smell of crayons!

5. Are picture books your favorite thing to write?
Ooh, good question! I think so. Since I don’t draw the pictures, it’s really fun to see what the illustrators come up with. But I like writing all sorts of stuff.

6. Is there another kind of book you want to write that you haven’t already written?
I’d like to write a book for older readers—maybe kids who are eight or ten or twelve years old.

7. Why?
Those are the kind of books I remember most from when I was a kid, the books that really meant a lot to me then and that I still love reading. Writing long stories is a little scary for me, since I mostly write shorter things. But I just need to plunge in and do it. Right?

8. Do you have a favorite instrument, since you wanted to be a street musician, or just sing in the street? (Mine would be a trumpet, it’s LOUD!)
When I was a street musician, I sang and played guitar. I like ukuleles because they make me think of Hawaii. I love the sound of cellos, and of the English horn. OH and there’s this Irish instrument called the uilleann pipes (I had to look up how to spell that) that has a really haunting and wonderful sound.

9. What’s your favorite word? (Mine’s underpants, for right now at least.)
Good—I put the word “underwear” in my book Pirate Mom because I thought kids would like it. My favorite word changes a lot. The first one that came to mind just now was “floccinaucinihilipilification” (I had to look up how to spell that, too). But “tendril” and “soothing” are nice words as well. So is “porcupine,” which sounds prickly to me.

10. So, your cat was recently interviewed, how was that? (I think boys have to be better interviewers than dogs, right? I’m a cat person though.)
I’m not sure—she wouldn’t let me in the room while she was typing. But she seemed quite pleased with herself afterwards. And boy interviewers are great, based on my limited experience with them. Especially if they’re cat people.

11. What’s your favorite color?
It’s usually some shade of blue. I like shimmery, iridescent colors like the blue of Blue Morpho butterfly wings.

12. What’s the craziest thing you’ve learned writing “real” (ie. non-fiction) books?
Wow, I have learned a lot of crazy things! I learned about an orangutan who steals boats (that was for an article I wrote). I learned about pygmy seahorses who completely blend in with coral. But maybe the craziest thing is that there’s a lizard (the baselisk) who can run on water—how cool is that? I want to run on water!

13. Do you like pigs? (My mom is scared of them.)
I LOVE PIGS! I had an adopted pig name Babe who lived at an animal sanctuary. I got to go visit her and feed her apples. There was also a pig there named Chiclet who liked to untie everyone’s shoelaces. Chiclet was a cute little brown piglet when we met. Then I went to visit a year later and this huge brown pig came over and untied my shoes. I said, “Um, is this Chiclet?” It was!

14. It’s almost summertime, yay! What’s your favorite thing to do outside? (I love going to the park!)
I’m totally with you on the park. I like to walk around the lake and look at the ducks and squirrels. I like picnics, too, but they’re more fun if someone else does the cooking and carries the food into the park and cleans up. (Do I sound lazy?)

15. What’s your favorite LOUD sound? (Burping is probably my favorite, even if my mom doesn’t like it. hehe)
Bella’s purring can be pretty loud, and that’s one of my favorite sounds. I also like the screams when you go down the first drop of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland.

16. Do you have a favorite treat? (Mine is anything chocolate!)
Hey, that’s mine too! One of my very favorite chocolate things is vegan German chocolate cake. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. I don’t understand why some people pick fruity desserts like apple pie when they could have something chocolate instead. But I guess if they do, that’s more chocolate for us!

17. I got the best balloon ever for my birthday a few weeks ago. What was the best present you ever got?
Happy belated birthday! One of my friends made me a beautiful quilt last year to celebrate my first three picture books; that was amazing. Babe the pig was another one of my best presents (a friend adopted her for me). So was Ursa Major, a big teddy bear I got in 4th grade that I’d really, really wanted. He still lives at my dad’s house. (You can see an old picture of me with him on my website.)

18. What are you writing right now?
I’m writing a chapter book about ballerinas, and I’m also working on some new picture books.

19. Do you really like sparkly toothpaste? (I do, but don’t tell my dad. hehe)
Yes! Sparkles make almost everything better.

20. If you were four what would you read next?
I think I would read Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus! again, and then I would read my niece Sophie’s favorite book, An Undone Fairy Tale by Ian Lendler.

The Turkeybird Speaks: “Thank you so much Ms. Underwood! It was so fun having you answer all of my questions!
“Did you know my mom makes quilts? I think having a quilt with books on it sounds so neat! Oh! I am now begging my mom to make some of that German Chocolate stuff you were talking about, it sounds really good!
“Thank you again and make sure to let me know when your next book comes out because I really want to read it! I love The LOUD Book!

Attention! One thing to note, Houghton Mifflin Books for Children is throwing a HUGE giveaway for The LOUD Book! with the possibilty of winning one of twenty five signed copies as well as a grand prize winner who will win a piece of original art by illustrator Renata Liwska. Pretty incredible if you ask me! Just stop by the site for The LOUD Book! that has been set up by the publisher and enter, it’s that easy!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, for sending a copy for review! Find them on Twitter and Facebook!

Find The LOUD Book! by Deborah Underwood at the following spots:
Powell’s Books
Barnes & Noble

Purchasing products by clicking through the links in this post will provide us a modest commission through our various affiliate relationships.

2 Responses to Author Interview: 20 Questions with Deborah Underwood

  1. Awesome answers. I’m wondering about blue morpho now 🙂

  2. […] Read our review of The Loud Book as well as a very funny interview the Turkeybird did with Deborah Underwood! […]

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