Are the Riot Brothers based on your own kids?
I write stories for my kids, not about my kids. My two sons do funny things, but they didn’t do the wacky things in these stories.
How do you think up funny stuff—like the Riot Brothers’ games?
When I write, I imagine myself as a kid and try to make myself laugh first. Then, I test it out by reading it to my own kids.
Did you have to revise it?
Yes! I enjoy revising because it makes the book better. My editor loved the stories overall, but she didn’t like the ending of my draft. She also wanted me to make certain parts of each book funnier. I have a trick for revising. I don’t try to come up with the perfect solution. I brainstorm and write a whole bunch of ideas down. After I’m done, I see which idea I like best.
I named my main characters after two famous brothers: Orville and Wilbur Wright. The Wright brothers were brilliant inventors. Read more about them in these books and then figure out how the Riot brothers and the Wright brothers are alike.
Wilbur and Orville Wright by Louis Sabin
Wilbur and Orville Wright: Young Fliers by Augusta Stevenson
About the illustrator
Most often, writers don’t choose their illustrators. That’s the job of the publisher. Holiday House, Inc. chose Ethan Long. He is an artist who lives in Florida. Ethan read the manuscript and drew lots of sketches of the various characters, using ordinary paper and a good old #2 pencil. After receiving feedback, he did the final drawings on bristol board with india ink line and washes. The cover painting was done in acrylic paint on bristol board.