Monday, July 8, 2013

Mr. Clopper's Class Reads Dragonfriend

"Mantooth" by John

Well, technically, Mr. Clopper, (aka Brian Clopper, a 5th grade teacher, friend, and prolific children's author from North Carolina) read Dragonfriend to his class. They then took the time to draw some wonderful pictures of my book's characters and ask some very smart questions.
"Merlin" by Julia

(Note: You'll notice that I'm only including dragon drawings (and Merlin and a map) in this post. I will post the rest of the wonderful drawings later in the week. The reason I am doing this is that I want each drawing to get the attention it deserves! )

Finally, I must admit that this is a huge treat for me as a middle-grade author. There's nothing more fun and satisfying than to get feedback directly from Dragonfriend's intended readership. ;)

And now, witness the fabulous artwork and intelligent questions from Mr. Clopper's 5th grade class:

"No ale until the castle is finished" by Briana

Why did you write Dragonfriend?

Ever since I was a kid (about your age) I wanted to write a novel. It took a long time until I got around to it, but I finally did when I entered a writing challenge called NaNoWriMo (kids can do it too so if you're thinking about writing a book, check it out!) I'm fortunate enough to write animation for a living and would someday like to be well-known as an author, too.

How did you come up with this series?

I've always loved stories with magic and mythological creatures. Growing up, I also read everything I could find about King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. When I finally decided to write a novel, it was an obvious choice to combine all of the stuff I like into my own story.
"Leonard Before and After he is a fly" by Gabrielle

How many books are you planning on writing?

Dragonfriend is the first book in a three book series. I'm just finishing up the second book in the series. It's called Giantkiller and should come out sometime this summer. I hope to start the third book in the fall. The working title for the third book is Elvenking. I have a lot of ideas for other books once I'm done with the series including some science fiction and a collection of scary short stories for kids.

 What ideas do you have for your next book?

"Cool Swords and Mini Map" by (unsigned - let me know who you are!)

I have a lot of ideas for my next book and they're already written down! In Giantkiller, Leonard and friends have a wild adventure up in the clouds in the kingdom of the Giants. Leonard climbs a monstrous vine  to rescue Glennys who's been captured by a cruel giant named, Gnarlroot (don't worry, she's very brave and fights just as hard as Leonard does).

Is Merlin close to 70 years old?

In my books, he's actually closer to 700 years old - having been born in a time long before King Arthur and Leonard came on the scene. He is a master of the "old magic" which he's used to extend his life.

"Mantooth" by Kaelan
Can you make this a movie?

I can't, but wouldn't that be just about the coolest thing ever?!
'Heckhound" by (unsigned, let me know who you are!)

What made you think of Piffle?

When  one of our Border Terriers was a puppy, I started pretending she could talk and did a funny voice to make my kids laugh. When I started writing Dragonfriend, I wanted to give Hubert a brownie friend and the thought occurred to me that our puppy's "funny voice" might make for a fun character trait.

What does Piffle look like?

Piffle is about twelve inches tall and has red hair. She is extremely fast and very brave. Her clothes are gray. She wears a cap, a doublet (close-fitting jacket), leggings, and a tiny pair of leather shoes.

"Mantooth in the Dungeon!" by Noah
What is your favorite character out of Dragonfriend?

Wow. That's a hard one. I really like Leonard so I guess he's my favorite. Of the supporting characters, Merlin was the most fun to write so I'd have to pick him, too.

Do you have children who write books?

Yes! I have three girls and all of them are talented artists. One is going to college to be an illustrator (for books and other things), one is a very skilled saxophonist, and one is writing her own fantasy novel!
"Helgad Being Vicious to a Heckhound" by Noah

Do you like to write about dragons?

I love writing about dragons! The dragons in my books are very smart and have a very dry sense of humor so it's a hoot to write scenes with them. In general, I like how powerful and nearly invulnerable a creature like a dragon is. I also like that they are unapologetic about who they are and how they behave.

Does Murck come back?

He's not in the second book, but I am thinking he might make an appearance in the third book.

Do you think you could make a story about Piffle?

That's a very good idea! Some of your classmates suggested that I write a story about Eater, the Leaf Dragon, and some of the other characters in Dragonfriend. I think that would make an interesting collection of short stories. What do you think?

"Mantooth!" by Mary
Do you keep Piffle (in the next book)?

Yes. Piffle is in Giantkiller and I see no reason why she wouldn't be in the third book.

Where did you come up with the names like Mantooth and Piffle?

I thought it would be amusing if a dragon was named Mantooth because he had a taste for humans (like saying that someone has a "sweet tooth" because they like candy). Piffle's name just popped into my head as sometimes happens when an author is writing.

Why did Leonard have a deformed ear?

That is a very good question and one that gets answered in Giantkiller. For now, let's just say that it probably has something to do with one of his parents.

How old is Leonard?

Leonard is fifteen years old as are Glennys and Hubert.

"The Leaf Dragon" by Cameron
Why are Master Prinkle and Sir Ronald (enemies)?

They dislike each other because they both fell in love with the same girl (who ended up picking Master Prinkle over Sir Ronald).
"Mantooth is in a Prison Crying Jewels" by Alex R.

Will Glennys and Leonard get married and have kids?

I think both of them would like that very much.

What other writers do you know?

I know a lot of writers who work in animation and in TV and film. I'm also lucky to be friends with authors like your teacher, Mr. Clopper, and Keith Robinson who wrote Island of Fog.

What cartoon are you writing for?

These days I am writing for "The 7D," a new show that will air on Disney (hint: it's about seven little guys) and "Littlest Pet Shop," a fun show which airs on Hub. Before that I wrote for "Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated."

"Dragonfriend Details" by Scottie
Are you married? Do you like basketball? Do you like pie? How old are you?

Yes. No, but I'm glad you do (I like baseball). Yes (it is my favorite dessert). 53.


Thanks for the great questions and art, everyone!  Look for more art from Mr. Clopper's class later this week and if you have any more questions, go ahead and ask them in the comments section.

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