Monday, April 17, 2017

Under Locker and Key: Meet Jeremy!


Oh my goodness, people, my book comes out tomorrow! And the day after that, I have my release at the Provo Library!

It's finally happening. A book I wrote is hitting shelves. I'll be able to see it at Barnes and Noble.

This feels...unreal. Like I'll wake up and it will have been a dream. But it's not, and even when I look calm, inside my head, I'm constantly doing this:

Anyway, I'm sure you're here for this week's interview. This week, in honor of the release, I'm interviewing Jeremy Wilderson himself, 12-year-old retrieval specialist.

Jeremy: Hey, you got the title right!

Me: Well, you're a retrieval specialist, right? Not a thief?

Yep. Not a thief. I don't steal anything, no matter what you might have heard.

But you do break the rules, so I hear.

Only when the rules get in the way of helping people. Then those rules, much like graham crackers, were made to be broken.

All right. Ready for a few questions?

Fire away.

Tell me about your work. What do you do, exactly?

Well, if you're calling me a retrieval specialist and not a thief, you probably have a good idea of what I do already. But, this is for your readers, right? At the core of it, I retrieve lost or stolen items for my classmates. So, if a bully steals lunch money, if you get a cell phone confiscated by a teacher, or even if you accidentally leave your hat on the bus or throw away your retainer, I'm the guy for the job. I can get anything back.

Why ask you, though? Why wouldn't kids go to a teacher to help them?

Sometimes they do. But sometimes the teachers are the problem, like with confiscated stuff. Besides, teachers aren't exactly subtle, are they? If a kid wants their stuff back but wants it back discreetly, they ask me. I don't make a mess, I don't leave evidence, and I don't make waves.

So, why don't you ever get in trouble? It sounds to me like this kind of thing would get you enemies.

Like I said, I don't leave evidence.

Do you have enemies, then?

One, for sure.

May I ask who?

Do you really have to ask? That gumshoe Becca! I could regale you with stories of all the times I outwitted her, but it might be better if we move to the pizza question now.

Very well. How do you eat your pizza?

I'm fond of pepperoni, and if that's what I have, I like to peel some of the pepperoni off and eat that first, then eat the slice from narrow point to the crust. I've tried Case's fork-and-knife combo, and Hack's roll-up method, but I prefer the classic style.

 How is it working with Case and Hack?

We don't really work together, since we all have our own areas of expertise. I'm no help to Case with his art, or Hack with his computers, and they haven't exactly mastered the art of picking locks, which is pretty much standard practice for retrieving. But it's great to be able to talk about my jobs with someone, and Case and Hack understand. We also use our skills to help each other. Case gives Hack and me forged hall passes, and Hack knows all the cheats for video games. They're my first priority when they need something retrieved.

You sound like quite the trio of criminal activity.

In the best way. We never use our skills to hurt anyone. We help people, and we're good at what we do.

So I hear. What is your favorite Disney movie?

I take it you're not counting Pixar, am I right? No? Then, at this point, probably Zootopia. It was smart and funny, and I loved the characters. The ending was pretty great, too. I like movies where someone gets outsmarted. That said, I have a soft spot for Tangled. I like Flynn Rider as a character. I know, I know. Figures, right? But I'm not a thief.

 ....By any chance, did you read Becca's interview from last week?

I read Case's and Hack's, but I don't really care what Becca has to say, so no, I didn't. Why?

No reason. Except that you and Becca may have more in common than you think.

Right, Becca and I are similar. Sure. She thinks rules are the greatest thing since buttercream frosting, and I think rules get in the way as often as they help. She throws people up against the wall and yells at them, and I quietly do my work with grace and finesse. She's a detective, and I'm a retrieval specialist. I can see why you'd think we have things in common.

But you both help people.

I guess there is that. I thought we could have worked together, but she made very clear what she thought about THAT idea.

What's your favorite thing to do when you're not working?

Hanging out with Case and Hack. We play video games mostly, but we also do other things like ride bikes and mess around with our craft, like explore air ducts and try to invent a better invisible ink. Sorry, I guess that counts as working. But it's more fun when we're all working on something together.

What are you most afraid of?

Easy. Becca Mills. Next question.

I was going to ask you what you thought of Becca, but I suppose you just answered that.

You know those horror movies where the monster isn't particular fast or strong, but is just always there, one step behind the hero? That's Becca. It doesn't matter where I am, or what job I'm working, she's always there! Lurking, just around a corner, waiting for me to leave evidence.

Which you don't do.

Nope! No evidence, nothing Becca can do. What can I say? I am just that good.

Well, thank you, Jeremy. That wraps up my questions.

No problem. And hey, readers? If you ever lose something, feel free to hire me any time. Refer your friends. And, if you want to pay me for my services, I like chocolate cake.

All right, that's all the interviews! If you want to see more of my characters, you can get the book starting tomorrow!

Here are this week's debuts:

Middle Grade:
Allison K. Hymas (MEMEMEMEMEMEME!) - Under Locker and Key (4/18)
Mark Maciejewski - I Am Fartacus (4/18)

Young Adult:
A.E. Caplan - Grendel's Guide to Love and War (4/18)

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