I rarely seem to have the chance to slow down in my publishing career, and this year has been exceptionally busy. Well, the last several years, actually. But this year sees the publication of SEVEN of my books! So far this year, we've seen the first board books Jenni and I have created, I'M GRUMPY and I'M SUNNY; the second in our kids' comics anthology series, COMICS SQUAD: LUNCH!; the 20th Babymouse book, BABYMOUSE GOES FOR THE GOLD; AND the eighth Squish book, SQUISH: POD VS. POD.
But we're not done yet. The next book is a special one. I've been working on it for 12 years. It's the first chapter book I've ever had published. And it's called MARVIN AND THE MOTHS:
It's a wacky horror-comedy about Middle School and, appropriately enough, I wrote it with a guy I've known since Middle School, my best friend Jonathan Follett. In the book, our protagonist, Marvin Watson, is having a terrible first day of Middle School when things get even worse: The recent arrival of a new baby brother forces him to move out of his bedroom and up to the (unfinished) attic of his small row home. There, he discovers that the attic already has residents: Giant, superintelligent, and very surly mutant moths. Who happen to love baseball. Their arrival coincides with a rash of animal disappearances throughout Marvin's home town of Butcherville, best known as the home of Pork Loaf International, makers of the Pork Loaf Log Roll and other popular processed food products. What sinister force is pulling these seemingly connected threads? To find out, Marvin enlists the help of some unlikely friends at school and the trio of sarcastic, bumbling insects that he can't seem to keep out of his new bedroom...
The book was inspired by a weird vacation he and I took with our wives at a cabin in Maine, one that involved abnormally large moths, sinks crawling with wolf spiders, powdered fruit punch mix, and processed breakfast meat. Jon and I wrote the book together, starting out writing in person at weekend writing sessions at his home in Massachusetts, and later moving on to a novel collaboration method that involves live-typing on a shared Google Docs file, where one person types and the words appear almost instantly on the other person's screen, whether the two are on opposite sides of the country or opposite sides of the globe (we wrote this way while I was living in China last spring).
I then went through and added chapter illustrations, which was another first for me (treating the illustrations more as a cherry on top of the story, rather than the way they operate in graphic novels, as a primary means of conveying information).
The result is ridiculous, spooky, and—I hope—laugh-out-loud funny.
The book debuts on September 27, 2016, so pre-order your copy now! In the meantime, visit www.marvinandthemoths.com to learn more and to read a free excerpt.
Oh, and here's a special bonus treat to whet your appetite: Our official BOOK TRAILER!