Friday, July 17, 2015

Straight Chatting with the Library: A.J. Cosmo

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. A. J. Cosmo will be awarding a $75 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


What is the favorite book you remember as a child?

My favorite book was "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" by Laura Numeroff. It was the first book that I read to myself (my mother has no recollection of it!) And it felt like it was teaching some grand lesson about life that I needed to remember at all times. Don’t make friends through bribery. Don't always show up early to work and stay late. Don’t constantly try to top yourself. Don’t let people take advantage of you. It could bend in so many different ways and I often feel like I read more into it than was there. The theme of the book still comes up as an adult, usually when pressured by moral decisions.

Tell us about your current book in 10 words.

Soaked: middle grade action novel about friendship, bullying, and loyalty.

Do you have any bad book habits?

If a book doesn’t hold my interest it will never be finished. I have a pile of sub-par children's books on my nightstand that will not be completed. I feel guilty for this, because I know the huge amount of work that goes into creating them, but if the interest isn't there, the will to read won’t be either... It's such a bad habit that I'm terrified of people doing it to my own work. The chapter structure and hooks in Soaked were an attempt to prevent just that.

E-Reader or print? and why?

I love finding hidden kidlit gems in bargain bins while my Kindle is chock full of adult technical books (such as HTML instruction manuals, yay!!!) I think of the two as separate but equal formats rather than substitutions of one another. Children's books are a challenge on electronic devices, which is why most of my own work is specialized to the Kindle. I also realize that there is magic to a printed book, which is why Soaked had so much love put into its layout.

When do you do most of your reading?

Adult books are read on the treadmill at the gym and children's books are read in the late afternoon or at bedtime. I also bring a book if I have to wait somewhere for an appointment. Interestingly, my reading takes a dive when I'm working on a book and spikes after I've finished something. Reading is an excellent way to recharge your creative reserves but can also interfere with the creative process.

Favorite book to recommend?

I recommend Holes by Louis Sachar for children and The Eye of the Queen by Phillip Mann for adults. Holes won the Newberry but seems forgotten (and was a huge inspiration for Soaked) while Eye of the Queen is a quick, disturbing, gem that makes you question your humanity. It hasn't received much attention but deserves a spot next to Ender's Game.

Re-reader or not?

Nope. This could also be included among my bad book habits. I have a tendency never to re-experience anything. I have a somewhat photographic memory that makes me voracious for the new. It's been a huge hindrance to my work, as I have to fight to finish things once I have figured the story out (reminding myself that the audience hasn't yet, because the work isn't done!) It's also the reason I never went into animation, as the idea of drawing the same thing repeatedly would bore me to death.

Keep books or give them away?

Every couple of weeks I take the children's books that I have been reading and put them in the little lending libraries that are outside of the two schools near my house. People usually drop off obscure things, so the books I donate always disappear immediately. I also regularly add my own work to the stock and am happy to see them vanish as well.


What a way to start summer… I should have never stood up to that bully Jacob. It was just a water balloon thrown to save my friend’s behind during recess. Now we’re on a bus heading home and everyone gets the same text: “$500 gift card and full immunity to the kid that brings me Aiden- Jacob.” I’m Aiden by the way, and the entire fourth grade is staring at me. Hopefully, with my friend’s help, we can get off at the next stop, three miles from my house, and make it home before the entire neighborhood finds us.

Soaked is the first middle-grade novel by author/illustrator A.J. Cosmo. Filled with humor and suspense, this surprising page turner is a tale of friendship, courage, and standing up for what’s right. For 3rd-5th grade readers.


I'm a coward.

That was the first thing that crossed my mind when the water balloon splattered on Jacob's face. Jacob, the boy who never needed a hall pass. Jacob, the kid who never ate his own lunch. Jacob, the one you cleared the bathroom for.

Cowards don't do this, I thought. Cowards run. Let everyone who has ears to hear know that I, Aiden Jones, am a coward.

Jacob let go of Ben's collar and let his victim join my side. Our classmates fell into a sick silence. No one knew what to do because no one had ever challenged Jacob before.

What about me though? What did Jacob have in store for me? Would he drag me into the bathroom and give me a swirly? Would he hold me under the water fountain? Would he stuff my pockets with water balloons and make me do jumping jacks?

Jacob just stared.

The summer sun pulled the water from his shirt, just as it soaked up the moisture from the plants and our skin. Since the drought began in the mid-west, our cozy little school had turned into a solar oven. The worst part was that the principal could have cranked up the air conditioning and given us all relief, but she didn't, not even on the last day of school. That's just the kind of lady she was.

"Jacob--I didn't mean to--I mean," I said.

"You almost got my phone wet," he growled.

About the Author:
A.J. Cosmo is the author and illustrator of over forty children’s books including the best-selling “The Monster That Ate My Socks”. He lives and works in Los Angeles, loves reading and video games, and is hard at work finishing the Monsters A to Z series. “Soaked” is A.J.’s first middle-grade novel.

Soaked Purchase page:


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  1. Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

  2. I, too, do agree that when the first chapters of a book didn't interest you... getting it done or finished reading is so hard. That's my case and I totally kinda feel ashamed to the author and the publisher when it happens. That's why, whenever I feel I could do it, I'll read it. Because sometimes, reading a particular book you specifically didn't like at first--depends on your mood and current reading taste buds. :D

    -Kristelle @ Amiabooklover

    1. I'm glad I'm not alone! Seriously though, books create personal connections and some connections just can't be made. It's not insulting when people don't like my work, it just means it's not for them. Now if they attack me, that's a different story. LOL

  3. Great interview! Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

  5. I admit I've never thought of Numeroff's book that way before!


    1. LOL I think I overthink things sometimes... From a psychological perspective, the mouse is using "permission" marketing. In that it asks for a small favor that's easy to say yes to. Each successive request is easier to get because the victim already agreed previously, even if the request is something they would not do otherwise. Watch out for it next time you go shopping. "Would you like a soda?" can quickly escalate into "Would you sign this lease?"

  6. I loved the interview! Also loved finding an author of children's books - always looking for good ones. :)

    1. Thank you so much! I hope that you like the books. :)

  7. Love the interview! Great post~thank you for sharing!

  8. Really enjoyed reading the blurb & the excerpt, thank you!

  9. Enjoyed the excerpt, sounds like a fun read. Entering under the name of Virginia

  10. LOVE the cover! Great post! Thank you for sharing!