Skip to main content

Blog Tour: Ron Koertge Author Interview

Please welcome author Ron Koertge to GreenBeanTeenQueen! Mr. Koertge is the author of Shakespeare Bats Cleanup, and it's upcoming sequel Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs, as well as many other YA novels.

1. Why do you write for teens?

Since I've got a few miles on me (70 in April), I never started out wanting to be a YA writer. Not many people from my generation did and not many men, for sure. And nobody from my pathetic little hometown. Poetry was bad enough, but I couldn't tell anybody about that, either. I've turned out to be a pretty good poet for alleged adults (though any high school kid would like my poetry), but I wanted to be a novelist, too. I did publish one novel foradults twenty or so years ago but the next ones were failures. Pathetic and embarrassing. Unpublishable. That's when a friend of mine reminded me what a persistent adolescent I was (I have a sort of an Inner Teen with a smart mouth), so why not write for other adolescents? I tried, and it worked!

2. Why did you choose to write about baseball?

I've been a fan pretty much all my life. I went to high school near St. Louis, Missouri, so I liked the Cardinals.
Like most boys in the 40's and 50's I played baseball nine months or so of the year. Just pick-up games, nothing very organized. Like Kevin, I was a first baseman because the glove I got for my birthday was a first baseman's mitt. I didn't think as much about poetry as Kevin does in my two Shakespeare books, but things registered -- like which of the guys I played with were truly gifted athletes and what would they be able to do with that gift?

3. You've written many novels, some in verse format and some not. Is it easier or harder to write books in verse?

Well, that's comparing apples and oranges. Or iMacs and Dells. I don't think in terms of "hard," anyway. I like challenges. I've had friends of mine -- teachers in an MFA program I'm part of -- say that they could do the novel part of a novel-in-verse but not the verse part. I understand that; it does seem like two problems. But since I've written poetry for more than forty years, I'm tight with Poetry. Poetry and I are pals. I'm not scared of Poetry like I would be play-writing, for instance (about which I know zip.) I wrote the first Shakespeare book (Shakespeare Bats Cleanup) because I was writing fairly simple poems that I knew weren't publishable on their own. I remember thinking, "Hmmm. What if there was a kid who'd write simple poems about his hobby, his parents, etc?" I made a couple of false starts, then killed off his mother, made him a ball player, gave him mono, and suddenly I was in business.

4. Can you tell us anything about what you're working on next?

I thought it might be a teen version of "The Canterbury Tales." I've been caressing that idea for quite a while, seeing if I can get it to purr. I was a medievalist in grad school and I always liked Chaucer. But now there's a chance I'll want to revise a flock of poems about the Greek gods. My editor wonders how many kids are interested in Zeus and his cronies, but I think if the poems are interesting enough, they'll get read.
(Yes, I think there's tons of readers interested in Zeus and his cronies!!)

5. Since the book has to do with baseball, I have to ask who your favorite team is.

I live about 4 miles from Chavez Ravine and follow the Dodgers, but I really like the AAA affiliates scattered around Southern California. My wife and I went to every one of these cool, little ballparks at least once. The Dodger affiliate is the Inland Empire
66ers. But I follow (mostly by looking at the sports page) the Blaze, the Mavericks, and the Quakes. Those guys play hard.
Thanks for visiting Mr. Koertge! Check out this preview:
"The Only Child" by from SHAKESPEARE MAKES THE PLAYOFFS copyright c2010 Ron Koertege. Used by permission of Candlewick Press.


In their living room, Mira's
parents have these paintings:
Mira looking gorgeous,
her mom looking noble,
her dad looking serious.

Then there's this big one
of the whole family.

You know how in most pictures
people look out, like at the camera
or the painter?

In this one, only Mira does that.
The other two look right at her.

They're the bookends.
She's the first edition.

Comments

  1. "She is the first edition" Wow. That is an accomplished poet telling the story. Thank you GBTQ for introducing me to this author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. OMG, wow a retelling of Canterbury Tales. I would totally buy that!

    Great interview!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Me too! I loved Canterbury Tales in high school. I hope it happens!:)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Let's all keep our fingers crossed for that Canterbury Tales update. But before that, the Greek gods are harassing me to write about them. And it's hard to tell Zeus to just lay off. He's the one with the thunderbolts.

    RK

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

I love hearing from other readers! Share your thoughts and chime in!

Popular posts from this blog

Bedtime Books for the Weary

Today I'm over at the ALSC Blog talking about some of my new favorite bedtime-themed books!

Suite Scarlett Giveaway!!!

How would you like to win a paperback copy of Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson ? I have FIVE copies up for grabs!! When Scarlett Martin turns fifteen she is put in charge of the Empire Suite, one of the rooms in her family’s hotel. Enter Mrs. Amberson, an aging C-list starlet who decides to employ Scarlett. Soon, she is taking dictation, running around New York City, and getting caught up in Mrs. Amberson’s crazy adventures. In the midst of it all, Scarlett falls in love–or so she thinks–and it takes Mrs. Amberson to help her see the light. Now in paperback from top-selling author Maureen Johnson! Here's the deal: -Contest ends July 20, 2009 -For U.S. Addresses only, sorry! -Comment on this post to enter. -Come back and comment again on this post for another entry-you may enter as many times as you want!! -Blog/Twitter/Facebook/E-mail this contest to others for +1 extra entries -Link me to your review of Suite Scarlett (or any other Maureen Johnson book) in the comments for +2

Dear Books: Please Update Your Libraries

There is nothing worse than coming across a book you are really enjoying only to be pulled out of it because of some outdated and incorrect library reference. I know that authors and illustrators will not always get everything 100% accurate, but I when I read books that show a very dated stereotype, or something that is just so incorrect, I always wonder why. I feel like authors and illustrators should know better! And it's not just older books-it happens in new books too! I recently read A Big Surprise for Little Card by Charise Mericle Harper and illustrated by Anna Raff.  I absolutely loved this book! It's a creative look at libraries through the eyes of a library card. It's perfect for my outreach visits and storytimes about the library and promoting what value there is in a library card. Anna Raff gets major points for illustrating a very cool and hip librarian as well! But the librarian tells card to shush and is a bit annoyed when he shows up. And then l