THE MONSTER THAT ATE MY SOCKS – A. J. COSMO
1) Please provide a short excerpt of what your children’s book is about.
The Monster That Ate My Socks is about a little boy who is constantly getting in trouble for destroying his socks. After staying up past bedtime, he discovers that a monster has been eating them all along. With the help of his best friend, they capture the monster only to realize that it isn’t such a monster after all.
2) What inspired you to write this book?
I was doing laundry one day, trying to think of new stories, and as usual I finished up with less socks than I started with. I wrote the first draft that afternoon and just kept going until it was finished.
3) How did you come up with the title or series of your book?
The title came about as a matter of fact from the story. I struggle with titles. Oftentimes falling back on the old “the+adjective+noun” formula. This title was really successful because people instantly knew what the story was about and had an emotional connection. Everyone has lost socks.
4) Why did you pick this genre?
I started writing children’s books because it was an art form that blended both my artistic and my literary skills. I also have a child’s mindset (still laughing at juvenile humor) and to this day I watch cartoons. As I’ve grown with the genre, I’ve come to realize that some of the most complicated storytelling is wrapped up in the simplest language.
5) How do the illustrations complement your book? What was important to you as an author?
Each book has had it’s own art style, or should I say that I try to change the art to fit the story that I’m telling. With sock monster I went with a darker style that mimics the way classic oil paintings were done. I built the layers up from black to white and applied glazes of colour on top of that. It made for a beautiful, and dark, feel.
6) As a child, what books and/or authors influenced you the most and why?
Dr. Seuss and Roald Dahl were my two standouts however my all time favorite children’s book was If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff which contains wonderful lessons for adults. I adore imaginative worlds and creatures of all shapes and sizes (I love a good monster movie.) I also enjoy a story with a bit of complexity, a dash of magic, and a touch of darkness.
7) What is the most fulfilling thing about being an author?
Fulfillment comes from knowing that what was in your head got through to the reader. Having your book read in the first place is fulfilling; having the reader enjoy it even more so. I’ve had the great pleasure of seeing a child devour this book and light up like the sky when he finished it. “Did you really write this?” He asked. Answering him was all the satisfaction in the world.
8) What do you hope children will take away with them after reading your book?
The hope is that children learn to solve issues in an amicable way. The monster in the book is captured. However, rather than destroying the creature, they instead find a way to solve both their issue and the monster’s problem at the same time.
9) Who is/are your favourite author/s as an adult and why?
Douglas Adams for his insane imagination and Michael Crichton for his ability to convince you that fantasy is totally real. Octavia E. Butler is also a remarkable voice (and extremely unnerving.) I’m still working my way through Vonnegut and have to throw in Robert A. Heinlein for good measure. (Can you tell I like science fiction?)
10) What are you working on now?
This will be an interesting year for sure. I’ve been working on three books that are for a higher age range (10-12) that deal with more complex and adult issues. There are no monsters in these books and very few of the creatures that I’m known for. They’re so different that I’ve contemplated putting them under a different pen name. Yet, as I’ve grown as an author I think the kids that have read my books have grown as well, and how delightful would it be if we could all grow together?