Josh Funk writes silly stories and somehow tricks people into publishing them as books – such as the Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series (including The Case of the Stinky Stenchand Mission Defrostable), How to Code a Sandcastle (and the upcoming sequel How to Code a Rollercoaster), It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk, Dear Dragon, Albie Newton, Pirasaurs!, Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience and Fortitude (in conjunction with the New York Public Library), and the forthcoming It’s Not Hansel and Gretel, It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood, and more coming soon!
Since the fall of 2015, Josh has visited (or virtually visited) over 300 schools, classrooms, and libraries. Josh is a board member of The Writers’ Loft in Sherborn, MA and was the co-coordinator of the 2016 and 2017 New England Regional SCBWI Conferences.
Josh grew up in New England and studied Computer Science in school. Today, he still lives in New England and when not writing Java code or Python scripts, he drinks Java coffee and writes manuscripts.
Thumbnail That: What was your inspiration to become a children’s book author?
Josh Funk: Reading to my kids inspired me to start writing. I read so many amazing books to them that I wanted to start writing some of my own. Some favorites from when they were younger include IGGY PECK ARCHITECT, THE GARDENER, VUNCE UPON A TIME, CHICKEN CHEEKS, and THE CURIOUS GARDEN.
Thumbnail That: What is your writing (planning) process when you start a new project?
Josh Funk: I usually open a new google doc (probably on my phone) and start taking notes of plot points, fun phrases, character ideas, and more. Then when I can carve out some time, I’ll sit down at a computer and try to form the story into a complete first draft before sending out to my critique partners.
Thumbnail That: What is your favorite children’s book and why?
Josh Funk: THE REMEMBER BALLOONS by Jessie Oliveros and Dana Wulfekotte. The combination of story and art is something that can only be done in the picture book format – it’s *brilliant*. And it’s pulls at the heartstrings better than any book I’ve read in the last several years.
Thumbnail That: What strategies do you have to overcome writer’s block and do they work well for you?
Josh Funk: The best strategy I have for writer’s block is to step and away from a manuscript and give myself time. Forcing creativity rarely works (for me, at least). So if I’m not feeling a particular story at a given moment, I find it’s best to put it aside for a short time (or a long time).
Thumbnail That: What advice would you have for new children’s book authors?
Josh Funk: Keep writing new things. It’s important to write and complete and revise and get critiqued and query and receive rejections for your first manuscript. But you’ll learn so much from the process that your second manuscript will start in a much better place. And your third will have an even better starting off point. And if you’re like me, maybe you’re tenth will be good enough grab the attention of an agent or editor. Break a pencil!
I’d like to thank Josh Funk for taking the time to answer a few questions for Thumbnail That. His insights and advice are most appreciate! Links for his books are provided above in his bio.