1. When you close your eyes and imagine your readers, who do you see? (And, on a related note, can ghosts close their eyes?)
First of all, yes, ghosts can close their eyes. Only problem is our eyelids are transparent so we can see right through them and it makes no difference. When I imagine my readers, I imagine they must be the coolest, smartest kids alive. You know, basically Fonzies crossed with young Einsteins. The girls are probably Olivia Newton John at the end of Grease crossed with Margaret Thatcher.
2. If you could send any YA character or author to Scary School, who would you send and why?
I would send Stephen King to Scary School to see if it would give him new ideas for his books! In fact, I just may have done that when you read Book 2 of Scary School that comes out June 26!
3. Scary School has an awesome website! Are you heavily involved in it? What's your favourite part of the site?
Thanks so much! Yes, I run the website (www.ScarySchool.com) myself and it was designed by Jett MG (jettmg.com), so I'm very much involved in everything. I wanted the website to really give the visitor a feel for what it's like to be a student at Scary School and spend hours having fun. You can meet the students and faculty, tour the school grounds and classrooms, and watch some funny videos. Plus there are so many hidden easter eggs and secret links I can barely keep count! My favorite part is probably the video game you can play. If you win, you will receive the weirdest trophy ever and get the secret passcode to gain priority admission into Scary School!
4. Scary School has also got some fantastic pictures in the book itself and on the website. Who do you think is Scary School's coolest looking student?
Yes, the illustrations are all done by Scott M. Fischer, who is one the very best artists and illustrators alive. You can check out his stuff at Fischart.com. I think the coolest looking student is probably Johnny the Sasquatch kid, who's a young Bigfoot. I don't think a kid Bigfoot has every been drawn before, so Scott had to rely entirely on his imagination and I think he captured perfectly what one would look like.
5. I know that despite your ghostly state, you love comic books. What's your favourite?
My favorite of all time is the Frank Miller Dark Knight Returns series, which I believe were the biggest inspiration for Chistopher Nolan's Batman movies. It's just so epic and powerful. I also love the old Harbinger series from Valiant Comics, Bone, and Wolverine.
Definitely agree! Dark Knight Returns is AMAZING.
6. Your first book in the Rudy and the Beast series is called My Homework Ate My Dog! It's about a boy, who - well, the title describes it perfectly. How long did it take you to come up with such a fantastic concept?
That was actually the first novel I ever wrote. I came up with the title first and worked backwards from there. It's about a boy whose homework comes to life, literally eats his dog alive, and disappears. The boy has to team up with the school bully and his crazy grandpa to rescue his dog from an evil wizard whose trying to take control of the town and eventually the world. It's a lotta fun, admittedly very similar to Harry Potter, but I had just read the first three books of HP before writing it and felt very inspired to do something similar, but I get a lot of feedback that readers find it to be just as fun as Scary School!
7. If you could ask any other author any question, what would you ask, and who would you ask it to?
I would ask JK Rowling exactly how much of the Harry Potter story she conjured when she was on that one fateful train ride. If you don't know what I'm talking about, look at her wiki!
8. Do you listen to music when writing? If so, what was the soundtrack for Scary School?
I can't listen to music while writing. Too distracting. Nothing will get done. But Scary School definitely has a soundtrack. I actually wrote the Scary School song and we recorded it with top Youtube celeb Nice Peter. You can hear the song on the home page of the website and check it out on iTunes here.
9. What book would you recommend to readers who enjoyed Scary School while they're waiting for book 2?
Well, of course my other book Rudy and the Beast! Besides that, you'd like My Life as a Stuntboy by Janet Tashjian, Shark Wars by EJ Altbacker, anything by Dan Gutman, and my favorite of the moment - Ready Player One by Ernie Cline.
I haven't got round to Ready Player One yet but really want to - I keep hearing how good it is.
10. What's next for Derek The Ghost? (or for Derek Taylor Kent!)
Lots of stuff! Of course you can expect Scary School #2: Monsters on the March due out June 26, and then Book 3 June of 2013. I also have a very funny new book called Principal Mikey that we're currently shopping, plus I'm starting up a couple new projects - one is an older YA book that will be kind of an adventure story through great cinema, and also a new middle-grade series about the wackiest town in the world.
Really looking forward to those! Best of luck for the future, Derek. Thanks for taking the time to take part in this interview!