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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Interview With Justus Stewart

Hi Justus. Welcome! I'm so glad to have you here.

I am glad to be here.

Justus, you have a series of three books published. That's quite an accomplishment for a young man of 12 years. Tell us a little bit about your story line.

Well, it is a fantasy fiction about a young king called Kyle Oaks from the planet Nighta who ends up going to Earth after the evil Dr. Larry erased his memory to take over his throne. King kyle has to figure out who he is and how to get back to Nighta. Along the way he meets new friends on Earth. In the three Kyle Oaks books, King Kyle and his friends have to keep figuring out his new enemines to save his throne. The ending of the trilogy really caught my fans off guard. They told me they never expected it to end the way I wrote it.

Where did you get the ideas for your stories?

It first started off as a comic strip I started when I was nine years old. I noticed kids my age did not read as much as I did. After I met Russell Banks at a booksigning, I decided if I turned Kyle into a fantasty book, maybe kids would start reading more. I was already reading Narnia, Harry Potter, and the Hobbit at the time. My friends told me that those books were too big. I thought if I could write books smaller, then they would read it. I always felt that reading is how you gain knowledge.

What kind of other stories do you have in mind to write?

Honestly, none at this time. I did write a poem that was published in our local paper and I put it in the third Kyle Oaks book, Traitor on Nighta called Taking a Bath in Tragedy. It's about how I felt about the Iraq War. I am more into making videos and movies. I do write short scripts for the movies, though. So I am still writing, but just not books at this time.

What do your classmates think of you as a published author?

At first, they were excited and happy for me. They knew I was writing a book and wanted to become published. But now, they are used to me being an author and like to read my scripts and help act in my short movies.

When you grow up, would you like to be a full-time writer, or do you have another career in mind?

Writing is something I will always do.When I have an idea, I write it down as a script or a song, since I can play the guitar, piano, saxophone, and am learning to play drums. Right now I am working on also being a songwriter. So I guess I am working on being a director or songwriter.

I understand you donate a portion of your sales to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Does this particular charity hold special significance for you?

I donate some money, but also send them small toys, coloring books, and other books I have bought with the money I made with Kyle Oaks. I also do the same with Vermont Children's Hospital. Two reasons, one is because when I was in Kindergarten, I had rotavirus and spent many weeks there. I felt really bored. That is when I first started to read a lot. I know how it feels to be stuck in a hospital for a long time. Second, my sister Angel was born just under two pounds and spent a lot of time in the Burlington Hospital. So if I send them money, books, and toys, I feel I can help the kids pass the day away and keep reading. I wish I could do more for St. Jude's and VCH.

Tell us how you happened to recieve letters from some very important people, including President Bush and the governor of New York.

Not long after being published and trying to get kids to read more, I got a proclamation from New York State. I think Assemblywoman Betty Little must have seen a news report and told members of the NY senate what I was doing. I figured if someone as important as her paid attention to what kids do to make our future better, then why not send copies of my books to the governor of New York and President Bush with a letter explaining to them to not cut fundings to schools but to increase funding so kids can have better education. In return, I recieved letters from them, thanking me for encouraging kids to read more. I learned this is also a good way to get autographs from some celebrities I like. I sent an autographed book to someone I wanted an autograph back from. In some cases it worked and others did not. But, you win some and you lose some. Ha!Ha!

What age group is your target audience?

9-11 years old, but many adults have written or told me how much they enjoyed reading Kylle Oaks.

Where can we order copies of your books?

You can order them from any bookstore. They can be ordered on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and thousands of other web sites world wide. Sometimes I get a book mailed to me asking me to autograph it for them or to someone. I am always happy to autograph Kyle Oaks. I am very proud of how it all turned out. I sign kyle Oaks with 'Enjoy Reading'. I hope everyone can enjoy reading, whether it is Kyle Oaks or another book, a magazine, or a newspaper, as long as they read.

Justus, thank you so much for a great interview!

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