C. Main, my 10 year old daughter desperately wants to be a writer and Megan McDonald is one of her favorite authors. So, I asked her, with the help of her 4th grade class at Semper Elementary (who were studying authors at the time) to help us come up with questions. Missy C bravely conducted the interview. Thanks to Megan McDonald who sat in a noisy Starbucks and was sweet and wonderful to my daughter!
C. M. – Did you ever want to be something besides an author?
M. M. – That’s a great question, well, when I was about Judy Moody’s age, you know how she has some strange collections like band aids and scabs and stuff, that was based on when I was her age I wanted to be a scientist. So, in the books I make Judy want to be a Doctor and that’s why she collects all that stuff, so when I was little that’s what I was thinking , but then once I went to college I really wanted to be a writer and studied English and writing and literature.
C. M. – Would you make another movie and would it be another Judy Moody Movie?
M. M. – Would I, yes, I would, it was so much fun! I think so, I based Judy Moody on my life and growing up with my sisters, so I have kind of like limitless ideas for Judy.
C. M. – So, what was the (not Judy Moody book) but the first ever book you have written?
M. M. – Great question, the first ever book, I wrote was WAY before you were born, was a picture book, called “Is this a house for Hermit Crab”, do they still have the show “Reading Rainbow’? So it got on “Reading Rainbow”, it was cool it’s about a little crab looking for a home and they animated the little crab.
C. M. – Did anything happen in the movie that really happened to you?
M. M. – Yes, there are lots of things because a lot of things are inspired from my real life. But the kids, you’ll know from the book and the movie, in the movie a new member gets inducted into the toad pee club. That was a real club that my sisters and and I had to pick up a toad to be in the club. But also Aunt Opal, so you know how she has that great big giant trunk and she opens it up and there’s all the cool art supplies? My sister came to visit me, (this only happened a year or two ago) she brought this suitcase it that was SO huge my husband could barely even lift it and we couldn’t get it up the stairs. I said “you’re only here for a few days what did you bring”? and she I unzipped it and out came all these art supplies to make art. She brought beads and ribbons, we made collages, she had soldering irons so we could make jewelry. It cracked me up so bad, She didn’t bring any clothes, no jacket or shoes (except the ones on her feet). But she brought all her art supplies. We tease her a lot about it, but she says “see, you got an idea for your movie from me!”.
C. M. –Have you written any other genres besides children’s fiction.
M. M. –Within children’s books I’ve written I’ve written mysteries and historical fiction. But I’ve only ever written for kids. Because, adult books are SO long! It takes me like 6 months to write a book for kids. An adult book would take me like four years or something!
C. M. – Did you have complete control over the movie script and is there anything you would like to change?
M. M. – I had the freedom to – this is very unusual – because usually when they adapt a book into the movie somebody else writes it and you don’t have much say. But the producer asked me if I would like to write the story myself, so, it was my first time writing a screenplay and I got to have my partner and I, a friend of mine who’s a screenwriter Kathy Waugh, brought it together and my partner and I got to decide what the story would be. So we pretty much had a lot of freedom Then of course the producer and the director read the script and they have feedback, so they might say we love Bigfoot but can you make it more exciting. Or some things we didn’t know if we’d be allowed to do, like do you remember the part where the elephant head drops on the front of the car, so we didn’t know if we’d really be allowed to do that. and they were like yeah, said go for it and lets have some car chases, lets really chase that ice cream truck and chase Bigfoot and have the dogs chasing Bigfoot. So, the director had a big part in helping us even bring in more action and suspense.
What’s kind of neat is once a lot of people get involved then their vision and their imagination comes into it – like the one example I’m thinking of that makes it better is one of my favorite parts is in the trailer and Judy is singing this song and singing about going to Borneo, the director has her stay on her bike and she just rides her bike right into the hall and into the kitchen going “Mom, Mom I want to go to Borneo!”.
I know there was some stuff gets cut, it’s always hard… if everything I wanted in the movie would be in there, the movie would be like 3 hours long.
Lots of thanks to Megan McDonald and watch for our follow up interview with Jordana Beatty AND a review of the movie “Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer”. The movie is available nationwide – so check for theater times near you!