Me: Tell me a little bit about yourself in brief.
Phil: I was born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1946, but was raised in Burbank, California. I've been employed as a Special Education Teachers Aid, an on-air radio personality for KNGS Radio, earned a teaching credential from the University of California Berkeley before becoming an Adult Education Broadcasting Teacher. I've managed several national restaurant chains, and spent 23 years with Pacific Bell before becoming an award winning author.
Me: Tell me a little about your latest book.
Phil: Having a disability doesn’t mean you can’t be useful. That’s the key lesson of this new story by award winning author, Phil Silver. The story is packed with humor, suspense, and action. The main character, Andi, who is a little disabled honey bee, is given a very special task by her Queen. She does not allow her disability to prevent her from accepting this challenge. Through Andi’s journey, young children discover awareness and acceptance of individual differences. Other lessons explored are respect, manners, and following directions. This story also teaches that everyone has a purpose.
Me: What inspired you to start writing?
Phil: Creating a legacy for my boys from of the stories that I used to tell them as bedtime stories. 5a. If this going to be a “live” interview, ask me how I came to tell my boys bedtime stories. Short but cute answer.
Me: I understand that you read at the schools. If a school were interested, how would they go about getting you in and what do you do?
Phil: My personal Email address is the best way to contact me, and that address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. People interested in having me come out and do a reading, discussion, or signing, can also view my website at: www.pbjbooks.com for additional information.
Me: Where did you get the names for your characters?
Phil: When I was first telling these stories to my boys, the characters were called Little Bear, Little Squirrel, and Little Bunny, but when I went to print, I had to change their names because “Little Bear” was a name already being used and copy writed by of another author for his “Little Bear” book series. I didn’t want to use common names like Bill. Jack and Tom for my characters, so I started searching for foreign names, and Boga is similar to the Russian word for Bear, Skola is close to the Italian word for squirrel, but I couldn’t find a good foreign name for a bunny. Then one night, my then wife was going out to a Bunko card game, and Little Bunny had a new name…Bunko Bunny. Andi used to be a male bee called Andy, but I discovered that male bees only have on purpose in a hive, and that is to “service” the Queen, and the female bees do all the work on the hive and collecting of nectar to make honey, so Andy quickly changed sexes and became Andi. The two Guard Ants, Xander and Dima, also have history to their names. With a little research, I found the ancient Dutch name for “guard” is Xander, and an ancient Russian name for “lives underground” is Dima. I wanted the Guard Ants to have very different names, to be distinctive and stand out.
Me: Why did you take two of your books out of print? Will they be available again or in any other format?
Phil: My first two books have completely sold out, and it was too costly to keep reprinting them through the POD company that produced them. So after nearly 2000 physical books sold, I have put them both up on all the E-book readers that Smashword supports.
Me: Would you say that you are an animal lover? If yes, do you have pets at home?
Phil: Yes, I love animals. I’m living in an apartment right now, but no pets for now. I used to have several rabbits as house pets and had them litter box trained. I’ve also had cats and dogs. Right now I’m considering getting a Beagle.
Me: Why did you choose a bee for the story?
Phil: I can only answer that by saying that Andi the Bee was supposed to be the third book in the Boga Bear book series, but it was untitled and the new character hadn’t been developed yet. Then my kitchen was invaded by literally thousands of ants. It was a mess and took several days to rid the house of the ants. When I went back to writing, the story kind of developed itself…I wondered what would happen if a bee hive in nature was invaded by ants, and Andi, Xander and Dima were born. Quite frankly, the story and the character’s took on a life of their own. It almost as if they wrote their own story. Why a handicapped bee? I don’t know. Her character just developed that way. May be it was my subconscious coming though, since I’m semi handicapped myself.
About this Blog
Author Vickianne Caswell interviews other children's authors.