Jeff Rivera, author of Um…Mommy, I Think I Flushed My Brother Down the Toilet and Um…Mommy, I Think I Flushed My Brother Down the Toilet Again (Return to Yuck Kingdom) talks to TheoLightfoot.com about his most recent endeavor: writing children’s eBooks.
Photo Copyright Adrian Coto
Rivera is already an established author and writer, having penned the novel Forever My Lady and contributing to a slew of mainstream media sources. Check out Rivera’s website at JeffRivera.com and keep reading for a very interesting conversation about the amazing “underworld” he has created in his Um…Mommy books.
TheoLightfoot.com: You’re already an accomplished author and writer. What made you want to try your hand at children’s books?
Jeff Rivera: You know, people have told me before that I should try my hand at it and it’s been in the back of my head but one day I took an online course called Children’s Book Formula and it immediately removed the blocks I thought I’d have to go through in order to write one so I thought, hey, why not give it a try. I was worried that it would take a long time or that people might get mixed up with the more edgy YA and love stories I write. But then in the end, I really wrote them for my nieces and nephews, something they could read or that I could read to them.
TheoLightfoot.com: You’ve invented quite an imaginative “underworld” (literally) in Um…Mommy, I Think I Flushed My Brother Down the Toilet and the sequel. How did you come up with the idea for this series?
Jeff Rivera: You know that idea was floating (no pun intended) around in my head for a long time. I remember I was visiting a literary agent’s office one day and I mentioned it and they’re eyes lit up big time. It was then that I knew I had something worth trying but it wasn’t until about a year or so later that I decided to give it a whirl (again, no pun intended)
TheoLightfoot.com: You have 12 nieces and nephews. Did you test the books out on them and did they help steer the direction of the books?
Jeff Rivera: Absolutely! My niece Kayda and my nephew Ezekiel were the first ones I read it to. I wrote it for them in particular, though my plan is to eventually write a kids book for each of my 12 nieces and nephews. When they laughed at all the right places, then I knew I had something worthy of sharing.
TheoLightfoot.com: I like the fact that these books are edgy. I mean, a standard publishing house might think they are outside the box. Do you feel you are able to be more creative by publishing your own books?
Jeff Rivera: Definitely. I mean, I hate when people tell me what I can and cannot do and having been published by a major house, although they’re wonderful in their own ways, there’s a lot of rules and regulations. I like to do what I want to do, when I like to do it. And the only ones I want telling me what to do are my readers. They’re the bosses. They tell me what they like and what they don’t. I have some amazing friends and colleagues in the book publishing industry; some are brilliant and others, I think won’t admit that there’s a real disconnect between what readers keep telling publishers they want and what they are putting out anyway. It’s like a restaurant owner continuing to cook hamburgers when their customers aren’t buying them and keep asking for salads instead.
TheoLightfoot.com: What made you first want to become a writer? Was there that “ah-ha” moment when you just knew?
Jeff Rivera: I was writing before I knew what it is was. I started in the first grade when I would write stories about the other kids in school. But I think the word “writer” was given to me by my second grade teacher Mrs. Roscow, who told everyone in front of the class how good she thought I was.
TheoLightfoot.com: eBook self-publishing has opened up opportunities for a lot of authors. Who are your favorite independent children’s eBook authors right now?
Jeff Rivera: You know, I’m still exploring whose around the children’s book market as far as indies but I like AJ Cosmo so far and I love Raymond Beans “Fart” series. But I admire a lot of other indie authors in other genres who have been inspiring to me in one way or another. There’s too many to count, CJ Lyons, Ruth Cardello, JA Konrath, Dean Wesley Smith, Amanda Hocking, Hugh Howey; I mean, the list goes on.
TheoLightfoot.com: Do you have any other children’s eBook ideas you are working on? If so, when can we expect them to hit the “shelves” of the Kindle store?
Jeff Rivera: Yes, I have at least 10 more. I need to write the 3rd book in the “Toilet” series and then I have to crank out the others. The thing is, I’ve already written at least 3 or 4 others, but I won’t put them out because I made one of the biggest mistake a writer of today can make. I wrote the stories for me, not for my audience. If I want to win awards, then I’ll write them for myself but if I want to touch as many readers’ hearts as possible, I have to rewrite them for my audience.