1. How did you come up with such amazingly original aliens? What was your inspiration?
An alien family lives down the street from me. I make sure to go for a walk around the block whenever they're out watering the lawn. No, seriously. The inspiration was the desire to inspire children to do more to protect the environment. Linking environmental degradation to an alien invasion seemed like a good way to get their attention. Making the aliens fresh and original and hilarious was a major priority. The two editors who guided me through the revision process were constantly challenging me to improve the aliens. "Come on, James. We know you can take this to another level." My editors were splendid. They brought out the best in me. There wasn't one suggestion they made that didn't make sense to me. I was blessed.
2. I read in your acknowledgements that your agent sold the book in 24 hours. How did that make you feel?
It was a fairy tale experience. I got an agent on a Monday. She gave it to the editor on Tuesday. We sold the book on Wednesday. No one had ever heard of it happening that fast. We hear so much about publishing inertia. I think it's great for writers to know that it doesn't always have to take months and months or years and years.
3. What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Don't chase trends. Write from your heart. Write what matters to you. What really matters to you. And remember, at all times, that your journey is important. Being a writer is a calling of great dignity. It doesn't matter if you're published or not, your dream has great dignity. One last thing, I do volunteer work at the Children's Hospital of LA. One day a week I pass out free books to children with cancer and serious blood diseases. I got the news that I sold the book one morning as I was walking into the hospital. To me, that wasn't a coincidence.
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