Author Interview and More with RON KOERTGE

Hello everyone, today I have a special treat. An interview with author RON KOERTGE. Ron has been great in granting me an interview and for writing a cute and quirky story written in poetic verse.

RR: Hello Ron, and welcome to The Ravenous Reader blog. I hope that you enjoy your stay while I ask you a few questions :)

RR: Can you tell us about your upcoming book, Shakespeare makes the Playoffs?

RK: It's a sequel to Shakespeare Bats Cleanup. Both are good-natured books for middle-grade/young adult readers. The hero of both is a fourteen-year old boy who loves poetry and baseball. Kevin keeps his affection for poetry secret (you know how boys are!) but he can't help but write poems and he's outed but in a good-natured way. He's such a good first baseman that his pals forgive him for being a writer. In Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs, he and a cute girl named Amy agree to try almost all the forms of poetry like sonnets and sestinas. Of course, Kevin already has a girlfriend who doesn't like poetry all that much. So you can see there's trouble brewing.
RR: What is your favorite line from your novels?

RK: In a novel of mine named Strays, the hero--a troubled kid brand new to the foster care system--is on a commuter train in Pasadena. There's a blind guy with a guide dog sitting close to him, and my narrator starts talking to the dog and the dog answers! That whole conversation is one of my faves.

RR: Do you have any other YA books in the works?

RK: I've got another sequel working. It's the second volume of Stoner & Spaz, a rough-around-the-edges novel about a boy with cerebral palsy and a girl who likes to smoke marijuana. An unlikely pair, for sure, but older kids love the book and it won the P.E.N. prize. Let's hope for more good luck for the sequel!

RR: What book is on your nightstand now?
RK: A novel called The Master. It's about Henry James. And it's written like Henry James writes. I like to read hard stuff that's not like anything I'd ever write.

RR: What book has changed your life?

RK: I have to say Catcher in the Rye. I was a fifteen-year-old boy in 1955, and I was feeling really out of place in my little hometown of Collinsville, Illinois. Holden swore a lot (I did and still do), was confused (I was and still am), and the novel made me laugh. I love to laugh and like to crack my friends up.

RR: Had you always wanted to be a writer?
RK:Probably. I just didn't know it for quite awhile. My parents were Depression-era people, so I was brought up to work hard and make a living. Could I do that as a writer? I stumbled into teaching, discovered I was pretty good at it, and did it for thirty-seven years. And I was able to write, too.

RR: What do you do for inspiration?
RK: I don't believe in inspiration. I'm a butt-in-the-chair guy. So I put it there every day, seven days a week, holidays included. I don't always write well, but I always write something.

RR: What do you enjoy the most about the writing process?
RK: I like going to work every day. My wife and I have a cat (Buddy the Poetry Cat. There's a picture of him on the Facebook page). When my wife goes off to the city college at 7:30 or so (she's a counselor there), Buddy and I go upstairs to the studio, and we see what the Muses have in mind for us.

RR: What would be the best way for readers contact you? Do you have a website? Email address? MySpace site? Blog? Message Board? Group?
RK: I have a Facebook page, but visit it by searching for "Shakespeare makes the Playoffs" and not "Ron Koertge." (There seems
to be another version of me in Texas.) Also Candlewick Press has all their authors at the Candlewick site, so I'm there, too.

RR: Thank you for visiting and granting me an interview. It has been a pleasure.
RK: For me, too. Thanks

REVIEW: Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs YYY
Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs is a book written in poetic verse it's the sequel to Shakespeare Bats Cleanup a story about a fourteen year old boy named Kevin who is ill and cannot play baseball as he wants to and decides to write about his life experiences through many forms of poetry. In Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs Kevin returns, playing on the baseball team while continuing his attempts at writing poetry. He is still adjusting to life without his mother, as is his father who is starting to date again. Throughout all this change Kevin is struggling with his feelings between the two girls in his life, one being his cute girlfriend and the other the new girl that seems to understand the burgeoning poet in his soul.
I adored the voice of a fourteen year old boy demonstrated through Kevin's poetry. Some moments displayed in his life are poignant and beautiful, while other pieces feel exactly like a young boy attempting to dive into the world of poetry. There is a story being told through these poems that is a delight to read and Ron Koertge did an amazing job of making this story shine.

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