Monday, August 3, 2015

An Exclusive Interview with Zack Delacruz

Last week I had the distinct privilege to interview Jeff Anderson regarding his upcoming debut middle grade novel, Zack Delacruz Me and My Big Mouth (Sterling Children's Book).  Today I am delighted to actually sit down and talk with Zack Delacruz himself.  Enjoy!

illustration by Andrea Miller
Hi Zack!

Thanks for taking the time to sit down and talk with me.  I recently read about you in Zack Delacruz Me and My Big Mouth, and I've been anxious to have the opportunity to get to know you better.

I am here because Mrs. Harrington said I could have extra credit in English. I’ll do anything for extra credit. Do you have any snacks?

I know that you are in the sixth grade.  Tell me a little about your school.

Middle school is way different than elementary, let me tell you. Sometimes the noise at Davy Crockett Middle School cafeteria is so loud I’m afraid I’ll bust an eardrum. Have you ever been in a middle school cafeteria, Mr. Stroh? My advice is...don’t. 

Mrs. Harrington, my English teacher, said you were a librarian. Our librarian is a blast—to watch. Mrs. Darling is like a light show with all her colors and energy and movement, trying to get us to fall in love with the written word.

All the people like Janie, El Pollo Loco (that’s Jose’s nickname—according to him), and my best friend Marquis (this S is pronounced—but don’t ask Janie to pronounce it for you!) are all in the book. Maybe you should read that instead of just asking me questions, Mr. Stroh. Sometimes I try to get by without reading the book. But it’s easier if you just read it. The book will answer all of your questions.

You split your time between your mom and dad.  What is the worst part about living in two houses?

Mrs. Harrington said you wouldn’t ask me anything too personal, Mr. Stroh. I really don’t want everybody knowing about my parents living in two different places. Can you edit this part out or something? 

But if I were going to tell you, I’d say it isn’t easy. The worst part of living in two houses is one week I take one bus, and on the other week I take another. And that repeats over and over. And kids notice. I hate being noticed. It’s embarrassing. (Another worst part is Dad doesn’t get good snacks.) But I don’t want to talk about this anymore.

That’s ok Zack, we don’t have to.

How about this?  Please finish these sentences.

Marquis is…
That’s easy. He’s my best friend—and he’s good at Math.

My favorite thing about Janie is…
Well, I wouldn’t say I have a favorite thing, really. I mean, she gets bullied and I know how that feels. And she’s really kind of helpful if you give her a chance. Not many people do. She’s not my girlfriend or anything, though, but she’s not as bad as people like Sophia and El Pollo Loco say.

are hard to find in middle school.

Peanut butter…
is my jam.

When I think about chocolate candy bars…
I think about how I’ve got to get back to school and fix the whole big mess. Oh, boy. Me and my big mouth!

Here’s the last question, Zack.  
What would you say to kids who are being bullied?

Okay, I’ll stay for one more question because this one is important. I wish I knew the answer to that, Mr. Stroh. I really do. I’m still figuring it out. But I’d say you’re not alone. I get bullied, Janie gets bullied, but it doesn’t last forever. Dr. Smith-Cortez, our school counselor, says people who bully are miserable on the inside and they are just bullies because they don’t feel good about themselves. I don’t know. It seems to me bullies make other people miserable, and they can make kids feel miserable about themselves. My best advice is—don’t be a bully and steer clear of them. My dad always tells me,“Whatever they say or do, it doesn’t change who you are.” I guess that’s true, but it doesn’t always feel that way. The last thing I want to say to kids who get bullied is—I’m sorry. 

Mr. Stroh, I gotta get going. There’s some stuff going down at school, and now the kids are counting on me to fix it. Like I said, just read the book, Mr. Stroh. I think you’ll like it. Then you won’t have to keep interviewing people to find out about it. 

Thanks Zack for taking the time to talk with me today.  I do need to say that  I have read the book THREE times!

All right, Mr. Stroh. If you say so...

Cover design by Tad Carpenter

Zach Delacruz Me and My Big Mouth by Jeff Anderson will be released on August 4, 2015.

For more information:

On Twitter:
Zack Delacruz:  @thezackdelacruz  
Jeff Anderson:  @writeguyjeff

On Facebook: