Thursday, July 16, 2015

Q&A and Giveaway with A.J. Cosmo

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. A. J. Cosmo will be awarding a $75 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

1. Why do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?

Katherine Applegate said that if a subject matter is too difficult for adults, write it for children. I think that Juvenile fiction presents a challenge in that you must write an engaging story without resorting to adult crutches such as erotic scenes, violence, or profanity. In other words, your scenes must be interesting because there is something interesting going on. Kids also get to have a bigger dose of truth in their fiction. It's odd, but adults are normally fed sanitized or overly dramatic narratives. Things are either saccharin sweet or falling apart at the seems. In the oddest sense, the most unrealistic genre is actually the closest to reality.

3. What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

My all time favorite kids book is "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie." I have no idea why, but it spoke to me. It still does. People will take what they can from you and you have to learn to be both giving and guarded.

4. What’s your favorite sweet treat?

Marshmallows. I'm not able to eat much due to some bizarre food intolerances I have, but I do get to have marshmallows and I adore them.

6. What would you write in a letter to your teen self?

Dear me,

You literally would not recognize yourself. You write for a living, you are half the size you are now, and a lot of things that you're scared would go wrong, will go wrong. You're not where you thought you’d be, but that's okay, because you’re in some place better. Don’t be so afraid of everything. Stop planning so much. Everything is going to be alright.

7. What candy do you give out at Halloween?

I live in Los Angeles so we never get any trick or treaters (parents take kids to Disneyland or malls.) However, if we did have trick or treaters we would be that awesome house that handed out full-sized candy bars. Getting those was like winning the lottery on Halloween.

8. Coal or candy in your Christmas stocking? Why?

I'm at that horrible adult point where no one knows what to get each other so Christmas devolves into half-guesses, practicality presents, and gift cards. My mom put up stockings last year but the only one of us who got anything was the cat. My favorite present was a bag full of fresh socks and a workout outfit because I really needed both. Sigh. Growing old is weird.

9. What superpower would you love to have? Why?

Telekinesis because I am extremely lazy and wish that I could grab coffee refills with my mind while having the keys on the computer press themselves. I always have so much more energy in my thoughts than I do in my body. ;)

10. What book is on your nightstand currently?

I rescued a copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends from a bargain bin and am re-reading it for the first time since I was ten.

11. Hunger Games or Twilight? Why?

Both? I don’t know. They both get a lot of hate from my generation but honestly you don’t become that popular without having something to offer. Hunger Games is one of the most well thought out world building in all of literature while Edward is the most lovingly described character in all of fiction. Writers listen up, pay attention to what does well, even if you think it's awful, everything has something to teach us.

13. Favorite TV show from your childhood?

Tiny Toon Adventures. The Spielberg trio (Tiny Toons, Freakazoid, and Animaniacs) are still some of the best cartoons ever produced for television. Rocko's Modern Life was another insane favorite that really should not have been aired. Same goes for Ren and Stimpy. Good gosh, did children's cartoons loose their edge or what? Spongebob still skirts the line, but I find a lot of modern cartoons grating, as they just seem terrified of short attention spans.

14. Sum up your book for Twitter: 140 characters or less.

All the kid's phones read "$500 Gamestop gift card to the kid that Brings me Aiden- Jacob" I'm Aiden, btw.

15. Favorite hot beverage. Why?

Coffee. Is there another answer? Tea maybe, but I'm assuming by the number of Starbucks in the world that I'm not alone in this. I like a regular sized drip or press coffee with a splash of soy milk. I'll drink it black if need be. I love the taste but lets not kid ourselves here, I'm after the caffeine.

16. Ideal summer vacation.

Taking one, lol. I would love to visit the Great Barrier Reef and all of New Zealand. I'd also like to go back to Disneyworld before I have children of my own. Camping would be nice, especially up in Northern California. I don't know!

20. Favorite pizza toppings.

I love supreme gluten free pizzas with vegan cheese. The individual favorite topping is sun-dried tomato, but that's a misnomer because I would refuse to eat them alone.

21. Create an ice cream flavor. What’s it called?

Toasted marshmallows. I can’t have ice cream, but I can have marshmallows, so everyone can eat ice cream based off of my favorite treat.

22. You’ve just won a million dollars and you’re not allowed to save any of it. What do you spend it on?

I'd open up a foundation where if you write them and ask it will send you $20. Anyone is eligible, they just need to contact and explain why they need the money. Why do this? Because most people simply don’t ask for what they want and even fewer have the gumption to go after things. Anyone alive is currently within your reach. I think it would be neat to teach 500,000 people that.

23. Playlist for your current book.

For some reason I've been writing a lot of children's books while listening to electronic dance music. I really hope that doesn't alter the writing too much. LOL

What a way to start summer… I should have never stood up to that bully Jacob. It was just a water balloon thrown to save my friend’s behind during recess. Now we’re on a bus heading home and everyone gets the same text: “$500 gift card and full immunity to the kid that brings me Aiden- Jacob.” I’m Aiden by the way, and the entire fourth grade is staring at me. Hopefully, with my friend’s help, we can get off at the next stop, three miles from my house, and make it home before the entire neighborhood finds us.

Soaked is the first middle-grade novel by author/illustrator A.J. Cosmo. Filled with humor and suspense, this surprising page turner is a tale of friendship, courage, and standing up for what’s right. For 3rd-5th grade readers.

Enjoy an excerpt:

I'm a coward.

That was the first thing that crossed my mind when the water balloon splattered on Jacob's face. Jacob, the boy who never needed a hall pass. Jacob, the kid who never ate his own lunch. Jacob, the one you cleared the bathroom for.

Cowards don't do this, I thought. Cowards run. Let everyone who has ears to hear know that I, Aiden Jones, am a coward.

Jacob let go of Ben's collar and let his victim join my side. Our classmates fell into a sick silence. No one knew what to do because no one had ever challenged Jacob before.

What about me though? What did Jacob have in store for me? Would he drag me into the bathroom and give me a swirly? Would he hold me under the water fountain? Would he stuff my pockets with water balloons and make me do jumping jacks?

Jacob just stared.

The summer sun pulled the water from his shirt, just as it soaked up the moisture from the plants and our skin. Since the drought began in the mid-west, our cozy little school had turned into a solar oven. The worst part was that the principal could have cranked up the air conditioning and given us all relief, but she didn't, not even on the last day of school. That's just the kind of lady she was.

"Jacob--I didn't mean to--I mean," I said.

"You almost got my phone wet," he growled.

About the Author:
A.J. Cosmo is the author and illustrator of over forty children’s books including the best-selling “The Monster That Ate My Socks”. He lives and works in Los Angeles, loves reading and video games, and is hard at work finishing the Monsters A to Z series. “Soaked” is A.J.’s first middle-grade novel.

Soaked Purchase page:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I'm pretty coffee-addicted myself...


  2. I enjoyed learning more about you by way of the q & a portion of the post! I'd like to trick or treat at your house! We have 300 or so kids every Halloween so the only ones who get full size candy bars are the ones we know~the others get cheapie candy. Thank you so much for sharing.

  3. Loved this post! Thanks for sharing :)

  4. Thanks for sharing! My daycare kids like that book too...Laura Numerov has written a number of fun books. I also think my kids would enjoy yours...humor in books, especially, kids is great.

  5. Great interview. I think writing for children and young adults is difficult. Love the book.